What is digital ad fraud? Historically ad fraud is the fault of the advertiser or marketer when they advertise false facts about a product, but in the digital age, ad fraud can also mean something entirely different and malicious. Let’s look at what digital ad fraud actually means.
Digital ad fraud focuses on exploiting advertising technology for profit. These fraudsters steal data from digital marketing ventures via click farms, install farms, and SDK spoofing. Each of these focuses on somehow getting unwanted programs onto a user’s personal device. Let’s look at what each of them is one by one.
Click farms use fake clicks to simulate an install and claim credit as though real users have clicked on an ad and installed an app. This happens when a user has an existing fraud app running on the background of their devices, like memory cleaners or battery managers. In such cases the clicks are made without knowledge of the user, furthermore, frequent fraudulent activity from a device might flag it as a fraud in real websites and corrupt existing data sets. There is also cookie stuffing where unwanted data is stuffed onto a browser extension in order to claim profits.
Fraudsters set up a device and install the same app constantly, changing their IP each time. This creates the illusion of a popular app with multiple installs but in reality, the app will have malicious properties.
Here the illusion of legitimate installs is created by accessing real device data without actually installing anything. Fraudsters use a “man in the middle” attack to break encryption between software and its backend servers, they can then simulate a series of fake installs and steal revenue from legitimate advertisers.
There are several media analytics solutions to prevent digital ad fraud. As always use of AI and Machine Learning helps automate the entire process and save your time and money, but there are other options when these are unavailable. You need to see domains and apps that your ads were placed on so that immediate action can be taken to prevent fraud. Using media analytics tools, you can personally see fraudulent sites and apps yourself.
Some sites or apps have nonsensical alphanumeric domains, those are almost always fake and should be excluded from your campaign.
When a site has 100% of its traffic from a particular type of device, with a specific android version or specific browser version, real users will have varied devices and browsers.
Finally, some sites may have high traffic but the traffic only exists towards 5-10 of the most popular apps, this wastes the advertiser’s money as they pay for the traffic without getting any actual benefit.
These are some basic tips to prevent ad fraud when you launch a marketing campaign. You can be more successful if you keep a close eye on the inner operations of the campaign instead of launching it and forgetting about it.