IMAGINE you are a brand with a digital advertising campaign. One of your main goals is to reach a certain number of downloads and in-app activity. Mobile marketers like you spend millions on global campaigns, using Google, Facebook, Twitter and various other platforms to place trigger-inducing advertisements where you think consumers will see them. For many companies, it’s all about using data to predict where consumers are going and getting it right.
But what if the data is phoney, the sites where the clicks are going are fake, and in fact, the traffic tracked is non-existent and originating from a software program designed to generate forged data?
Fraud in advertising and marketing has evolved from individual scammers into an organised cybercrime that is harder to spot but easier to pull off.
Not surprisingly, it is in the high-traffic, high-value mobile space, where brands want to be, that fraudulent agencies are increasingly targeting. Businesses that rely on externally provided data to place online ads are foiled by tactics like malicious bots – which replicate the behaviour of a human – or device farms – which create fake devices that generate “user” activity on non-existent devices. These tactics directly impact marketing campaigns by draining advertising resources on fake users who pose zero value.
Mobile ad fraud also has far larger implications for companies, which use such information in their decision-making processes, budget allocations and audience targeting plans for future campaigns.