Mobile Ad Win-Win Game: Never Repeat the Mistake of Jon Snow

This year is expected to be a momentous one for digital ad, as it will make a huge leap and, finally, surpass traditional ad. According to eMarketer, in 2019 U.S. digital ad spending will reach $129.34 billion, whereas traditional ad will only achieve $109.5 billion. This indicates that digital will make up 54.2% of the total ad spending. The growth of digital ad is largely due to the growth in the mobile ad industry, with spending continue to grow this year by $87.06 billion, making up over two-thirds of digital ad spending.

It seems that all the kingdoms of mobile ad have reached the time of the greatest rise. But when it comes to reality it turns out that reality sucks. Real life shows that different account bots, spiders and other non-human actors create great harm to marketers’ ROI and unsurprisingly, mobile ad has become a goldmine for fraud actors. Unfortunately, it’s hard to estimate the real damage that they cause, but according to different sources, ad fraud cost marketers more than 20% of their total spend and causes loss of nearly $19 billion annually.

Ad Fraud Winter Epidemics

There are several well-known types of mobile fraud, including attribution fraud (click spam, click injection and modified click spam), mobile user-agent and location spoofing, smart bots, intelligent device farms, and mobile device hijacking. Every year these methods are becoming more intelligent and sophisticated at simulating real human behavior.

Since Adello has launched AdCTRL to detect and fight against fraudulent traffic, this defender detected a massive volume of suspicious activity. According to the Adello fraud analytic system, fraudulent attacks have a certain patterns and usually invade cyclically, like flu epidemics during the winter.

Taking this phenomenon into account, as soon as advertisers and marketers introduce new protective measures (vaccination), fraudsters begin to adapt and after a while, find new tricks (mutating) and continue the cycle. Now the only difference with these epidemics is that you can observe the evolution of mobile ad fraud even during the week, which is quite surprising and scary at the same time. In order to be ready for a new attack, it is better to always be on the alert.

The Game of Impressions

Alas, ad fraud is prevalent in the industry, but why making all the effort we still have such a high level of fraud? It might be sad to admit, but not all players seem to be playing on the side of advertisers. Many exchangers and publishers, even with big and “credible” names, are interested in creating fraud to increase their traffic and income.

Unlike the physical world, the digital world doesn’t have any limits which makes it so easy to create artificial traffic of clicks and impressions. According to Adello, even such exchanges as Rubicon and adX have about 12% of fraud traffic that damage campaign performance.

Nevertheless, advertisers and marketers can still fight against fraud. As Tyrion Lannister ones said: “A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone.” To protect business and save money advertisers and marketers, besides having a heavy weapon against fraud, should learn about their enemies in order to create a strategy that can beat them before launching a campaign.

Where to expect attacks from?

This is the question that every industry player must know the answer to. It’s crucial to know which exchangers are dangerous or not; the OS that has the highest level of the fraudulent traffic (yes – Android, but what version?), the site categories that have the most fake bits (no, it’s not gaming), etc. This data will help to run more efficient mobile ad campaigns and keep the industry transparent.

At the end of the day, when it comes to any kind of fraud, it is important for all game players – advertisers, DSPs, exchangers, and publishers – to work together and play a win-win game, not like Jon Snow and Daenerys 
– they could rule the Seven Kingdoms together. Sharing data and working towards a solution against new forms of ad fraud is crucial in this game.

The health of the industry directly depends on the actions of its stakeholders. Thus, acting together to defend against mobile ad fraud can maintain trust not just within the mobile community, but throughout the digital community as a whole.

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