Glossary

Mobile Ad Fraud

Mobile ad fraud


What is mobile ad fraud

Mobile ad fraud encompasses a set of techniques employed by fraudsters to deliberately serve mobile ads that have no potential of being viewed by humans, thus artificially inflating the number of ads served and subsequently making money from mobile advertising spend. Ad fraud is an industry-wide problem that increases the degree of risk involved with scaling mobile advertising campaigns to non-direct sources.

Types of mobile ad fraud

Most mobile ad fraud can be categorized in the following four archetypes:

  • Real user, real device, fake action: In this category, fraudsters attempt to steal organic installs using click spam and click sniping strategies, as well as malware and ad stacking.
  • Real user, real device, manipulated action: In this category, fraudsters manipulate, mask, and modify real activity using compliance fraud, geo manipulation, VPNs , viewability issues, and click stuffing.
  • Fake user, real device, fake action: This category includes fraud efforts that, without involving real users, mimic user behavior on real devices, such as farms and malicious scripts.
  • Fake user, fake device, fake action: This is the most sophisticated category, which is performed entirely on servers (smart bots and emulators) that mimic real user behavior, or hack the communication line among services in the attribution funnel.
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