Social Media Marketing

Know the Unknown Cause behind Your Abnormally High Installs

The shift to digital advertising resulted in numerous significant changes to advertising.

Digital intrusion provides marketers with a more transparent and controllable way to advertise than traditional advertising methods. Attribution platforms make things easier for app publishers and advertisers. They allow them to track each impression, click, installation, and in-app event.

Based on the data gathered attribution platforms assign each install to a corresponding click. However, there’s a catch. Advertisers cannot rely solely on attribution data to make business decisions. Fraudsters have evolved alongside digital media, creating a more advanced level of fraud that necessitates advanced techniques for detecting Mobile ad fraud.


Types of Advanced Mobile Ad Frauds

Fake Attribution

While attribution platforms provide advertisers with a clear picture of incoming traffic to their ad campaigns, one loophole cannot be overlooked: mobile ad fraud. This can result in inaccurate or misleading attribution data.


Fraudsters have advanced significantly to keep up with the ever-changing digital ecosystem. They can inject bots that behave similarly to humans and are difficult to detect. In the case of app campaigns, fraudulent affiliates are skilled at manipulating the attribution process, which allows them to hack the last-click attribution and claim it as their own.


They did not, however, contribute to the app’s installation or event. These “fraudulent affiliates” understand the attribution mechanism and can easily trick attribution platforms into crediting them with the installation.


SDK Spoofing

This is another type of sophisticated fraud in which legitimate-looking installations are created via SDK spoofing. This displays many installations using data from real devices with no actual installations. Fraudsters use legitimate devices to perform fake installations to drain the advertiser’s budget. This method is also known as traffic spoofing and replay attacks.


Fraudsters exploit the SSL encryption between the tracking SDK and the backend servers to commit fraud. The “man-in-the-middle” attack involves the fraudster creating a series of test installs for their target app. Once they’ve identified the URL that controls specific actions within the app, they look for the dynamic URL to generate fake installs. This can be done repeatedly, giving the advertiser the impression that it is a genuine activity.


Why MMPs are not enough?

Fraudulent techniques such as fake attribution and SDK spoofing are advanced frauds that are difficult to detect using standard fraud detection methods. They require advanced technology to analyze traffic behavior and distinguish between bots and humans.


The main disadvantage of MMP fraud detection is that they have few rule checks. Because their billing is based on the attributed data, they frequently claim less fraud to increase revenue. This results in a conflict of interest.


As a result, marketers require a comprehensive ad traffic validation partner such as mFilterIt to protect their app campaigns against sophisticated fraud. We use AI, machine learning, and data science capabilities to detect invalid sources in real-time across the funnel, ensuring that sophisticated bots do not penetrate deeper into the sales funnel and skew the data. We use our SDK to collect data and validate traffic quality to protect app campaigns from advanced mobile fraud techniques such as SDK spoofing.


Real Case

We discovered a recent case of misattribution in which affiliates should have provided purchase information and passed an invalid order ID for all orders placed. The image below depicts the incident that occurred due to spoofing affiliate marketing fraud data.


We identified anomalies by implementing our SDK and highlighting discrepancies in attributed data based on behavior and device checks.


The Way Ahead

Advertisers must be more vigilant, smart, and technologically prepared to combat sophisticated bot attacks. Incorporating an ad fraud detection companies can help advertisers identify non-human traffic, eliminate it in real-time, and work confidently with media partners.


Get in touch with our experts for more information. Contact us to learn more!

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