Mobile ad fraud on iOS nearing Android levels

Anne Freier

In Mobile Advertising. February 15, 2019

Mobile ad fraud continues to be a problem for marketers and app developers alike, but whilst Android (26.9%) is still more exposed to mobile fraud than iOS (21.3%) that gap appears to be closing.

That’s according to new research by mobile ad fraud prevention platform Interceptd, which analysed over 11,000 apps and 35 million installs to determine the state of mobile ad fraud.

Among the most vulnerable app categories for ad fraud on iOS are shopping (32.9%), gaming (30.3%), finance (28.8%) and travel (21.1%). On Android, finance dominates (35.2%) as the most vulnerable app category, followed by shopping (32.8%), gaming (32.4%) and social (31.5%).

“If the attribution is the accountant, then fraud prevention, detection and reduction is the auditor,” said David Philipsson, a member of the MMA Fraud Committee. “With all industries, it is very important that the accountant doesn’t audit their own books. So it is not right for attribution companies to license separately fraud prevention modules. It is absolutely essential that they are built in to their core offering to ensure they haven’t got a conflict of interest if they have the capability to reduce fraud and that should be a part of their core offering.”

Among the most common mobile ad fraud types are the use of bots, click spamming, click injection, device farms, incent abuse, and SDK spoofing.

The report also noted that bots were still the most commonly used type of mobile app install fraud. However, SDK spoofing grew from 6% to 14% in 2018 demonstrating that advertisers will be required to continue to update their attribution tools for Google Play Referrer to get rid of unsophisticated SDK fraudsters.