Mobile app fraud increased 30% in Q1 2018

Anne Freier

In Mobile Advertising. April 3, 2018

Mobile app advertisers were subjected to 30% more fraud throughout Q1 2018, according to the latest State of Mobile Fraud report by AppsFlyer, the mobile ad company. Based on 10 billion installs of 6,000 apps, the report found that financial exposure to fraud during the first quarter of 2018 reached $700-$800 million globally.
Overall, fraud increased 15% compared to AppsFlyer’s previous study. Part of this is driven by an ever-morphing and adapting fraud ecosystem. When one strategy fails, fraudsters are quick to adapt and launch a different type of attack.

The findings also highlighted the types of fraud causing the greater damage. As such, device farms were generally more damaging over the summer. However, the launch of Protect360 resulted in volume loss and instead click flood rates increased. For Q2 2018, bots are predicted to be the leading drivers of mobile ad fraud (30%).
However, AppsFlyer warns that fraud is not only targeting specific apps. Instead, 22% of apps now have over 10% fraud, whilst fewer than 12% are exposed to less than 30% of fraud.
Unsurprisingly, shopping apps are those hit hardest. Given their high CPI and large scale, they were the most heavily hit app type, followed by finance and travel apps.
In terms of operating system, Android continues to be under greater attack than iOS. Fraud on Android was 3x that of iOS. This is partially due to Android being an open OS rendering it easier to attack. At the same time, the sheer reach and scale of Android make it a more attractive target.
What can businesses do to stay protected against mobile fraud?
AppsFlyer recommends to regularly update SDKs, monitoring one’s data and getting a comprehensive fraud assessment.