Top Ad Fraud Detection Tools (2021)

Updated: November 26, 2021

Like any sphere in which large sums of money are moved, the world of online advertising is an attractive one to fraudsters. Indeed, the impersonal nature of the transactions, a complex and often-opaque supply chain, and a reliance on easily-fiddled metrics mean that ad fraud is one of the biggest challenges facing advertisers, publishers, and ad-tech enterprises alike today.  This is why ad fraud detection tools and services have become a rapidly growing area of the ad tech market.

One of the most difficult challenges around digital ad fraud is that no one really knows exactly how big a problem it is, with estimates ranging from high…to higher…to stratospheric.

Ignore it at your peril. Or at least the cost of a significant chunk of your advertising budget.

What is ad fraud? In what contexts does it primarily occur? and what is the cost of digital ad fraud to businesses estimated to be? Read on to find out the answers to these questions, and see many more ad fraud statistics.

What is ad fraud?

According to ad fraud detection agency Interceptd, types of mobile ad fraud include:

  • Click spamming – simulating a high number of clicks from real devices in order to get the credit for organic installs then made legitimately. This sees ad budget squandered on organic users who are already highly-engaged. It generally creates long CTIT (click-to-install-times).
  • Click injection and CTIT anomaly – a fraudulent app creates fake clicks when app installs are taking place, claiming the attribution for the install. CTIT tends to be short.
  • SDK (software development kit) spoofing – fraudsters create a bot within an app which then sends clicks, installs, and engagement to the MMP (mobile measurement partner) which registers them as if they were genuine. The average app has around 18 integrated SDKs which can be spoofed.
  • Device farms – the use of real devices to click on ads and install apps, after which they are reset and the process begun again. This creates a suspicious pattern, which can result in ad fraud detection.
  • Incent abuse – incentivising users to click and install apps. To help hide the high click-to-install conversion rate that results from this, fraudsters might send a high level of fake clicks to help mitigate the suspicion.
  • Bots/emulators – using the same principle as device farms, except using devices which are not real, making the resetting process easier, though leaving behind a similar suspicious pattern.

Interceptd measured how great a proportion of mobile ad fraud was accounted for by each type of fraud in its 2018 Mobile Ad Fraud Report, analysing levels by quarter over the course of 2018.

Devices farms remain the most-commonly used form of digital ad fraud, though the proportion of fraud ascribable to this form declined throughout the year. On the other hand, bot farms/emulators seem to be accounting for a greater and greater proportion. If this continues, then we might expect a crossover, with bots/emulators becoming the most common form of ad fraud. Online ad fraud, however, comes in waves – so this may not be definitive.

Incent fraud in second-place remains relatively consistent throughout the year, as did click injection, while SDK spoofing – an increasingly hot topic – crept gradually upwards through the year.

Proportion of mobile ad fraud types 2018: Interceptd

Proportion of mobile ad fraud types 2018: Interceptd

Source: Interceptd

MarTech Advisor’s Mobile Benchmark’s Tool shows an increase in SDK spoofing levels over the middle two quarters of 2018. Click injection remains the most prominent form of ad fraud over the year, seemingly on a gradual upward trajectory. Click spamming on the other hand, seems to be at its most problematic level at the start of the year, before dropping and remaining consistent, accounting for around a quarter of online ad fraud.

Proportion of fraud types 2018: MarTech Advisor

Proportion of fraud types 2018: MarTech Advisor

Data source: MarTech Advisor

If we compare fraud types with level of rejected fraudulent installs over the year, we might note that there is a spike in the quarters in which SDK spoofing is at its most prominent. It seems then, the rise of this newly prominent form of ad fraud comes in addition to rather than in place of other forms of fraud.

Proportion of rejected fraudulent installs 2018

Proportion of rejected fraudulent installs 2018

Data source: MarTech Advisor

Top Ad Fraud Prevention Tools

  • Performcb - #1 Performance Marketing Network Worldwide
  • AppsFlyer - Mobile marketing attribution and analytics
  • Adjust - Mobile Measurement Partner

List of ad fraud detection software and services


#1 Performance Marketing Network Worldwide


Perform[cb] offers advertisers proprietary fraud-fighting software solution PerformSHIELD™. It allows marketers and brands to analyze traffic in real-time and do post-processing analysis of a traffic’s validity.

Learn more about Performcb


Mobile Measurement Partner


Adjust is an attribution and analytics software package for mobile applications, enabling mobile app marketers to examine store statistics, advertising sources and advanced analytics to fully monetize their application. Adjust is the choice of such established brands as Yelp, Zynga, Spotify, Soundcloud, Runtastic, Hotel Tonight.

  • Type: In-app analytics, Marketing analytics
  • Pricing: Basic, Business and Custom plans, pricing is available upon request
  • Platforms supported: Android, iOS,

Learn more about Adjust


Independent Fraud Prevention and Detection Platform

(1 vote)

FraudScore is an independent antifraud solution that evaluates the quality of mobile and web traffic in advertising campaigns. FraudScore clients are direct advertisers and ad agencies, ad networks & mobile developers from all over the world. FraudScore offers antifraud solutions for all steps of ad campaign funnel: from DSPs, to CPI, CPM, CPA and CPC. FraudScore is well known to be effective in combat against click spamming, bot, malware and adware, click injection, bot farms and many more.

Learn more about FraudScore

Aragon Premium

The Fastest Growing Mobile Marketing Agency

(11 votes)

DSPs, Media Buyers, Mobile Networks, and Apps - Scale your income by working with the Aragon Premium Mobile Marketing Agency. Our team manages programmatic budgets from dozens of established and rising brands across multiple verticals, but specializing in the FinTech space.

Learn more about Aragon Premium


The unified marketing analytics platform


Singular offers industry leading fraud prevention solution to help advertisers prevent advertising fraud and focus on quality users. Singular puts a team of highly-skilled cybersecurity scientists behind this solution to make sure it catches the most of ad fraud.

It’s comprehensive, meaning it’s based on listening for signals at the most granular levels and based on all known protection methods to reject fraud in real-time automatically. It’s also adaptive, transparent and customizable to meet today’s challenges of counteracting advertising fraud activities.

  • Type: Marketing Analytics, App advertising analytics
  • Pricing: Starter plan (free), Standard plan ($799/month)
  • Platforms supported: iOS, Android
Learn more about Singular

Branch Metrics offers sophisticated ad fraud protection solution. It features comprehensive reports on suspicious activity, industry-standard blocking rules and AI-based fraud detection algorithms. It’s focused on using Branch personas data from its vast, global identity network and doesn’t rely on inferior Fingerprinting tech.

  • Type: App marketing analytics, Advertising analytics
  • Pricing: 3 plans – Free, Startup (depending on a traffic volume either $59 or $200 / month), Enterprise
  • Demo: available
Learn more about Branch Metrics


Advanced Mobile Ad Fraud Detection


Scalarr is Machine Learning based fraud detection solution to protect against mobile ad fraud and prevent marketing losses. With Wilmington, US based team of 30 professionals, Scalarr offers innovative ML-based anti-fraud solution that detects mobile app install fraud with high accuracy.

Learn more about Scalarr

Machine Advertising

Stop paying for fraudulent app installs

(2 votes)

Machine Advertising helps marketers to stop paying for fraudulent app installs. In 2018, Machine has analysed over 22.4m app installs. 56% of the installs we detected as fraudulent. On average, this saved our clients 46% of their app marketing budgets from being wasted on worthless app installs. Machine’s cost averages 4.5% of app marketing budgets.

Learn more about Machine Advertising


Mobile marketing attribution and analytics


AppsFlyer applies multi-layered approach to protect mobile advertising campaigns from fraud. The layers include install authentication, clustering-based anomaly detection, validation rules, attribution calibrator and post-attribution. Its solution is capable to prevent Install Hijacking, Click Flowing, Device Farms, Bots, Fraudulent in-app events and Fake Purchases.

  • Type: App advertising analytics, Marketing analytics
  • Pricing: 30-day trial period with Basic plan, the Custom plan price is available upon request
  • Platforms: iOS, Android, Windows & Xbox, Amazon, tvOS, Unity, Cordova, Marmalade, Cocos2ds, Adobe Air, React Native
Learn more about AppsFlyer


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