26% of Android programmatic in-app ad impressions are fraudulent

Anne Freier | December 19, 2019

App Business

Over a quarter (26%) of Android programmatic in-app advertising impressions in the third quarter 2019 were fraudulent, according to a report by Pixalate, the fraud management platform.

The results show that invalid traffic is turning into a costly affair for mobile marketers.

The findings show that 33% of ad transactions also went to brand-unsafe apps.

Chinese apps had some of the highest invalid traffic rates at over 33%.

A closer look at the Google Play Store reveals that more than 500,000 Android apps now support programmatic ads – that’s approximately 16% of 3.2 million apps on the store. The table below shows the top apps that continued to receive ads after removal.

Over 890,000 Android apps were removed from the store through to Q3 2019 due to being fraudulent. At the time of delisting, they had achieved a combined 18 billion downloads.

Half of them were from Chinese app developers.

Pixalate measured that 5% of in-app ad impressions went to delisted apps.

Fraudulent apps pose risks for consumer privacy with 80% of top US apps having dangerous permissions and more than 80% of US apps reaching children.

Around 12% of Play Store apps were found to have no privacy policy at all.

63% of adverts also went to apps that were able to reach children.

The study highlights that the dangers and challenges Android apps may pose to user privacy and security may not be addressed fast enough.

Google has taken serious steps to remove fraudulent apps and announced the App Defense Alliance back in November to reduce app-based malware across the Play Store.

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