Overall app install fraud rate drops to 13% during H1 2020

Anne Freer | July 28, 2020

App Marketing

Approximately $1.6 billion were exposed to app install fraud in the first half of 2020, representing a 30% decrease year-on-year.

APAC markets were more heavily exposed at $945 million followed by North America and Europe.

According to a report by AppsFlyer released today, overall app install fraud averaged 13.2% during the first half of the year. This is primarily due to a higher awareness among mobile and app marketers.

iOS apps are better protected against fraudulent activity than Android apps with the latter having a 4.5x higher app install fraud rate.

When it comes to app categories, finance and travel apps suffered higher fraud rates because of the potential scale and high payouts.

Over one in four non-organic installs was fraudulent among non-gaming apps; gaming apps saw a lower rate of 3.8% due to more sophisticated methods game marketers are using these days.

Non-gaming apps had an overall 8x higher app install fraud rate than gaming apps.

“Even though the mobile ad industry has grown exponentially to defend itself properly against ad fraud, the potential amount of damage is still extremely high and fraudsters will always want a piece of the pie,” said Doug McMillen, Vice President, Enterprise Strategy, AppsFlyer. 

“With businesses and consumers continuing to turn to mobile apps for daily tasks and entertainment, advertisers should remain vigilant in their efforts of leveraging these key insights around ad fraud in order to not only keep fraudsters at bay, but to also limit the amount of financial exposure as newer fraud methods appear.”

The report noted that 62% of fraudulent installs were due to bot attacks which had a bigger effect on non-gaming than gaming apps. Bots represented 45% of fraud methods while install hijacking was responsible for 30%.

Install hijacking was more dominant on gaming apps than non-gaming verticals (43% of fraudulent gaming installs were the result of install hijacking in the US alone).

Globally, 19% of install fraud is now detected post-attribution by measuring new fraud patterns.

For more insights and breakdowns by individual regions, the full report can be found here.

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