Indians Most Vulnerable to Ad-Fraud

Ad Fraud

A study has found that ad fraud in India is highest in the world. This is based on the analysis of a study done by TUNE, the global leader in mobile marketing solutions. From January to June 2017, TUNE, TUNE studied 24.3 billion clicks via 702 ad networks and 437 million mobile app installs across 131 countries utilizing TUNE’s anti-fraud technology, to track mobile ad fraud trends across the globe and more so for the India market.

Click Fraud: According to the TUNE mobile ad fraud report, click fraud across the mapped ad networks stood at 15.17% of which 35 ad networks experienced 50% or more cases of ad frauds. In terms of mobile app installs, 10% witnessed a scenario of ad fraud.

The report further states that ad fraud in the Indian subcontinent alone stands much higher at approximately 32% and if not curtailed could cost Indian marketers a whopping USD $350 million. This implies that mobile ad fraud in India is not only 50% higher than the global average but also 2.4 times higher as rest of the world.

App Install Fraud: On the mobile app installs front too, India is amongst the top 10 countries with the highest app install frauds. TUNE’s analysis of 437 million mobile app installs from 131 countries revealed that Guatemala has the highest degree of mobile app install fraud of 23.65% (sample size: 497,652 installs) while Poland has the lowest app install fraud with only 1.57% fraud on a sample size of 921,653. On the other hand, India with a massive sample size of over 100 million installs witnessed 16.2% app install fraud cases.

John Koetsier, TUNE’s mobile economist said, “The rise of startups in India and the accompanying influx of funds from venture capitalists are driving entrepreneurs to build mobile apps and solutions in an effort to capture new market share. As such, the pace at which Indians downloaded apps in 2016 was 71 percent higher than in 2015 – and our data shows that segments like mobile gaming in India will double revenues by 2019. But the growth of the mobile economy in India comes with a sizable amount of ad fraud.”

Ad fraud exists in many different forms. However, there are three basic types of app install frauds that can also be seen in the Indian market:

  • Click fraud: fake click, genuine user
  • Install fraud: fake click, fake user
  • Compliance fraud: genuine click, genuine user, wrong user geography/ profile/etc.

In addition, there are multiple kinds of non app-install mobile ad fraud, including:

  • Viewability fraud: stacked, off-screen, not viewable
  • Targeting/compliance fraud: served to real people, but not the audience a marketer wants
  • Bot fraud: served to bots or software agents, not real people; the bots may or may not click (tap) on the ads

As per the TUNE report, sub-publishers and re-brokering are the two industry practices that create cracks for fraudsters to find and exploit the system. In some cases, re-brokering happens more than once especially to subpublishers resulting in poor quality traffic, poor-quality clicks, app installs, views or straight-up fraud.

On the other hand, many ad networks experience very low percentages of fraud, including plenty at 2% or lower, and a large number at sub 5%. The report states that half of the 500+ ad networks that have significant traction and traffic, have less than 5% fraud cases. However, the higher percentages of fraud in about 35 ad-networks bring up the industry average.

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