In our last blog-post, we did a quick run on the most prevalent cases of mobile ad fraud. But this time, we’re talking about ‘SOLUTIONS’.

So, here’s a list of our top 4 recommended measures.

1. Constant lookout for suspicious patterns

As the saying goes, ‘the devil is in the details’.  It is imperative that publishers and DSPs maintain an extremely high standard of vigilance while monitoring the quality of traffic and campaign specific KPIs.


This could indicate a situation of technical fraud, which is carried out through an army of sophisticated bots replicating human behaviour to render an apparent intent to transact or convert.

Additionally, one can also keep a tab on the time gap between clicks and installs as a security measure. If you find that the time gap is significantly more as compared to that pertaining to normal traffic, it could indicate compliance fraud through click stuffing.

2. Relying on intuitive alert mechanisms

Nowadays, marketers and publishers believe in setting up strong data systems and developing advanced monitoring algorithms that can automatically filter out such dubious patterns and raise timely alerts.


But what’s important here is to understand that while there are advancements in technology, fraudsters are also actively looking for new ways to exploit the advertisers. So, it’s important for advertising data scientists to stay updated with the latest happenings in the market so that they don’t let any new fraudster slip by their vigilance.


  • For this, it’s advisable to keep track of anomalies found in the data and draw sample data sets for identifying new fraudulent techniques.
  • The rest of the data sets can be checked for replications of the above techniques.
  • Now, if some fraudulent activities are detected across the system, fraud detection and rectifying algorithms are developed (on machine learning lines) and fed with huge amounts of data. This builds greater intelligence and ensures efficiency in the future.

However, even though the role of technology is significant when it comes to skimming through data and detecting what may come across as fraudulent actions, it cannot be a complete substitute or replacement for human supervision. Picking up correlations between multiple variables and analyzing millions of data points pertaining to user-click level data or event level data is not an easy task.

Be it the identification of suspicious actions that fall outside the defined purview of ‘ad fraud’ or interpreting the data patterns, human intervention cannot be simply dismissed. So, it’s always advisable to have the combined vigilance of humans and technology in order to combat ad fraud on mobile. Marketers can also monitor their data at publisher and sub publisher level to identify fraudulent activities. This can help useful in upgrading the present algorithms and dashboards to fix the mobile ad fraud issue.

3. Unified user-acquisition strategy

When it comes to choosing advertising partners, here’s what we recommend.

  • It is advisable for marketers to follow a 3-4 partner user acquisition strategy. So, after integrating and running campaigns on primary solution partners like Google and Facebook, marketers should consider opting for just a single unified solution provider.
  • This unified solution provider should provide access to data driven analytics based on a user acquisition platform that is well connected with ample audience inventory and has advanced algorithms for fraud detection, uninstall attribution, etc.
  • The advantage of this kind of a setup is that advertisers don’t need to monitor multiple publishers for such frivolous acts as that becomes solely assigned to a single publisher, who is responsible for ensuring traffic quality and delivering on the pre-defined campaign KPIs.

For the lack of sufficient resources in developing fraud detection algorithms could undermine the individual strength of marketers, integrating with third-party solution providers is a handy solution for marketers. Most third-party solution providers offer advanced features like fraud analytics, which helps in the quick identification of installation sources linked to fraud installs while running multiple marketing campaigns. Further, marketers can leverage such tools to configure alert mechanisms for monitoring their campaigns.

In fact, these platforms adopt a mix of advanced technologies and practise deep scrutiny to check patterns for uncovering bots, automated scripts, malware, illegitimate incentivized traffic and other forms of fraudulent activities.

By using the services of such SDK solutions, marketers can constantly monitor their supply sources and get an accurate picture of the traffic flow for their campaigns.

4. Maintain your own Blackbook

As a basic measure, this is definitely one of the best things marketers can do with their own data. In the course of running multiple campaigns, marketers often encounter one or two easily detectable fraudulent activities.

Create a Blacklist

So, what makes sense is to create a database out of all the identified sources of publishers or IP addresses that have primarily indulged in fraudulent activities. In fact, these could be added to a blacklist that could be maintained and updated on regular basis. Maintaining such a database of blacklisted IPs could easily pinpoint marketers towards their hosts, which could be banned after a duly adopted verification process. This simple practice can serve as a big preventive measure for marketers and help them from burning their money on future campaigns.

Checklist of DOs & DONTs

By adopting such simple practices, marketers can easily minimize the vulnerability of their campaigns and bulletproof them from the attack of fraudsters. Marketers could maintain a checklist with common practices and guidelines for campaign managers to steer clear from fraudsters. For this, marketers can leverage cross campaign insights based on network intelligence. They could also track KPIs beyond first-sign-ins (FSIs) and monitor real time postbacks of downstream metrics.

In fact, it will be a real boost to the fight against ad fraud if marketers, publishers and other stakeholders of the digital industry decide to join forces by combining their technological strengths and intelligence. This would certainly have a drastic impact on the current scenario of fraud in the mobile ad industry.   

To learn more about mobile ad fraud, just drop me a line at neelanjana@affle.com

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