Marketing Madness

New Study Show Massive Mobile Fraud, with Some Networks 100% Fraud

Tune, a digital marketing firm based in the United States, has just released a new report that looked at mobile ad fraud. The report is likely the largest of its kind, analyzing more than 24 billion clicks across over 700 different ad networks. During the research they revealed that as much as $16 billion in fraudulent ads may be being displayed each year.

Eight of the networks that they analyzed were listed as 100% fraudulent, and another 35 of them had fraud rates of over 35%.  When looking at all the ads across all the networks, Tune estimated that 15% of all mobile advertising was fraudulent.

John Kostier, the author of the report, said, “The hard truth for marketers is that virtually no ad network is completely untouched by fraud. As a result, marketers must get the proper tools to avoid being cheated.”

The report did find that many of the ad networks are doing great in the fight against ad fraud, with half of the networks delivering under 5% fraud rates.

According to Kostier, one of the biggest issues is re-brokering. He commented, “In some cases, the re-brokering happens more than once. And in the re-brokering process, often to sub-publishers, traffic quality can suffer.”

They say this is what basically happens:

  1. An ad network contracts with marketers to place ads in front of a desired audience of prospects and/or customers.
  2. The network places the ads with publishers that it has direct relationships with, but cannot itself fulfill the entire ad campaign.
  3. Marketers’ demand (desire to place ads) exceeds the ad network’s owned supply (available space for ads).
  4. So the ad network brokers with other networks who have access to supply (sub-publishers) in order to fulfill the demand.

“Historical methods to identify and eliminate fraud don’t work in today’s steroid era of fraud,”says TUNE enterprise data evangelist Jim Tommaney “Naive recommendations to exclude outliers are like the tip of the iceberg … but the real fraud is underneath. The right response is to identify and eliminate bad actors via detection methods that are both transparent and extensible and focused on eliminating the bad traffic in its entirety.”


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Michael Levanduski

Michael Levanduski is the assistant editor of Performance Marketing Insider, and an experienced freelance writer. He writes content for a wide range of sites in virtually every niche, though he specializes in technical writing as well as creating content for the performance and internet marketing industry. Michael was born in Grand Rapids, MI where he still lives with his wife and three children.

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