Brand Safety incidents on Mobile Apps grew 2 times last year

DoubleVerify this month release the Global Insights Report, where explores global trends in brand safety, fraud, and viewability. According to the …

DoubleVerify this month release the Global Insights Report, where explores global trends in brand safety, fraud, and viewability. According to the report, mobile app brand safety violations have grown 194% in the last year.

DoubleVerify says the mobile app brand safety violations are increasing as users’ content consumption patterns and corresponding ad budgets increasingly shift to mobile.

According to the report, the number of CTV and mobile apps identified as fraudulent has risen sharply – up 120%, as fraudsters increasingly target high-growth environments.

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Mobile App Fraud Increases YoY As Marketers Pour Ad Dollars Into The Platform

Mobile app fraud continues to rise as advertisers pour billions of ad spend into the platform. Marketing measurement provider DoubleVerify found that …

Mobile app fraud continues to rise as advertisers pour billions of ad spend into the platform. Marketing measurement provider DoubleVerify found that from 2017 to 2018, fraud has been rampant in the form of sophisticated invalid traffic impressions and applications.

DoubleVerify identifies and screens common types of mobile app fraud that includes background ad activity, hidden ads, app misrepresentation aka spoofing and measurement manipulation.

All those scans revealed that fraudsters have kept themselves incredibly busy over the last few years. DoubleVerify’s Fraud Lab found that the total number of fraudulent apps has increased by 159 percent from 2017 to 2018, according to figures made available to AList.

Mobile app sophisticated invalid traffic (SIVT) impressions have doubled year-on-year since 2017, DoubleVerify added.

Just over half—57 percent—of fraudulent mobile apps are categorized as “Games” and “Tools & Utilities,” the company found, adding that its fraud tool detected 1.6x more fraudulent apps in 2018 than in the previous year.

“With ad spend increasingly concentrated in mobile – and particularly mobile app, fraudsters are redoubling their efforts to take advantage,” said Roy Rosenfeld, head of DoubleVerify’s Fraud Lab in a prepared statement. “It’s critical that brands understand these risks, in order to allocate spend accordingly and install appropriate safeguards for their digital investments.”

BuzzfeedNews released the findings of a similar mobile app fraud investigation on Thursday, in which several popular Android apps use invasive permissions and dubious code to commit ad fraud. Apps that ranged from children’s reading programs to flashlights and remote controls were found to commit ad fraud while collecting huge amounts of user data.

According to a 2017 report by Singular, 63 percent of marketers don’t use any mobile fraud prevention techniques at all, becoming easy prey for even the most easily preventable attacks.

US marketers will spend an estimated $87 billion on mobile advertising in 2019, according to eMarker, which will account for more than two-thirds of overall US digital ad spend. Outpacing TV for the first time in 2018, mobile ad spend is expected to reach $201 billion in spend globally by 2021.

That being said, it’s no wonder that marketers and fraudsters alike have honed in on mobile. A recent report by Scalarr suggests that marketers will lose nearly $13 billion to mobile app install fraud in 2019. This estimated loss is a significant increase from $7.3 billion in 2018.

In November, the IAB Technology Laboratory released app-ads.txt, a mobile extension of its fraud prevention tool, for beta testing and commentary. Earlier in 2018, The Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) added a requirement that all publishers implement the ads.txt standard if they want to become TAG Certified Against Ad Fraud.

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Fraudulent Apps Skyrocket, Brands Must Adopt Safeguards

In fact, mobile app sophisticated invalid traffic” (SIVT) impressions have doubled year-on-year since 2017, according to DoubleVerify. The total …

Fraud remains the scourge of the mobile app marketplace.

In fact, mobile app sophisticated invalid traffic” (SIVT) impressions have doubled year-on-year since 2017, according toDoubleVerify.

The total number of fraudulent apps has increased by 159% from 2017 to 2018, while more than 160% new fraudulent apps were identified during the same period.

Of note, 57%of those fraudulent apps are categorized as “Games” and “Tools & Utilities.”

“With ad spend increasingly concentrated in mobile — and particularly mobile app– fraudsters are redoubling their efforts to take advantage,” Roy Rosenfeld, head of DoubleVerify’s Fraud Lab, notes in the new report.

“It’s critical that brandsunderstand these risks, in order to allocate spend accordingly and install appropriate safeguards for their digital investments,” Rosenfeld added.

Brands are spending loads of money onmobile channels. At $87 billion, mobile ad spend will account for more than two-thirds of overall domestic ad spend this year, according to eMarketer.

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This growth has been driven by largeinvestments in mobile app advertising, which is expected to reach $201 billion in spend globally by 2021.

As to whether in-app advertising is more susceptible to fraud than other forms ofmobile marketing, the jury remains out.

Recent research from Protected Media found that in-app advertising is actually subject to far fewer fraudulent attempts than mobile Web advertising.

Still, many ad buyers believe in-app advertising and fraud go hand in hand.

Indeed, Forrester Consulting recently found that brand advertisers cited fraud as their No. 1 concern.

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Adjust Launches Unbotify Solution, Uses AI to Improve In-App Bot Experience

They can attack gaming apps’ communities or ruin their virtual currency economy, steal credit card data or scalp limited edition items from e-commerce …

The new solution, individually-tailored based on an app’s natural user flow, harnesses AI and machine learning to stop bot abuse in real-time.

San Francisco / Berlin: Adjust amobile measurement and fraud prevention company, today announced the launch of its new Unbotify product to end in-app bot fraud. Contrary to mobile ad fraud, in-app bot fraud does not target an app’s marketing budget but attacks its business model after an install. Bots can be programmed to carry out various in-app events, and because they mimic human behavior, this type of fraud has become one of the hardest to detect and fight.

“Bots can affect all apps in a number of ways, across every vertical. They can attack gaming apps’ communities or ruin their virtual currency economy, steal credit card data or scalp limited edition items from e-commerce businesses, and spam users on dating apps,” explained Paul H. Müller, Co-Founder & CTO at Adjust. “Unbotify’s product adds another arrow to Adjust’s quiver, and forms the foundation of our next-generation in-app fraud protection tools.”

Unbotify is a bespoke, individually-tailored solution, which uses biometric sensor data to build machine learning models based on real users’ behavior. By learning an app’s natural user-flow, the solution can distinguish between humans and bots. The Unbotify solution will be available separately from Adjust’s Fraud Prevention Suite, which stops ad fraud – performance-based fraud that directly steals ad money from an app’s marketing budget. Because it is a standalone product, Unbotify can be implemented alongside Adjust’s or other vendors’ attribution service.

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“In-app bot fraud isn’t just a monetary issue – it has knock-on effects on user experience, retention, in-app analytics, and breaches that compromise users’ data and scar a brand’s reputation,” commented Yaron Oliker, Co-Founder and CEO at Unbotify. “Our behavioral-biometrics solution detects bots in real-time and offers the best possible insurance to protect the user experience.”

Unbotify’s research estimates that some of today’s biggest mobile apps lose around 10% of their revenue to bot fraud – and with the global app economy expected to surpass $120 billion by the end of 2019, bots seriously compromise apps’ success.

The launch follows Adjust’s acquisition of Unbotify in January.

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Unbotify’s acquisition forms a bigger part of Adjust’s commitment to fighting fraud on a global scale. The companies’ shared mission is to provide the most robust solution to one of the major problems of application security today – stopping malicious bots.

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Fraudulent apps surge 159% as mobile ad spending rises, study says

The number of fraudulent apps surged by 159% in 2018 from the prior year, according to a report that marketing measurement firm DoubleVerify …

Brief:

  • The number of fraudulent apps surged by 159% in 2018 from the prior year, according to a report that marketing measurement firm DoubleVerify shared with Mobile Marketer. The strong growth of in-app advertising is giving fraudsters more incentive to create apps that generate fake viewership activity.
  • Sophisticated invalid traffic (SIVT) impressions that are harder to detect doubled in 2018 from the prior year, per DoubleVerify. The company said 57% of fraudulent mobile apps are in the “games” and “tools and utilities” categories.
  • “With ad spend increasingly concentrated in mobile — and particularly mobile app, fraudsters are redoubling their efforts to take advantage,” Roy Rosenfeld, head of DoubleVerify’s Fraud Lab, said in a statement.

Insight:

Mobile advertising continues to surge, but unfortunately, that growth has invited fraudulent activity that robs advertisers of their media spend. Mobile ad spend is forecast to reach $87 billion this year, making up more than two-thirds of the overall U.S. digital ad market of $129.3 billion, researcher eMarketer forecast. As DoubleVerify stresses in its statement, it’s “critical” for brands to understand the risks that fraud presents and allocate appropriate resources to safeguard their digital investments.

The most common forms of mobile ad fraud include ad stacking, app spoofing, background traffic, bots, clickfraud and retargeting fraud, MarTechSeries reported. In a recent example, a video fraud scheme targeting mobile app advertising ran video ads behind legitimate banners, generating at least 2 million ad calls per day, or at least 60 million ad calls a month, DoubleVerify’s Fraud Lab found last month.

Major platforms have tried to tackle fraud, with different levels of success. Google has been responsive to removing malicious apps in its Google Play app store when mobile users report them, but the problem persists, including apps that claim to upgrade Android phones to the latest operating system, per TechRepublic. These malicious apps may bombard users with ads, spyware or malware that steals cryptocurrencies. Apple, which is perceived as having a “walled garden” that screens out malicious apps from the App Store, also has been susceptible to fraudulent apps, including one identified in December that tricked iPhone users into making purchases they didn’t intend, per Business Insider.

On the larger landscape, IAB Tech Lab has worked to tackle mobile ad fraud by harnessing the collective expertise of technicians from cellular service providers, brands, ad agencies and programmatic ad platforms. Last month, the group released the final version of its app-ads.txt specificationfor implementation among mobile ad platforms. The app-ads.txt file has the name and identification code for authorized sellers of the app’s available ad inventory, and helps to ensure that advertisers only bid on slots from authorized sellers. As DoubleVerify’s most recent findings suggest, marketers need to be vigilant in monitoring potential fraud.

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