While just beginning to realize its potential, mobile advertising is already being plagued by click fraud and a lack of transparency. As more and more digital advertising dollars are moving to mobile, irrelevant clicks are becoming a serious issue.
Gartner predicted that mobile advertising will grow to $20.6bn (£12.9bn) in 2015, up from an estimated $3.3bn in 2011. In addition to the sheer growth in mobile advertising traffic, click fraud has high impact for mobile advertisers since they primarily pay for traffic per click and measure the success of a mobile advertising campaign by the clickthrough rate (CTR).
Click fraud is typically carried out by a clickbot or piece of software designed to drive up clicks; a person or group of individuals in a developing country paid to click numerous times; or from some honest technical mistakes made by developers. Leaving aside fraudulent behaviour, even counting just the accidental clicks alone can be costly: a 2011 Harris Interactive survey showed that 47 per cent of mobile application users clicked on mobile ads by mistake.
Given these challenges, can brands and agencies really trust that their investment in mobile advertising is effective, and the results reported are accurate? Or, is it still a case of accepting some of the risks and rewards of investing in a new market?
The good news is that there are ways to take on click fraud. Advertisers are demanding a higher level of visibility from publishers and networks. Integrated reporting systems collect information from multiple platforms and traffic sources to gain visibility across media placements, operating systems and devices. They continuously monitor campaigns, keeping a watchful eye out for any abnormalities, while supporting a wide variety of indicating parameters, including high ratio from impression to click, low ratio from click to conversion, and massive amounts of clicks generated in a short period of time from one IP address or location.
By detecting and providing detailed reports of suspicious patterns, advertisers can be assured that they are getting exactly what they are paying for, and in addition have a true picture of their campaign performance for better planning and more effective advertising. For some advertisers the savings can amount to tens of thousands of dollars per month.
Mobile advertising is evolving, and with it, the tools to nail down ad effectiveness. As advertisers feel more confident that they are receiving the desired results, and anti-click fraud solutions eliminate false positives, mobile advertising will continue to become a larger and larger piece of the marketing mix.
Shalom Berkovitz is CEO of DSNR Media Group (DMG)