Lifting the lid on app install fraud

Mobile Marketing - Member Content

Gary Danks, managing director of Machine Advertising, argues that app install fraud is a major problem for digital marketers, but one that is not widely appreciated.

When you face a problem like app install fraud, as we do day in day out, it can be easy to assume that everyone understands the scale and importance of the issue. Over the past couple of months, however, we’ve presented at a number of events, including Mobile Marketing’s App Marketing Summit in London, and speaking to delegates, you realise that this assumption isn’t true at all. In fact, there’s still a huge lack of knowledge about app install fraud, among the very people it affects most – digital marketing executives who hold the budgets for big app promotion campaigns.

Ad fraud has been grabbing headlines for a few years now, and as a result many marketers today think that they’ve addressed any-and-all problems that fall under the broad banner of ‘ad fraud’. The truth, however, is that app install fraud is its own distinct issue and needs to be treated as such if you don’t want to be exploited and hand over your app promotion budget to fraudsters.

In today's market, any digital marketer worth their salt wouldn't dare run a desktop campaign without the protection of an ad verification tool. These tools let marketers know that the ad space they’re buying is viewable, brand-safe, seen by humans, and so on. Well, you also need to be protected when buying app installs from ad networks and social media. Otherwise, how do you know whether the apps you’re paying for are real or not?

Over half of all app installs are fraudulent
Many marketers, in our experience, don’t actually know that you can be charged for a fake app install. But that’s exactly what’s happens with install fraud. To help give some context, Machine has analysed over 22m app installs in 2018. We detected 56 per cent of them to be fraudulent – meaning that, despite the budget that was spent on them, they are completely worthless.

App install fraud doesn't just mean large volumes of non-performing installs. Just like when you’re buying impressions, clicks, conversions and video on desktop, there are various methods a fraudulent app supply source can deploy to steal your marketing budget. And most of these will trick you into thinking the fraudulent installs are performing just fine.

Filling the gap
Gaps in marketers’ knowledge are entirely understandable – fraudulent app installs are a relatively new problem to solve and you can’t realistically be aware of every development of the industry – but that’s where we come in.

Machine is the only company entirely dedicated to stopping app install fraud. It’s all we do. Our technology and team analyse app installs bought from ad networks and social media, informing our clients which app installs they should pay for and, those they shouldn't, and the reasons why they shouldn't pay for them.

It also means that we detect and stop more install fraud than any other service in the market. So, let us show you not only why app install fraud is a much bigger problem than you probably realise, but also what we can do to help you stop it.