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Fraudulent apps increased by 159 per cent between 2017 and 2018: report

Alyssa Clementi

The total number of fraudulent apps increased by 159 per cent between 2017 and 2018, according to a report released by DoubleVerify, a marketing measurement software and analytics firm. At the same time, eMarketer has estimated that mobile ad spend will reach $87bn this year, accounting for more than two-thirds of overall US digital ad spend.

DoubleVerify believes the increasing hype around mobile ad spend is one of the main reasons fraudulent apps continue to appear, as app “fraudsters” are putting in extra effort to keep up with the trend. The more money that is invested into mobile app advertising, the more fraudulent apps the industry can expect. Globally, mobile ad spend is expected to hit $201bn by 2021.

DoubleVerify also discovered that mobile app sophisticated invalid traffic (SIVT) impressions have doubled year-on-year since 2017, 57 per cent of fraudulent mobile apps are categorized as ‘Games’ and 'Tools & Utilities', and 1.6x more new fraudulent apps were identified in 2018 than in 2017.

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