Proactively Addressing The Business of Fraud

07/23/15

As our industry struggles to find ways to reduce fraud across digital, more people are waking up to the specific challenges fraud creates in mobile. It’s natural that mobile is seeing increasing fraud, because crime like this follows the money, and the money is most assuredly shifting to the small screen. First, the overall increases in mobile ad spend make fraud in the market more and more lucrative. Second, the higher average media costs in mobile (versus the PC web) make things like click fraud and impression fraud more profitable by fraud occasion.

So how should we, the mobile industry, react to this? Seems like there are 4 positive actions we all can take:

1. Rightsize your attention to fraud: It’s a real problem that you need to take seriously. But overreaction isn’t a good idea, either. View it as a serious but not intractable problem.

2. Get some data points: Thinking about a subject like fraud in the aggregate is good for trade pub page views, but you as a marketer need to understand the scope of the problem for your brand. Incidence of fraud varies by country, vendor, category, ad format and a whole lot of other dimensions. Identify tools and partners that can help you assess your current incidence of fraud, and the factors that may be putting you at increased risk. It won’t surprise you to learn that as a third-party attribution and measurement company, we believe in the value of independent counting. Because no one should grade their own homework.

3. Get constructive: Sometimes the digital industry focuses too much on fretting about something, and not enough on doing something about it. Fear solves nothing.

4. Expect better: Brands – especially big brands, because money talks – should be raising the issues and challenges of fraud with their partners. Media companies focus their attention on the issues that matter most to their clients. That’s natural, and healthy. Just make sure that the very real costs of fraud are a challenge that your partners are working hard to address.

Completely eliminating fraud is probably a pipedream. But doing a lot better against it is a realistic expectation – indeed it’s a need. Apsalar recently completed a study of click- and IAP fraud. To get a copy, click here.

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