||Mobile Click Fraud
According to a new study by Trademob, online click fraud is a problem for advertisers, and click fraud on mobile ads is already quite well developed.
The study, looking at six million mobile ad clicks, served across 10 different ad networks, showed that 40% of mobile ad clicks are either accidental or fraudulent.
These paid-for clicks were found to be completely worthless, showing a conversion rate from click-to-download of below 0.1%. Further analysis showed that 18% of these were highly indicative of click fraud and 22% were accidental.
About half of those clicks show patterns that are symptomatic of click fraud, such as traffic that peaks at unusual times of day or a bulk of clicks coming from similar IP addresses. The rest appear to be accidental clicks, perhaps due to the "fat fingers" syndrome or poor user interface design, says the report.
With 40% of clicks, the study found that the conversion rate of clicks-to-installs was less than 0.1%. These clicks, it concluded, were accidental or fraudulent.
The report suggests that publishers who generate a large number accidental clicks could be poorly designed. And, regarding outright click fraud, the researchers found that both simple techniques, where publishers report clicks that never happened (accounting for 8% of all mobile ad clicks), as well as more sophisticated techniques, are being used on mobile ads. The more complex techniques include botnets, in which fraudsters marshall an army of zombie computers, modified to look like mobile devices to ad servers, to click on ads (accounting for 10% of all mobile ad clicks).
Client-side fraud is another type of more sophisticated technique, says the report, involving deceptive banners, perhaps hidden behind another element on the website, utilized to trick users into clicking on them.
The report concludes by noting that all of these types of fraud can be detected, though, by analyzing traffic patterns such as lots of clicks at odd times, or a bulk of clicks from similar IP addresses, or lots of clicks coming from geographies that aren't targeted in the ads. Currently, fraudsters aren't employing sophisticated evasive maneuvers, because few advertisers or networks are aggressively blacklisting publishers.
(Source: The Center for Media Research, 09/21/12)