Ad fraud detection and prevention are crucial for companies with huge marketing budgets for digital advertising. Today, companies are spending a lot of money trying to reach their target audiences, and these sums of money are attracting criminals. 


In 2018, global digital advertising fraud cost the industry a staggering $35 billion. By 2022, however, this figure did increase to $81 billion and is expected to reach a whopping $100 billion by the end of this year. 


Nowadays, criminals are using a variety of methods to defraud companies for their marketing money. Despite this, savvy advertisers can be vigilant by using a similarly diverse range of ways to prevent ad fraud. Rules-based and machine learning (ML) enabled software, for instance, can help in ad fraud detection and prevention and are by far the best solutions for advertisers and ad networks that want to protect their budgets. 


Types of ad fraud


Here is a list of some of the most common types of ad fraud:


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Bots and emulators


In this method, fraudsters use bots and emulators to stimulate clicks, views, in-app activity, and other activities.


Click spamming


By employing click spamming, criminals fraudulently receive credit for organic installations. As a result of this scam, advertisers end up paying for fake organic mobile app installations


SDK Spoofing


Here, fraudsters fake in-app events and install them using real devices with the help of malware that they install in an app. Consequently, advertisers end up paying fraudsters thinking they are getting actual results. 


Geo masking


Advertisers and ad networks are willing to pay massive amounts to get traffic from countries such as the United States and Canada. Impostors use this method to trick advertisers into believing that the traffic they are supplying is from these desirable regions. 


Pixel stuffing


In pixel stuffing, cyberpunks hide multiple ads in a single pixel on a webpage. When a user clicks on it, this pixel then expands into numerous ads. Fraudsters then charge advertisers and/or ad networks for their ill-gotten clicks and views


Ad stacking


Ad stacking is similar to pixel stuffing. Here, fraudsters place multiple ads under one another. When a user clicks on the ad on top, numerous ads ‘underneath’ open at once. Again, advertisers end up paying for fake views and click fraud.  


Domain spoofing


In this method, fraudsters use fake domains and websites to portray themselves as popular platforms. Advertisers are therefore duped into paying for low-quality traffic


Of course, this list is by no means comprehensive. Every day, fraudsters are developing new tricks to deceive advertisers and earn money illegally online. Nonetheless, these are the most common types of ad fraud currently and the ones you should be guarding your business against. Indeed, when companies actively protect themselves through ad fraud detection and prevention, the benefits can be huge. Here are some of the key reasons why protecting your enterprise against ad fraud is vital:


1. You save marketing budgets


Fraudsters do their best to steal marketing budgets by employing various types of ad fraud to generate fake traffic, clicks, views, and app installs. Unaware of these tactics, companies can often be deceived into paying criminals employing these tricks significant sums. 


When companies invest in fraud detecting and prevention tools, however, they can stop hemorrhaging this money to fraudsters. In a nutshell, fraud prevention will safeguard your marketing budget


2. You’ll know you’re working with the right people


Advertisers need to work with ad networks and publishers to reach their target audience. Since they work with numerous individuals and companies, it can sometimes be difficult for them to vet everyone. One of the best ways for companies to protect themselves against fraudsters is by doing background checks on their partners and vendors


To do this, companies can use trustworthy and reputed ad networks. Trusted ad networks do their best to vet the publishers before using their services. By using reliable ad networks, advertisers don’t have to spend time or resources checking publishers’ credibility. 


ad fraud detection

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3. You’ll have clean data for decision making


For advertisers, data is crucial as it helps understand how well an ad network or publisher is performing. When advertisers don’t employ ad fraud detection or even have a prevention strategy in place, it’s very easy for them to be duped. For example, one data set might look as if  a certain publisher is performing well. Equally, from the looks of a KPIs (e.g., a conversion rate), you might also feel assured that an ad network or publisher that you’re currently working with is delivering the results they promised. 


However, by employing mobile ad fraud prevention software, you’ll be able to grasp the truth – and see who is trying to scam you. Through this, you will have a clearer idea of which data sets to believe in. Having clean data will help you to make safe decisions for your business. 


Remember, fraudsters can manipulate data easily, which is why every advertising business worth its salt should invest in ad fraud detection and prevention tools. Moreover, proper KPIs and clean data will also help your company grow. 


4. It’ll help you find the best business partners


Mobile ad fraud prevention doesn’t just protect marketing budgets. It’ll also help you realize which partners you can trust. When they work with trustworthy partners, advertisers and ad networks can boost their company’s growth. Through this, you will also be able to quickly identify poor traffic sources and stay away from them. 


5. You’ll get ahead of the competition


Ad fraud is real, and many companies and advertisers fall victim to it every day. However, if you want to beat your competition, you should invest in ad prevention tools or software as an advertiser or ad network today. In doing this, you will be at a significant advantage, as many companies still are not investing in mobile ad fraud detection tools


Another good reason why advertisers or ad networks are spending money protecting their businesses against online criminals is that it helps them generate high-quality traffic and, therefore, more customers. Compared to your cautious market rivals who have safeguarded their online ad spend against fraudsters, your business will be at a significant disadvantage if you do not follow suit. 


Additionally, advertisers and ad networks that are actively preventing mobile ad fraud are spending their money more efficiently than those who don’t bother. At the end of the day, their money will be safe, and fraudsters will be eyeing up their rivals who haven’t protected themselves. If you don’t invest against ad fraud, your competition’s ROIs are going to be better than yours.


The lesson here is simple. If you don’t want your company to get left behind, invest in ad fraud detection software or tools now. 


ad fraud detection

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Use Swaarm for ad fraud detection


Swaarm is a performance marketing platform that can help marketers keep a tab on their campaigns and check how they perform. Most importantly, some of the unique features this performance marketing tracking platform contains, such as its optimization tool, can also help in mobile ad fraud detection. 


By using Swaarm, you will easily be able to identify fake traffic. Marketers can use this tool to detect and eliminate ad fraud too


Book a demo with our team to learn more about the product and how it can add value to your business. 


In conclusion


This article demonstrated the various types of ad fraud and how fraudsters are using these methods to rob advertising budgets and push advertisers and ad networks into losses. 


Through this, it was shown that companies that invest in ad fraud detection tools and software not only safeguard their budgets but have the edge over their competitors who haven’t invested. Therefore, don’t become another: set aside some budget for ad prevention strategies and protect your business.