Mobile click fraud is becoming a serious issue as more and more digital advertising dollars are moving to mobile. Mobile advertising will grow to $20.6 billion in 2015, up from an estimated $3.3 billion in 2011, according to Gartner. In addition, click fraud has higher impact for mobile advertisers who are primarily paying for traffic per click and measuring success by the click-through rate (CTR).
Click fraud is nothing new for the world of online advertising. However, the technological solutions and capabilities in the mobile arena are still relatively new. In 2006, advertisers were awarded $90 million in a lawsuit with Google due to fraudulent online ad clicks. Only now there are emerging solutions that can save thousands of dollars for mobile advertisers.
Typical causes of click fraud can be deliberate attempts to run up advertising costs, using a clickbot or piece of software designed to drive up clicks, paying a person in a developing country to click, or innocent accidental clicks as a result of technical mistakes made by developers. For example, every time an application is started, an ad click is counted.
By detecting suspicious click patterns, advertisers can have a more accurate picture of their campaign performance for more effective advertising and better future planning. With proper detection, this information can save advertisers tens of thousands of advertising dollars per month.
Here are four key pointers for identifying mobile click fraud:
- High ratio from impression to click: If the news is too good to be true, it probably isn't real. If results are significantly outside the range of top performance, it is most likely due to unusual circumstances.
- Low ratio from click to conversion: If everyone is clicking but no one is buying, the chances are the clicks don't reflect a genuine interest in the product offering.
- Massive clicks in a short amount of time from a single IP address: Clickbots or pieces of software designed to generate huge volumes of traffic can sabotage results and can be flagged as potential sources of click fraud. This activity can also be suspicious if large amounts of clicks are originating from a single physical location.
- Excessive activity with a single publisher: Usually, if there is foul play, the high amount of activity occurs for a single publisher. Advertisers should ask to see clicks per publishers to see if any activity looks suspicious.
Mobile advertising is evolving, and with it the tools to nail down ad effectiveness. By detecting click fraud and eliminating false positives, mobile advertizing will continue to become a larger and larger piece of the marketing mix.
Shalom Berkovitz is CEO of DSNR Media Group (DMG).
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"Fraud" image via Shutterstock.