Our Ad Fraud Manifesto


Mobile ad fraud is an issue for everyone working in the mobile advertising industry. While there are some disincentives and examples of ad fraudsters being fined or even jailed, there is an overwhelming tide of parties committing mobile ad fraud.

Even considering that technology providers are trying to build tools to combat mobile ad fraud, the fraudsters are still incentivised to keep looking for new ways to cheat the system. The low likelihood of serious punishment and the chance of generating high short-term revenue is worth the risk to many of them.

More needs to be done to disincentive and provide harsher penalties to those parties found to be committing ad fraud, both on the demand and the supply side.

That’s why we’re launching this mobile ad fraud manifesto, to call attention and make our contribution to addressing these issues.


What are some examples of mobile ad fraud?

Certain advertisers in the mobile app world have already issued lawsuits and gone public with certain players’ malpractice. There are also several recent high profile cases, including:

Beyond these cases, the only response that trade bodies seem to have is to remove the offenders from membership, which is a minor deterrent, and rarely are they referred to the legal authorities.  Even when they are referred, the authorities seldom investigate unless the fraud is committed on an international and enormous scale.


What is being done to prevent mobile ad fraud?

            • Generation of more educational content to create more consciousness around fraud and how to fight it
            • Continued work by non-profits, e.g. Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)
            • Coverage by publications that raise broader recognition of the impact on the industry
            • Solutions offered by tech providers such as viewability vendors, anti-fraud tools for the demand and supply side, or ad quality vendors.


Ultimately, not one single solution can bring fraud to an end. It is in the hands of the advertiser to demand all the control and transparency it needs to minimize the chances of being tricked. That will often require a combination of solutions, for example, ad serving, anti-fraud detection and methodology to measure incremental value.


What do we want to see happen to combat mobile ad fraud?

              1. Strong penalties are needed from industry trade bodies and relevant authorities for those found committing mobile ad fraud – and these need to be publicised widely with the consequences made clear to anyone considering profiting in this way.
              2. Where fraud has been identified at scale, it should be made public in the most exposed way possible. Conversely, there’s also strong scope for a mechanism for the independent verification of processes in the mobile ad trading ecosystem. It should be widely publicised to minimise the potential risk to revenue and encourage trust and transparency in digital advertising. This can be achieved by minimising links in the value chain and avoiding intermediaries as one of many best practice examples.
              3. Advertisers, should not only use technology to fight the problem but also set clear objectives for media campaigns that focus on the measurement of incremental ROI, as absolute ROI that is not incremental is easy to “fake” using attribution fraud and tactics such as click injection, click spamming or fake ads.
              4. They should also identify and implement an independent third-party technology to serve their ads or measure viewability and optimise towards their campaign goals. Making sure their ads are actually seen, should be the first step in any advertising campaign.
              5. Where advertisers can’t do their own ad serving, monitoring 100% of supply tracking - not only clicks, but impressions.
              6. Contractually clarifying measurement to be used and financial penalties if campaigns are impacted by fraud. Where possible, use incremental metrics as goal KPIs.


Join the Anti-Mobile Ad Fraud campaign

 If you’re interested in joining our Mobile Ad Fraud campaign, please leave your contact details below. We’ll send you a range of assets that you can share with your networks to raise awareness of the issue and send you regular (quarterly) email updates with how the campaign is progressing:


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