Click fraud is so prevalent that nearly everyone involved in the online advertising industry has at least heard of it. It is known by other names including ad fraud, pay per click fraud, and Google click fraud. More importantly, it is perpetrated across all sorts of online platforms and devices. It even affects mobile apps.
We tend to think of click fraud in terms of websites. We think of fraudulent ad publishers using headless browsers and bots to click incessantly on PPC ads embedded in websites. All of that is true. It really does happen. But mobile apps are not immune to click fraud. They can be targeted just as easily by scammers who know how to do it.
Two Examples of Mobile Click Fraud
To distinguish between fraud perpetrated through websites and mobile apps, the mobile version is sometimes referred to as ‘mobile click fraud’. It is no less nefarious than the fraud perpetrated via websites. Below are just two examples of how scammers might utilize it.
1. Click Flooding
Click flooding is a strategy that can be deployed against both mobile apps and websites. In a mobile app setting, embedded ads are programmed to run in the background whenever the targeted app is being used. Just by using the app, a consumer is generating ad clicks. He doesn’t know it because he can’t see the ads. All the clicks are being generated in the background.
2. Click Injection
The second form of mobile click fraud, click injection, is a bit more sophisticated but no less lucrative. It involves injecting code into a mobile app in order to give a scammer credit whenever the app is downloaded and installed. Every download equals money in the scammer’s pocket. The actual downloads and installs are legitimate, but the scammer is taking payment for them.
Don’t Focus on the Word ‘Click’
If you are an advertiser who prefers to put money into the mobile space, you might have a challenging time wrapping your brain around click fraud affecting mobile apps. Do not focus on the word ‘click’. Literally clicking ads is only one of many different ways to perpetrate fraudulent activity within the digital ad space.
The industry has settled on the generic ‘click fraud’ description to broadly categorize all types of digital ad fraud. If we came up with a separate term for every strategy that fraudsters use, things would get too messy too quickly.
How to Stop Click Fraud
As for stopping click fraud, it is a matter of using the right tools and data. The experts behind the Google click fraud blocker Fraud Blocker recommends that every online advertiser utilize a click fraud prevention service or a software package designed to identify and stop click fraud. The combination of software and human service works best.
Software constantly scans web traffic, collecting data that can be analyzed for the purposes of detecting fraudulent activity. Automated tools can stop such activity to a certain degree, but human beings ultimately have to get involved to stop it all.
Data is key to the whole thing. Scammers are constantly modifying their tactics to get around software. Preventing them from succeeding relies heavily on collecting the right data and analyzing it in the right way. And as scammers change their tactics, data points need to be adjusted.
In closing, remember that click fraud isn’t just for websites. It affects mobile apps, too. Mobile apps are especially attractive when scammers can find app developers and advertisers who were not paying attention to the data. If you advertise on mobile, just be aware that scammers are out there waiting to steal from you.