How do you combat user acquisition scams that are increasingly slick and nearly undetectable? Find out from the front line how pros are successfully combating mobile fraud.
You’re spending up to $25 per high-quality user — but how many of them are real? User acquisition fraud has doubled since 2015. Unreliable install and conversion rates threaten your rank in the Google and Apple stores and squander a significant chunk of your already tight marketing budget.
Is there any hope for mobile app developers? To find out, VentureBeat gathered pros from the front line who have diagnosed, identified, and successfully combated fraud: Eric Seufert, VP of user acquisition at Rovio Entertainment — the company that blew up the mobile gaming industry with Angry Birds; Yevgeny Peres, VP of Growth at Supersonic by ironSource; and Paul H. Müller, CTO at adjust.
It’s an ugly scene at first glance. Years of security neglect from all three players — publishers, ad networks, and advertisers — has led to increasingly sophisticated scams.
“Most likely if you’re running an ad for your app right now, there’s an extremely high chance that this is happening to you,” Müller says. In a test scan against 1.5k clients with 10k apps, not a single publisher with an advertiser was spared.
Everyone is affected: Crooks are diluting the value of advertisers, ad networks are losing money because they have to issue refunds, and legit publishers are finding it harder than ever to earn revenue.
And the good news is that the industry is finally waking up to what’s going on, beginning to talk about it in a transparent way as well as share insights, says Müller. “All of us combined can really put a stop to this.”
Each member of the ecosystem has a different view into user patterns and signals, which is uncovering more sophisticated ways to refine detection algorithms and develop tools that can analyze behavior on the impression and click level in real time.
The technology is rising to the occasion, but can marketers harness it? The problem, Seufert says, is that for marketers, handling fraud detection and prevention in-house is becoming prohibitively expensive as the technology matures.
“You would have to have an entire staff dedicated,” he says. “You need so many people at that point you start to question whether you’re a mobile game developer or mobile commerce company or an ad tech company.”
There’s just no reason that a mobile games developer should be focusing on this technology in-house, he argues. “It’s too sophisticated, it’s too far beyond the scope of their primary objective, which is to make great games, and it’s too expensive to bear that, given the opportunity cost of what those engineers could be doing and the benefit of that.”
Marketers never have the full picture, Peres says. And this is where companies like adjust, a business intelligence platform that offers a fraud protection suite, are very well positioned in terms of the data they have access to.
“400-500 million daily users allows you to see what non-human behavior looks like,” Müller agrees, as well as organic user behavior on a scale that publishers, advertisers, and networks need access to.
In the end, fighting fraud will never snuff it out completely; the real goal of fraud prevention is to make fraud unprofitable — to push the level of prevention sophistication so high that it is simply easier and more profitable to do something else with your criminal energy and time. And the mobile app ecosystem is finally rising to the challenge.
To find out more about what fraud looks like and the tools that marketers and advertisers need to leverage to fix their ROI, listen to how pros are doing it.
Don’t miss out!
In this webinar, you’ll learn:
- What user acquisition fraud is, and its many forms
- How to identify campaigns and publishers associated with illegitimate traffic
- How datasets can be cleaned and payouts reclaimed once fraud is identified
- Eric Seufert, VP of User Acquisition, Rovio
- Yevgeny Peres, VP of Growth, Supersonic by ironSource
- Paul H. Müller, CTO at adjust
- Evan Schuman, Moderator, VentureBeat
This webinar is sponsored by adjust.