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Adjust has rejected nearly 200 million fraudulent app installs so far in 2019, saving clients about $450 million in ad spend and allowing them to reinvest it in channels that deliver real value, the mobile measurement company said. And the year isn’t over yet.

Berlin-based Adjust, which measures mobile analytics and helps advertisers and publishers skirt fraud, said its fraud prevention filters only help clients that have activated them. This means the actual number of fraudulent installs is probably far higher than 200 million.

The scale of fraud is hard to measure, but with global consumer spending on mobile ads hitting $190 billion in 2019 (according to mobile insights and analytics firm App Annie), the temptation to defraud advertisers is huge. Adjust started its anti-fraud business in 2016 after it detected huge increases in ad fraud on mobile.

Fraudsters don’t care where an app is based or which vertical it’s categorized in. But apps with high costs per action (CPAs) pose greater targets, Adjust said.


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Above: Adjust annual report

Image Credit: Adjust

Adjust’s latest Global Benchmarks data shows that Click Injection accounts for 43% of all fraud, followed by Click Spamming (30%), SDK Spoofing (15%), and Fake Users/Bots (13%). This makes measures like the click validation requirement all the more important because it dramatically increases the workload for fraudsters seeking to steal ad budgets from brands and advertisers.

Juniper Research estimates that fraud will claim $42 billion worth of ad spend in 2019, yet fraud prevention remains a critical challenge for marketers, Adjust said.

Profitable since 2015, the company raised $227 million — one of Europe’s largest funding rounds this year — to fuel its expansion in Southeast Asia, Japan, Israel, and the Middle East. This includes the recent opening of offices in Tel Aviv and Bengaluru.

Adjust said it’s taking action to combat in-app bot attacks. Bots are programmed to carry out in-app events, and because they mimic human behavior this type of fraud has become one of the hardest to fight. In January, Adjust acquired award-winning cybersecurity startup Unbotify, which uses machine learning to detect bots in real time.

“Fraud prevention is a critical challenge that is growing in importance for many of the 30,000 apps we work with around the world,” said Paul Müller, chief technology officer at Adjust, in a statement. “Going into 2020, our mission remains the same: to help keep the ecosystem honest and open through education and collaboration.”

Adjust currently has more than 400 employees.

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