Fake app install fraud is one of the biggest problems faced by marketers. It affects click, install and in-app event attribution and is caused by fraudsters using malware, device emulators and install farms. Last year, it cost app developers around $700 million. This year, it’s expected to rise even higher.
Click injection: Fraudsters use malware on users’ devices to install malicious apps disguised as utility or simple games, then trigger fraudulent clicks on their ads. This type of fraud is easily detectable by comparing install-to-install conversion rates by publisher. Look for traffic sources with consistent low install conversion rates that are also above the average click-to-install timeframes.
Defending Your App Campaigns: How to Battle Fake App Install Fraud
Install bots: These are similar to click bots but they also simulate app installs. They are usually used in burst campaigns, and they are more effective at driving downloads than clicks. To detect them, it is crucial to compare ad clicks with installs using a mobile ad measurement platform. You can detect them by looking for publishers that have a large number of installs but no post-install events.
Other ways to detect fake apps:
First, check the app’s reviews. Negative ones are a big red flag, and even positive ones can be suspicious, as they may have been planted by fraudsters. Additionally, make sure to read the permissions agreement of the app. If it asks for a long list of frivolous permissions, it’s a sign that the app is most likely fake.