Study: Mobile Ad Fraud Costing Aussie-Kiwi Users $72 Million Annually

AppsFlyer, a mobile attribution and marketing analytics company, revealed today that the Australia-New Zealand mobile apps experienced more than $72 million in losses due to mobile ad fraud in 2021.

AppsFlyer monitored more than 3500 mobile apps – to help ANZ app marketers recognise the fraud risks to protect their marketing and advertising campaigns, enabling them to be ahead of possible threats.

“In 2021 we found that in-app consumer spending steadily rose throughout the year, hence we’re going to continue seeing a positive outlook on the mobile app economy in the region. Not only this presents great opportunities for app developers and marketers, this increases the threat from scammers,” said Antony Wilcox (main photo), AppsFlyer’s director of growth Australia & New Zealand.

According to a report from 2021, finance apps were seeing a great increase of installs between 2020 and 2021. Finance app marketers are presented with both an opportunity and cause for concern. The rapid digital transformation in the financial industry has encouraged more fraudsters to tap into finance apps, seen by the high average fraud rate and fraud exposure within the app category.

Moreover, from the total of 3599 apps monitored within a year, AppsFlyer found various fraud types located throughout the verticals as a tactic to endanger the marketers campaign budgets.

Bots distribution – an attempt to simulate ad clicks, installs, and in-app engagement, masquerading as legitimate users, essentially draining advertising resources on fake users who pose zero value – sitting tight in the first place averaging over 72 per cent.

Meanwhile, click flooding comes in second place with over 15 per cent average, as the tactic of choice by fraudsters, occurring when fraudsters send large numbers of fraudulent click reports in the hopes of profiting off of the app’s marketing budget.

The high number of losses in 2021 was driven by the increase in mobile ad frauds of more than 36% year-on-year from 2020 to 2021 – more than 1.5 times from around $45 million in 2020. Moreover, in terms of app finance types apps topped the verticals followed by shopping, sports, gaming and utilities – amounting to over $38 million in fraud exposure.

“A solid and secure infrastructure, combined with adaptive solutions for identification and blocking of existing and new fraud methods is required for any online marketing initiative. AppsFlyer identified these market gaps early on, adding a layer of post-attribution fraud to enable advertisers to easily detect fraudulent activities. Our mission is to ensure our client stays ahead of every threat, before, during, and after install,” Antony concluded.

Entering the second quarter of 2022, the app marketers in ANZ are challenged to protect their budget from this possible fraud, and this will help get a better understanding of the situation. It is important for them to set the standard for mobile ad fraud prevention and detection, making sure they stay ahead of every threat around app installation campaigns.

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