India witnessed mobile ad-fraud of over Rs 573 crore during Q3 2019 over fake installations
A recent report by Sensor Tower ranked India as the country with maximum app installs in 3Q (Jul-Sep) 2019. It reported 5 billion app installations for India out of global 29.6 billion app installs. This is a great news for the country. However, at the same time it also means increase in ad-fraud.
As per mFilterIt internal analysis, there were over 273 million fake app installs that took place during the months of Jul-Sep 2019 in India alone. This translates to a loss of over Rs 573 crore in Performance Marketing spends.
Over 15% of the total app installs come through publishers with an average fake user rate of 35%. Publishers are essential stakeholders in the value chain as they hold and influence very specific communities which are potential users for several apps. This makes the engagement of app makers inevitable with the Publishers. At the same time, it is not that all Publishers resort to ad-fraud and acquire fake users for the advertisers. There are Publishers which get 100% validated genuine users to the Advertisers as well.
For marketers, key to success is engaging with a neutral ad-fraud elimination solution which can validate the KPIs claimed by Publishers in an unbiased way. With too many apps available to users and the app ‘real estate’ becoming increasingly precious, it becomes equally important for advertisers to engage with genuine users who not only install an app but also keep the engagement on. With the valuation models changing for businesses, the user base no longer remains the only factor to gauge success. How engaging the users are with an application, is the most critical part.
There is an increasing challenge of Brand Safety, which comes with ad-fraud. The organic traffic stealing not only mis-aligns the brand positioning but also raises doubts on the performance of organic marketing, which does not come cheap. Also, organic performance is much more robust and has long term implications on the brand.
To conclude, advertisers must engage with Publishers and even have a reward system for best partners. However, the performance cannot be judged by looking at attribution results alone. There has to be a neutral third-party validation which brings in transparency to the system. That’s the simplest resolution of the issue.