Top 5 Tips to Identify and Avoid Ad Fraud

The mobile revolution has changed the face of commerce and in present times, mobile ads form the backbone of any marketing campaign. Unfortunately, mobile ad fraud is costing a fortune to many mobile marketers who are already tight roped on marketing budgets.

Mobile ad fraud can be divided into two categories. The first being the use of techniques not approved on a platform and the second one being technical fraud where clicks, impressions or installs are technically faked to rob marketers of their advertising spends.

Considering the field of mobile advertising to be a developing one, with evolving techniques technical frauds are also on the rise. Truly, it may never be possible to completely eliminate ad fraud but the following 5 tips will help you identify and prevent ad fraud in your marketing campaigns.

Track – You cannot eliminate what you can’t track. Monitor your account to keep an eye on suspicious activity. A good starting point is to use the inbuilt monitoring tools provided by your advertising network. For example, monitoring your account performance on Google Adwords can give you an idea of the number of invalid clicks. Google has a very robust anti-fraud system that detects malicious clicks and reports them as invalid while crediting your account accordingly.

Patterns – Many sites employ bots to mimic human behavior and generate high number of clicks on your PPC ad to generate more revenue for the owner. However, recognizing patterns can help you identify and eliminate this kind of technical fraud. Too many clicks coming from a single IP address with very low or no conversion rates, unusually high number of installs especially at odd timings indicate trouble. It is recommended to advertise on high quality sites to reduce this risk, as many poor quality sites are rife with ad fraud.

Know thy enemy – It is a good idea to know your competitors bidding on the same keywords as you on search engines, as many advertisers drive out competition by over clicking their ads to increase their costs and disrupt their advertising budgets. It may be a good idea to invest in software that helps you track the number of clicks by competitors to prevent such kind of fraud eating into your marketing spend.

Being vigilant – Prevention is better than cure. While looking out for patterns and unusual activity can help you identify fraud, it is a good idea to be vigilant from the start and not fall prey to such fraud. Investing in fraud prevention services can help as these services prepare sophisticated data helping you track sites that can be potential miscreants and also prepare fraud reports for you in case something goes wrong.

Smart targeting – Once you have identified malicious IP addresses and geographical regions with high incidence of ad frauds (usually poor countries where people are employed to simply click on ads), target your ads to omit these geographical areas and IP addresses. Further, you can explore advertising options on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter with no third party publishers and advanced targeting methods.

Mobile ads are the future of marketing but also the future of several dishonest people looking to make money from mobile ad fraud and scams. Avoiding ad fraud is crucial for any brand that wants to be seen by real users. Understanding the market and applying safety nets before placing the bids along with following the above threats can protect your brand from ad frauds.

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