To Head Off Mobile Fraud, ‘Know Thyself’

cleanadsfraudimgEliza Nevers, Christian Calderon and Michael Oiknine will participate in a panel discussion on mobile fraud at the May 24 CLEAN ADS I/O conference in New York.

AdExchanger: What’s the single biggest thing marketers contending with mobile ad fraud should be focused on?

MICHAEL OIKNINE, CEO of Apsalar: Fraud has become such a problem in large part because many companies take few or no steps to recognize and address it. For performance marketers, knowledge is power, and digging into your data is the essential first step to mitigating the risk of fraud for your business – things like install sources, where your ad views come from, the expected conversion rates on your purchase funnel, the validity of your in-app purchases.

CHRISTIAN CALDERON, CRO of Ketchapp: In the performance business especially, marketing is math. If the numbers aren’t working out, it’s usually an indicator something is wrong. The first place where you see it is the funnel metrics, like click-through and conversion rate. You look at pre-install KPIs, and if you see something abnormal you’ll have a sense of if it’s fraudulent. Is the yield off here? Understand the math behind your user acquisition. That lets you know if something unusual is happening, and if you can detect fraud that early, sometimes you can get your money back depending on who you’re working with.

What issues are unique to mobile?

ELIZA NEVERS, VP of product at AOL’s demand platform: In apps you involve the SDK and it’s a different ballgame. But the mobile web has problems that are similar to desktop. It’s not exactly like desktop, but it also isn’t like apps where you have more control as the owner and platform.

In mobile, you have to make more decisions about whether the fraud is really nefarious or just a junky mobile ad. At AOL, we approach it the same, because in either case it’s a click that’s never going to drive value for our advertiser. You also have to make judgments about publishers and networks. If it’s a high-quality site, they may still have a certain rate of fraud, so you want to block that without blacklisting the seller.

Overall, fraud in mobile is more nascent and complicated. There’s less of a sense that we’re 100% aware of what we’re dealing with.

CALDERON: There are the clear, blatant situations – click stuffing or people doing forced redirects. And then there are some cases where you might not consider them fraud depending who you are, which I refer to as creative misuse. Depending on who you work with and what the case is, that can be characterized as fraud. So if an advertiser is trying to amp up the click-through rate with some type of deceptive creative, if you pay on a CPC model that could hurt.

If you take responsibility for your end, it’s a manageable problem. But that means if you’re working with someone, a managed service or a network, you have to really trust that person, because they could be doing things to juice some metric if they wanted to. Work with people you trust and hold them accountable.

OIKNINE: One big trend we see is that performance brands are spending more with “known” media properties that have already demonstrated business value and technological expertise. Install spend with the top 10 media companies is up 393% for our clients over the past 12 months. Deals with these proven companies are getting larger, and are running for more weeks.

Does the problem require cross-industry solutions? What’s been effective to date? 

OIKNINE: Cross-industry solutions are like medical research. They’re important to all of us, but no substitute for taking responsibility for the health of your own business.

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