Fraud rates for the gaming vertical have spiked, according to data from app marketing platform Adjust. Globally, fraudulent activity in gaming increased by 172.95% between August 2019 and 2020. In APAC this went up by 214.86%,  EMEA by 181.20% and in the US by 310.29%.

The company also reported that mobile ad fraud is rising overall, putting marketing data at risk of distortion when used for business decisions.

“It is absolutely vital that marketers can trust their data” says Andreas Naumann, director of fraud prevention at Adjust. “Without having a clear view, it is simply impossible to make strategic, data-driven decisions. Ultimately, fraud is and will remain to be a challenge we see in the industry. However, by implementing the right tools, we will be able to stay one step ahead of the fraudsters and ensure transparency remains a top priority.”

Fake users/bots continue to dominate as the most prevalent fraud type, accounting for 84.9% of fraudulent activity in South Korea, 65.6% in China and 60.72% in Japan. Interestingly, Southeast Asia, at 18.95%, is well below the global average of 54.6%. However, SDK Spoofing – the creation of legitimate-looking installs with data of real devices without the presence of any actual installs – is the most prevalent for the region, accounting for 39.1% of fraudulent activity.

“In markets with wider SDK Signature adoption, we see that fraudsters have to resort to alternative schemes which makes their jobs harder and less lucrative which means these apps are less likely to have ad budget stolen,” the company said, adding that this does not mean that the risk of SDK-Spoofing is lower in other regions. “Risks associated with companies not using the SDK Signature to protect themselves is as high or even higher, no matter which market they are in.”

Adjust’s data also revealed that SDK Spoofing was most prevalent in Food & Drink and Business apps, at 59.7% and 35.3% respectively, while fake users/bots dominated the gaming category at 64.6%.

The research also found that fraudsters are not only faking paid installs but also organic traffic – installs that cannot be attributed to any marketing activities – in order to hide the paid installs they steal. Out of 200 million rejected installs, two-thirds of these were organic and only one-third paid.

While mobile marketers are not technically losing money, these fake organic installs can compromise the data integrity and insights marketers are supposed to gain from their marketing activities. They run a high risk of “flying blind” in a situation where fraudulent activity is rampant and a marketer’s data is corrupted, including the data on organics.

The research is based on Adjust’s Fraud Prevention Suite data between January and August 2020 - analysing more than 14.3 billion installs globally, including the US, LATAM, EMEA, China, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia.

Sourced from Adjust