Glossary

Ad Fraud

What is ad fraud?


Defining ad fraud

Ad fraud is the deliberate process of preventing ads from being delivered to the intended audience in order to generate illegal revenue. There are many types of ad fraud, including creating fake ad traffic or launching ads outside of view.

What is digital ad fraud?

Digital ad fraud utilizes techniques that deliberately take advantage of digital advertiser spending - including creating billions of ad impressions out of thin air or building fake sites that are never seen by users. Digital ad fraud within in-app advertising continues to be a major issue for advertisers because of challenges in detection and in-app measurements.

Working with advertising partners that have zero risk of ad fraud, such as ironSource’s Aura, provides tremendous value to advertisers. Aura partners with OEM and carriers which means it’s 100% guaranteed that the device is real and, usually, brand new without malicious, fraudulent apps already on there. Also, apps are installed directly onto the device without being redirected to the app store, making attribution manipulation impossible. Working with Aura provides safety and security against ad fraud and protects your advertising spending from the start.

Types of ad fraud

Fake click, genuine user

  • Click spamming - Flooding a system with many clicks in hopes that one will be able to steal credit.
  • Click injection - “Injecting” tons of fake clicks during the app installation process, but after the user has clicked on the ad, to hijack or steal credit for the install.
  • Ad stacking - Stacking ads on top of each other so the user only sees one but the fraudster gets credit for all.
  • Cookie stuffing - Hijacking text files and filling them with incorrect information about the user. This means the marketer can steal credit for a click, conversion, sale, etc.

Fake click, fake user

  • Farms - Giving paid workers mobile devices to manually install and uninstall apps repeatedly.
  • Bots and botnets - Infecting a device with a bot that runs code in the background that mimics human behavior.

Genuine click, genuine user

  • Domain spoofing - Taking advantage of the waterfall and bidding process by tricking advertisers into thinking they’re paying for better inventory than they are.
  • Geo masking - Taking money for high-quality traffic and then placing the ad on low-quality traffic sites.
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