Top Takeaways From Singular’s ‘Spot the Fraud’ Event

By John Koetsier December 11, 2017

Singular recently hosted our first-ever “Spot the Fraud” event, where mobile marketing and product leaders from companies like Airbnb, Instacart, Postmates and N3TWORK gathered to discuss the future of mobile ad fraud prevention.

At the event, Singular CEO Gadi Eliashiv unveiled Singular’s enhanced Fraud Prevention Suite as well as The Singular Fraud Index, a first-of-its-kind study revealing the industry’s most effective fraud prevention methods along with the 20 mobile ad networks driving the lowest rates of fraud.

The full presentation can viewed by clicking here and below are the top takeaways from the presentation.

Mobile Marketers, Still Unprotected

In the process of analyzing fraud data from hundreds of the world’s largest mobile apps, Singular’s Fraud Prevention Team uncovered a startling stat: 63 percent of marketers do not utilize fraud prevention techniques in their mobile marketing systems. Part of the blame lies with analytics providers that treat fraud prevention as a luxury, offering it to marketers as a “premium” add-on rather than a feature deeply embedded in the core platform. Equally problematic is the complexity of existing fraud offerings — for instance, attribution platforms that place the burden on marketers to run their own statistical analysis to detect fraud.

The Threat of Attribution Manipulation

Today the majority of mobile ad fraud is perpetrated via attribution manipulation, whereby fraudsters steal credit for installs from organic and paid channels. Each month, attribution manipulation attacks account for roughly 70 percent of prevented ad fraud, recent data from Singular shows, costing ad networks and marketers money and corrupting performance data in the process.

But big tech players are working to fix the analytics holes that have allowed fraudsters to steal credit for installs. For instance, Google’s latest analytics release, the Google Play Referrer API, helps marketers and their attribution providers combat attribution manipulation with Referrer and Timestamp data received directly and securely from Google.

Fraud Keeps Getting Smarter

Singular’s Fraud Prevention Team uncovered a new form of fraud being perpetrated by malicious mobile apps, some of which have millions of users. This form of fraud, called Referrer Injection, leverages Android’s internal messaging system to inject a fake referrer into an attributed ad click, thereby assigning credit to the fraudulent source. Because attribution systems prioritize referrer messages over other touchpoints, Referrer Injection is a particularly effective way for fraudsters to steal credit. Thankfully, Google’s new Referrer API allows Singular to stamp out this form of ad fraud. However, Referrer Injection highlights the fact that marketers must reject complacency given the constantly evolving threat of fraud and implement fraud solutions that adapt to increasingly sophisticated fraud tactics.

Safe Havens

Even with fraudsters siphoning off billions from advertising budgets each, there are safe havens for mobile ad dollars. Singular analyzed mobile ad fraud data anonymously collected from mobile marketers within a 30-day range to identify the most secure mobile media providers, or those with the least fraud. The 20 most secure media providers are capable of driving both significant volume to marketers while keeping fraud rates well below the industry average. To view the complete list of of mobile ad networks driving the lowest rates of fraud, download the full report here.

Comprehensive Protection

As The Singular Fraud Index shows, currently there isn’t one fraud prevention method that reigns supreme in blocking the majority of mobile ad fraud. Singular’s breakdown of the most effective fraud prevention methods reveals that the marketing industry uses a handful of prevention methods to combat mobile ad fraud, with each method blocking its share of total fraud prevented each month.

That’s why Singular’s new Fraud Prevention Suite utilizes all known prevention methods to provide maximum protection against existing fraud threats as well as unknown threats to come.

“You don’t want to chase fraud manually,” Gadi said in his presentation. Marketers don’t have the time and, in most cases, the expertise to identify what is fraud and what is legitimate activity.

Singular is excited to equip its customers with a transparent, flexible and proactive fraud solution that analyzes countless fraud signals at the most granular levels and automatically applies rules at the time of attribution to stop fraud in its tracks, keeping sources clean and media budgets focused on quality users.

Learn more about Singular’s enhanced Fraud Prevention Suite here and download The Singular Fraud Index here.

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