Mobile App Terminology

Click Spamming

What is Click Spamming?

Also referred to as click flooding, click spamming is a type of mobile ad fraud in which networks report a high number of fake clicks with the goal of receiving credit for the last click before a conversion, for example an app install. By attempting to take credit for the last click before a conversion, these bad actors are attempting to get paid by advertisers for the fraudulent clicks and ultimately steal an advertiser’s marketing budget.

Click spamming involves sending thousands or even millions of clicks to a Mobile Measurement Partner (MMP). Since the chance of misattribution is very low on a per-click basis, the high volumes increase the probability that the MMP will misattribute some clicks, resulting in a payout for the fraudsters.

On top of stealing the advertiser’s budget, click spamming can also result in skewing or distorting the advertiser’s marketing data. This can result in marketers allocating more budget to these networks, when in fact they are not driving any real clicks, users, or conversions.

Looking for a click spamming solution?

Learn how Singular’s fraud prevention suite can help!

What are the uses of Click Spamming?

There are several ways that click spamming is carried out, although typically it involves a fraudster attempting to execute and report clicks for fake users, and in turn claiming credit for the fraudulent clicks. For example, a user could install a fraudulent app that is executing these fake clicks in the background of their mobile device, all without the user’s knowledge or consent.

As ClickCease highlights, below is an example of how click spamming can work in practice:

  • A user unknowingly downloads an fraudulent app, which could be anything from a utility app like a calculator, a game, or any other type of mobile app
  • The app has code that will execute these spam clicks on ads in the background of the users mobile device without their knowledge
  • The ads that are clicked are then assigned to the developer of the fraudulent app, which can result in them getting paid for the clicks

As you can see from this example, the user will likely have a depleted phone battery from all this activity running in the background and the advertisers will be paying for fake clicks and have their marketing data distorted. Also, the techniques are becoming increasingly sophisticated, for example as discussed in our blog post on ad fraud:

And click spamming is still happening too, but sophisticated criminals are finding ways to detect which users are more likely to engage … so they’re not just click spamming everyone everywhere. It’s targeted.

Since click spamming has become a growing issue for several years, many advertisers and MMPs are fighting back with various fraud prevention techniques to ensure that advertising budgets are being spent on real users and driving real conversions.

Looking for a Click Spamming solution?

Learn how Singular’s fraud prevention suite can help!

How Singular prevents Click Spamming?

Click spamming is just one type of mobile ad fraud and Singular provides a suite of tools to block all of it. Singular’s fraud prevention tools take a proactive approach to blocking fraudulent activity in the ever-evolving fraud landscape. In particular, below are a few of our tools that are designed to block fraud for mobile marketers, each of which you can learn more about on our fraud prevention page:

  • Android & iOS install validation
  • Android click-injection prevention
  • Android organic poaching detection
  • Blacklisting
  • Geographic outliers
  • Hyper-engagement (i.e. click spamming)
  • Short time to install (TTI)

The best part is that all these fraud prevention tools come at no extra cost to Singular’s attribution customers. Ultimately, the goal of Singular’s suite of fraud prevention tools is to ensure that ad budgets are focused on quality users that can drive real revenue to advertisers.

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