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Fraudulent Mobile Clicks – are they really a problem?

October 18th, 2012 by Talya

A report was published recently by app marketing company Trademob stating that 40% of all clicks on mobile ads are either fraudulent or accidental. The study analyzed six million clicks from mobile devices, suggesting that pay-per-click fraud is fairly widespread in mobile. Of the fraudulent clicks, over half of them were found to be client-side fraud or clicks from botnets, and the rest were a result of server-side fraud, where publishers tell servers to report clicks that were never actually made.

While fraudulent clicks are a nuisance, they do not have to be problematic, as there are ways to ensure that the clicks counted are legitimate clicks. First, when advertisers work on a performance basis, they pay only for successful leads or sales (such as a download, subscription, etc.), and are not charged on a per-click budget. With this model, companies and service providers are only charged when an action was taken after an ad or landing page was clicked on, making fraudulent clicks irrelevant.

Another way to keep fraudulent clicks from being an issue is to work with advertising partners who ensure that only genuine clicks are counted. When running CPC campaigns with us at Sponsormob, for example, advertisers are only charged for unique clicks (which are counted based on a 24-hour time frame). This way an advertiser is not charged for any fraudulent clicks being generated manually or by machines, ensuring that only actual clicks are counted.

Basically, in either case – in performance campaigns or with CPC campaigns, fraudulent clicks are not a huge issue. We’d be interested in hearing from others on this – what is your experience with fraudulent clicks? What other ways are there for advertisers to ensure they only pay for real clicks?