Ad Fraud in India : what are the solutions to a growing problem?

Ad Fraud in India : A rising problem / TUNE

Bolstered by the sale of smartphones and easy internet access, mobile advertising click fraud in India is 2.4X higher than global averages, and mobile app install fraud is 1.7X higher according to a latest report report by Tune. Ad fraud in the Indian subcontinent is 15% which is 31.9% higher than global mobile ad fraud averages of 15%

China has already toppled Indian smartphone makers with strategic innovation and marketing and the decrease in cost of smartphones and easy internet access has boosted the downloading process in India. At $1.2bn in digital ad spend, Indian marketers are handing $350m to fraudsters, according to the Tune report.

Indians downloaded apps massively with a 71% growth over 2015 as a result of increase in mobile internet users in India which is crossed 420 million in June 2017 according to Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). The global association of mobile carriers, the GSMA, says that India will lead the world in smartphone adoption between now and 2020, adding 350 million net new smartphones.

The Drum spoke with Karan Talwar, director of strategic partnerships for India and Southeast Asia for Mobfox, a mobile advertising platform who believes that the ad tech industry in India is flourishing more than ever.

He says: "However, with the smartphone boom publishers feel the pressure to scale quickly. There are a few important steps that advertisers can take to protect themselves against fraudulent mobile advertising in India, such as improved budget management and working with attribution partners."

"Advertisers should be very careful when allocating budgets to the right partner, rather than seeking the lowest prices. Opting for standardized methods to buy inventory will help to achieve better results.”

Empowered by the rise of smartphone sales and mobile social networking, mobile ad spending is expected to increase by 85% in India, according to eMarketer.

Vikas Parihar, president, digital integration, FCB India, says: "I sensed a huge amount of fraud when I initiated queries around ‘click to install’ and LTV of users coming in from a specific network. The country is adding new smartphone owners faster than any other market on the planet. That means entrepreneurs need to move fast to capture new market share. Venture capitalists who are funding startups see the opportunity too."

"With investment comes pressure to grow. That pressure makes marketers move quickly, and impatient money is not necessarily smart money. Therefore, with increased advertising, scammers see opportunities. Two things create cracks for fraudsters to find and exploit: sub-publishers and re-brokering. Often, ad networks re-broker ad traffic to other ad networks or to sub-publishers."

As to how this problem can be tackled, he stresses that marketers can take charge of their ad spend and limit fraud by paying close attention to bottom-funnel metrics, instead of top-funnel metrics. Metrics at the top of the funnel include clicks, views, and installs. These are easy for scammers to game. Metrics at the bottom of the funnel include sales, sign-ups and long-term engagement with an app or service. "Those are much more challenging to fake, if not impossible," he adds.

Recently, fake traffic forced Google to issue refunds to advertisers and Facebook too plotted crackdown on ‘deceptive’ advertisers.

Niraj Ranjan Rout, co-founder Hiver, an inbox organization tool further adds: "To clean the ecosystem, companies need to understand the different types of ad frauds affecting their businesses and take corrective measures. They also need to create guidelines for partners and hold them accountable."

According to Gurjot Singh, vice president and national media head, Dentsu Webchutney, ad/ bot fraud effects programmatic way of digital advertising the most but bot fraud is completely avoidable if the appropriate fraud detecting and brand safety tools are in place.

He says: "Brand owners need to ensure that proper checks and measure are in place, at Amnet we deploy IAS’ pre-bid technology as standard on each campaign to score the brand safety of an impression before a bid is made. On the other side brand owners need to ensure that proper checks and measure are in place."

In a new-age battlefield, those brand owners that discover fraud must look to use data insights and hold data-driven conversations with their ad partners and measure, learn and modify quickly to overcome a growing problem.

Taruka Srivastav

I march to the Indian beat of The Drum.

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