Ad fraud remains biggest challenge for mobile marketers in China

China's unique mobile-first market offers huge opportunities to marketers

Ad fraud remains one of the biggest challenges for mobile marketers in China, according to AppsFlyer Asia vice president Ronen Mense.

Mense told The Drum that ad fraud is one of the “biggest thorns in the side of marketers” in China, along with the market’s lack of a universal measurement tool and its unique Android landscape.

“Today’s mobile fraud takes many forms and demands a multi-layered approach to fraud protection, detection and prevention. While app marketers have tried to mitigate fraud in their campaigns by blacklisting IPs and the offending sub-publishers, fraudsters are constantly finding new ways to take a slice of the pie.”

Mense said advertisers need to work closely with mobile attribution and measurement partners to understand and identify the different types of fraud, which includes impression fraud, click fraud, app install fraud, and engagement and purchase fraud.

“It is imperative that advertisers know what to look for and employ the right suite of tools so they can proactively prevent and block fraud as it occurs, as well as have access to insights on suspicious activity.

“Big data plays a massive role in fraud protection, and the more data that’s available, the larger the pool of insights you can build.”

With China’s 724 million mobile users, representing 95% of the 751 million internet users in the country and its mobile ad spend growth outstripping other markets, foreign brands are increasingly looking to get a piece of the action.

However, China’s unique mobile landscape, which features more than 300 Android app stores, along with the language and cultural barriers, local bureaucracy and media partners, means launching an app is a much more challenging process.

“[China] is a mobile market with its own unique ecosystem, with Android having multiple app stores and traffic sources, as opposed to other countries, where users download Android apps almost exclusively from Google Play.

“As with app stores, China also has its own media players, who operate in an ecosystem devoid of major companies from the West such as Google, Twitter, and Facebook. In their place, behemoths such as Baidu, ByteDance and WeChat dominate.

“This means that it’s a different world for marketers entering China, and they must do thorough research on the intricacies and operational nuances of the mobile market before diving in. If marketers manage to grab even a tiny share of China’s market, it would already represent a huge return in value for their efforts,” he said.

Mense said managing China’s potential bureaucracy issues, can be challenging.

In recent times, the Chinese Government has cracked down on developers and apps, banning VPNs from app stores and tightening regulations, and changing censorship laws, particularly on gaming apps.

However, he believes the opportunities outweigh the challenges in China, which is not only mobile-first, but in many cases mobile-only, with app users in China more likely to spend more on in-app purchases than any other region worldwide.

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Danielle Long

Danielle Long is APAC Correspondent for The Drum with a remit to cover news from China, Australia and New Zealand. Danielle has 15 years experience as a marketing journalist and has worked on publications in the UK and Australia. She has interviewed some of the world’s leading marketing, advertising and creative brains and has written about almost every standout brand and marketing campaign from the last 15 years.

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