Forensiq CEO Projects an Increase in Mobile App Fraud Looking to 2018

The following is a guest contributed post by David Sendroff, CEO of Forensiq

2017 was a turning point for the marketing and advertising industry in the realm establishing the true threat of advertising fraud. Looking to 2018, the industry will continue to band together to continue to make shifts to clean up the digital media ecosystem. Below are a few predictions that will make major shifts in this space.

Increase in mobile in app ad fraud

#1: Ad fraud will become pervasive across the mobile cost-per-install ecosystem. Fraudsters targeting app inventory will significantly increase their level of sophistication and the number of channels through which they commit fraud on apps and connected devices. We’ve seen an uptick in the complexity of fraudsters’ tactics at the tail end of 2017 and we don’t see this trend slowing down anytime soon. In 2018, we will see the rise of mass [app] install farms while marketers and industry players, like Google, become more educated about and take steps to address attribution fraud.

Increased use of AI and machine learning to detect fraud

#2: We’ll see increased adoption of AI and machine learning as tools used to detect fraud. Like all methodological advances, machine learning needs to be applied in a systematic and intelligent way to be effective. While the algorithm itself is important, the key is the feature engineering, or selection of the data points which are most important to feed the algorithm. For example, If you aren’t able to come up with good models of what fraudulent activities look like, you won’t be able to effectively identify invalid traffic.

Increased use of combined spoofing tactics

#3: Bad actors will increasingly use combined spoofing tactics to thwart detection services in the ad tech space, including spoofing geo, mobile device ID and bundle ID for mobile inventory. In the web space domain, device and cookie spoofing will continue to be used heavily by bad actors.

Calls for increased transparency will grow louder

#4: Calls for greater transparency between marketers and agencies will continue to grow louder in 2018. Marketers will begin to care more deeply about gaining visibility into and measuring key metrics such as viewability and invalid traffic percentages in their campaigns. They’ll urge their agencies to share these metrics with them, or will attempt to measure these things themselves. Forward-thinking marketers and agencies will embrace transparency and collaborate more closely to optimize performance against those metrics.

Ads.txt will hit a tipping point

#5: Ads.txt will hit a tipping point in Q1 of 2018, and most major DSPs and publishers will support it by year’s end in the web domain. The solution will be extended to the mobile app world via the app stores, but the mobile market is far more fragmented and adoption may be slower. Despite its potential to significantly reduce domain spoofing, Ads.txt may not make as big of a dent as some observers predict because it requires near universal adoption to be effective. It can’t be adopted by just the publishers and DSPs (demand-side platforms), but must be validated by all players in the ad tech value chain. Beyond that, it doesn’t solve other pervasive fraud problems such as identifying non-human traffic.