“is ad fraud higher or
lower in mobile?”
Augustine Fou, PhD.
acfou [@] mktsci.com
212. 203 .7239
“it’s more lucrative and
less measurable… hmm,
what do you think?”
April 2017 / Page 2marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc.
NONE of the bot lists work
bad guys’ bots
and “on the wane”
Source: GroupM, Feb 2017
Source: IAB Australia, Mar 2017
bot names in list
“not on any list”
disguised as popular
browsers – Internet
adapting to avoid
in the wild
April 2017 / Page 3marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc.
NONE of current js detection works
• Used by advertisers to
measure ad impressions
• Limitations – tag is in
foreign iframe, cannot look
ad tag / pixel
• Used by publishers to
measure visitors to pages
• Limitations – most
detailed and complete
analysis of visitors
• Used by exchanges to
screen bid requests
• Limitations – relies on
blacklists or probabilistic
algorithms, least info
April 2017 / Page 4marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc.
Bad acting apps load more ad impressions
April 2017 / Page 5marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc.
Fake mobile devices install apps
Download and Install
Launch and Interact
April 2017 / Page 6marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc.
Suspicious apps (CTRs too high)
suspicious mobile apps
April 2017 / Page 7marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc.
Magnitude of the ad fraud problem
Source: Verisign, Q4 2016
“sites that carry ads”
“sites you’ve heard of”
“apps you’ve heard of”
“apps that carry ads”
Source: Statista, March 2017
April 2017 / Page 8marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc.
Top 25 apps used by humans
April 2017 / Page 9marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc.
Top 10 apps by time spent by humans
April 2017 / Page 10marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc.
Top apps used by humans by category
April 2017 / Page 11marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc.
Half of humans download 0 apps /mo
April 2017 / Page 12marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc.
Apps have 1/3rd uniques, 20X time spent
April 2017 / Page 13marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc.
Primary mobile revenue is from ads
April 2017 / Page 14marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc.
Mobile ad revenue mostly from games
April 2017 / Page 15marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc.
Top apps April 2017
“do you think bad guys will install your
fraud detection SDK in their apps?”
“your CPI campaigns are not immune to fraud”
“it’s not lower in mobile,
you just can’t measure it.”
April 2017 / Page 17marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc.
About the Author
April 2017 / Page 18marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc.
Dr. Augustine Fou – Independent Ad Fraud Researcher
Follow me on LinkedIn (click) and on Twitter
April 2017 / Page 19marketing.scienceconsulting group, inc.
Harvard Business Review
Hunting the Bots
Fou, a prodigy who earned a Ph.D. from MIT at
23, belongs to the generation that witnessed
the rise of digital marketers, having crafted his
trade at American Express, one of the most
successful American consumer brands, and at
Omnicom, one of the largest global advertising
agencies. Eventually stepping away from
corporate life, Fou started his own practice,
focusing on digital marketing fraud
Fou’s experiment proved that fake traffic is
unproductive traffic. The fake visitors inflated
the traffic statistics but contributed nothing to
conversions, which stayed steady even after the
traffic plummeted (bottom chart). Fake traffic is
generated by “bad-guy bots.” A bot is computer
code that runs automated tasks.