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InMobi's Plan to Continue the Fight Against Fraud in 2018 and Beyond

Posted on December 27, 2017
By Piyush Shah, Chief Product OfficerChief Product Officer

As mobile technology evolves to create value for advertisers with advanced targeting capabilities, high customization and precise measurement, the mobile ecosystem continues to be threatened by an ever-expanding and evolving web of ad fraud. Estimated to cost growth marketers approximately $350 million in 2017, ad fraud has left advertisers scrutinizing the authenticity of each impression and every subsequent user interaction. According to Forrester Research, ad fraud will reach $10.9 billion in wasted spend by 2021, so it’s now more important than ever for the industry to come together and fight this battle together.

Introducing The InMobi Anti-Fraud Framework

As a trusted partner of leading brands across the globe, InMobi has taken the initiative with its Anti-Fraud Framework to protect and enhance value for advertisers. Most fraud checks today are downstream (post-click) and account for only 15-20% of all fraud. InMobi scrutinizes fraudulent activity at each point upstream, right from the time of publisher onboarding, to the install event.

The InMobi Anti-fraud Framework includes:

  • Authentication of Publisher Properties - InMobi implements strict policies and processes such as ownership verification, brand safety checks among others to authenticate the media that advertisers are buying. These measures arrest malpractices such as site subletting and duplicate accounts.
  • Ad Serving Checks - InMobi employs several run-time diagnostics and analysis on render and on click. InMobi’s fraud detection algorithms ensure that each view, interaction and action on a served ad is by humans and not automated traffic.
  • Third-party Install Validation - InMobi has partnered with leading third-party measurement and attribution platforms including Kochava, Tune, AppsFlyer and Adjust that validate and analyze the quality of installs and complement InMobi’s efforts on identifying invalid data.

With the Anti-fraud Framework, InMobi identifies and rejects suspicious ad requests to the tune of 10% of all traffic, bins 15% of all served ads, and discards 4% of all registered clicks in a campaign. The InMobi Anti-Fraud Framework gives advertisers unparalleled real time access to their campaign hygiene as a no-cost value-added service, something no other mobile solutions provider currently offers.

Adopting the Right Metrics for Fraud Prevention

Mobile users are exposed to a multitude of ads on a daily basis and are prone to become ad blind beyond 15-30 ads. Additionally, a network driving an install every 200-300 clicks is without a doubt ‘suspicious.’ Hence, upstream touch points such as impressions and clicks are the strongest directional indicators of fraud. Measured as Mean Clicks to Install (MCTI), MCTI is defined as the number of clicks required by an ad network to drive an install from a specific user. InMobi boasts of an MCTI as low as 5. In addition, for downstream (reactive) metrics such as Mean Time Taken to Install (MTTI), the percentage installs driven by a network should be less than 10% for an MTTI of 10s.

While most advertisers or networks today implement anti-fraud measures as an afterthought, merely reacting to the threat with a goal to minimize impact, the InMobi anti-fraud framework has been built to weed out fraud by disincentivizing fraudsters across the mobile ad lifecycle.

Industry Collaboration

InMobi has committed to joining several anti-fraud industry initiatives and industry groups, including:

  • Coalition Against Ad Fraud (CAAF) - To collaborate with other players in the industry on fighting and preventing mobile ad fraud, InMobi was proud this year to have joined the Coalition Against Ad Fraud (CAAF) led by Adjust. It includes key members of the mobile marketing ecosystem, all with a shared commitment to fighting performance ad fraud. Members have collaborated on an agreed set of guidelines to attack mobile ad fraud such as establishing what constitutes performance fraud and agreeing who the responsible parties are for dealing with fraud, and the responsibilities of the members.
  • Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) - InMobi became a member of TAG in mid 2017 and is working with an independent auditor to achieve TAG Certified Against Fraud Seal (TAG CAF). TAG CAF ensures that participants follow industry best practice is combating IVT (invalid traffic) and ensures that payments made in the digital ad ecosystem are going to legitimate companies.
  • Ads.cert - InMobi is currently exploring ways to get involved with Ads.cert, which is a new process for cryptographically-signed bid requests that show the actual path of inventory. It was created as a digital signature so that buyers can verify a specific site's inventory. This is especially important for high-value inventory such as video - similar to DRM for the ad supply chain. It includes higher security than it has today, however, it is not yet available on either mobile web or mobile in-app. With more security, more dollars can move to programmatic.
  • Ads.txt - InMobi is working with the industry to find a way for ads.txt to be applied to mobile in-app since it is currently only supported by mobile web.
  • Third Party Prevention Tools - This year, InMobi has integrated with many of the top third-party fraud solutions in an effort to make our anti-fraud framework even more robust. These solutions include AppsFlyer Protect360, TUNE Fraud Prevention Solution, Kochava Fraud Console and many more fraud abatement tools are currently being explored and tested for integration.

Education Efforts

As part of our efforts to bring the ecosystem together and collectively discuss steps to understand and minimize fraud, InMobi has also launched a series of interactive workshops titled InMobi InDecode: Decoding Mobile Fraud. The most recent workshop took place in November 2017 in Jakarta, Indonesia where InMobi’s Krishnendu Majumdar, SVP & Global Head, Products, Performance Advertising and Praveen Rajaretnam, Product Marketing Manager presented insights from InMobi’s research on fraud to an audience of leading performance marketers. Haikal Bekti Anggoro, Head, Online Marketing at Lazada Indonesia, stressed upon the need for frameworks which can help advertisers analyze tons of data across platforms to identify fraudulent activity, during a fireside chat at the workshop.

As a thought leader in the ad tech space, InMobi has been at the front line in tackling ad fraud. InMobi has joined forces with a number of industry partners and utilized their fraud abatement tools to combat bad actors/fraudsters and develop new solutions for the best interest of our shared clients and the ecosystem.