In all industries, we’ve seen a dramatic rise in cybercrime over the past two years as more people join the remote workforce and engage in business online. Mobile ad fraud is piggybacking.
Because mobile ad fraud can be so well-disguised within legitimate data, it’s difficult to say exactly how widespread it is. Estimates on fraud loss range from $6.5 billion a year to $19 billion.
Fraudsters are in a constant arms race against platforms like Google trying to stamp them out on their platforms. Often they’re moving faster than the good guys. But if they know what to look for, marketers can protect themselves and prevent ROI setbacks for their companies.
What is Mobile Ad Fraud?
Mobile ad fraud covers a wide range of activities. All exploit smartphones to drain money from marketing budgets using illegitimate tactics. These include click and bot fraud, invalid ad traffic, domain spoofing, and fake installs.
The effects of this aren’t just financial. They don’t just affect single companies or marketing campaigns. If it isn’t caught early, the phony data created by mobile ad fraud affects marketers’ data-driven decision-making. In turn, this affects the income of publishers who distribute the ads. It can even affect supply chain flows as inventory management systems are sensitive to real-time consumer data.
Mobile ad fraud is particularly bad in the Asia and Pacific Islands region. They suffered 60% of global exposure to mobile ad fraud in 2020 despite increasingly successful efforts by marketers to combat it.
Many of these countries “leapfrogged” the personal computing era for various reasons. So over the past decade, they’ve added more smartphone users than anywhere else in the world.
These are “mobile-first” countries where a person’s smartphone is their primary computing device. The mobile economy is more valuable there than in the rest of the world. For example, South Korea was the first country to introduce 5G to enterprise telephone systems in 2018, and the first country to provide 5G nationwide in 2019.
As the world catches up with them, it’s more urgent than ever that marketers are vigilant about mobile ad fraud. If they aren’t proactive now, the problem could simply move from one region to another.
How does it work?
Mobile ad fraud comes in many forms. With increasingly advanced technology, fraudsters are innovating at the speed of any startup. Some common tactics include the points highlighted below.
Fraudsters run warehouses full of smartphones packed side-by-side on shelves and running 24/7. Often the phones are being run from a computer that does all the clicking automatically. But sometimes there is staff clicking the same button on dozens of phones at a time.
Invalid ad traffic
Any number of bots can produce invalid ad traffic, not all of them fraudulent. SEO web crawlers quantify web analytics all the time. The bots aren’t tied to a specific device or IP, which makes them hard to block, but they’ll usually show up in the “unknown” section of your web analytics.
The fraudster sells placement on a better site than they have, warranting a higher cost per impression or click. This could be anything from someone impersonating an ae registration for ads in the UAE to impersonating a well-known publisher’s site.
This is a simple trick where multiple adverts are displayed on top of each other, the user only seeing the one at the top of the “stack”. The fraudsters have some very legitimate-looking data to back up their claim that your ad got lots of impressions.
In recent years, hackers have started doing “SDK spoofing”, a more advanced method of click spam where they break into the apps’ code and can notify the app developer of any number of fake installations. The fraudsters don’t need to perform many fake installs before they’re producing some great conversion rates on your ads.
How can you prevent ROI setbacks?
A lot can be done to catch and prevent mobile ad fraud with careful data analysis and by breaking down communication silos.
For a start, you should carefully review the analytics data you’ve been collecting. Look at the impressions and clicks for your campaigns at every step of the funnel. Also, check the clicks and impressions for specific user segments and sources of traffic.
An extremely high or low clickthrough, conversion, or retention rate at any step could be a sign that something’s not right.
A very low conversion rate percentage could be a sign of an inflated clickthrough rate. If you’re marketing a mobile app, an extremely low average click-to-install time (CTIT) could be a sign of install hijacking. A very high CTIT could be a sign of click spam.
Social media marketers don’t own their analytics data, making them vulnerable to mobile ad fraud. If you’re running a social campaign, lessen your exposure to fake traffic by limiting your ad’s reach to narrowly-defined target audiences. Keep an eye out for specific IPs arriving at your site and exclude any that look suspicious so they can’t skew your data.
Ideally, your marketing team should have one person responsible for fraud prevention. This creates a focus on prevention and accountability if fraudsters do slip through the net.
You also allow this one team member to specialize, acquiring a deep technical knowledge of mobile ad fraud and what tools can help you catch it. Over time, they’ll understand how to interrogate your analytics data better than anyone else can and ask questions nobody was thinking of. This is due, mainly to the fact, that there are no true experts in the field.
Finally, mobile ad fraud prevention should be a collaborative effort. For a start, you should insist upon access to your partners’ own analytics when you’re talking about a deal. Ask them how they’re collecting that data – what “a conversion” means to them – and what they’re doing to combat mobile ad fraud on their side of the arrangement.
Working Together to Prevent Ad Fraud
If marketers, publishers, and platforms around the world can work together, there’s a lot they can do to stamp out mobile ad fraud. In 2020 Google banned 600 apps in one fell swoop from their Google Play Store. An increased social norm of scrutinizing data will build trust amongst marketers and publishers.
The Ultimate Guide to Paid Marketing for B2B
Paid marketing is an effective way of promoting a business, and the various mediums for paid B2B marketing are Google Marketing, Bing Ads, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, etc.
For enterprise B2B companies, paid social and pay-per-click advertising can be challenging. The unfortunate reality is that the buyer journey for these businesses is long, with multiple stakeholders at different points in the process.
It’s harder to promote B2B than B2C businesses with paid advertising because there needs to be a rock-solid strategy to reap significant results from your ad spend.
Paid B2B marketing strategies have an essential role in this process: here are some tips on implementing them when used by enterprise B2B companies.
Use Display Advertising to Boost Brand Awareness
Before someone can start considering your services, they need to know you. The first step in any decision-making process is finding the supplier – you can do this by utilizing Google’s Display Network and company advertisements in industry publications.
This type of digital marketing campaign doesn’t aim at driving leads. Still, you must keep in mind that these campaigns don’t generate direct results such as lead generation, mostly not in the short term if tangible results matter most for other business stakeholders (for example, shareholders).
This campaign aims to get your company’s name in front of as many people as possible. There are some ways you can target the ads, and we would usually recommend using keywords or an affinity audience.
Use Google Text Ads to Target Transactional Keywords
Google text ads are the most common form of paid media campaigns for B2B marketers, but they are also one of the most misinterpreted.
Transactional keywords, or keywords as they are commonly known, refer to phrases that suggest a level of intent to purchase- words like “solutions,” “software,” and “business” can often be seen at the end.
For example, when someone searches for marketing software (marketing), their intention is different than if they were searching google on how to do marketing (PPC).
Transactional search phrases have a higher level of intent, so they are the target for text advertisements on places such as Google. Rather than being too broad with their keyword targeting, many companies mistake spending more budget on keywords that attract few search results.
However, as long as you don’t spend all your budget on these words without seeing any returns, it won’t matter. You can also use these AI content generators to create compelling ad copies.
Use Organic Keyword Research
The information-focused content on your website should address the broader search terms that are not targeted by your text ads. These searches require a more informative approach than an interactive one, so educating them on blog posts or another form of content is best.
You could also target these broader keywords with an awareness campaign, as I mentioned at the beginning of this article.
Still, unless you provide educational materials in your ad, it is always better to approach those keywords from an SEO angle rather than trying to advertise for them explicitly.
Engage in Re-Marketing
Paid ads can still help increase visibility. Many businesses put pay-per-click ads on the first page of search results to target buyers searching for relevant terms.
For the right price, you can place an ad for your business – a pay-per-click ad – at the top of a search results page, and it will only cost you more money if you don’t place it correctly.
Regarding advertising, 98% of visitors don’t convert on just one website, so how else would anyone reach these people? The best way is through remarketing advertisements.
Remarketing ads are digital marketing advertisements that appear specifically for prospects who have already visited your website. They show up on the internet as candidates move around and experience other websites so that they can be top-of-mind.
With all of the data available about customer demographics and browsing habits, these personalized messages allow you to create a hyper-personalized ad experience for every person – with or without an initial visit to your site.
Just make sure that post-click experiences (the landing page) deliver a message too.
Include Video Marketing in Your Strategy
Video has become a non-negotiable part of B2B marketing. More and more companies are waking up to the value of video in their campaigns. Videos help you engage prospects and boost lead generation.
Let’s look at the most impactful video formats that you could use within a new or existing B2B marketing campaign.
- Brand Videos – These videos are a subtle way of letting your customers know who you are and what you have to offer. They’re an excellent alternative to formal, overly produced sales pitches. Make sure your personality and company message shine through when creating the video. It would aid if you thought about what makes your company more valuable than your competitors.
- Tutorial Videos – A tutorial video is a self-explanatory video that teaches the user something new. Tutorial videos, in a nutshell, take the user through step-by-step instructions on how to complete a specific task.
- Testimonial Videos – Testimonial videos are a powerful way to build customer trust. It’s worth the time to collaborate with clients to create original and engaging testimonial videos.
- Case Study Videos – Case study videos are a more comprehensive account of your work successes than testimonial videos. They focus on how you improved your client’s business performance and included ROI and conversion rates.
Videos don’t need to be complex for B2B prospects. Connecting with them and demonstrating your value will serve you well.
Concentrate on the overall ROI
Don’t worry about how many of your ads are getting impressions or the cost per click. If you have set up your B2B marketing campaigns rightly, you should measure overall investment instead of the value of leads.
You may spend $6,000 on one lead worth $50k or even $12k on one lead worth over a million dollars. These can be extreme examples, but what matters when looking at your long-term paid B2B situation measures how much money you invest versus how valuable leads come out and assess.
Increasing your overall return on investment will require you to make efforts and modifications in various areas. Doing this requires being brave with your B2B marketing strategies and abandoning established tactics for newer ones. It’ll also need long-term initiatives.
However, all these changes should be worth the time invested if you have the right plan to understand what customers want and effective communication. They are statistics to help track any progress made towards ROI improvement.
Adopt a Customer-Centric Strategy
B2B companies need to adopt a customer-centric strategy to excel in B2B marketing.
A customer-centric company needs to have more than just good customer service. It should focus on providing positive experiences before and after the sale to drive repeat business, increase loyalty and improve growth.
When you give your customers the focus they deserve and combine this with Customer Relationship Management with the help of CRM tools, you have the key to a wealth of data- giving you an all-encompassing view of each customer. You can then use this information to provide them with more tailored experiences.
To build a customer-centric strategy for B2B marketing, a B2B company should take these actions:
- Operationalize customer empathy
- Hire for customer success
- Democratize customer data
- Facilitate direct interaction with customers
- Connect company culture to customer outcomes
- Tie compensation to the customer
To achieve customer-centric visions, companies need to have a customer-focused culture.
The buyer journey for a B2B company is often long. It can take a little bit to see a return on your paid campaigns, but you’ll likely cover any lost revenue quickly once you do B2B marketing.
It will help if you consider a couple of things when working on your paid search for a B2B marketing campaign. You need to ask yourself about the customer problems and then choose keywords that match those.
Consider video marketing to make sure many people are looking at your ad, engage in re-marketing, focus on overall ROI, and adopt a customer-centric strategy correctly.
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