We all know that click fraud is a massive problem for the advertising industry. Every year it costs literally billions of dollars to savvy, sophisticated cyber criminals who have a seemingly endless supply of tricks up their sleeves to appropriate funds. The mobile phone advertising industry is no exception to the onslaught of fraudulent clicking. However, what is different about this market is the lack of efficacy people have at detecting “fake” visits on phones.

What’s so different about mobile phones?

Both mobile phone click fraud, and its desktop based counterpart, are very similar in their operation. Both rely on a click being generated by some piece of malicious software on an unaware computer, or phone user’s device. What is markedly different is the way we can monitor this process.

On the web we can track every move from first impression of the page, to the actual conversion using JavaScript and cookies. We can then use an array of tools to inspect these elements and deem them suspicious or legitimate.

Unfortunately, this is not the case for mobile phone apps. Here, more often than not the apps do not support the use of Cookies, and JavaScript making these methods of pinpointing fraud ineffective. In fact there is often no more data on individual ad clicks than HTTP requests. For all intents and purposes a real click on mobile phone application advertising is indistinguishable from a fraudulent one.

Owing to the vast proliferation of third-party software available, and the readiness with which people are willing to download it, malicious software is absolutely rife on mobile phones too. These programs run unknown on systems “visiting” pages without the device owner’s permission, or knowledge.

For these reasons, we generally discourage the use of PPC advertising on mobile phones. We have, however, featured some hints at how you can spot trends suggesting click fraud may be costing you that will work even for mobile phone advertisers.

Exceptionally high clicks

If you notice that you suddenly start getting exceptionally large volumes of clicks on your page then this could be a sign that there is some click fraud going on. Particularly if you haven’t had any new publishers agree to put your advert out there. A sudden spike in daily visits to your site should definitely prompt a look through your conversion figures.

Exceptionally low sales

When your visits increase, so should your sales, right? Well generally speaking, that’s the way it works. If after you see a sharp increase in the number of visits you receive to your product’s page, and you don’t notice a corresponding increase in sales, the signs definitely point towards a click fraud.

Turn off ineffective PPC campaigns

If you notice a PPC campaign converting poorly for you, then switch it off. It’s likely that you’re already a target of click fraud. If you don’t make a sale for a hundred, or a thousand active visits it’s unlikely that it was just the webpage’s color scheme that put people off. It sounds like you’re getting scammed.