Click spam refers to using automated methods to generate fake clicks on mobile ads. This fraudulent activity is intended to manipulate mobile analytics data, artificially inflate the number of ad clicks and visitors, and generate revenue for the person or organization committing the fraud. Click spam in mobile advertising can also be used to exhaust a competitor's advertising budget or to drive up the cost of advertising for a particular keyword or topic. It is particularly challenging to detect and prevent click spam on mobile devices, as the smaller screen size and a touch-based interface can make it harder to distinguish between legitimate and fraudulent clicks. Additionally, mobile devices can use many different types of connections, including cellular data and Wi-Fi, which can make it harder to track and block fraudulent traffic. Like other forms of click fraud, click spam in mobile advertising is illegal and can lead to penalties.
There are several methods that spammers use to generate fake clicks on ads. One method is known as "botnets," where a network of compromised devices generates a large number of clicks on an ad. These botnets can be controlled remotely by the spammer and can be used to target a specific ad or group of ads. Another method is "click farms," where a group of low-paid workers are instructed to manually click on ads, sometimes using multiple devices and IP addresses to avoid detection.
Click spammers may also use "cookie stuffing" or "cookie dropping" to generate fake clicks. This technique involves placing cookies on a user's device without their knowledge so that when the user visits a website or clicks on an ad, the cookie will register as a click.
Another common way of committing click spamming is through domain spoofing, where spammers create fake websites with similar names or structures and put ads that redirect to their target website.
Preventing click spamming can be a challenge, but there are multiple strategies that can be used to minimize the risk:
Monitor your analytics data: Keep an eye out for any unusual spikes in traffic or conversions, as these can be signs of click spamming. Advertisers should also be wary of working with untrusted publishers or partners who may be involved in fraudulent activities.
Use IP blocking: IP blocking can be used to prevent traffic from known bad IPs. This can be a good strategy to minimize fraudulent traffic from a specific location or source.
Maintain transparency: Publishers can maintain transparency in how ads are served, such as by providing an analytics platform that allows advertisers to measure the performance of the ads and detect any fraudulent activity.
Keeping the software and device updated: Making sure to keep your website, server, and any platform updated can help ensure that potential vulnerabilities that spammers could exploit are addressed.
Use an MMP: Mobile measurement tools such as Airbridge provides fraud protection and detection services that can protect your app from click spamming. Airbridge offers personalized rules for fraud prevention and real-time fraudulent activity analytics.