Detecting & preventing in-app invalid traffic (IVT)

Monday, June 10, 2019
By: Sara Penchina

Mobile ad spend is increasing, a feat that brings with it a multitude of fraudulent players looking to take advantage of the surge. According to eMarketer, mobile ad spend will account for more than two-thirds of digital ad spend in the U.S. this year, reaching an estimated $87.06 billion. As more ad dollars are funneled toward mobile, publishers must become increasingly cautious about the types of ad fraud encroaching; in particular, invalid traffic (IVT).

The number of fraudulent apps surged by 159% in 2018 from the prior year, and sophisticated invalid traffic (SIVT) impressions that are harder to detect doubled in 2018 from the prior year, according to a report released by marketing measurement firm DoubleVerify. Though app publishers are taking precautions, there are additional measures to take into account when preparing to fight IVT.

Publisher best practices for troubleshooting IVT 

When troubleshooting instances of IVT in your app, we recommend that you carefully review traffic sources and consider the following questions: 

Identifiers
Have you confirmed that your app’s information is properly identified by a single bundle ID or iTunes URL in MoPub’s UI? Be sure to check this.

Refresh rates
Are your ad units refreshing too quickly? We recommend setting ad units to a 30 second refresh rate in order to avoid ad calls being flagged as suspicious.

SDK integration
Have you recently released a new version of your app? Have any changes been made to the way in which your app interacts with the MoPub SDK? We recommend reviewing MoPub’s latest SDK version for iOS and for Android and considering upgrading.

Traffic acquisition partners
Have you begun working with any new traffic or installation acquisition partners?  Be careful when testing new traffic-driving methods or targeting tactics that could be driving invalid traffic to your app.

Testing
Are you performing any tests in a live environment that could result in ad requests originating from data center IPs? Data center IPs are an indicator of IVT.

Detection
Do you have a method of validating that impressions are served to legitimate human users?  We recommend reviewing the IVT guidelines and standards set forth by the Media Ratings Council (MRC).

Analytics
Are your users tracked to a single placement, landing page or traffic source?  We recommend regularly reviewing app analytics to identify potential anomalies in your app visitation, such as a high volume of visits from a single IP or users visiting briefly but frequently.  

MoPub is committed to our mission of helping developers and publishers monetize their applications and maximize revenue, which is why traffic quality remains a top priority.  App fraud/invalid traffic (IVT) erodes trust in the marketplace, damages the integrity of publishers and their audience data and ultimately leads to revenue loss. In order to earn trust and sustained growth, it is crucial that publishers take proactive measures to reduce their risk of exposure to app fraud/IVT.  

To learn more about how MoPub is taking measures to combat fraudulent activity on our platform, check out some of our recent announcements:

Want to download this information as a PDF? Click here.  

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