FraudScore Ad Fraud Report: 2020vs2019 for ZorbasMedia

23 February 2021
Reading: 2 min

FraudScore Ad Fraud Report: 2020vs2019 for ZorbasMedia

2020 saw a record upsurge in ad fraud with fraudsters stealing more organic traffic and faking more installs than ever. We had our finger on the pulse of the industry throughout the entire year. This time, we decided to reach out to our friends at FraudScore, a team of experts focusing on detecting and weeding out fraudulent traffic,  for more in-depth statistics on the state of ad fraud. More on this below.

About FraudScore:

FraudScore is a full-stack anti-fraud solution. FraudScore works with brands across the globe and has provided fraud detection and prevention for all kinds of advertising campaigns (CPI, CPM, CPC, CPA, and programmatic) since 2015. FraudScore works with both mobile and web traffic and is known for its unique approach to fraud diagnosis and elimination. 

FraudScore is an independent SaaS provider and is not affiliated with any platforms, ad agencies, affiliate networks, and advertisers, etc. FraudScore gives impartial traffic checkups and is autonomous in its evaluations. 

2020 Key Takeaways:

  • Time spent on mobile surpassed time spent watching television
  • Global advertising spend experienced a decline of 10.2% compared to 2019. The industry was shocked and shaken by the global pandemic
  • Online advertising fell by approximately 1.5% and was the least affected
  • There was $240B in mobile ad spend, reflecting +26% growth compared to 2019.
  • There was a 20% increase in the time the average user spent on a mobile device compared to 2019
  • At least four hours spent on a mobile device every day by the average user
  • Mobile email ad conversion jumped to 32% due to lockdowns
  • There was a 33% increase in app downloads in 2020 globally.
  •  There was a 45% jump in mobile game apps.
  • App marketers spent $75B, reflecting a 30% increase for install campaigns than in 2019.
  • World Federation of Advertisers predicted that by 2025, at least $50B will be lost by advertisers to ad fraud annually

2020 Global Ad Fraud — FraudScore statistics:

  • 38% of all traffic was fraudulent in 2020
  • 38.5% of mobile traffic was fraudulent 
  • 32.5% of iOS traffic was fraudulent
  • 39.6% of Android traffic was fraudulent
  • 37.4% of web traffic was fraudulent 
  • Top three fraud-prone geos are: Russia&CIS, APAC, and India
  • APAC is the most fraudulent geo in mobile traffic
  • Russia&CIS is the most fraudulent geo in web traffic
  • The most widespread ad fraud types: Proxy fraud (bots, adware, malware etc), IP anomalies, Attribution fraud.

2019 vs 2020:

  • 2020 reflects higher numbers in detected ad fraud. 31.5% of traffic was fraudulent in 2019, but 38% was marked as “fraud” in 2020. 
  • The biggest amount of ad fraud in 2020 was detected in August — an extreme 47%. Whereas in 2019 the highest amount of ad fraud was detected in October (pre-holidays time) — only 36%.
  • The geographical distribution of ad fraud remained almost the same; the top three fraud-prone geos didn’t change dramatically. However, a significant change occurred in 2020. The EU geo has started to show more fraudulent traffic and moved to the top five fraudulent geos globally. 
  • The most detected ad fraud types were the same for 2019 and 2020, which included Detected proxy, IP anomalies, Attribution fraud, and Device fraud. However, there was a change in the specific ranking of these categories. In 2019, attribution fraud was the second most detected type, whereas in 2020 it was upstaged by IP fraud. It dropped to 14%. Device fraud jumped up from 9.64% in 2019 to 13% in 2020. 

In general, 2020 had more users online than any previous year. Due to global isolation and strict policies in all of the countries, people spent the majority of their time online working, having fun, and communicating. The more users who went online, the more imposters there were putting their hands on the traffic coming to and from those users.

The ad fraud types and schemes that were detected in 2020 demonstrate how cunning and inventive fraudsters have become to steal from users, advertisers, and agencies. Fraudsters not only continued to mimic real users and provide millions of fake impressions, clicks, and events, but also they are now turning to stealing organic traffic even more than they used to. 

To download the full version of FraudScore’s reportclick here. 

Have a story to tell about traffic arbitrage?
Become a ZorbasMedia contributor!
Become an author