Home > Articles > Fraud is Losing, but the Battle is Far From Over. FraudScore’s Ad Fraud Report 2021
Fraud is Losing, but the Battle is Far From Over. FraudScore’s Ad Fraud Report 2021
30 August 2021
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FraudScore is a full-stack anti-fraud solution. Here is a quick overview of the company:

  • an independent SaaS provider
  • works with brands across the globe since 2016
  • not affiliated with any platforms, ad agencies, affiliate networks, advertisers, etc. 
  • provides fraud detection and prevention for all kinds of advertising campaigns (CPI, CPM, CPC, CPA, and programmatic)
  • works with both mobile and web traffic
  • is known for unique approach to fraud diagnosis and elimination
  • gives impartial traffic checkups and is autonomous in its evaluations

Below we offer you a summarized FraudScore report and team’s insights that might help with understanding the global trends in ad fraud and the possible outcomes.

Key Takeaways

In general, we see that the amount of ad fraud in the first half of 2021 has decreased. Global traffic has seen an increase in quality — brands, advertisers, agencies, and networks put more effort into combat with ad fraudsters, and it looks like the results are finally coming to the surface.

The situation with the most detected ad fraud types has not drastically changed from 2020. In the first half of 2021 we still see that attribution fraud, emulators, and bot farms are some of the most widespread types of ad fraud. This is true for both mobile and web traffic.

Although in general 2021 still has less detected ad fraud, we understand that there is still a lot to come this year. Autumn and winter with the holiday seasons are always real treasures for fraudsters. We anticipate the amount of fraudulent traffic to increase and new malicious schemes to appear. We’ll see at the end of 2021.

Key Numbers: Ad fraud in 2021 

Distribution by months

The first six months of 2021 had an average of 24.3% of ad fraud detected in all traffic processed by FraudScore platform.

Distribution by GEOs

In 2021 we see that China became the leader of fraudulent traffic among global GEOs. China hasn’t been in the top three since 2019, and in 2021 it happened.

 China

 39.10

 Russia & CIS

 31.30 

 APAC

 21.30 

 EU

 20.60 

 US/CA

 16.80 

 Middle East

 13.40 

 India

 12.90

Distribution by ad fraud categories

Bot traffic is one of the most detected ad fraud types in 2021. There is a noticeable change that is worth mentioning, and that is also one of the most common symptoms of botnets — an increase in browser fraud. In 2020 we had only 2%–8% of detected browser anomalies on all processed global traffic, but in 2021 we already have numbers of 13%–16%.

 Detected proxy

 33.5 

 IP Anomalies

 18.6

 Fake Attribution

 14.0

 Browser Anomalies

 13.2

 Device Fraud

 10.7

 BlackList

 5.5

 OS Anomalies

 3.2

 Other

 1.4

Mobile — 25.1% of ad fraud in JanuaryJune 2021

Mobile ad fraud in 2021 has the same symptoms as it had at the end of 2020 — constant presence of attribution fraud (e.g., clickspamming, click injection, and conversion/install fraud), browser fraud, and device fraud. 

These are symptoms of bot farms, botnets, adware,and emulators (i.e., artificial traffic) developed to mimic real users, steal the data of users or devices, and forge conversions and events as real people would do.

Web — 19.23% of ad fraud in JanuaryJune, 2021

In 2020 we had web ad fraud bigger than in 2019, whereas 2021 is showing less web ad fraud. Although fake attribution is still the leader of the most detected ad fraud types, the amount of ad fraud has dropped from 37% in 2020 to 19.23% in January–June, 2021. 

GEO distribution has also overcome some changes — in 2020 we had Russia & CIS (51%), US/CA (36%) and APAC (27%), whereas in 2021 we see that China has entered the top three, and replaced APAC.

We invite you to download the full versions of FraudScore’s report to learn more about 2021 ad fraud and to compare 2020 and 2021. We already see that 2021 differs from the previous year, but is the situation changing to a more positive note? Are we going to have more clean traffic in online advertising? What are the most fraudulent app categories? Is Android traffic more fraudulent than iOS in 2021? Download the full report to find the answers.

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