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Mobile Video Click Fraud Rises Nearly 200% To Begin 2017

Continuing our series examining programmatic click fraud metrics to identify trends, patterns, and key takeaways, Pixalate today looks at smartphone click fraud rates from the first part of 2017. Mobile click fraud remains an issue for programmatic marketers — so how does it impact smartphones specifically? 

If you want to know what a "mobile click farm" looks like in action — check out this article from Daily Mail.

Smartphone display click fraud slowly rises by 11% to begin 2017 

Smartphone display click fraud — across web and apps — increased slightly during the first four months of 2017. 


  • Smartphone display click fraud was at 12.8% in January 2017
  • Smartphone display click fraud rose to just over 14% by February and remained around the 14% mark through April
  • Overall, smartphone display click fraud was 11.3% higher in April compared to January (14.2% versus 12.8%) 

Marketers who rely on click data in the mobile ecosystem need to be aware of trends like this. The rise from 12.8% to 14.2% over the course of four months may seem insignificant, but it does represent an 11.3% increase in a relatively short period of time. The issue of click fraud can quickly snowball. 

Smartphone video fraud jumped almost 3x across web and apps

While smartphone display click fraud saw a marginal increase (11.3%) in click fraud over the first several months of 2017, the picture wasn't quite as rosy for smartphone video ads.


  • Smartphone video ads saw click fraud at 9.7% in January 2017
    • By April, that number had risen to 28.9% — an increase of 198% (nearly 3x)
  • Smartphone video ads saw click fraud peak at 45.1% in February before decreasing back down to 28.9% in April

As you can see, video ad click fraud in mobile is an evolving, often volatile problem. From January-April, video ad click fraud rose about 3x. But within that span, it increased by as much as 5x (in February).

Taking click fraud into account on smartphone devices 

Fraudsters are constantly changing their click fraud tactics. As we saw in the click farm video shared by Daily Mail, there are dedicated "centers" out there meant solely to fake clicks on mobile devices.

Marketers who focus campaigns on PPC and CPC opportunities in mobile need to structure those campaigns around click fraud, because our data indicates that the risk associated with these campaigns is both volatile and growing.

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