Ad fraud is one of the most pressing issues that mobile marketers have faced these days – and it’s Adjust that has led the charge to fight it, with industry-leading measures that stop fraud before it reaches campaign budgets. We’ve recently introduced a new standard to fight fraud with the release of Click Validation, taking the next logical step in cleaning up our industry and protecting our clients.

Our system works thanks to one simple rule: for every click, there must be an impression. But what does this mean? And how did we get here?

The status quo

Common sense shows that users can click on an ad only if they’ve been served them, and if they have seen them.

Yet, currently, ad channels are free to claim a click for an ad without telling attribution partners about prior impressions. This creates an issue where fraudulent clicks are delivered which could be validated with impression data.

Our clients are often shocked to hear that many partners don’t provide us with proof that an ad was delivered before a user clicks on it. This is heightened by the fact that network partners must, for their own systems to work, track impressions and ad delivery regardless of what they deliver to MMPs. The technology to share this crucial data with attribution partners already exists, but it isn’t shared with us.

With Adjust’s Click Validation, we now require ad partners to share this data with us, so we can answer a very simple question: was there a matching impression for a click? With this, we can end several pervasive forms of fraud for good.

The numbers don’t add up

To give some perspective: Adjust receives over 1bn clicks a day. This is an incredibly high level of activity. However, this figure doesn’t include major self-attributing networks, and only represents Adjust’s share of the market. Given that it’s clicks that we’re talking about, there are simply not enough people on earth to actually produce this amount of engagement.

Raising the bar

With Click Validation, we’re now able to filter through this figure immediately to deliver accurate data to our customers.

Our approach allows us to confirm if a click is logically possible, as we’re able to see if there is a matching impression within a reasonably strong timeframe made by the same device.

This requirement dramatically increases the workload for fraudsters: given a normal click-through rate (CTR) of 1%, an attacker would have to create 100 times more data to spoof properly, which makes Click Spamming much more expensive to perform, and easier to spot. Click Injection is rendered impossible, as an attacker could not generate any previous impressions. And while there are still some ways to steal attribution and spoof engagements, the cost will increase significantly.

It’s just common sense, and it’s at the heart of our new standard: for every click, there must be an impression.

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