Mobile app fraud reached up to $800 million in Q1 2018

New AppsFlyer report claims $103 million of games earnings exposed during quarter

Mobile app fraud reached up to $800 million in Q1 2018

Mobile app marketing fraud grew to between $700 million to $800 million in Q1 2018, according to AppsFlyer.

The mobile market research company has released its State of Mobile App Install Fraud report which claims marketers were exposed to 30 per cent more fraud in the first quarter than compared to the quarterly average in 2017.

The figure of up to $800 million took into account the global apps market, including media cost and third-party attribution market share estimates.

Overall the number of fraudulent installs is said to have grown by 15 per cent, affecting 11.5 per cent of all marketing-driven installs.

AppsFlyer said that device farms were the biggest cause of fraud in summer 2017. By February 2018 however the company said bots have now become the most popular form of fraud attacks at 30 per cent.

Shopping apps hit hardest

Overall, the report claims that 22 per cent of apps have over 10 per cent fraud. Less than 12 per cent are “significant exposed” with at least 30 per cent fraud.

The hardest hit sectors are thought to be shopping, gaming, finance and travel apps. Shopping apps were struck by fraud the most, with as much as $275 million exposed to fraud in Q1.

Gaming is the second hardest hit category, with $103 million exposed to fraud during the quarter.

While it may come as no surprise, Android was labelled as the most vulnerable platform for fraud, though it noted iOS is still a target.

You can read the full AppsFlyer State of Mobile App Install Fraud report here.

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Head of Content

Craig Chapple is a freelance analyst, consultant and writer with specialist knowledge of the games industry. He has previously served as Senior Editor at, as well as holding roles at Sensor Tower, Nintendo and Develop.