App install fraud saw a resurgence in 2022, leading to $5.4 billion in global financial exposure, the estimated monetary loss if fraud protection wasn’t in place.
According to Appsflyer’s latest report they attribute this resurgence to three key factors, namely the distraction caused by the release of iOS 14.5, budget cuts affecting marketing teams throughout the sector and an increase in reported cases due to improved fraud protection.
Although both gaming and non-gaming apps were affected by install fraud, the report notes that, “the gaming industry’s data savviness and emphasis on post-install value optimisation weeds out fraudulent activity.”
Apps can learn from mobile
Fraud rates climbed throughout the year, increasing by 40% on iOS in the second half of 2022 and 46% on Android in the same period, reaching rates of 11.81% and 12.75% at the end of February 2023 across all apps. Games, however, saw rates of around a sixth of other apps, standing at 1.86% on iOS devices and 2.22% on Android in February 2023. The report notes that “gaming user acquisition managers are considered best-in-class in anti-fraud practices. To curb fraud, marketers from other sectors could benefit from adopting the best practices long-established in mobile gaming.”
In contrast, finance, shopping, and casino apps led to over 75% of exposures, with finance apps alone making up almost 50% at $2.6 billion. Bots accounted for over 70% of install fraid in most regions, with only the MENA region trailing at 68%.
Although install fraud was identified throughout the world, markets such as the UK (21% on Android, 23% on iOS), Mexico (34% on Android, 19% on iOS) and Vietnam (21% on Android, 28% on iOS) reported higher levels of fraudulent activity. However, as noted in the study, this heightened activity could be due to recent improvements in fraud detection.
In March, an Appsflyer report found that the UK attracted $545 million in ad spend in 2022.