The Rising Tide of In-App Fraud - eMarketer

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The Rising Tide of In-App Fraud

Click-to-install fraud rate is 2.57 worldwide, while in-app purchase fraud rate is 7.49

July 15, 2015

App install and transaction fraud are now huge issues that can’t be ignored, though some countries suffer far more than others, based on recent research by Apsalar. Between January and May 2015, the omnichannel data management platform examined more than 10 billion in-app click events and over 200 million in-app virtual goods transactions, using API data feeds, to identify the level of fraud in these two key performance indicators of app publishers.

Top 10 Countries, Ranked by Highest vs. Lowest Mobile App Install Click Fraud Rates, May 2015 (index*)

The study found that global click-to-install fraud rate—the incidence of fraudulent or abnormal numbers of clicks per download, compared with a norm—was 2.57, meaning that for every click that resulted in a legitimate install, there were 2.57 unexplained clicks. In the US, this figure came in at 2.12. The three countries with the highest mobile app install click fraud rates were all in Asia-Pacific: Hong Kong was No. 1, followed by India and Indonesia. And Asia-Pacific’s pain didn’t stop there, with Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore also suffering. The Middle East had high click fraud rates as well, with the remaining top 10 countries all in the region.

Western Europe, meanwhile, fared very well, home to the countries with the lowest mobile app install click fraud rates: Germany, France and Italy. Spain and Norway also landed in the top 10 by this metric. Latin America made an appearance on the list, with Mexico and Colombia home to some of the lowest rates. And despite the poor performance in many of its countries, Asia-Pacific did have some positive results as well, with the Philippines, Japan and New Zealand landing among the nations with the lowest click fraud.

Top 10 Countries, Ranked by Highest vs. Lowest Rates of Mobile In-App Virtual Goods Theft, May 2015 (number of virtual goods stolen per legitimate purchase)

Global in-app purchase fraud rate—the number of virtual goods downloads that take place without revenue changing hands—was huge, at 7.49. The US performed much better than the worldwide average by this metric, with a virtual goods theft rate of 1.50. Asia-Pacific and the Middle East once again suffered. China was by far the worst, with 273.2 goods stolen per legitimate purchase, followed by Taiwan, with a much lower average of 54.1. Other Asia-Pacific countries with poor performances were Hong Kong, Singapore and India, though rates were much lower vs. China. Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United Arab Emirates were home to some of the worst rates, as were Russia and Mexico.

Once again, Western Europe was a leader in low in-app purchase theft rates, with Norway and the UK home to the best. Switzerland, Denmark and Sweden also landed in this group. And Asia-Pacific had some positive results here, thanks to Japan, New Zealand and Australia. Canada and the US rounded out the 10 countries with the lowest in-app purchase fraud rate.


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