Age of App attribution: Rise of mobile ad fraud (4 of 7)

As we saw in the earlier post, with no standardization set in the attribution like Google did in web analytics using GA, Mobile Attribution Platform (MAP) market had many players catering to small groups of customers.

Minimum criteria to enter the market happened to be integrating with Google AdWords and Facebook ad manager for mobile traffic data. Understanding the limitation of their tracking platforms, Facebook (FB has Facebook analytics) and Google starting sharing their attribution data with few early players in the industry. Even platforms without direct integration (official marketing partner) with Google or Facebook were able to build their tools by using various analytical workarounds.

Once Facebook and Google were on-boarded as partners, moving forward and adding other ad networks was like icing on the cake. Many players entered the market, but a dozen players are currently active now.  Google also re-entered this industry by acquiring firebase in 2014 and provided free service. But it failed to catch up with other players. However, they could provide something that no other player would be able to: App download information matching with playstore developer console.   

Except for playstore, Appstore, and OS, nobody can really know whether an app gets downloaded and installed on the device. Even app developers come to know about it only when the app gets opened for the first time in the mobile device. Likewise, attribution platforms will be informed and measure an app install through the first open event only. However, firebase’s integration with playstore gives app developer access to the user level app download data.

With literally no differentiator regarding underlying services attribution platforms started promoting themselves with simple add-on features time to time. In the initial days it was the availability of post-install events for quality measurement, then it was a cohort level different data representation and user retention. The recent buzz word for differentiation is fraud analytics.

Fraud analytics as the differentiation factor was first started by Adjust with their excellent article( It spurred a lot of digital marketers to rethink their digital strategy. However, the fraudster always used to outpace the marketer by a significant margin.

We will see how.

To be continued…


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