South Korea: benchmark for mobile ad fraud - Appromoters

South Korea: benchmark for mobile ad fraud

 In Mobile Industry
Reading Time: 3 minutes


Mobile ad fraud is forever on the rise. Be smart and don’t waste your budget on traffic that doesn’t exist.

In Q1 of 2018, mobile app marketing was exposed to $700-$800 million worth of fraudulent traffic, this is a 30% increase from 2017.

Of all paid installs, 11.5% are fraudulent installs

The most targeted apps are ones with high CPI payout, global scale, or both. M-commerce was the top app vertical to be targeted by fraudsters.

1) Shopping

– $275 million in financial exposure over Q1 2018

-#1 highest number of fraudulent installs from bot attacks, rejected through behavioral anomalies, install hijacking attacks.

2) Gaming

–  $103 million in financial exposure during Q1 2018

-#1 highest number of fraudulent installs from click flood attacks

3) Finance

– $90 million in financial exposure during Q1 2018

-#1 highest number of fraudulent installs from device farm attacks

4) Travel

– $65 million in financial exposure during Q1 2018

-15% higher fraud rate in Q1 2018 vs $2017

5) Food & Wine

– $63 million in financial exposure during Q1 2018

-500% higher rate of fraud in Q1 2018 vs. Q4 2017


South Korea fighting early types of fraud

Christopher Evans – Business Intelligence Manager

“I’ve found that the South Korean market is a testing point because of the mobile use penetration, they develop anti-fraud techniques much earlier than major markets, then these techniques spread to other markets. Retention fraud was first noticed in Korea and is now known across Taiwan, Japan and it’s heading over to the US.”

“It started around July, when South Korean advertisers expected you to have only South Korean bought devices and only Korean language installs. All Korean bought Samsung phones have a device ID that ends with S, K and L. I go into the device data and look at the origins of the phone itself. Many Korean advertisers are conscious of this.”

We’ve found that about 40% of our Korean clients are asking for this. When it comes to payment time, it comes up every time. By the middle of next year it will become a standard in Korea and it will slowly spread to other GEOs.”


Future Fraud Trend

Keep an eye out for the growth of Limit Ad Tracking (LAT)  fraud. With the application of GDPR, I predict by next year that LAT fraud will be the biggest. When you’ve got about 15% of users hiding they’re device ID, that’s normal, if it’s 30-40%, then that’s a sign of fraud.”


Creating standards for the industry

Stella Jo – Asia Advertising Specialist

“South Korean advertisers are very strict when giving KPIs for an offer, they will often include fraud KPIs to ensure a high level of traffic quality.”

“You may receive specific KPIs to accomplish but your advertiser will be looking out for purchase fraud, registration fraud and retention rate fraud. These can be spotted by watching conversion GEOs, device IDs, language installs, session times and the new device ratio.

“Make sure to manage these metrics, it may make the difference between quality users or fraud.”


Future Fraud Trend

“Gaming apps are the most popular but watch m-commerce apps in South Korea, the gaming category is going down and the m-commerce category is growing fast. This will bring new opportunities for fraud in a new app category.”



  • Keep your SDKs up to date running the latest SDK version ensures that you have the latest security updates.
  • Pay attention to patterns in your data such as large discrepancies between App Store numbers and your reporting platform, or significant changes in conversion rates may be due to fraud.
  • Stay transparent, set your fraud terms with each of your providers and media sources before campaigns begin to avoid re-negotiating when fraud is found.


Learn more about mobile fraud and performance based app marketing.


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