Weekly Digital News Roundup: September 3 – 7

Weekly Digital News Roundup: September 3 – 7

Smartphone Users Responsive To Ads

  • A large majority of smartphone owners use their devices to consume digital content, including media and information, according to a new survey by Frank N. Magid Associates for the Online Publishers Association. MediaPost reports that the OPA-Magid online survey of 2,540 people ages 8-64 found that 44% of the U.S. Internet population age 8-64 owns a smartphone. Within this group, 93% said they regularly access content and information, with 59% saying they access the Internet, 58% checking email, 47% checking weather information, 31% watching video, 29% accessing local news and 24% accessing national news.
  • Within the group that consumes content on their smartphones, 39% (or around 36% of all smartphone users) say they have responded to mobile advertising. Interestingly, ad response rates were higher among smartphone users who have paid for content. One out of four U.S. smartphone owners (24%) have paid for digital content, according to the OPA survey, with 22% paying for video, 21% for entertainment, 21% for books, and 19% for weather content. Within this group, 79% have taken some action after seeing an ad, with 31% clicking on an ad, 30% using a special offer or coupon, 27% making a purchase on a PC, and 24% making a purchase at a store as a result of seeing a mobile ad.
  • People who paid for smartphone content were also more likely to have positive attitude toward mobile advertising, with 29% saying smartphone ads are eye-catching, 26% saying they’re relevant, and 25% saying they are unique and interesting, compared to 17%, 15%, and 14%, respectively, for smartphone content consumers in general.

Study: Four out of 10 Mobile Ad Clicks are Worthless

  • ReadWriteWeb has some good news and some bad news. First, the good news: The number of click-throughs on mobile advertisements that were mistaken or fraudulent dropped slightly over the last year. Now the bad news: As much as 40% of clicks on mobile ads are so-called worthless clicks, offering no return on investment for the advertiser, according to a new study. The study analyzed six million mobile advertising clicks on 10 of the biggest mobile advertising networks. Conclusion: Advertisers are wasting a lot of money on mobile ads.
  • “There’s a problem when only 60 cents of every dollar are actually being put to work,” said Trademob founder and CEO Ravi Kamran. The study was conducted in June and found that 22 percent of ad clicks are “misclicks,” or accidental clicks, and 18 percent were fraudulent. Those accidental and fraudulent clicks had a conversion rate of less than 0.1%.
  • “We are seeing fewer accidental clicks today due to increased device screen size and different user behavior,” Kamran said. “Still, more than one in five clicks is purely accidental, which can be prevented by proper ad placement and ad verification techniques.” Harder to fight, however, is click fraud. Of the fraudulent clicks in the study, 56% involved sophisticated botnet and client-side fraud, typically using hijacked devices to create fake clicks that go unnoticed by the user. The other 44% were attributed to server-side fraud, in which publishers instructed servers to report data that masked millions of fake clicks as real ones.

Facebook Cracks Down on “Like” Fraud

  • ClickZ reports that Facebook is cracking down on scammers who use malware and fraud to generate phony “Like” votes. The company said that it will increase its use of automated tools to detect and remove fraudulent Likes. The effort will include the use of updated security components that can better identify suspect behavior.
  • “On average, less than one per cent of Likes on any given page will be removed, providing they and their affiliates have been abiding by our terms,” the company said. “These newly improved automated efforts will remove those Likes gained by malware, compromised accounts, deceived users, or purchased bulk Likes.”
  • The use of fraudulent Likes, or “Like-jacking” has become a popular method for scammers and malware writers to spread their attacks and divert users to advertising or malware-serving sites, as well as advertising affiliate pages. Just as a click-jacking attacks trick users into visiting a page and artificially inflating traffic numbers, automated Like operations can artificially inflate the perceived popularity of a page or company, allowing the attacker to collect a higher affiliate rate from an advertiser.
Scott Kaufmann
[email protected]

Scott is Partner at Lucid Agency and a lover of all things technology, marketing, investing and entrepreneurship. Scott volunteers on the board of the Denver-based Nonprofit Celebrate EDU and as a mentor for SeedSpot (a Phoenix-based social startup incubator).

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