Will ‘Useless’ Clicks Really Cost Mobile Advertisers $6 Billion+ by 2016?

As mobile advertising continues to find its place in the hearts and minds of both consumers and advertisers, the question of ROI remains paramount. So news that a substantial number of mobile ad clicks are in fact “useless” could cause increased hesitation in the marketplace.

A recently released study from mobile app marketing firm, TradeMob, claims that 40 percent of mobile ad clicks are in fact “useless.” Their definition of useless combines those suffering from fat finger syndrome (22 percent) as well as fraudulent clicks from botnets or hidden double banners (18 percent).

If we were to apply this TradeMob data to eMarketer’s recent mobile ad spending forecast, we’re looking at an approximate total of $6.2 billion wasted by useless clicks by 2016 – that is if both advertisers and ad networks don’t utilize and build upon any of the solutions currently available to combat this issue of useless clicks that has migrated to mobile from its origins in desktop.


But as with any new technology, the mobile industry still has a long road ahead in calming advertisers’ fear of failure.

The good news is that a variety of solutions are already available and in place with a number of mobile properties and ad networks.

Functions such as confirmed click – which require a set of two clicks from a mobile ad to first a mobile landing page, then second from a click available on that page – has provided quick, user-friendly relevance to a number of forward thinking advertisers.

Ad networks are also learning alongside advertisers and many have begun the process of re-evaluating the mobile properties they include to ensure their practices exclude any click fraudulence.

But an effective way of combating useless clicks may be found by rethinking industry’s pricing models. Networks have begun to offer campaign pricing on cost per engagement, including cost per navigation and cost per call, as the likelihood of paying for accidents within these campaign models is highly unlikely.

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