A mobile phone was once a buzzing nuisance — now it’s the key gateway to consumers’ minds and wallets of any age in any business vertical.
Last year due to the pandemic, consumer and business digital channel adoption vaulted two to five years ahead in a matter of several months as McKinsey notes. Where consumers go — advertisers follow.
Digital advertising budgets went significantly up in 2020-21 and so did the adoption of MarTech solutions such as marketing automation and engagement platforms. According to Smart Insights, 88% of businesses are using marketing automation at least in some capacity as of 2020. Among these, 22% rank their MarTech solution effectiveness as “great” or “good”.
Through marketing automation platforms advertisers, brands, and agencies alike can design omni channel campaigns, automate repetitive marketing flows, obtain granular analytics, and extend personalization across an array of target personas among other things.
However, amidst all the attractive platform capabilities it’s easy to overlook one of the most crucial ones — security.
Looking for a marketing automation platform? Check security first
Marketing automation platforms empower brands to segment, personalize, and automate marketing workflows at a scale hardly imaginable before.
But convenience and efficiency of digital advertising often come with a “hidden” cost — lack of confidence in whether your ad lands in front of a user or a malicious bot. According to Upstream’s “Road to Digital” report, “Privacy and Security” are ranked as the second most pressing challenge by operators.
And boy, there’s no shortage of fraudulent techniques Secure-D researchers saw over the years:
- Misleading mobile ads for luring users and leads
- Invisible ads to attract fake clicks
- Rampant OTP SMS fraud for generating fake subscriptions
- Pre-installed malware and spyware, causing subscription fraud
The sheer prevalence of fraudulent techniques and the relative ease of doing such campaigns makes everyone an easy target. To the point where brands are losing billions in media budgets to bad actors. Without proper security protection, you are deliberating pushing a sizable chunk of your ad budgets straight into fraudsters’ pockets.
But it’s not just money on the line. Ad fraud also muddles your marketing analytics. Fake clicks can suggest a non-existing demand. When there’s no confidence in data accuracy and validity, your company can’t tell if a marketing strategy works. Likewise, when running marketing experiments — ad split (A/B) tests, user journey optimization, content and creatives optimization, channel mix, etc. — you cannot be confident in the results.
Overall, fake ad impressions and clicks create a flurry of issues for advertisers and agencies alike such as wasted media spent and distorted campaign data.
These, in turn, often muddle the strategic direction for new campaigns and further drive a decline in campaign efficiency.
Must-follow security practices in marketing automation
Given the staggering state of mobile fraud, any business must view security as an “embedded” technology in all aspects of mobile marketing and sales. It should be infused into every advertising channel, promotional tool, and digital sale.
Respectively, every business must assess all marketing automation platforms from a security perspective. Then implement essential security measures such as:
Enable real-time traffic blocking and fraud prevention. Stop malicious actors, such as bots and malware, from entering your funnel and depleting marketing budgets by automatically blocking suspicious traffic from malicious sources. Doing so not only protects mobile users from unwanted charges and subscriptions, but also minimizes customer complaints and prevents fake clicks and leads from distorting your analytics.
Add an analytics layer on top of any user interactions. By continuously collecting data about normal and suspicious user behaviors you’d be able to distinguish new and emerging types of fraud. Plus, this intel can be also applied to optimize your campaign’s efficiency.
The above features help you ensure that no malicious traffic enters your ad funnel and erodes marketing budgets. What’s more, you gain undisputed confidence in your analytics and absolute transparency in any user interactions (clicks, views, leads, etc) so that you can craft laser-focused campaigns, backed by actual data, rather than vanity metrics. All together, these factors lead to higher conversions and revenues.
Secure-D: the security watchguard of Upstream’s Grow platform
If you are looking for the optimal balance of security and efficiency, you’ll love Upstream’s Grow mobile engagement platform — a multi-channel mobile customer engagement platform with Secure-D anti-ad fraud system at its core.
Secure-D is a tireless sentinel, scanning all the incoming ad traffic for any type of digital malice. Rest assured that every user interaction is authentic. Protect your ad budget by reducing ad fraud using our built-in predictive ad blocking, behavioral pattern blocking in a secure interface. Scanning over 1 billion mobile transactions annually, Secure-D only gets better year on year as we learn to identify, block, and prevent new types of mobile ad fraud.
Stop funding criminals — invest in better security instead. Especially, when your investment can be as simple as opting for a new mobile ad platform with built-in anti-fraud protection.