Trackier Logo
Home » Glossary » click »

Click Injection

What is Click Injection

Click injection is a type of affiliate marketing fraud that spammers employ so that they can generate fake conversions.

They do this by artificially inflating the number of clicks on your affiliate ads.

This mobile ad fraud targets mobile devices, specifically android devices. Spammers are able to inflate the number of clicks even before the app installation process is completed.

App install traffic flow is somewhat different from the traffic flow on other digital advertisements.

This is due to the extra steps involved with app installation. These additional steps are also the reason that fraudsters are able to grasp an opportunity to commit click fraud easily with app installs.

To put it simply, when a user clicks on an ad posted on a platform, with the intention of installing the app associated with it, they are redirected to the play store.

This click is recorded by the ad network.

Once the user downloads the app and installs it on their device they register with the app’s attribution provider.

This is the step that matters the most.

After the installation, some apps are launched immediately, whereas some may take hours or even days to launch. This delay is where spammers find an opening and may claim credit for the app install even though they did absolutely nothing to drive any clicks or app installs.

How Does Click Injection Work?

Click injection is an elaborate affiliate marketing fraud. 

Here is how it works:

  • STEP 1: Malicious Publisher Joins Affiliate Program-

The first step is that a fraudster enrolls in an affiliate program that rewards installs when a user runs the advertiser’s app.

  • STEP 2: User Downloads Malicious App-

The next step is when a user installs the fraudster’s app on their android device.

  • STEP 3: Malicious App Monitors New Installs-

The user’s device is monitored by the fraudster through his app for any new app installations. This is done through a code that is embedded in the malicious app installed earlier by the user.

  • STEP 4: Detection of Advertiser’s App Install-

The fraudster’s app keeps track of the apps installed by the user. It detects when the advertiser’s app is installed on the device.

  • STEP 5: Injection of Fake Click Event-

Once the malicious app detects advertiser app installation it creates a fake click event. This click event simulates that the user clicked on an ad prior to installing the advertiser’s app.

  • STEP 6: Credit Hogged by Malicious Publisher:-

Once the user runs the advertiser’s app on their android mobile device, the advertiser’s system attributes the app install to the fraudster. This happens due to the fake install credit given to the fraudulent publisher with the help of the fake click event.

  • STEP 7: Payment to Fraudster-

Since the fake click event attributed the install to the publisher, the advertiser ends up compensating them for the install. This commission is granted to the fraudster despite the fact that they had no actual role to play in driving the app install.

In this way, the fraudster ends up being paid unfairly and the affiliate advertiser ends up losing their budget on a fraud that adds no real value to their campaign or in driving app installs.

Why is Click Injection Considered a Threat?

This fraud is a bother for both affiliate marketers and advertisers alike. 

Listed below are some ways in which this fraud harms your affiliate marketing effectiveness:

  • Fraudulently created clicks and installs ultimately inflate commissions. This is because a large chunk of the advertisers’ budget is wasted in paying fraudsters. 
  • It also impacts partnerships with legitimate affiliates negatively.
  • Since advertisers are paying for clicks that are not adding any real value to their campaign, it results in a budget drain. 
  • Damage of reputation is also a huge disadvantage for advertisers with campaigns that are rigged with this fraud as it creates a misconception of  inflated engagement that is not actually true.
  • Campaigns that are click injected often make it difficult for advertisers and marketers to track performance. Measuring legitimate user engagement becomes a difficult task.

Click Spamming vs Click Injection

Click spamming and click injection are fairly similar to each other. Both share the category of mobile ad fraud as well as affiliate marketing fraud and are used by fraudsters to generate fake clicks or impressions within an app.

However there are some key differences which are important to understand for affiliate advertisers so that they can protect their campaigns effectively.




It is a much simpler and basic form of mobile ad fraud. It is an elaborate and more sophisticated type of fraud.
It implements the use of automated tools, primarily bots, to generate fake clicks and impressions. It utilizes malicious codes in scripts, hidden in an app, to generate fake clicks.
The goal is to boost the number of clicks on an ad, fraudulently, to increase the revenue generated for the advertiser. The goal is to trigger clicks fraudulently, just before an app is installed by the user, to hog the advertisers’ budget by getting unfairly compensated for app installs.
It is easier to detect and prevent as it follows a repetitive pattern to generate fake clicks. It is comparatively difficult to detect since the interactions created by it, within the app, are similar to legitimate users.

Protect Your Affiliate Ad Campaigns

Protecting your affiliate ad campaigns against fraud can be tricky.

Here are a few strategies to protect your campaigns in a seamless yet effective way:

  • Device Tracking-

To protect operating systems or devices prone to fraud implement device specific tracking strategies.

  • Partner with Reputable Networks-

Partner with ad networks that are reputed and established in the industry. Make sure your choice of ad network implements strong fraud detection measures such as utilizing anti-fraud tools.

  • Click Validation Tools-

To verify click legitimacy, click validation tools are your go to solution. Various ad networks and third party providers offer these tools which can help protect your ads.

  • Monitor Traffic Quality-

Keeping an eye out for unusual patterns in your campaign data is a simple yet efficient method to detect fraud. Metrics such as unusually high CTRs and clicks from non-target locations can be indicators of fraudulent activity.

  • Targeting IP Geo-Location-

Implement IP geo-locations to restrict ad impressions from unknown locations or locations that are notorious for fraudulent activities.

  • Educate Users-

Make users aware of the threats posed by malware and fraudsters. Encourage them to download apps only from trusted sources, such as the Google Play Store, as this diminishes the threat of fraud considerably.

  • Retention and Uninstall Rates-

Track user retention rates and app uninstall rates as this can help identify if any fraudulent activity is taking place.

Share Now

Stay in the loop and ahead of the curve.
Subscribe to our newsletter now!