Mobile Traffic – The Blessing & the Curse! Part 1

Mobile Traffic – The Blessing & the Curse! Part 1

Kickass 4 comments

I received this Private Message via the paid forum in  Rather than message him directly I’ve answered him here with some groundwork laid out for the challenges in Mobile that will answer some of the reasons why Mobile Traffic is such a tough nut to crack.

Please note this guy (he is a guy by the way and I din’t ask him yet to post this, so I’ll leave his name out in consideration for his anonymity) was doing it right in the sense that he had invested in himself by buying the tools and building the infrastructure for success. He also had the initiative to go after it and Kickass by throwing a ton of spaghetti against the wall ($2k worth) to see what sticks.  None stuck and he’s beat up and ready to give up.  I’ll share my feedback after his message…

Source: Guest Post Private Message to me…

Hi KickassMarketer,

You may not know me so I may come across like any typical noob that seeks to get rich, dreams all day etc.

Truth is, I see these success on mobile and CPA offers skyrocketing through the roof, and yet after spending close to $2K USD in adspends from networks like exoclick, plugrush, leadbolt, mmedia, inmobi, buzzcity, tapit, and even Bing, I have only made back less than $90 in total revenue. It’s a big loss, to me. Not because of the figures, but because I have not learnt anything from this experience. Tweaking, optimising, scaling, I could not even find ONE campaign that was at least break even. I have tested from some 60 different offers, and they all seemed to crumble.

I have already reduced my expenditure by ditching imobitrax, and a VPS hosting, as well as my boxofads and WRW subscription, and soon I will be leaving AFFplaybook as well.

I’m not asking for you to throw me a bone here. I am only hoping for some insight in this industry, so I can keep my dreams of running Mobile CPA offers alive.

Is there a way you could teach me, a thing or two about how you crush it?

I would love to add you on skype.



Mobile Traffic has a HUGE Blessing about it to us marketers. The same Blessing comes with an equally weighted Curse. Both are the same…it is the absolutely MASSIVE scalability and volume. Funny my spell-checker doesn’t even know what scalability is. No wonder LOL!

As I mentioned in my previous post the opportunity for volume (which is where our scalability comes from) in my previous post here but some of what I didn’t share about it is its biggest challenges I’ll cover now.

But, before I do I’ll share a quick story.  Since most of those reading will have heard about the “good ole days of Adsense” I think it may help shed some light here.

In those Good Ole days there were people who got in early enough, before Google shut them down, and were building crappy content sites that were built with the sole purpose of ranking in Google Organically for specific terms. The sites and their pages had Adsense ads on them (and there were even courses released at the time) and plugins that would help maximize your sites’ visitors’ clicks on your ads.  Tricks like pointing to your ads, using only this ad type here and here etc.

They worked and worked very well. I personally have friends who were generating $1,000,000 per month with them. For a while…

Well, one of the issues in Mobile is that there are apps and mobile websites that there sole purpose is to generate tons of clicks for their owners.  They are getting away with it to this day.  Policing this is very difficult because it will take some massive improvements to Google’s policing mechanism before it happens.  Once they figure it out, which they will in time, it will be a cat and mouse game for probably years to come. It’s out there and a BIG problem for advertisers like us.

These are your overly creative developer-types that I’d call not fraudulent per se (there’s much uglier out there that I’ll talk about in a minute), but it’s complete BS traffic nonetheless and bad for us.

There are websites that are legitimate, that get away with a more subtle version of this, like the Angry Birds guys that have banners on every screen and the players click them just to make them go away. Not fraudulent like placing your ad where the button for the next step in the game (like is out there) should be, but these clicks are still complete crap as the user backs out of the click before they even reach your resolving URL.

Still crap, but not fraudulent on purpose.  This subtle form of bad click inventory is just a matter of fact and will always be there to some extent. Google can’t police it really, but can get better about adjusting the advertisers spend based on bounce rate. I think on their ad platforms they may be already adjusting for this (not to the extent that we would like to see), but know from experience that and data I’ve seen shared by others, that depending on the app the traffic comes from, this can be up to 40% (on average) and even higher in some games (like 90%).

Then you have the really ugly vermin. These are the companies in India and other countries who have server farms with cell phone emulators (faking that they are phones) and click inside their own games and websites to generate clicks for revenue.  They are VERY sophisticated companies (think BIG companies doing a massive scale of FRAUD).

These fraudsters are so sophisticated that they not only click your ad…they also click the buttons on your landing page (mine) and then install the app. This allows them to scam the networks where innocent guys like me are paying for installs. They’re robots not only install the app they open the app and start clicking buttons inside the app.

They even take it to another level of fraud.  When they emulate the install they are also faking the IP address.  So, when I go to a place to buy a UK install I often am buying an install that looks like its in the UK and a real human (they faked that part).

I absolutely know this is happening on a HUGE scale.  Reason for it is, being the app owner I have access to all the data on the users’ device and know the actual cell phone carrier network that they are on.  So, when I see an app in the UK that has an Indian Cell Phone Carrier I know they gamed me.

A big problem is that by the time I get the install everyone in between has been gamed.  The Affiliate, the network, and me (at the end of the food chain). Nobody but me in this process actually knows the real truth.

They get away with it because most advertisers like me don’t have the technology on the backend to catch it.  They have a UK install so…hey that’s cool right? Nope. Not if you really ever want to make money or get real engagement from that “UK” user.

Many of the big guys probably don’t care.  They want to get to 100,000,000 users and then sell their company for $19 Billion dollars like Whatsapp did.

For the little guys like me we’re getting scammed and most of the players (traffic sources, networks, affiliates, and advertisers) are all getting scammed and there’s nothing we can really do about it. They don’t even know. Would they care if they did? Maybe.  Could they stop it? No. They don’t have in app analytics so its impossible for them to catch it.

In the UK for example, I discovered this problem in early January 2014. It was 36% of all of our traffic in the UK.  That’s as an aggregate from all sources.  Some partners had 60%+ of their traffic coming in this form.

So, being the advertiser all I could do was lower my payout to a point where my revenue per user was on target.  Essentially putting me out of business because everyone else was still paying the higher rates for traffic. Because they either don’t know yet (likely) or don’t care.

This is just one of the big reasons why Mobile Traffic is tough.

Add to that the fact that you might jump on a traffic source and buy 40,000 USA clicks. Let’s assume that they cost $0.05 each. That’s $2,000.  Being a Kickass Marketer you’ve got Imobitrax and can track every aspect of every users coming through your front end.

So, now divide those 40,000 clicks (which is a crap-load of clicks) across 4,397 websites and apps on a traffic platform. Assume for the moment that the traffic platform evenly distributes your ads across the platform and you get 9 clicks from each one.

Let’s say you have a kickass offer that converts really well in your geo (USA) and it converts at about 15-20 clicks per install.

See the problem?

Even if you get some conversions you can be sure that some of the sites and apps are not good. They don’t have enough data yet.

So, the scale and volume is a curse in this regard.  Knowing now what you know about the fraud, and tricksters etc. Knowing you absolutely have to optimize…you’re stuck.  You can’t drop sites that don’t have enough data.  Let alone optimize for carrier, handset model etc.

So, a big problem in Mobile Traffic is not being able to afford to buy the data.  Even big companies that are performance based (critical distinction because most aren’t) can’t afford to buy the data on all the several hundreds of traffic sources.

So, I leave you with a little hope…throw you a bone.

My newbie tips for mobile are:

  1. Start in niches you already have success in and/or have a passion for. Find what you love and do it is my motto.
  2. Start on Facebook or another traffic source with limited distribution so you can optimize. If you start with Facebook you’ve at least eliminated the multiple publisher (sites and apps) variable out of the equation.

Have a kickass blessed day/evening!




August 16, 2014 at 11:51 pm

Quote Originally Posted by jamtal Paid Member of
Even though I’m not in to Mobile yet, I appreciate the post, great info.

A lot of people would say that $2K might be enough to start with Mobile but I’d have to disagree, especially if you’re complete newbie. Like you’ve said, there are many things you have to take in to consideration, you have to test a lot of things and it all costs money.

Someone who has experience, could maybe get away with that much money but I won’t even try Mobile before I have solid budget of let’s say $10K to test everything properly.
Said the super smart and insightful Koala Bear 🙂 Agreed!


August 16, 2014 at 11:52 pm

Quote Originally Posted by hamzab Paid Member of
Hey man

As someone who is just getting his feet wet with mobile I find this thread extremely insightful and helpful.

Quick question, knowing that fraudsters focus on generating fake clicks for larger geos with high CPCs like UK,US,AU & CA, is it safe to assume that I’ll do fine focusing on dominating smaller geos where those fraud companies might not be operating ?

Safer from genuine fraud, but just as at risk in the games at getting “accidental clicks”.


August 16, 2014 at 11:52 pm

Quote Originally Posted by Aello3 Paid Member of
Interesting read, thanks for sharing it with us!
My pleasure!

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