Bulletin: Click blocking threshold


What's new

Protect360 blocks clicks from ad networks when extremely high rates of click fraud are detected from that ad network.

Effective date

April 5, 2021

What's changing

Before the change: AppsFlyer focused on blocking relevant installs created by click flooding.

After the change: AppsFlyer also blocks clicks from ad networks with extremely high click flooding fraud rates. 

How it works

If an ad network has extremely high rates of click fraud, Protect360 blocks the ad network’s clicks for the rest of the day. This means that any clicks occurring after the threshold is reached are not recorded by AppsFlyer, nor are they eligible for attribution.

The AppsFlyer fraud protection algorithm takes into account various parameters when detecting click fraud, including volume of clicks, CVR, detected fraud rate, normal fluctuations in activity, industry and geographic benchmarks, and proprietary parameters. The algorithm is dynamic and updated on an hourly basis, to take into consideration changing trends.

Click blocking thresholds: 

  • Are at the ad network level. Meaning the analysis of click fraud takes into account all an ad network’s campaigns and advertisers. And the block affects reporting and attribution for all the ad network’s campaigns and advertisers (whether or not they have Protect360).
  • Are reset daily (UTC timezone) and blocks apply until the following day. 
  • Can be avoided by stopping campaigns and publishers with anomalous activity, and by adding click signatures to clicks.
  • Cannot be changed or stopped. Protect360 is finely tuned and accurate in its fraud detection and the algorithm can’t be manually adjusted or turned off. 


Q: What is my network threshold?

A: Details of the click blocking mechanism are protected to prevent attempts at circumvention. That said, the threshold is only reached if there is an extreme volume of clicks fired, beyond the possibility of human behavior. Looking at the day’s click and install volumes will give you a clear idea of whether there is a click flood issue stemming from one or more of your publishers.


Q: How can I get unblocked?

A: You can avoid the threshold by stopping campaigns and publishers with anomalous activity. Once blocked, you need to wait until the following day (UTC) for clicks to resume being recorded.


Q: This is not fraud. We are working with cheap sources and sometimes their quality is low.

A: Poor performance at a normal scale from non-suspicious sources does not trigger click blocking. The algorithm identifies performance that cannot possibly be human.


Q: This stops customers from scaling their campaigns and they don't want these clicks to be blocked.

A: The AppsFlyer fraud protection algorithm protects customers from extreme and blatant instances of click flooding. It doesn't impact scaling ability, as it addresses non-human generated clicks, where the vast majority of blocks only cause liabilities. If you have customers with concerns, please advise them to contact their AppsFlyer CSM to address their issues.


Q: Why does AppsFlyer have issues dealing with the volume of clicks?
A: We don't have any issues handling volume. We support some of the world’s largest-scale advertisers and process billions of real-time data points each day, including enormous numbers of legitimate clicks. As part of our commitment to support high-scale growth with rich and accurate data, we act in our customers’ best interests and block clear instances of click flooding. 

Q: What is the reason for the change in approach, blocking clicks in addition to installs?
A: We constantly improve our fraud prevention mechanisms as part of our ongoing commitment to protect customers. Until now, we accepted clicks and just blocked installs. However, in extreme cases, the click rate is impossibly extreme, and in those cases, there is no sense in accepting them into our systems.


Q: What can we do if we expect a significant increase in traffic and click volume (for example, due to new campaigns)? What can we do to avoid being blocked?
A: The algorithm is dynamic and updated on an hourly basis, to take into consideration different trends. It is sophisticated enough to handle spikes and is not triggered by normal activity fluctuations, including sudden and significant increases in volume. That said, partners can use their click data and reports to identify suspicious sources and stop those campaigns.


Q: How can we check for problematic traffic and improve campaign performance?
A: Partners can use their click data and reports to identify suspicious sources and stop those campaigns.


For any other questions, partners should contact their AppsFlyer PDM.

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