Install hijacking

Beware of Install Hijacking in mobile apps. Unauthorized redirection skews attribution data, affecting advertising models for e-commerce businesses.

Install Hijacking must not be confused with installation process interruptions. In essence, it refers to the scenario when an app installation (usually mobile apps) attribution gets hijacked or redirected by another app or source without proper authorization. This fraudulent act is often performed to claim illicit credit for driving installations, skewing attribution data and potentially affecting the advertising model of ecommerce businesses.


While there's no traditional mathematical formula for Install hijacking, a simple representation can be as follows:

Install Hijacking = Unauthorized Redirection + False App Install Attribution


Consider a user who decides to download an app following a certain ad they saw. During the download process, a malicious third-party app tries to claim credit for this download and installation activity, thus hijacking the install.

Why is Install hijacking important?

From an ecommerce perspective, the importance of Install Hijacking lies in its potential to damage an organization’s digital marketing efforts. Digital Ad frauds, like install hijacking, misinterpret ad campaigns' effectiveness and misallocate resources, stealing away rightful credits from legitimate channels. This, in turn, alters the analysis of customer acquisition sources, affecting the overall ROI.

Which factors impact Install hijacking?

Observing mobile in-app behavior and analyzing data trends can help identify and mitigate Install Hijacking. Employing antifraud solutions, like using multi-touch attribution models, can attribute credits to all touchpoints involved in the customer journey, thereby limiting the effects of Install Hijacking. Additionally, continuous revisions of attribution tools, and partnering with trusted and transparent mobile marketing platforms can reinforce your stand against install hijacking.

How can Install hijacking be improved?

Multiple factors can influence Install Hijacking, including the security structure of the app, the type and quality of attribution tools in place, the ad sourcing, and the advertising partner's credibility.

What is Install hijacking's relationship with other metrics?

Install hijacking's impact extends to numerous ecommerce metrics. It directly affects Cost Per Install (CPI), as unauthorized attributions may inflate the number of installs, thus lowering the perceived CPI. Similarly, Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) and Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) might get skewed due to incorrect attribution of user acquisitions. It also raises potential concerns on Conversion Rate as fraudulent installs do not lead to quality users or customers, portraying a false positive picture of conversion metrics.

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