In 2018, Anastasia Selchuk was Pixonic’s User Acquisition Lead.
Together with her team, they made a strategic decision that would help them scale user acquisition. They also knew that it would expose Pixonic to more user acquisition fraud. That fraud could eat into their user acquisition budget and derail entire campaigns. Pixonic needed to do everything they could to address the fraud risk and chose Protect360, AppsFlyer’s fraud protection solution, to do so.
Pixonic is a veteran in the mobile gaming world.
They’re best known for the hugely popular War Robots, a freemium mobile game. Released in April 2014, War Robots is a third-person shooter with real-time PvP battles.
In 2020, fueled by the success of War Robots, and with Anastasia now at the marketing helm, Pixonic released Dino Squad.
Pixonic’s strategic shift was all about accelerating the pace of growth. To do so, their user acquisition strategy required more traffic. That meant testing a large number of media sources.
To increase their reach Pixonic went outside their trusted self-reporting network sources. Much of their budget was now focused on ad-networks and affiliate networks. Leaving the ‘walled garden’ would increase the potential for fraudulent activity.
Pixonic were already identifying fraudulent traffic on their own. Much of that fraud was simple and easy to manage. As time went on, the fraudsters upped their game. Now they were dealing with more sophisticated fraud methods that were harder to detect. Pixonic’s marketing team knew that for every fraud event detected there was likely to be far more going on that they were unaware of. When they learned of AppsFlyer’s new Protect360 product, they agreed to become one of the very first clients.
“AppsFlyer did a really good job of explaining everything and showed us how they track and categorize different fraud types. They’ve helped us understand how fraud and fraudsters work.”
From the moment Pixonic activated Protect360, their suspicions were confirmed.
A whole new range of fraudulent activity was revealed. It showed that bots, click flooding and payment related fraud were damaging their business. With Protect360 in place much of their fraud was now blocked in real-time, at the point of attribution.
“Before working with AppsFlyer we did a really good job of managing fraud from bots that were easier to detect. But, we had no visibility of more complex fraud because only AppsFlyer gets this information. They use that information to prevent fraud in real-time which means we have less fraud on our side. That means less of the painful reconciliation process for us.”
As Protect360 has evolved, so too has Pixonic’s knowledge of the changing nature of mobile application fraud. Working in close collaboration with the AppsFlyer team means that they are constantly learning and adapting quickly to new threats.
Pixonic now has the ability to actively track fraud across all user acquisition activity. They have successfully cleaned up their traffic by removing fraud and can now seamlessly reconcile the cost of fraudulent installations from media partners.
Protect360 helped Pixonic eliminate the bad actors which in turn has revealed their trusted traffic sources. The ability to focus on these clean, high conversion channels allowed them to make significant savings. In 2018, with the support of Protect360, Pixonic eliminated over $1 million of fraudulent advertising spend.
And, with as much as 84% of fraud being detected in real-time, Pixonic can now spend more time strengthening relationships with reliable traffic sources.
“Having so much of our fraud activity automated means we have more time to spend on actually optimizing our campaigns, on being analytical and on thinking more strategically. It also means less time and effort tweaking our internal BI system because we have much more reliable data.”
Pixonic launched Dino Squad in April 2020. They’ve taken everything they’ve learned from War Robots and applied it to Dino Squad. That includes their ability to manage fraud.
That means that Dino Squad has a commercial advantage. Less budget will be wasted and they can focus on quickly acquiring new users.
Pixonic and AppsFlyer will continue to work together to improve fraud detection and management. As the fraudsters adapt, Protect360 does the same, learning from each attack and improving Pixonic’s ability to detect fraud.
“What really stood was the responsiveness of AppsFlyer. They’d ask us what else we would like to see. And, rather than it taking months, they’d deliver something quickly that was better than what we were initially asking for.” – Anastasia Selchuk, Head of Marketing