Real11 reduces fraud while optimizing marketing campaigns

Real11 success story - Square

42,808

Fraudulent app installs identified

537K

In-app fraudulent events detected

Background

Having started as a platform solely dedicated to fantasy cricket leagues, Real11 Fantasy Sports has grown and diversified into other sports such as football, allowing users to participate in every match, from minor domestic leagues to major tournaments. 

Today, Real11 has become India’s most authentic and trusted fantasy sports platform, helping sports fans connect deeper with the sports they love by becoming a fantasy team owner, not just a spectator. 

With its unique and innovative product offering, Real11 has found success in connecting with a user base that has grown exponentially. In the past two years, Real11 has become the fastest-growing app in the country. 

The app now enjoys massive user support, boasting over two million active players of its various fantasy games, with participants encouraged to get in on the action of fantasy cricket.

Challenge

In the second half of 2021, Real11 began to notice some unusual install activity on its app. Specifically, the Real11 team saw an abnormal uptick in paid installs originating from some of its affiliate ad networks. One channel, for instance, registered uncommonly low average lifetime user values (LTV) and retention rates from its installs. 

In an alternate, more complex case, the team actually found unusually high install numbers and retention rates with no discernable impact on revenue.

All signs pointed to install fraud. However, rooting it out would have been complex and time-consuming, requiring a manual search for suspected fraud signals across a wide set of partners. 

Realistically, the team did not have sufficient resources to spare for such a task, and therefore two significant challenges needed to be addressed :

  1. First of all, Real11’s diverse, multi-channel campaign strategy completely exposed the app to install fraud. This strategy—which included programmatic, affiliate, content, and influencer marketing campaigns—involved working with affiliate ad networks that work with complex pricing models around cost per install (CPI) and cost per registration (CPR). While this gave Real11 the user acquisition volume they needed to be successful at scale, it also left them exposed to ad network fraud.
  2. Real11’s ambitious growth plans also meant that fraud would be a growing issue for the platform. The team needed a quick, transparent way to pursue the necessary expansion in media sources and ad networks that would fuel their future growth, while at the same time reducing the risk of depleting their return on marketing investment through fraudulent traffic.

Solution

After a thorough search and evaluation of a list of potential partners, Real11 finally settled on AppsFlyer’s Protect360, a fraud protection solution that uses advanced machine learning to detect and block multiple types of mobile fraud. 

Protect360 held a clear edge over its competitors. Not only did the solution allow the team to compare the performance of its campaign activities across various media sources, but it also featured a unique ability to quickly cut back investments in underperforming campaigns and fraudulent ad networks.

Upon identifying the media partners they would want to work with, Real11 would then integrate them into the AppsFlyer platform to measure their performance. With this integration, the marketing team could quickly pick up on and identify suspicious patterns across its massive range and volume of campaign activities with Protect360. 

Suspicious activity might include instances of:

  • High installs paired with suspiciously low conversion rates (in-app account openings);
  • Time-stamp anomalies (indicating either install hijacking or click flooding); or
  • The use of device emulators (a tool used by fraudsters for various bot-related fraud schemes or large-scale device farm operations).

Results

With the attribution insights from AppsFlyer, Real11 accomplished two things:

  1. Optimized its campaigns and marketing spend with its high-performing partners; and
  2. Received quick and transparent insights into which partners featured high instances of fraudulent traffic.

With these insights, the Real11 team determined which ad networks were worth continuing to invest in based on the quality of its traffic and rates of fraud.

The results were immediate. In the space of just five months, Protect360 managed to prevent more than 40,000 fraudulent installs, which would effectively translate into over 485,000 instances of fraudulent activity. Ultimately, Real11 saved approximately 1.4 million INR (over $18,000) in ad network payouts by relying on  Protect360.

“Being one of the biggest players in the fantasy sports market, we needed a pioneering platform/tool that could keep pace with our scale of marketing and user engagement campaigns. We collaborated with AppsFlyer, which is unarguably the best in the game and has been instrumental in the exponential growth across the nation.  Innovative features like  Protect360 have helped us in fraud detection and operate efficiently and effectively.”

Amit Goyal, Digital Marketing Team Lead, Real11

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