A user’s view: How Viber revamped their media buying strategy with the Fraud Prevention Suite
I don’t think anyone really understands the amount of fraud you have until you activate it. I can’t imagine doing any media buying without it now.
We caught up with Moshi Blum, User Acquisition lead at Viber, who shared his experience working with Adjust and the Fraud Prevention Suite. He told us which KPIs help Viber pinpoint valuable users, how they expand into new markets, and which trends they see working with the Fraud Prevention Suite - from having to change their internal KPIs to the month-to-month percentage change in fraud.
Stephanie Pilon: Could you give us a quick background about Viber and what it does?
Moshi Blum: Well, the idea of Viber was born from the basic need to maintain long-distance relationships. At the time there was nothing that served this purpose. Viber started out as a simple app with a core voice calling (VoIP) feature, and after a year added the messaging feature. The aim was to improve the ways in which people communicate by making the app engaging and fun. That’s where the added features such as stickers expressing different emotions, photo messaging, and video calling came into play.
Nowadays, Viber is used by over 800 million users worldwide, with each one of our users utilizing the app to their specific needs. Some use Viber in order to maintain their relationships, some only send emojis or stickers and forgo the use of words, and others only make video calls. This is the precise reason our app focuses on being as user-friendly as possible so that it suits our users’ preferences.
SP: Viber sure has a lot of stickers! How did Viber get so many users? Any trends you can share?
MB: An interesting phenomena we’ve come to notice is that first engagement is the most critical when it comes to loyal user prediction. A user who sends the first message, makes a call or engages with other users via stickers, GIFs or videos after downloading is more likely to become a long-term user. We’ve been able to develop some custom models internally to predict user retention. Thanks to Adjust’s in-app event tracking and reporting, we are able to track these first interactions and optimize our messaging across four channels: paid, earned, owned, and social.
Believe it or not, despite our strong global footprint, we’re still actively growing our European, Asian and North American user base. To scale our paid activity, we decided to have an agency manage our media buying via ad networks. The agency we work with runs all the media buying activities and also connects us to new partners.
SP: When did Viber start working with the Fraud Prevention Suite?
MB: Working with a new agency was one of the main driving forces that made us use the fraud prevention products. We began working with the Fraud Prevention Suite (FPS) tool in October 2016. We wanted to give the agency a free hand to onboard the partners they thought would best suit our goals, while making sure the traffic supplied by ad networks was legit.
We were confident that our user acquisition activity would be safeguarded with FPS, and we also didn’t need to be super strict with the agency. We knew we weren’t going to have to pay for the fake installs or clicks, knowing that the agency would only retarget legitimate users. So for us, it was a win-win.
SP: What have you found out since working with the Fraud Prevention Suite? Have your KPIs changed?
MB: I don’t think any advertiser really understands the amount of fraudulent traffic they are dealing with until they activate the Fraud Prevention Suite. I can’t imagine doing any media buying without it now.
From day one we saw large amounts of rejected installs. This made us adapt our optimization logic from one that was purely based on KPIs and price. Now, we also look at the amount of rejected installs. If a network reaches more than 20% of fraud, we flag the sub-source, and if it continues, we just stop running any activity with that network.
Some networks have great results with high volumes of registered users but their fraud numbers drag their performance level down. This isn’t to say we’ll stop our activities because of it, but it certainly gives us the tools to dig deeper into the reasons the fraud occurred.
Another interesting thing we’ve noticed, which was actually rather disappointing, was that on the initial onboarding stage the performance was typically really great, but as we scaled our budget based on that initial performance, fraud levels went up. In fact, the majority of the fraud we saw was being associated with distribution modeling.
SP: So is it safe to assume that the Fraud Prevention Suite has been a good investment for Viber?
MB: Definitely! This tool has our back 100% of the time.
We don’t need to be afraid of behavior changes with the partners we work with. We’ve been able to experiment and test new sources without being afraid of burnt budgets.
As for numbers, I can definitively say that activating FPS really did pay off. For example, in November 2016, we had around 7.5% rejected paid installs, which could have equated into tens of thousand of dollars. So not only does it allow us to monitor our acquisition better, but FPS helps us acquire more loyal users by using the same budget allocation.
Overall, this tool has given us a good perspective on the partners we’re working with and the types of traffic they’re able to get us.
A big thank you to Moshi and everyone at Viber who’s been involved! For more on Viber's experience with Adjust's Fraud Prevention Suite, have a read of our latest case study, looking at exactly how Adjust helped prevent Viber from being affected by fraud.
And if you’re interested in learning the ins and outs of fraud in the mobile ecosystem, download our mobile fraud guide.
Viber is a free instant messaging and calling app that allows you to connect with friends and family no matter where you are. Founded by Viber Media in 2010, Viber initially launched its iPhone version in 2010, and released an Android version in 2012. The app now has over 800 million users who can communicate with one another using several different features including Viber’s VoIP video calls, one-on-one messaging and group chats, sticker packs, and much more. In 2014, Viber was acquired by Japanese electronic commerce and Internet company, Rakuten, for $900 million.