Digital Marketing – A Story of Growth and Transformation
Hello everyone and welcome to Velti’s webinar. We have a big audience today and i’m glad you’re all watching. So today’s webinar is about digital marketing and you might question yourself how can you drive an effective digital transformation and how can you drive through all the current changes we are facing? Velti’ digital team will share their hands-on experience on the best digital marketing practices and real case studies. They are responsible for supporting gamified campaigns that Velti has introduced in multiple countries across middle east and Africa. They plan, design and implement the digital strategy that aims to deliver measurable results at scale. I am really excited to hear more about that so we have divided the webinar into the following parts. In the first part I will share more information on the main question what is digital transformation then we will tune in to the Velti office in Athens where we will get the chance to speak with our in-house digital advertising team. Kostas will share some more information on the Velti solutions and on the ability to change innovate and adapt, especially in these digital times. His team rock stars: Yasmeen and Apostolos will share with you stories and insights on how to make or break a digital campaign. And last but not least we have a special guest joining us today, Mr. Jeremy Flynn, director of Empelo, the leading anti-fraud solution for mobile VAS. We will expand on how to keep your brand safe in a competitive and often tricky environment. So if you have any questions for the Velti digital team, Kostas, Yasmeen, Apostolos, Mr. Jeremy Flynn, myself or anything else please do not hesitate to type them down below in the questionnaire and I will come back to it during the webinar and otherwise after the webinar in writing. Marietta Robbé Groskamp, Country Director for the Netherlands and let’s get started.
The past year has been a game changer in everything we do and, most importantly, how we do it. I’m probably not the first person to tell you that and surely you’ve long noticed yourself.
However, if you REALLY stop to think about it, what has ACTUALLY changed?
Is it the people? No, we are much or less the same people in every organization, with the usual arrivals and departures.
Is it the tools? No, not really. The tools were there; we just didn’t feel that we need to use them.
Is it the KPIs? Definitely no. Everyone in the business is there to produce value and generate profit.
So, what is it then?
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a catalyst in expediting the DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION in any aspect of our lives. But “digital transformation” just for the sake of it is an empty term, a label with no real-life impact. What truly matters, is the perception and how we deal with it.
The perception that everything we do can be done better, faster, more efficient
The perception that there is always room for optimization
The perception that before you test something (A/B testing), you cannot really know in advance what will work and what will not work.
Today, we want to share with you our own experience – Velti’s digital transformation over the past few years.
As you may know, Velti’s history goes couple of decades back in time.
Actually, we just blew the 21st candle on our birthday cake.
But what was always important in this company, is the ability to change, innovate and adapt.
So, without further delay, I would like to introduce my colleague and currently the Director of Digital department, Konstantinos – Konstantinos, hi!! How are you!!
Hi Marietta! Thank you for your kind words and for the selection of the topic of this webinar. Indeed “digital transformation” is a hype which we hear A LOT during the past months. It became a “must” and not just a “nice to have” thing.
However, let’s pause & take a short step back.
When me and my team were asked to prepare for today’s webinar, the first thing we asked ourselves was “Why would anyone watch it?’. You know the “What’s in it for me?” question.
As simple as it may sound, this is the most difficult question to answer.
Yes, of course, we could show multiple graphs, slides, figures, to make our message sound credible and try to persuade you ‘how great we are in what we do’
But that’s not the point, at least not for us
Instead we choose to share a story on how change can be implemented in an organization. And where that change can lead you to.
Today, we will cover 3 main pillars, that lead us to the transformation path:
MINDSET – how do you actually change your approach and the way you do things
DATA – how do you utilize this tool to discover new perspectives
RESULTS – what happens when all pieces of a puzzle are in place
Enough with the theory though, let’s get you all a bit in the general context.
So, to start with, this is a brief overview of our company. Velti was established back in 2000 and headquartered in Athens, Greece. We have 2 major regional offices, one in Dusseldorf for Europe and one in Dubai for Middle East and Africa. These are the 3 main regions where we traditionally do business. Currently there are more than 130 people working at Velti, half of them are software engineers
The solutions that we offer can be split to: CVM, Gamification, Permission Marketing and Gamified Campaigns. Today, we are going to discuss the last one – the Gamified Campaigns, which is a marketing tool that Mobile Operators have extensively used in order to engage and reward their customers, while trying to get a small piece of the cake of the gaming industry that is booming.
Just a few years ago we specialized in running the “legacy” SMS campaigns, known also as MEGA PROMOS, where SMS was the main and, usually, the only channel of interaction.
However, the times they are a’ changing.
The digital wave came and changed it all.
We were also faced with this challenge. And that’s exactly when our propositions and product teams put their heads together and created hybrid solutions, that could support multiple channels of participation and interaction.
This was a game changer. Not only in terms of product offering, but mainly in terms of our understanding how the business will evolve. We realized for good that the digital channel will be the main channel of user acquisition and user interaction.
Today we have the solutions that you can see on the slide. DUEL, Treasure Island, Hidden Images, Panini Football Pro (a co-branded product with Panini – the global leader in Football stickers) and we have more games coming in 2021.
So far so good. We have the product, right? Now we have to market it.
And this is where it gets interesting.
We started practically from zero, having a limited understanding on towards which direction we should move. But we had to move fast.
FIRST – GET traffic
The obvious solutions, like promoting the services through Google, Social Media etc. had a limited impact at the time and were costly. We needed to build a network of partners that could allow us to scale acquisition across 15 countries, BUT also maintain brand safety for Velti and the Mobile Operator.
SECOND – ANALYZE DATA
Also, we understood that our findings should be systemized and we need to create reports that can give the right insights and make our lives easier. With the help of our BI team, we started to dig deeper and analyze better such terms as user’s LTV, acquisition cost or CPA, the correlation with a market’s legal environment and ARPU, the impact of the pricing, the ROI we are expecting to receive at the end of the day.
THIRD – ESTABLISH NEW & RE-EVALUATE EXISTING KPIs
We started to question the user experience, especially in the acquisition phase and pushed ourselves and the UI and product teams to improve anything that we thought could improve our KPIs. We adopted a more structured approach in the A/B testing throughout the conversion funnel: creatives, copy, landing page, product page. It was clear now that every minor detail matters and even the slightest change can improve conversion rates significantly.
Having said all that we had to adopt a framework on how we, as a digital team, will be doing things. So we borrowed the so-called “pirate” framework, quite popular for product marketing of startup companies.
The framework is not a remedy for everything, but it can help you focus and streamline your activities towards the desired results.
A – for ACQUISITION
A – for ACTIVATIONR – for RETENTION
R – for REFERRAL
R – for REVENUE
All of the above our applicable in our case. We want to get new people to play our games, we want to make it easy for them to understand the game mechanics and participate. Obviously we want them to come back and play again and, moreover, to spread the word around and onboard their friends. And finally, yes. We want to generate revenues to make the whole model sustainable for the company and the mobile operator.
Today we are going to focus on the first and the last points of the framework – ACQUISITION and REVENUE.
How we do it, how we measure it, what type of data we are analyzing, how we optimize and make our work more efficient.
I will now pass the floor to my colleagues from the digital team – Yasmeen and Apostolos. They are the ones that are doing the heavy lifting on a daily basis and they will share with you stories and insights. on how to make or break a digital campaign. “Yasmeen, Apostole – your turn to share the experience”
Hello Marietta! Hello Kontsantinos! Thank you for the intro. Hello everyone! I am Apostolos this is my colleague, Yasmeen [Hello everyone]. So, how do we transform ourselves and how does digital marketing affect this process?
Transformation cannot be achieved from one day to another. It is a process that disrupts businesses in every industry and breaks down all possible barriers.
It is very important to mention that it is not a simple digitalization, but a process that may produce benefits for society that equal, or even surpass, the value created for a company or even an industry. One of the many examples of disruption of this extent, is AriBnb.
So, digital transformation is a huge ongoing effort. And this is what we do in Velti. We try to deal with these new era challenges by constantly transforming ourselves.
So, Digital technologies are redefining many of the underlying principles of strategy and changing the rules by which companies must operate.
Velti had to reconsider its three main principles. Our Data, our Innovation & our Customer.
Firstly, we have Data. We had to reconsider how we extract, manage, and utilize the available data we have from our past experience and how to combine them with the emerging technologies. Big Data, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning are the key technologies that allows us to define the data we need, predict specific behaviors and uncover hidden patterns.
Secondly, we have Innovation. We had to find new ideas, ways of thinking, development and testing. As you can imagine, this can be very challenging. Velti had to quit thinking like a traditional mobile company and operate as a startup.
Lastly, we have Customer. The perspective of what “customer” means to us has changed a lot through the last years because now, customer is not a passive recipient as it used to be.
You can find more regarding the success of Velti’s solutions based on these principles, in our Webinars “Permission Marketing” and “DUEL” enlisted on our website.
So, what is the role of digital marketing in this case? And is digital marketing and digital transformation the same? Let’s hear what my colleague Yasmeen has to say!
Those are some great questions Apostolos, and important ones to address as I believe the lines are often blurred between these terms.
The answer is no, digital transformation does not mean digital marketing, so let’s dig a little deeper and fully understand what we mean when using these words.
When we refer to digital transformation, this implies challenging the entire business model. We often associate this in terms of a technological shift, however, real transformation also suggests a deeper change within the culture of the business itself.
Digital marketing on the other hand is only a part of the transformation process, and is a part and only one type of the digital strategy. However, all of these 3 levels works as a whole and operate as a recurring process from the top down to the bottom up.
In parallel to being a fantastic profit tool for your business, there are also three key factors of Digital Marketing that drive the transformation process.
The first key factor is Customer Behavior. Through digital marketing we are able to understand our customers’ needs by observing their behavior.
Next is database acquisition & expansion. This allows us to better understand our customers – we know who they are, what they want and where to reach them in a way that didn’t exist in traditional marketing.
And finally and one of the most crucial factors is the ability to test. The more we test our strategies the more we learn and thus the more successful we become.
In essence digital marketing allows us to leverage all these great customer touchpoints becoming a determining factor for companies who aim to grow in terms of acquisition and revenue.
So, Apostolos, how do we begin to proceed with our digital efforts and what questions must we address before launching any digital initiative?
So, in order to proceed with our digital efforts, let’s first define, digital marketing.
Why? Who? How and Where?
The first question: Why?
The reason behind the initial decision moving to digital marketing, should be 100% clear. Why did our organization move to digital? What are our motives and what do we want to achieve?
This is the most crucial part in order to define our expectations and set our initial KPIs.
The second question: Who?
Understanding our customer is one of the most complicated things in digital marketing.
We have to leverage our data, explore new data sources and identify the buyer’s stage. This will help the company build its target groups and ultimately its customer avatars known as personas.
The third question: How?
This is the step, where all the traditional marketing knowledge, methodologies along with the emerging digital technologies and tools are combined to formulate an effective digital strategy. Identifying the product’s qualities and its Unique Selling Proposition – using any kind of business planning methodologies – will help us incorporate the right tools for the campaign.
The fourth question: Where?
Lastly, this question represents the need to select the right channels and adapt the campaign to the channels’ etiquette. Choosing the right channels will help us to focus our energy and resources on actions that significantly make a difference and impact our KPIs.
To sum-up, any digital marketing mix of a company should be a result of a structured plan. Answering these questions and leveraging the organization’s traditional marketing material, will drive the company to form a solid digital strategy. Now, Yasmeen will show us the elements that Velti used to outline the digital marketing strategy for our gamified web-apps by answering these 4 questions.
So Apostolos has clearly identified the 4 pivotal questions we must address in Digital Marketing, so let’s take a closer look as to how we consider them in terms of our product – gamified web-apps.
In terms of the ‘WHY’, we have our main KPIs, which big surprise are Acquisition and Revenues. So you might think well that’s quite obvious we all want acquisition and revenues. However, there are a wide range of goals a business might wish to achieve through there digital marketing initiatives. In our case these KPIs were more crucial than other long term investments.
Next we have our audience. So first we addressed our Personas, which were ‘created’ according to our available data.
Then we identified the initial type of targeting to execute in our case.
So contextual targeting refers to the content which is being consumed rather than who is consuming it. Essentially, we focus more on the linguistic elements of our ad as well as the creative approach.
Then we have behavioral targeting which is how we will attract our users, and here we refer more to the user experience of our strategy.
Frequency of course refers to how often we aim to target our selected audience, once a day or maybe five times a day.
Demographics defines the audience we are targeting based on demographic information.
And Placement refers to where we want our ads to be shown.
And of course when you target an audience, you need to consider where in the buyer’s journey this audience is located. This will essentially help guide them through the funnel. For the sake of our case we’ve simplified it into the four stages of awareness, interest, user and past user.
So here we have the last answers we will address, which are the Strategy as well as Tactics and of course Channels.
In the case of our gamified web-apps, we had to clearly identify our product elements in order to help shape our strategy. In terms of gaming these can be broken down into 4 main areas.
Game Dynamics, Motives, Mechanics and our Unique Selling Proposition.
All these areas could be considered as main factors as to why our audience might subscribe to our service.
Therefore, once we’ve selected our product elements in parallel with our KPI’s and audience, we are then able to define our strategy, select the necessary tools and then of course determine the essential testing we want to execute.
Which then leaves where we want to run our campaigns, essentially, the channels we will use. In our case, these include, self-serving ad platforms, social media, search & display as well as strategic partnerships. Each platform brings with it its’ own set of strengths and weaknesses which is why it is so important to truly understand the type of users you want to acquire.
So to conclude we’ve now addressed the 4 questions we must tackle when developing our digital marketing strategy and in the second part of the webinar we are going to show you some real life examples of how these strategies were tested and what we gathered from our findings. Back to you Marietta.
Thank you Yasmeen and Apostolos for sharing with us your experience. Before continuing to the second part of your presentation, I would like to have a small talk with Konstantinos to reflect on what we’ve learned so far and to get a high level overview of the Digital Marketing and Advertising as a separate discipline, a separate business unit within a technology organization, such as Velti.
Yes Marietta. Indeed, as we already heard from my colleagues in the team, the transition for the entire Velti ecosystem to a more, let’s say, digital-oriented landscape and operational mode is a 360 degrees process. It is not only a “privilege” of the digital department.
Over the past couple of years we have witnessed a change in how we plan and execute our deliverables. This goes not only for our department, but it is horizontal. From the level of sales initiatives, to the dev/product design. And from UI/UX perspective to copywriting, to BI and DS teams, to Operations, to Client Service managers and the list goes on and on.
It is not easy of course, nor it is always a success story. But usually numbers don’t lie and here’s a metric that is quite representative of the change.
In this slide you can see the increase in spending for digital marketing and advertising that Velti has achieved during the last 3 years.
The vertical axis represents an absolute sizing of investment with 100 marking the highest amount we have ever spent.
You see that we grow year by year. including current 2021. And though I can not disclose the real numbers, just to give you a rough sizing – we are now talking of 7-figure investment.
This growth can not be accomplished only based on our team’s initiatives. It requires a contribution from everyone involved in the pre-launch and the post-launch of a project.
What I’m trying to say is, that this slide is actually the RESULT of the digital transformation process we discussed earlier.
Wow, that’s an impressive increase. However, what does this mean for the company at the end of the day? And also, how challenging was it to increase at this scale. What was the actual driver that leveraged this growth?
I’ll keep coming back to the “mindset” element. You know, the hardest thing to do was to start questioning yourself.
“Am I doing it right?”
“Are we sure this isn’t going to work?”
“What happens, if we do it the other way around?”
Questioning yourself is hard, because you need to ignore a large part of your learnings that actually got you so far. And when you succeed in removing this bias, then you can do something new, more constructive. Even if your experiment fails or your hypothesis proves wrong, you will still have learned something. And this learning is based on data. I’m sure most of you in our audience today can relate to and recall some of the below:
“This is how we always do it”
“I have a 20 years experience in marketing and I know better”
“This will NOT work here”
“We already did EVERYTHING to improve this feature”
“ALL competitors are doing this successfully”
We had to leave all that bias behind us and open up our minds to a different approach.
Now, about the first part of your question – “what does it mean for the company at the end of the day”. One could claim that spending money is easy and therefore the figures I just showed do not mean much.
Just to get some things clear. We are not talking about awareness or PR campaigns. We are talking about pure performance-marketing campaigns, where we measure everything. This spending is actually an investment. And like in any investment, you expect to receive a positive ROI.
Apostolos and Yasmeen will show how we do it with some real-life examples. We capture, process and analyze huge volumes of data. The data help us make the proper decisions and optimize each time. Data give us a clear understanding on where we should spend our next $1.
It’s a simplistic summary, but it is actually harder than it sounds. Fortunately, we have 2 big advantages:
1. Our in-house BI team has contributed heavily to deliver meaningful reports that empower us to make educated decisions and
2. Velti’s proprietary ML tool – “Daedalus”, helps us automate and optimize key KPIs across the user’s lifecycle in the service
I hope this answers your question Marietta.
Marietta: Yes, definitely! Thank you Kostas. So Let’s jump back to Apostolos and Yasmeen straight away.
Thank you Marietta! Now, in the second part, we are going examine three real-life examples of A/B testing, based on the Part 1. These examples are just a small glimpse of our digital approach.
So, when we split test, we always test one element and we consider every other element, as a constant. These elements include audience, targeted buyer’s intent and selling proposition.
The first two A/B tests are based on our contextual targeting. In the first example, we wanted to identify the Landing Page approach that presents the best Conversion Rate. In this case, we set two main KPIs. Conversion Rate and Cost Per Conversion.
In the second example, we tried to identify the best converting Game Dynamic. We compare our “Competition Element” to our “Community Element” combining it with our Unique Selling Proposition, the real-life prize. In this case, we set three KPIs. The Click Through Rate, Conversion Rate and Cost Per Conversion.
The third A/B test is based on our behavioral targeting. In this example we explore the different ad format approaches provided on Facebook. Specifically, we would like to compare “Carousel Ads” and “.gif ads”. in terms of three KPIs. The Click Through Rate, Conversion Rate and Cost Per Conversion.
So, these three small examples will provide a better understanding of how split tests work and how small changes can impact the digital acquisition and profitability of a campaign. Now, Yasmeen will dive into the data!
Yasmeen: Thank you Apostolos.
So here we have our first example, which is a landing page creative test. This experiment was part of a series of tests aimed to identify a high converting landing page creative approach per target group.
As you can see in this example we tested two different landing page creatives. The first screen uses more vivid colors, while the second screen uses a plain white background.
We found that the landing page with the vivid colors presented double the Conversion rate than the page with the white background, as well as nearly half the Cost per acquisition, which as I’m sure you can understand is quite a big difference through what might appear to be a simple alteration.
The next experiment we conducted was part of a series of tests aimed to identify the best performing Game Dynamics per target group, in this case we tested the Competition dynamic versus the Community dynamic.
So as you can see in the first ad we used messaging which would highlight the competition dynamic, such as “are you up for the challenge or beat them all!” Whereas the second ad was based on the community dynamic using messaging such as “meet new friends” and “play against others”.
In this experiment we found that the ad with the competition messaging presented a slightly higher click through rate and conversion rate than the community ad, but had a 46% less Cost per acquisition.
Finally, the last example was an experiment part of a series of tests aimed to identify the best ad format per targeting. Specifically, we compared a carousel and a .gif ad format on Facebook.
Here we saw that the Carousel ad presented a slightly higher click through rate and conversion rate than the gif ad format, and a 9% less cost per acquisition.
So in regards to all three examples, it’s also important to note that the CPA will definitely vary as we are using different channels, different target groups and different offers. It’s also crucial to stress how important it is to test and consider every detail when building your campaign as something as small as changing a creative or using different messaging could bring you better results.
So now that we’ve seen some real life examples let’s address some of the challenges we’ve faced and of course these are common challenges that surely affect other businesses as well.
Our first challenge is the reality that every platform and method is constantly shifting, and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. For example, Facebook recently announced changes with iOs 14. What this essentially meant for us and other businesses is that our ability to measure and receive conversion events from tools such as the Facebook pixel will be limited due to the reporting limitations of iOS 14 devices.
Another challenge which we touched upon earlier, is the fact that target groups based on our customer avatar varies between different platforms. For example our primary Facebook audience, may significantly differ from the primary audience of many native advertising platforms we use.
Next is the fact that we use multiple data touch points, and the fact that these touch points present certain discrepancies. Therefore, it’s often challenging to gather accurate data when using many platforms as they use different analytics.
Then of course we have the difference in user quality, as quality can fluctuate depending on different factors many of which are sometimes out of our control. An example of this could be geopolitical reasons or most recently, covid-19, as well as the different platforms we use or even by our advertising strategy or channels.
And last we have the challenge of requiring constant monitoring of our marketing activities, in terms of fraud and misleading cases. I’m sure many of you know that in some cases marketing partners can be more aggressive in their advertising efforts, which can at times violate our guidelines. That’s why we can’t stress enough the importance of taking the necessary measures to protect your brand. In Velti’s case we use Empello as they provide great solutions to help us fight advertising fraud.
Now that we’ve seen some of our real-life examples and addressed our key challenges, I think it really becomes quite evident that even the smallest of changes can significantly impact not only the digital campaign’s KPIs, but the company’s digital mindset as well. As you remember, we mentioned previously that digital marketing affects the digital transformation of the company through iterative top-down and bottom-up processes.
Apostolos will now explain how this digital wave led to significant changes within Velti.
Thank you Yasmeen! The impact of this knowledge acquired can vary from small marketing and product changes to a complete transformation of a company’s philosophy.
In Velti’s case, the digital wave, affected the organization in three key areas.
The first area that was affected is the Internal Processes of Velti. The company had to keep up with new fast-paced landscape. New-age needs are arising and new processes keep establishing to address these needs. Along with the new processes, traditional processes were heavily modified and simplified. Moreover, the necessity to address the newborn KPIs, led to a whole new level of testing, tracking and leveraging the vast amount of data that Velti possesses. The adaptability of Velti systems, the use of new external tools, as well as the development of new internal tools, became mandatory.
The second area that was affected is the way we perceive the customer. Velti was always a Customer-centric company. But now, leveraging the vast databases, the available technologies and the direct feedback of our users, we are able to understand our customer and provide unparalleled value. As a result, we have created multiple customer avatars and target groups driving the change within the organization.
The third area that was affected is the ecosystem of Velti. In the past 3 years, Velti has cooperated with more than 50 partners in the digital marketing field alone. Each project we launch has a mini-ecosystem of partnerships and is treated uniquely. In this ever-changing environment, each company should be open minded. The definition of a competitor is not as clear as it used to be. The ease of monetization and the arrival of new technologies and tools, allowed us to formulate different collaboration models. Every entity should be aligned under one goal: To provide Value to the customer.
So, this is how the digital wave affected Velti. Of course this is just an over-simplified summary of how digital marketing affected our transformation process and determined Velti’s digital journey.
And that’s all from us, thanks everyone, back to you Marietta.
Thank you very much Yasmeen, thank you Apostolos for your presentation. I really enjoyed the A/B testing examples you shared – they gave us a better understanding of your day-to-day work and showcased how every detail is important when it comes to digital advertising. Thank you so much guys I really see why Kostas calls you his rock stars!
So we are now approaching the last part of the webinar and that’s the interview with Mr. Jeremy Flynn director of Empello – a renowned leader in mobile fraud monitoring and anti-fraud protection from mobile operators and service providers alike. The mobile advertising space is an exciting ecosystem that is constantly evolving, adopting new technologies and relying on automation, machine learning, big data and artificial intelligence.
However, as in every competitive industry, there are the fraudsters, who will take advantage of any blind spot or even a tiny gap in the value chain. So how can a company protect itself against fraud? What types of mobile fraud are there? How can Velti and the Mobile Network Operator build a sustainable business with incremental revenues, that is fraud-free? Now to answer all these questions let’s check out the interview with Jeremy. Hey Jeremy greetings to London! how are you?
Hi Marietta! Very well thanks! Thank you for that introduction. Shall we make a start on the presentation?
Yes, let’s do that!
Okay let’s go. So i’m going to spend 10 minutes looking at the risks in the VAS the value-added services market and what merchants such as Velti can choose to do to mitigate the risk. Why does fraud happen in this industry? It happens first and foremost because the marketing is not directly controlled by the service providers.
Where google advertising isn’t being used and ad networks are being used the merchants the Velti’s of this world don’t know what’s happened to the consumer when the consumer arrives on the velti pages. The risk is because of the way that money is paid through the value chain the risk is that consumers are defrauded the fraudster gets his money and the consumer is the victim.
Just a few words on Empello, we’ve been doing this since I think 2012. We’re 50 people spread across London and Asia. We have 70 clients that are either a mixture of service providers or and mobile operators.
Okay so this slide tries to show what happens in this market in terms of the steps and what Empello does to protect the industry at each of these stages. So starting left to right in the diagram we have the consumer who has served an ad, he could be on a mobile web page could be on twitter on Facebook and he sees a promotion it may be a banner it may be a
sponsored link it could be a fake consumer posting on instagram and the consumer interacts with it by pressing it. That click then passes through an ad network which redirects that click through to the merchant’s landing page. The service provider’s landing page service provider doesn’t know what that journey was. All the certified knows is this ad network has delivered me a potential consumer.
So merchant does his stuff and the consumer decides yes i’m going to subscribe i’m going to pay and when he goes through to pay we have then what’s known as the industries the payments page with button label typically, subscribe now and that page isn’t hosted by the merchant it’s hosted by either the mobile operator or more typically a specialist payment site creator. If the consumers click subscribe the payment aggregator interacts in the mobile operator’s billing platform and the consumer is then charged. A charge is made to the phone account so it’s a four-euro service, four euros are charged to the consumer’s phone bill. Sothat’s the steps in the vas industry – what do we do for scan is about dealing with the first part of that journey and fraud stop the second.
So an introduction to fraud scan and front stop. So fraud scan is about visible fraud what the consumer sees it’s the advertising fraud and i’m sure all of us have seen these congratulations you’ve won a prize you’re today’s lucky winner your phone has 22 viruses uh fake offers uh paypal hacks um game of thrones cheats and then passing off that is the use of a big brand’s logo to add credibility to a journey. Google, Samsung often seen in these ads, the local mobile operator also often using the ads try and give credibility to it. So fraud scan is about monitoring and dealing with advertising and the fraud stop is about dealing with invisible fraud for consumer. This fraud is not visible to them all they know is that a charge appears on their phone accounts. It’s about protecting the payment page from invisible fraud. Let’s look at some details on Fraudscan which is advertising fraud.
Here’s a real example of an ad journey. So left to right of the pictures is a journey consumer experiences on a site. There’s a banner saying you have an urgent message no you have an urge notice if the consumer clicks on there he’s redirected to some congratulations – dear user you’ve won 500 euro little account a little voucher.
So click through there consumers told again you have won claim now so it’s not subscribed now or pay now it’s claim your free 500 euros and the consumer is conned into entering their mobile phone number and they would subsequently be charged. As an example different countries have different sensitivities.
Very recently in the UAE one affiliate showed a journey where the local sheikh’s picture was used as part of promotion for in a journey through to a VAS service. The regulator saw it and the whole of this industry was shut down for two weeks as a punishment. So different markets different sensitivities. So what do we do, we systematically troll all this all the sources of VAS promotions it’s increasingly moved away from web and to social media so it’s a lot of building a profiles that attract the kind of promotions that lead to VAS. We follow through 45 50 000 a month unique journeys, record them if we find a problem and we tell our clients that this is being experienced. So Velti will get notifications to say look this rogue journey was seen on this day came from this affiliate network and we provide enough information that the Velti can then stop the publisher that posted this, or if it’s particularly prevalent across the whole ad network Velti can suspend taking traffic from the whole network so there’s plenty of ways to control and moderate the risks from advertising fraud.
Second type of fraud we deal with is the payments page fraud.
This is invisible to the consumer; all they get all they know if they look at their bill is that they’ve been charged. How is this being done? There are many ways it’s been done but i’m going to talk in the last few minutes about the most prevalent one in 2020-21, which is in app malware. So a rogue app developer will release an app which in background at some points typically hours not minutes after a download it will open up its open up itself in backgrounds it will visit a VAS page it will click on subscribe it will read the otp from the sms inbox then insert the otp or pin in the pin confirmation page and the consumer is then charged typically a subscription service of let’s say four euros a week. The consumer’s done nothing other than download the app, this is particularly prevalent this is all over the worldthis activity. Particularly prevalent at the moment in the middle east it seems to move across the market to a market. So first quarter of the year Qatar was targeted very strongly then it moved to Bahrain at the end of 2019. It was UAE it’s an ongoing persistent uh threat to this industry so fraudstop is technology that sits on the payment page. It takes the traffic through a number of checks 25 or so blocking criteria and if there’s no problem it passes a decision saying yes this is a good click it’s from a real human being, accept it or if it’s a row click we say don’t accept the click. This is the reason why and that’s fraud stop. They sit together fraud scandal fraud stocks it together well in that we’re looking at the real mobile internet in fraud scan we’re looking at journeys in the wild as we would call it we’re downloading apps in the wild. And if we find an evidence of fraudulent app behavior it then is moved into fraud stop. So it’s a machine it’s a self-virtuous circle of monitoring and stopping monitoring and stopping. So how do we summarize these last 10 minutes? The industry needs a stable environment when the vas industry is in a bad state complaints are rising, regulators get involved, we’ve seen politicians get involved. The heat comes on and then there’s typically a massive over services shutdown. Industry shut down for two weeks, less favorable payments flows are introduced because of perceived problems so what the responsible players in this industry such as Velti want is a stable level fair marketplace so it can invest in month one in the anticipation of making some revenue or profit in month six. What the industry doesn’t like is investing in month one and then the market is disrupted such a profitability is never achieved. So that’s what we do at Empello and very pleased to be working with Velti on this shared mission.
Thank you so much Jeremy! That was really insightful thanks!
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