How We Help ZiMAD Save Marketing Budget & Secure Revenue.jpg
Scalarr is a form of insurance, a parallel layer of protection for us that allows us to cover all the traffic we buy and be more confident when it comes to our acquisition channels since we always have proof in case something goes wrong in terms of fraud.
— Natalia Demochkina
UA Manager at ZiMAD

About ZiMAD

ZiMAD is one of the biggest mobile game publishers specializing in popular casual games who has been in the interactive entertainment market since 2009. The company is focused on creating unique mobile gaming experiences loved by millions of users all over the world.

ZiMAD is the creator of the most popular digital collection of jigsaw puzzles in the world, Magic Jigsaw Puzzles, as well as other popular titles like DigOut!, My Museum Story and the multi-year series – Bubble Birds. These products have a multimillion audience that is constantly growing, and paid acquisition plays a critical role in this continuous growth.

The company invests heavily in paid acquisition, and we are not only talking about so-called trusted sources, like Facebook and Google. To scale, the company is ready to test any traffic sources, including more or less risky ones, which are frequently prone to fraud.

Initial Situation

Scalarr has a long history of cooperation with ZiMAD which started back in 2019. At the time, the Scalarr Protection Suite helped ZiMAD significantly reduce the percentage of fraud, and their User Acquisition (UA) team decided to pause their subscription since the remaining amount of fraud was very small and was partially covered by their MMP.

However, ZiMAD’s UA department is always looking for new partners, and in 2020, due to the COVID-19 crisis, their team has been maintaining an aggressive user acquisition strategy to keep their success levels for their titles.

“The goal of the UA department is to always find new partners to buy traffic from, but of course, it’s not always possible to predict the results of the cooperation.”

Natalia Demochkina, UA Manager at ZiMAD

During 2020, ZiMAD’s UA team tested a lot of new traffic sources of different sizes and, of course, quality. Those include:

  • affiliate networks
  • performance DSPs
  • API networks
  • even OEM traffic from game centers

Zimad fraud detection

The number of new tests varied and reached 10 or more new partners a month. Usually, there is a certain trial period during which a new partner provides ZiMAD with an agreed number of test installs or a certain budget of about $5-10K is allocated to test the network.

As a result, the ZiMAD team discovered that some of the installs purchased from new sources produced odd and suspicious behavior, and it was obviously not the behavior of real players, even though these installs were not always indicated as fraud by the MMP.

“Oftentimes, we saw that the traffic from new partners was anomalously active; for example, some of those installs were generating massively big purchases, and we couldn’t always track if they were going to be returned.”

Natalia Demochkina, UA Manager at ZiMAD

Overall Results

Overall, it’s possible to discuss with a traffic provider and find a solution together, but hard evidence like reports provided by Scalarr is something that on many occasions helped turn the situation in ZiMAD’s favor.

Every month, when ZiMAD user acquisition teams summarize monthly costs, they use Scalarr’s fraud reports during refund negotiations. During the first quarter of 2021, Scalarr found 13,163 fraudulent installs and helped return precious dollars of the marketing budget.

Fraud installs.jpg

“Scalarr is a form of insurance, a parallel layer of protection for us that allows us to cover all the traffic we buy and be more confident when it comes to our acquisition channels since we always have proof in case something goes wrong in terms of fraud.”

Natalia Demochkina, UA Manager at ZiMAD

fraudulent installs detected

Even though the fraud detection reports provided by Scalarr play a significant role in saving ZiMAD’s budget, our cooperation with them is not just about information and numbers. If needed, Scalarr CSM managers are always ready to step in and help with negotiations, explain certain moments to traffic providers and help reason with them. Since our team has tremendous experience in refunds negotiations, in most cases the resolution goes in ZiMAD’s favor.

Moreover, Scalarr helps ZiMAD keep a bold and proactive approach to user acquisition, test a lot of new sources, find the best ones, and remove bad actors. Scalarr fraud detection reports help UA managers be more confident about the traffic they buy and quickly understand which partners are trustworthy and which are not within the first test, avoiding sufficient investment.

Time Savings with the Invalid Installs Report

Recently, Scalarr introduced the new Invalid Traffic report, which ZiMAD started successfully using for traffic quality control automation. Invalid traffic is any form of activity that doesn’t bring properly targeted or interested users, for example, masked traffic, ad manipulation, or geo mismatch.

invalid installs worth detected in Q1 2021

It can be hard and time-consuming to make sure all the traffic comes from the needed locations and is properly targeted without special tools. Moreover, it’s impossible to spot ad manipulation. Now, ZiMAD can save time and see which installs are actually organic and have been wrongly attributed to paid sources.

IVT types.jpg

Impact of Fraud on Budgets and Monetization

Based on the GameAnalytics report for 2020, an average 28 days retention rate for puzzle games (ZiMAD’s primary genre) is 8%, and an average ARPDAU - $0.05.

During the first quarter of 2021, Scalarr detected in ZiMAD’s campaigns 13,163 fraudulent installs and 5,937 invalid installs of ad manipulation.

On the other hand, based on the retention rate and ARPDAU, we can calculate the potential revenue of those installs. Twenty-eight days’ revenue per one user is:

($0.05 x 28)/0.92 = $1.52,

which gives us an estimated revenue loss from fraud and ad manipulation of $29,032.

Taking into account a market average CPI, we may assume that per every dollar spent on fraud or ad manipulation, ZiMAD, as well as any other advertiser, may lose almost $2.50 in revenue*!

estimated revenue loss from fraud

*For confidentiality purposes, we didn’t use ZiMAD’s actual metrics. These estimations are based on the actual fraud statistics for ZiMAD according to Scalarr Protection Suite and industry average metrics.

iOS Privacy Changes & Autoblock

Like many other publishers, ZiMAD is getting ready for the iOS 14.5 privacy changes that are going to restrict attribution on the iOS platform.

  • ZiMAD team is actively working on a consent flow
  • they have implemented the SKAdNetwork
  • segmented users with limited tracking
  • prepared LAT waterfalls

“Of course, we are expecting changes and performance fluctuations, but we are confident that a proactive approach to LAT and IDFA waterfalls will help us to maintain high performance.”

Natalia Demochkina, UA Manager at ZiMAD

Apart from affecting attribution in general, iOS 14.5 also makes it challenging to detect fraud. Even though some fraud types become obsolete in this new environment, many publishers, including ZiMAD are slightly concerned as to whether the activity of device farms and other fraud types that are not affected by iOS 14.5 will increase. In this situation, the ZiMAD team considers Scalarr Autoblock to be another layer of protection that helps filter apps that are known to be fraudulent and block this traffic from permeating their acquisition funnel in most of the networks.

Fraud Types.jpg

In addition, since some fraud types will cease to exist on the iOS platform, fraudsters may double down on their criminal activity on the Android platform to keep earning money, that’s why double-checking traffic and additional insurance from fraud is very important to keep traffic clean.


The Scalarr team is happy to work with ZiMAD and happy to report that during Q1 of 2021 Scalarr Protection Suite helped them:

  1. Achieve maximum protection from mobile ad fraud by being an additional shield that repels even the most sophisticated fraud schemes;
  2. Avoid quarterly revenue losses of approximately $30,000 caused by spending marketing money on fraud;
  3. Save around 40 hours of the UA department’s time every month on automating IVT monitoring;
  4. Choose the most trustworthy and effective traffic sources to streamline the success of their titles.