Customer Spotlight

How India’s Biggest Sports Gaming Platform, Dream11, Drove Exceptional User Growth During IPL 2018

The 11th season of the sporting juggernaut that is the Indian Premier League (IPL) has been a goldmine of marketing opportunities. The annual 2-month extravaganza is a professional 20 overs a side cricket league with eight franchise teams representing major cities across India.

Attracting the best cricketing talent in the business, the IPL attracts spectators across the world. High-octane on-field battles, ringside music, cheerleading, edge-of-your-seat fan reactions, and a massive captive viewership make the IPL a one-of-a-kind sports and marketing event. In fact, just midway through the 2018 edition, total ad revenue has already exceeded last year’s figures by $118 million to stand at $296 million.1 The average IPL match has over 22 million viewers, while a typical NFL game grabs 15 million eyeballs.2

As part of our ongoing series on mobile growth, we sit down with groundbreaking companies that are acing growth marketing in hypercompetitive industries. Today we spotlight one of India’s top businesses: Dream11, India’s Biggest Sports Gaming Platform.

Founded in 2012, Dream11 is India’s first single-match fantasy sports platform, offering Fantasy Cricket, Football, Kabaddi and the NBA. It’s quickly grown to over 30 million fans and over 90% market share in the fantasy sports market in India. Last week, I spoke to Rahul Mirchandani, VP of Revenue at Dream11.

Hey Rahul, thanks for joining me today. The IPL is an exciting time for sports fans! I’m sure our mobile growth community would be very interested to learn more about the strategies and marketing initiatives Dream11 is implementing this IPL season.

The two-month T20 cricket window is a fantastic time for cricket enthusiasts across the globe. Sports have always been a great unifying force, and over the last few years, the rise of fantasy sports has added another dimension to the live-action viewing experience. Dream11 has pioneered the rapid evolution of fantasy sports in India, establishing a deeper connection with fans and driving unprecedented sports engagement.

The Indian T20 season is the busiest time of the year for us, and effective mobile marketing continues to play a pivotal role in our journey as we keep expanding our user base, enhancing greater adoption and repeat usage. And all of this done with the express intention of bridging the divide between live and fantasy sports through an elevated user experience.

I’d be happy to share what’s worked for us with the larger growth marketing community. I’m excited to be a part of this!

That’s great to know! Before we get into the details, can you describe your role at Dream11, and what defines success for you?

I drive revenue and retention at Dream11. As part of the product team, I have a strong focus on product adoption and understanding in-app user behavior.

Before I delve deeper, let me make note of the massive scale at which Dream11 operates. Ours is the largest fantasy sports platform in India and the sixth largest in the world. While marketing campaigns focused on brand awareness help us increase our acquisition rate, it is extremely important for us to build brand loyalty and long-term retention through omnichannel engagement at every stage of the user journey.

Engagement really is the name of the game in our business. In a 2-month high-voltage T20 cricket tournament, games are happening almost every day. To keep bringing users back to our platform, it’s critical for us to leverage their general interest in cricket as well as their franchise loyalties. Greater brand loyalty and the thrill of playing with unpredictability is what eventually translates into a legion of repeat users.

So, simply put, I’m responsible for ensuring that users encounter enough value on our platform to keep coming back, match after match.

So what does the IPL mean for Dream11? What are your growth objectives during this season?

Dream11 as a business is dependent on the sports calendar. With every major sports event, we attempt to gather momentum with user acquisition, and then engage users in a personalized and timely manner to retain them long-term.

Cricket is practically a religion in India. Over the years, India’s biggest T20 tournament has consolidated its position as cult leader, offering plenty of opportunities to acquire and monetize app users.

Our major objectives during this period include:

  • Delivering a Smooth First Time User Experience:
    We’ve seen that successfully onboarded users are retained 5X times more than the ones that aren’t. Our number one priority is to provide a smooth first time experience to newly acquired users and prove our app’s value.
  • Drive Brand Recall:
    Dream11 is creating a lot of noise when it comes to building a brand presence for the T20 season, and we strive to continue this experience after users are active on the platform. We’ve streamlined our user engagement strategies to be in sync with the T20 matches to drive the correlation between the tournament and Dream11 home.
  • Re-engage Inactive Users:
    This is also a great time to recapture inactive or churned users. With personalized and well-timed push notifications, we’ve won back 70% of our inactive users.

CleverTap’s data-driven approach towards personalized omnichannel marketing at scale has been a significant asset in achieving these objectives.

A Complete Guide to User Engagement

A Complete Guide to User Engagement

A collection of resources that will help you build more delightful customer experiences by looking at the factors that affect user engagement.

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Can you share some examples of the campaigns you’re running this season?

With CleverTap, we run a variety of push campaigns that help us drive our engagement numbers.

  1. Daily Engagement Campaigns:
    Daily Engagement Campaigns
    Using Cohort Analysis, we noticed that users who’d participated in the previous match displayed a higher probability of coming back to the platform for the next one. So we had to ensure that more and more users were creating teams and participating in the contest.We performed A/B tests on different notification send times and found that the highest engagement rates were for afternoon campaigns. It made sense, since users only had a few hours before the 7 pm match to create their teams.
  2. Reminder Campaigns:
    Reminder Campaigns
    This is the campaign that has been the most successful for us. Just 10 minutes before the deadline for creating teams ends, we send users this reminder notification. This campaign works really well as it creates a sense of urgency, encouraging users that haven’t participated to visit the platform and create a team for that particular match.We also do some cool things with the notifications we send. We use our tagline – ‘Dimaag Se Dhoni’ – as the notification sound to make our notification stand out and reinforce brand recall.

That’s super cool. What CleverTap features have you liked the most?

CleverTap helps us implement the data-driven culture that we strive to maintain. The strong analytics suite helps us accurately identify and understand user behaviour based on historical and real-time user actions/inactions, and then predict future behavioral trends.

These are the features we use extensively:

  1. Live User Segments: CleverTap helps us create advanced segments of our user base. This live view of user groups helps us understand the strength and stability of the product and our user base.
  2. Flows: We use Flows to understand how various users are navigating and exploring the app. For example, observing the behavior of our newly onboarded users helps us understand how new users get acquainted with the app. With new product launches, we get a clear understanding of how users are interacting with new features. Flows also highlights any friction points within the app so we know where to focus and finetune the app experience.
  3. Journeys: After leveraging CleverTap’s automated user segmentation, we use Journeys to build targeted engagement campaigns based on user behavior, geographic location, and lifecycle stage. This helps us engage users at every stage of the user journey on the most effective channels, driving greater conversions and retention.

What’s next for Dream11? How do you see CleverTap helping you over the next few months to build retention and monetization?

In the short term, our goal is to capitalize on this T20 season momentum to further expand our user base, especially with the Football WC 2018 around the corner.

In the long run, we want to be the leading sports fantasy platform in the world. Be it cricket, soccer, or basketball, there’s a sub-market for each of these sports across geographies. The increasing popularity of these sports across the globe will only help us power greater user acquisition, monetization, and retention. Conquering demographic and technographic barriers will be essential in extending and complementing the entire sports viewing experience.

We wish Dream11 success in all its goals. Thank you so much for sharing your insights with us!

It has been an absolute pleasure. Growth marketing and retention have moved beyond being buzzwords. Digital brands do need to invest in rapidly scaling their user base, but helping customers fall in love with your product and building loyalty through non-intrusive and value-adding engagement is a whole different ball game.

See how today’s top brands use CleverTap to drive long-term growth and retention

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