Analytics, Announcement, App Monetization, Resource, Tech Resources

Acquiring Ad Whales with Facebook’s Lookalikes – Case Study with Nanobit

A case study with Nanobit and how they acquired more ad whales with Facebook's lookalike campaigns

We are excited to showcase Nanobit in our recent case study on acquiring ad whales via Facebook’s lookalike campaigns. Ad whales today are responsible for the majority of ad revenue generated in mobile apps today and Nanobit has been leveraging SOOMLA’s platform for some time to identify and acquire more. This case study gives an in-depth look at the steps Nanobit took and the benchmark-breaking results that followed.

You are welcome to download the report through this link.

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Analytics, Announcement, App Monetization, Resource, Tech Resources

Q2 2018 Mobile Monetization Benchmark Report is Out!

Header image - the SOOMLA ads and churn case study is out for Q4 2017, full of insights

We are excited to announce the release of our second part of the Mobile Monetization Benchmarks report for Q2 2018 today. This is one of the many industry data reports that we will continue to publish providing important insights related to monetization through ad revenue. This report gives an in-depth comparison of eCPMs for 1st impressions and overall and providing a ranking of monetization providers in the mobile industry.

The report is based on information collected through SOOMLA’s platform. The data set includes over 100M users in over 100 countries over a period of 3 months. The report focuses on the 9 countries which produced over 2.5 billion impressions. The analysis breaks down per country, platform, ad type, as well as per ad network and advertiser.

You are welcome to download the report through this link.

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Announcement, Industry News, Tips and Advice

Hyper Casual Games – Thoughts about Voodoo and Gram Deals

Hyper Casual Games - Thoughts about Voodoo and Gram Deals with SOOMLA's CEO, Yaniv Nizan

Towards the end of May, the mobile game industry received news about 2 mega deals in 2 consecutive days. First it was Voodoo that announced a funding of $200M with an estimated valuation of over $500M. Then, the day after, Gram Games announced it’s acquisition by Zynga for a sum of $250M with additional sums to be paid against future results. Not surprisingly, these two companies share a similar philosophy and have been focused on games that monetize via ad revenue. Also, not surprisingly both, apply advanced measurement and optimization techniques for their ad monetization.

The new type of games that have been dominating the app stores since the beginning of 2017 is often called hyper casual games. The term first appeared in a series of articles written by Johannes Heinze from Applovin and published in the Applovin blog and in Pocketgamer. While the games have been visible on the app stores, the companies responsible for them often went undetected by press and analysts and remained an industry secret. One good example of these companies not getting detected is that both companies as well as Outfit7 (bought for $1B) were not included in AppAnnie’s top 52 publishers list.

Also, interesting to note is that these new direction of innovation is coming mainly from Europe. In addition to these 2 companies we can also add Ketchapp games, Outfit7, Tabtale as well many other smaller companies in Europe who are embracing ad driven models alongside a data driven approach and are dominating the hyper casual genres. From the US, companies such as Zynga starts to understand the potential and are compensating by acquiring such studios. Specifically for Zynga, the acquisition of Gram seems to be part of a strategy as the company also bought Harpen and paid Peak games $100M for their casual card game studio.

SOOMLA blog also picked up on the trend as early as 2016 when we noticed $300M going into companies that pioneered ad driven games. And then in March 2017 immediately after Harpen’s acquisition by Zynga, we identified Voodoo and Gram as strong potential for bigger deals in the future. Here are some additional companies who specialize in ad driven games that we recommend following.

  • Tabtale
  • Mobilityware
  • Etermax
  • Gazeus
  • Kwalee
  • Ilyon
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Announcement, Events, Marketing

MAU Vegas 2018 Ultimate Attendee List

We've got the ultimate spreadsheet containing 998 companies and 1862 attendee who are attending MAU Grow in Vegas this year.  Want to take a peak?

MAU Grow is in a few days and we’re excited to be attending. Based in Vegas, MAU Grow is considered to be the world’s leading mobile acquisition and retention summit of the year, attracting some of the top mobile brands for a full two days. The conference is packed with networking events and keynote speakers from some of the world’s top marketing talent. You can find the full brochure / overview here if you want to take a look.

Who is coming?

The number one issue with most conferences is combing through the hundreds (in this case thousands) of people attending and finding ways to reach out the them.
I’ve done the hard work for you! In the spreadsheet below you can find a list of 998 companies and 1862 attendees that are going to be at MAU Grow this year in Vegas. To make it even easier for you, I’ve added the name, title and company for each attendee.

Downloading, Copying and Editing this Spreadsheet

Here is a direct link to the spreadsheet.

You can download this Spreadsheet or copy to your own Google Drive from the file menu once you open it. Please do not use the “Request Access” option as we will not approve those.

If your company is not in there and you want to add yourself to the list, simply email us to scottie [at] soomla [dot] com. We will be happy to add you.

Of course, SOOMLA will be there too so if you want to meet – drop us a line to scottie [at] soomla [dot] com.

How to connect with other companies

MAU Grow does offer an internal networking app, however it is only available for those who have applied, been approved and bought a ticket to attend the official event. For those of you who are not officially attending the event, this is why the spreadsheet is even more important. To connect with some of these companies we recommend utilizing the tried and true Linkedin – simply send people connection requests and ask for a meeting

If you found this helpful at all, we’d love to hear and of course feel free to share to anyone. Also, be sure to check out our latest series on Japan eCPM Benchmarks Series! Part 1 is a broader overview of iOS vs Android and Part 2 looks at the individual ad networks and their performance / dominance.

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Announcement, Events, Marketing

Ultimate GDC Spreadsheet with 715 Companies

We've got the ultimate spreadsheet containing 715 companies who are attending GDC in San Fran this year.  Want to take a peak?

GDC is next week and we can’t be more excited. The San Francisco based Game Developer Conference is the biggest event of the year for mobile game developers around the world and attracts some of the biggest names in the industry for the entire week. The conference has many satellite events, mixers, dinners and parties. The biggest satellite event is Game Connection America which is more focused on business transactions and brands itself as the “deal making summit”.

Who is coming?

With so many things going around it’s easy to get lost so we wanted to offer a quick way to know what companies and people will be there. In the spreadsheet below you can find a list of 715 companies that will be at GDC or one of the satelite event. For some of them, the spreadsheet also includes the names and titles of the attendees.

Downloading, Copying and Editing this Spreadsheet

Here is a direct link to the spreadsheet.

You can download this Spreadsheet or copy to your own Google Drive from the file menu once you open it. Please do not use the “Request Access” option as we will not approve those.

You can also download an Excel version here.

If your company is not in there and you want to add yourself to the list, simply email us to scottie [at] soomla [dot] com. We will be happy to add you.

Of course, SOOMLA will be there too so if you want to meet – drop us a line to scottie [at] soomla [dot] com.

How to connect with other companies

GDC does offer a meeting system but it’s not considered a very good one. On top of that, most of the people who are coming to the event will not actually be buying a ticket to GDC. This is why the spreadsheet is even more important. To connect with some of these companies we recommend these 3 ways:

  • Game Connection – the ticket is a bit expensive but this is the most effective way to generate meetings during GDC week.
  • GDC Meet to Match – system to arrange and request meetings to registered attendees.
  • Linkedin – simply send people connection requests and ask for a meeting

 

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Analytics, Announcement, App Monetization, Resource, Tech Resources

Industry’s First Monetization Benchmark

Header image - the SOOMLA ads and churn case study is out for Q4 2017, full of insights

We are excited to announce our industry first “Q1 2018: Monetization Benchmarks” report today. This is one of the many industry data reports that we will continue to publish providing important insights related to monetization through ad revenue. This report gives an in-depth comparison of eCPMs for 1st impressions and overall and providing a ranking of monetization providers in the mobile industry.

You are welcome to download the report through this link.

Here are the quick take-aways from the report:

  • Advertisers and monetization providers are clearly paying a premium for first impressions. The premium can be as high as 100% of the average eCPM, sometimes higher
  • Monetization providers and advertisers have different bidding strategies when it comes to first impressions. Some are more aggressive while others seem indifferent to the impression sequence
  • Games tend to have a bigger focus on getting the 1st impression in comparison to non-gaming advertisers who appear to be indifferent to whether or not they are shown 1st.
  • There are a few advertisers who repeatedly show up in the top 10 across different ad formats and platforms. They are able to do that by having a clear data advantage. When negotiating prices for 1st impression – make sure you have enough data.

 

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Analytics, Announcement, Industry News

New Loot Box Regulations – What it Means for Mobile Games

New Loot Box Regulations - What It Means for Mobile Games

About 3 weeks ago on December 21st, Apple added a small term to it’s T&C for app publishers.

Apps offering “loot boxes” or other mechanisms that provide randomized virtual items for purchase must disclose the odds of receiving each type of item to customers prior to purchase.

Most of you probably missed it during the holiday season as did I but a few major publications caught the change and reported it quickly. Here is the report in PocketGamer and in The Verge. This change might be a response to an increasing interest of some of the regulators in the loot boxes concept. It started with Starwars Battlefront 2 criticism on reddit when a response by EA became the most downvoted comment on reddit ever. The “loot box” monetization strategy along side the game appeal to kids caused a few regulators to take notice. Most notabely, the State of Hawaii announced they will work on legistlation to ban loot boxes and Belgian officials said they would like loot boxes banned as it’s a form of gambling.

The top 25 grossing games were not effected

One might think that the change made by Apple will make a big impact on game publishers given how popular loot boxes are. In reality, however, none of the top 25 grossing games made any changes. The reason, is that none of them are selling loot boxes as in-app purchases. While loot boxes are popular, they are commonly sold for virtual currency which can be bought for cash. If you look at the top 25 grossing apps, the items that are listed in the app store for purchase are packs of: quartzes, diamonds, crystals, gold, coins, gems. The only game we could find that will have to make a change is Hearthstone.

What about in-game loot boxes

Apple didn’t entirely ban loot boxes that can be purchased inside the game with in-game currency. The regulators however might decide to address this type of loot box as well. There are many game elements that are randomized, therefore the question arises of where the distinction will take place. It’s one thing to ban something that is purchasable, but if any randomized game element is banned, pandora’s box will open. My guess is that regulators will focus on purchasable items and games that are made for kids.

CASE STUDY ON ADVERTISERS CHURN & eCPM

If gambling with VC is illegal than what about social casino

The comment by Belgian officials was that loot boxes are a form of gambling and therefore should be banned. What is a bit odd is that there are more obvious forms of gambling that are not banned yet – the social casino apps. Either these officials have a double standard when it comes to mobile games or they haven’t opened the top grossing charts recently.

The clear winner is rewarded video

Aside from kids and their parents who might get to keep more money in their wallets, the companies who provide monetization via ads and rewarded videos will probably benefit from these regulations if they happen. Ad based monetization models are becoming more popular in the mobile game industry and the fact that Apple is adding limitations on in-app purchases pushes more game developers in towards ads.

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Analytics, Announcement, Industry News, Tips and Advice

GDPR 101 for Mobile Apps or How to Avoid a €20M Fine

GDPR 101 - How to avoid the €20M fine for your mobile app

Some of our customers started asking us about GDPR, so we created a GDPR Compliance FAQ page to answer most questions. To those of you who haven’t heard about it, GDPR is the new European privacy regulation that will take affect on 25th of May 2018. The new set of rules is causing many companies to lose sleep also due to the recent Disney lawsuit and the lawsuit against Kiloo, maker of Subway Surfer. The first suit includes not just the company itself but also tech providers such as Kochava, Upsight and Unity.

This means that while the app companies are on the front, the technology companies behind them should also learn GDPR carefully. In the rest of the post, I’ll try to describe some of the key differences and explain what actions companies should consider. So lets jump into what’s new with the GDRP:

The price tag difference

One of the new aspects of GDPR is that it names a price for non-compliance – fines can reach up to €20M Or 4% of annual gross revenues – the greatest of the two. What this means for app companies is that they have a strong business case to invest money and effort in complying. For tech companies, it means that the level of liability will be pushed up. If tech companies were able to get a way with capping their liability at a $0.5M or $1M dollar, that will no longer be acceptable by the app companies.

US companies also on the hook

Another key difference is that GDPR makes it clear that as long as companies have users in EU, the rules apply to them regardless of their location. For US companies, this is a major difference as privacy rules in the US are less restrictive.

Everything is personal

One thing that the GDPR makes very clear is that all device identifiers including IDFA (Apple devices’ ID for advertising), GAID (Google’s advertising ID) and IP address are now considered personal data and any data stored with it in the same record should also be considered personal. This have been a gray area a few years ago but was getting less and less gray in recent years. With GDPR there is zero doubt about this. For app companies and, advertising companies and analytics companies this means that all data becomes personal and should be treated as such.

Encrypting and protecting and documenting data transactions

Another requirement that GDPR makes more clear is the need to encrypt and protect personal data as well as document any transaction in which encryption was not possible. This is not a new requirement but since all data is considered personal now it becomes a requirement for each company and each piece of data. Here is an example of one process that is likely to change for App companies and has already affected some of the tech providers. In the past, companies used Facebook’s highly effective lookalike modeling service by creating custom audiences based on divide identifiers. The practice of exporting a CSV file from you analytics or attribution platform, storing it in your personal computer and uploading it to Facebook is now considered a non-encrypted transaction that has to be documented. Not many app companies will want to cumbersome their process with the documentation requirement and so some of the attribution companies have responded with audience builder tools that make this transaction encrypted.

CASE STUDY ON ADVERTISERS CHURN & eCPM

Is your data coming to US for business or pleasure

Another area that app companies and tech companies serving them should be aware of is the transfer of information outside the EU and specifically to US. This has been a key topic for previous legislation but the requirements became stricter with GDPR. This topic is known as cross border transfer. In a nut shell, EU knows that US is more liberal when it comes to privacy and specifically in the Federal’s government ability to force companies hand in providing private data. One example of the FBI power over companies was last year when Apple confronted the FBI and refused to help them crack an iPhone. While Apple stood up to the FBI, very few companies will risk disobeying a court order.

To adapt to the new regulations, companies can no longer rely on gaining the user consent for transferring their data. This practice is required but not sufficient anymore. Instead companies should do one of the following:

  • Keep data about EU users in Europe and comply all tech providers to do so
  • Make sure all providers are part of the Privacy Shield initiative
  • Execute model clauses to document each data export from EU to US

Keeping data in EU

This may sound easier than it is. If you are an app company, you are probably using at least a dozen services to help you monetize users, analyze them and improve your app. Most likely, you also have homegrown analytics tech that reads and writes data to a database stored by a cloud provider. Keeping the data in EU means you need to go to your cloud provider and each one of the other tech provider and make sure they also keep the data in EU. In turn, the tech providers will have to go to their tech providers and cloud providers and do the same. While the major cloud providers: AWS, Google and Azure have data centers in Europe it’s unlikely to ensure 100% of the data staying in EU given the number of providers involved especially when the app is serving ads.

Privacy Shield

This is essentially a certification that companies can get if they do store their data in the US. Being listed in the Privacy Shield list of certified companies is an alternative requirement to keeping data in EU. It means that tech providers who don’t keep EU user data in EU can get a Privacy Shield certification and help the app companies comply with GDPR. In the list below, you can find popular SDK providers that already obtained Privacy Shield certifications and the ones who didn’t. The extensive list can be found here – https://www.privacyshield.gov/list . Note that:

  • Providers that store data in EU don’t need the Privacy Shield (e.g. Adjust)
  • Providers can give an EU model clause document to app companies as an alternative to Privacy Shield and still comply with GDPR.

SOOMLA is already in compliance with the regulations and has started a process to obtain a Privacy Shield certification. Ask us about the current status by emailing – privacy@soomla.com.

EU Model Clause

As mentioned before, providers who don’t keep their data in EU and don’t have a privacy shield certification can still help app companies comply with GDPR by providing an EU model clause document explaining exactly how and what personal data flows from EU to US.

The right to be forgotten

Another key requirement by GDPR is that every user has the right to be forgotten. This means that a user can request an app publisher to delete all his data including data about him that is stored by 3rd party providers.

What you should ask from your providers

While there are a few changes app developers might have to implement in how they handle their users’ data most of the work will probably be with ensuring their providers’ compliance and more specifically their advertising related ones. The decision to treat IDFA, GAID and IP addresses as personal data puts all the advertising industry in the spotlight as most of it was operating under the assumption that IDFA will not be considered personal data.

Here is quick compliance checklist for your providers.

  • Do you protect and  encrypt any record that contains IDFA or IP address?
  • Can lists of IDFAs or IP addresses be exported? Do you send such lists over email?
  • Do you keep the data in EU or US? If in US – are certified under privacy shield? Can you provide model clause explaining all data transactions?
  • Forgetting users – Make sure you know all instances of the user record (log, backup, main DB, …) and what’s the mechanism to delete.

Providers Not Certified with Privacy Shield [updated Nov-2017]

  • Appodeal
  • Chartboost
  • Ironsource
  • Fyber
  • Adjust (But already has a stricter certification)
  • Heyzap
  • Lifestreet
  • Media Brix
  • AOL / Millenial
  • Tapjoy
  • Vungle
  • Upsight/Fuse
  • Unity / Unity Analytics / Unity ads

Providers Certified with Privacy Shield

  • Google – including Cloud, Admob, Analytics and Firebase services
  • Amazon – including AWS and Amazon Ads
  • Microsoft – including Azure
  • Applovin
  • Adcolony
  • Appsflyer
  • AppAnnie
  • Mixpanel
  • Facebook
  • Kochava
  • Amplitude
  • TUNE
  • Mopub

 

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Announcement

New Feature: Who is Advertising in Your App

Today we are super excited to announce a new feature by SOOMLA. It allows app publishers who use in-app ads to see exactly what apps are being promoted to their users. After upgrading to the latest version of our SDK, the new screen should look like this:

Screen shot of the new advertiser screen available through SOOMLA TRACEBACK platform - each row contains an advertiser that places ads in the app of the customer

We believe this type of information would be quite useful for publishers. Here are some of the potential use cases that we heard from the market:

Compliance to policy

Most ad-networks allow you to block certain advertisers. This is typically used by publishers to prevent competitors from poaching their users as well as to block inappropriate content. The ad-networks can comply or not comply with the requests and the publisher don’t have a way to know unless they have employees in each and every country to monitor what ads are presented.

Frequency monitoring

Showing the same ad to the same user 100 times is not a good user experience and most likely not the best monetization tactic. This tool allows you to spot such problems and address them with your ad partners.

CASE STUDY ON ADVERTISERS CHURN & eCPM

Comparing ad-networks Apples to Apples

Many ad-networks run the same campaigns but the eCPM received by the publisher is not always the same. The new feature gives the publisher the opportunity to compare the eCPM of the same campaign across different networks.

The power of an API

The ability to know who is advertising your app is powerful on it’s own but it becomes even more powerful as publishers can access it via API and combine it with the granular revenue per user and the CPM per impression that is available through SOOMLA TRACEBACK.

 

If you wnat to start measuring your ad monetization and know who is advertising in your app you should check out SOOMLA TRACEBACK – Monetization Measurement Platform.

Learn More

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Announcement

Waterfall Screen 101

The waterfall screen shows the ecpm decay for your mobile app

We recently added a new screen to TRACEBACK dashboard called “Waterfall”. You can access it once you are in the analytics mode viewing one of your apps. This post will go through the basics of this screen and how to use it. Here is what we will cover:

  • The goal of the screen
  • How to set up a view that is productive
  • Comparison Table section
  • eCPM decay chart
  • Ad Network Comparison section

Goal of the screen

This screen is the first time publishers get a chance to look at their eCPM decay. It expands the horizons of what data publishers can access and opens up a world of possibilities. It is an important screen since ad-networks’ yield should be compared Apples to Apples. Publishers often develop a sentiment towards one ad-network since they see higher eCPM coming from that network. In reality this could simply be a result of waterfall position and not related to the ad-network. This screen fixes that!

There are many other implications. Publishers can realize that they need to change their ad-network mix, they might change the way they integrate ads into the game as a result and they will also have more productive discussions with their ad-network partners.

Setting up the view

This screen is highly flexible which means users can easily set up views that are not productive for them. Our recommendation is to set up as follows:

  • Single country at a time
  • Single ad-type at a time
  • Select a date range that brings the total #1 impressions to at least 100,000 impressions
  • Focus on 2-3 ad-networks that generate volume and remove
  • Ignore eCPM rates when impression volume is lower than 10,000

These guidelines will allow you to make the most out of this screen.

Comparison Table section

The first section of the screen is a table with full details about what is hapening in every impression number. Publishers can look at each ad-network and see the number of impressions, the total revenue generated by that impression number and the eCPM all broken down by the impression number.

img_3557

eCPM Decay chart

The middle section gives the averaged eCPM that the publisher receives for every impression number. The darker bars are the Actual eCPM – the average across all selected ad-networks for the segment filtered by the user. The optimal eCPM represented by the brighter bars is the maximal eCPM given by one of the ad-networks. Note that today the Optimal eCPM bars ignores the fill rate of the ad-networks and is therefore better than the achievable eCPM.

In the example below you can see quite a big difference between the average and optimal eCPM. This is likely due to a low fill rate by AdMob.

NOTE: It is wise to ignore eCPM rates when the impression volumes are lower than 10,000. Here this happens on the 5th impression for the Optimal eCPM and on the 9th impression for the average eCPM.

img_3558

Ad Network Comparison section

The last section includes a chart and a table and it visualizes very easily what ad-networks got to serve what impression. The stacked bar chart represents impression volume and each color is a different ad network. The table below the chart shows the eCPM paid by each ad-network for each impression count.

In the example below, you can see that Chartboost and Admob split the first impression 50%-50% but Admob part is declining quickly and almost disappears by the 5th impression. The table below the chart shows that AdMob eCPM is much higher compared to Chartboost for this segment – which bags the question – why is AdMob not serving more ads. This could be a result of low fill rate by AdMob or bad choices made by the mediation.

img_3559

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