Marketing, Resource, Tips and Advice

The Best Mobile Gaming Conference To Attend And Why – Our Top Picks

We looked at what are the best mobile gaming conferences to attend and why.  Check out the breakdown of our top picks.

Every quarter, there are about a dozen, if not more, conferences that fall under the umbrella of mobile gaming / marketing / growth / data / analytics. Each conference tends to have a focal point, anywhere from growth, blockchain, indie gaming, monetization, retention and the list goes. Hopefully we will answer help answer “Which gaming conference should I attend / is the best?” by breaking down some of the top mobile gaming conferences out there.

The first question you should be asking yourself is, “What are my goals for the conference?”. A conference can be a great place to brainstorm ideas from peers, network, grow your client base, learn from speakers and lectures, play the upcoming games for 8 hours straight (I’m guilty of that) and of course connect with other people in your industry.

There is a pretty straightforward 10 point criteria system that should be looked at when choosing a conference:

  1. Goals
  2. Cost
  3. Location
  4. Who’s Going?
  5. Who’s Speaking?
  6. Topics / Tracks Offered
  7. Number of Relevant Topics / Sessions
  8. Conference Format
  9. Timeline
  10. Networking Opportunities

While I am sure none of those 10 criteria above are anything new to anybody who has contemplated whether or not to attend a conference, I do want to bring something new to the table here and give some insight how SOOMLA chooses which to attend.

First, let’s look at some of the conferences / events in the mobile gaming industry:

Delta DNA’s Game Industry Analytics ForumGame Industry Analytics Forum

Delta DNA’s Games Industry Analytics Forum is a series of events targeted at all industry professionals who seeks to make their games better through analytics. They bring a large mix of industry experts who speak on a variety of topics.

Name Games Industry Analytics Forum
Locations San Francisco and London
Avg. Companies NA
Avg. Attendees NA
Cost Free
Focus Analytics

Pocket Gamer Connects ConferencePocket Gamer Connects

Pocket Gamer’s Global Mobile Game Conference is held three times a year in various locations. The main focus tends to be on global game publishing strategies, opportunities in various markets. They have several (12 or so) content tracks each with a focus such as Monetization, Marketing, eSports, Growth and more.

Name Pocket Gamer Connects
Locations 3 per year: London, Helsinki, San Francisco
Avg. Companies 600+
Avg. Attendees 1200+
Cost Varies from several hundred $ to thousand +
Focus Mobile Gaming Industry

Casual Connect ConferenceCasual Connect

Casual Connects hosts several conferences across the globe, each with its own particular focus. Anywhere from developers, game design, east meets west, and game tech innovation.

Name Casual Connect
Locations 4 per year: USA, Europe, Asia, Eastern Europe
Avg. Companies 600+
Avg. Attendees 800-2000+
Cost Varies from several hundred $ to thousand+
Focus Mobile Gaming Industry

White Nights ConferenceWhite Nights

White Nights is considered to be a business conference for the gaming industry. They are focused on all aspects of the gaming industry, including mobile, PC, console, web, AR and VR.

Name White Nights
Locations 4 per year: Prague, St. Petersburg, Moscow and Berlin
Avg. Companies 800+
Avg. Attendees 1600+
Cost Several hundred $
Focus Business of Games

Mobile Growth SummitMobile Growth Summit

Mobile Growth Summit is a non-vendor conference targeted at those who work in the mobile growth industry. The conference aims to bring mobile growth and marketing professionals together to connect and learn from one another in areas such as UA, monetization, retention and eCommerce.

Name Mobile Growth Summit
Locations 4 per year: Prague, St. Petersburg, Moscow and Berlin
Avg. Companies 300+
Avg. Attendees 600+
Cost Varies from several hundred $ to thousand +
Focus Mobile Growth / Marketing

Mobile Games ForumMobile Games Forum

Mobile Games Forum brings together gaming industry decision makers to discuss the direction of the industry and potential strategies. The larger portion of attendees tends to be C level, senior managers and directors.

Name Mobile Games Forum
Locations 2 per year: London and Seattle
Avg. Companies 300+
Avg. Attendees 600+
Cost Several hundred $
Focus Upper Management / Decision Makers

Game Developers ConferenceGame Developers Conference

Game Developers Conference is a 5 day event that attracts thousands of attendees from all over the world. They have a wide variety of tracks / sessions on just about every topic from blockchain to VR to monetization. Many up and coming publishers use the conference as a great opportunity to show off their upcoming games.

Name Game Developer Conference
Locations San Francisco
Avg. Companies 700+
Avg. Attendees 3000+
Cost Depends on type of ticket: from free to several hundred.
Focus All things gaming

Game ConnectionGame Connection

Game Connection is a business convention for the game industry where publishers, developers, service providers and distributors come to find new partners and/or new clients. Considered to be the go-to conference for business.

Name Game Connection
Locations Paris and San Francisco
Avg. Companies 1500+
Avg. Attendees 2700+
Cost Several hundred $
Focus Business Creation for Game Industry

As you can see, each conference does have it own focus, and depending on what you are looking to achieve, one of the above conferences should meet your goals.

Criteria # 11 – The Meeting System

One of the topics that we did not cover however is the meeting systems that is made available to the attendees. Depending on the purpose of attending the conference, this could be irrelevant to you, but if you do plan to attend for networking purposes, a good meeting system can dramatically improve the success of your trip. Here are a few of the meeting systems we’ve encountered at SOOMLA:

Feature Pitch&Match MeetToMatch Let's Meet Bizzabo
Profile Creation Y Y Y Y
Search Filters Y Y Y Y
Internal Messaging Y Y
Mobile App Y
Block Meeting Time Slots Y Y Y
Agenda Export Y Y Y Y
“Smart” Scheduling System* Y

Smart System* refers to the meeting system’s method of organizing meetings. Let’s Meet is the only system that allows you to request a meeting without a set time before the event. Generally about a week before the event, all the meetings that have been accepted are automatically filled into your calendar based on a mutual time slot being available. This is significantly different and advantageous compared to the other meeting systems that require you to set a time, limiting your ability to be flexible.

Conclusion

While each conference has its own focus, you are bound to find a mobile gaming conference that meets your criteria. If you think there are any more that are worth mentioning, let us know in the comments below!

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Marketing, Resource, Tech Resources, Tips and Advice

Complete Mobile Advertising Glossary – Over 70 Terms Defined

SOOMLA's complete mobile advertising glossary - we've broken down the top 70 terms in ad tech to be easily understood.

From newcomers to mobile industry veterans, the amount of acronyms and terms that exist can be daunting, and frankly, often times confusing. The industry is constantly evolving, and with that, comes a steady flow of new terminology. We’ve compiled a list of 70 terms that are most prevalent in adtech and broken them down into easy to understand terms.

Here is the complete glossary to mobile advertising at your fingertips. Read, take notes and prosper.

1st Impression

Refers to the first ad displayed to a user within a session. Considered to be the most valuable in terms of eCPM.

1st Look

Ad-networks are prioritized in a a waterfall where the 1st ad-network gets to “look” at the ad request and decide if they want to provide an ad or not. If the ad-network passes the turn goes down the waterfall to the 2nd ad-network. When an ad-network asks for “1st look” it means they want to sit on the top of the waterfall and have the opportunity to see all the ad requests.

1st Price Auction

Where a bidder pays exactly what they bid. Often times leading to inflated prices and a lower demand for that publisher’s inventory.

2nd Price Auction

Where the top bidder pays the what the second highest bid was + $0.01. Allows for the saving of money due to overestimation of the value of a publisher’s inventory.

A/B Testing

A test in which all variables are identical aside from one. The purpose is to compare the two versions and see which performs better according to the established KPI.

Ad Exchange

An ad exchange refers to a platform that helps facilitate the buying and selling of advertiser inventory from multiple ad networks.

Ad Inventory

The amount of (virtual) space a publisher has available to be sold to advertisers. Also known as “ad space”.

Ad Mediation

A platform that sends requests for advertisements to multiple ad networks for publishers, ensuring the ad space is filled with the best possible deal.

Ad Network

An ad network connects advertisers and publishers looking to generate revenue by serving ads in a mobile app or website.

Ad Revenue

The amount of revenue generated from placing advertisements in an application / website.

Ad Whales

Refers to a group of users who make the most amount of ad revenue. Typically this is defined as the top 10% or 20% of the users who make 70% or 80% of the ad revenue. In other cases, the ad-whales are defined as a threshold of $0.7 (the equivalent of a $1 IAP).

Advertiser Blacklisting

The process of publishers blacklisting specific advertisers from appearing in their app. Some ad networks provide this as an option to publishers. The blacklisting is often based on competition, poor eCPMs or inappropriate content.

CASE STUDY ON OPT-IN RATES & SOOMLA INSIGHTS

Advertiser Identity

Identifying which advertisers are advertising in one’s app and their respective performance.

API

Application Program Interface. An API opens access to a limited part of a piece of software, allowing 3rd party developers to access previously unaccessible information.

ARPU

(Average Revenue Per User). Calculated by dividing the total revenue by the number of users across a time perdiod (generally monthly or annually).

ASO

(App Store Optimization). The process of improving the visibility of an app in the respective app store (Google Play, iTunes, etc.)

Attribution

The process of accrediting a traffic source with the conversion. Each platform has it’s own methodologies for doing so.

Audience

A group of consumers / users within a specific target market which are targetted for a specific ad campaign.

Blacklist

A list of advertisers that a publisher has decided to not allow to appear within their app.

Churn Rate

The rate at which users have stopped using an app during a specific time period

CLV

(Customer Lifetime Value). Has the same meaning to LTV – the total value of a user if given enough time to fully exhaust all opportunities to pay or watch ads in the game. This value is often averaged across a group of users (cohort) and most publishers try to create models for future prediction of CLV/LTV based on the activity of the first few days so they can make quick decisions on the marketing side.

Cohort

A group of users that share one or more similar characteristics. Used for grouping in data analysis.

CPA

(Cost Per Acquisition). The cost a publisher incurs to bring a new user through various paid channels.

CPC

(Cost Per Click). A campaign where the advertiser is charged everytime a user clicks on the ad they are shown.

CPI

(Cost Per Install). A campaign where a price is paid when a user views an ad, goes to the app store and installs an app.

CPM

(Cost per Mile). A campaign were advertisers pay for every thousand times the advertisement is shown.

CTR

(Click-Through-Rate). The ratio of users who click on an ad / opt-in to the total users who were displayed an ad.

DAU

(Daily Active Users). How many users open your app on a daily basis. This is one of the key metrics used to measure ad revenue.

Direct Deal

Rather than going through an ad network or mediation platform, publishers can make direct deals with advertisers, cutting out the middle men.

DSP

(Demand Side Platform). A platform in which marketers can buy ad inventory from multiple ad exchanges in one place.

eCPM

(Effective Cost Per Thousand). A metric used to measure ad revenue generated. Generally calculated by dividing total revenue earned by total number of impressions in the thousands.

eCPM Decay

The inevitable decrease in eCPM as ads begin to be displayed to your users. There are however methods proven to help slow it down.

Fill Rate

The number of ads requested that are successfully filled in relation to the total number of ads requested. Tends to be displayed in a percentage format.

Frequency / Frequency Capping

The rate at which users are shown ads. For example, some apps place a frequency cap of 4 ads per day for users.

GDPR

(General Data Protection Regulation). A comprehensive new set of regulations designed to give EU citizens more control / oversight on their personal data and the entities that collect it. Under GDPR, companies will need to notify their customers when collecting personal data. Consent can be given or denied based on the purpose of the data usage.

Header Bidding

The process by which publishers open ad space to be bid upon by multiple ad exchanges, resulting in an increased yield and revenue.

IAP Cannibalization

The notion that the integration of incentivized rewarded videos are damaging to the revenue gained from in-app purchases.

IDFA

The “Identifier for Advertisers” is a random identifier number given by Apple to a user’s device. It is used for advertising targeting.

Impression

Refers to the moment when an ad is fetched from its source and dispalyed to the user. Each ad type has a varying distinction of when the impression occurs. For banner ads, once an ad is fetched from its source and the user sees the ad. For video ads, the impressions is logged once the first frame of the video is displayed.

Interstitials Ads

Ads that are full-screen which are typically displayed at natural transition points in the flow of an app. For example, between levels or when the game is paused.

Q1 2018 MONETIZATION BENCHMARKS

Lookalikes

A method of targeting additional users based on similarities to existing users. Generally based on geo, interests, gender, age etc.

LTV

(Lifetime Value). Has the same meaning to CLV – the total value of a user if given enough time to fully exhaust all opportunities to pay or watch ads in the game. This value is often averaged across a group of users (cohort) and most publishers try to create models for future prediction of CLV/LTV based on the activity of the first few days so they can make quick decisions on the marketing side.

MAU

(Monthly Active Users) How many users open your app on a monthly basis. This is another of the key metrics used to measure ad revenue.

Mobile Ad Fraud

The process which fraudsters cheat advertisers into displaying ads to fake users / bot traffic.

Multi-Touch Attribution

Allows for the attiributing of all channels in the conversion process. Different from the existing last touch approach.

Offer Wall

A list of incentives which a user can receive by performing a specific action, typically downloading another app, watching a video ad, or sharing content on social media. The rewards for doing so tend to be some form of digital currency or other in-app incentives.

Opt In

When a user actively agrees to participate in viewing an ad.

Pipelining

The process of moving data from one point to another.

Playable Ads

Ads that request the user to interact, often showing off the basic gameplay of the game being advertised.

Postbacks

The ability to notify a third party of a specific event that occurs within an app (install, in-app event, etc.)

Programmatic

An automated process for purchasing digitial advertising, eliminating the need for a human touch.

Reach

The number of unique users who can potentially be targeted by advertising.

Real-Time Bidding

Bidding on inventory in real-time. The bid is often dynamically generated based on past performance of creatives, inventory, user groups, and other parameters.

Retargeting

A marketing effort in which targeted online advertisements are shown to users based on their previous behaviour.

Rewarded Video Ads

Video ads that are offer the user the option to opt-in to view them in order to receive some incentive. Can range from free coins, extra lives to free uprades.

ROI

(Return on investment). A performance measure used to determine the efficiency of an investment / effort.

SDK

(Software Development Kit). A set of software development tools that can be added to existing apps to support new capabilities.

SDK Mediation

Mediation of ad-networks allows publishers to use a few ad-networks in parallel and maximize fill rates and eCPM. SDK mediation is a form of mediation where each ad-networks installs an SDK on the publisher’s app and the mediation is done on the client side.

Server Side Mediation

Server side mediaiton is a form of mediation. Unlike SDK mediation, the goal of maximizing fill rates and eCPMs for the publisher is acheived with a single SDK provided by the mediaiton company and the ad-networks have to serve their ads through that SDK. This means that the mediaion is done on the server side

Share of Voice

Refers to the portion that one company controls out of the total. In terms of ads, can refer to an ad network who maintains a larger share of voice in rewarded video displays in comparison to other ad networks.

SSP

(Supply Side Platform) A platform that allows publishers to sell their advertising inventory in an automated way.

Target Audience

A group of consumers / users within a specific target market which are targetted for a specific ad campaign.

Traceback

SOOMLA’s unique ability to traceback individual user’s ad behavior.

Tracker

A tracker is a link structure generated by the attribution platform on behalf of the advertiser. The tracker is than passed along to the ad-network so clicks on the ads of the advertiser which are associated with the ad-networks can be identified through the unique link structure of the tracker.

Unified auction

On open auction where all ad networks are given an equal opportunity to bit on an app’s inventory, without any preferential treatment, in which the highest bid tends to win.

UDID

(Unique User ID). A unique identifier assigned to each device. Apple and Google have their own methods for doing so.

User Acquisition

The marketing efforts to acquire new users through advertising campaigns.

VAST Tag

(Video Ad Serving Template). A universal XML-based protocol specification created by the IAB for serving video ads.

Whitelisting

The opposite of blacklisting in which certain entities are explicitly approved.

Yield Management

The use of tools and business practices to maximize revenue.


Find a term that we didn’t define here? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll get them added ASAP.

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Analytics, App Monetization, Marketing

Inside SOOMLA: Ad Waterfall Analysis

Inside SOOMLA's Ad Waterfall Analysis - an invaluable took for publishers to optimize their eCPM

As a marketer for SOOMLA, I’m often disconnected from the customers / potential clients themselves. Much of my time goes towards content writing, web design, SEO, conferences and the tons of other micro tasks that arise. However lately I’ve found myself sneaking into some of the demos our sales team gives to potential clients because.. well, it’s amazing to see.

Each customer has their own current setup, pain points, ad revenue, integrations, in-app purchases, ad types but one thing I have consistently seen is the reaction from some of the capabilities that SOOMLA brings to the table. This is why I started the “Inside SOOMLA” series to show off a bit, but also to give a sneak peak into our system for those who have yet to sign up and request a demo (which you can do here… shameless plug).

One of the most common scenarios that we see are app publishers leaving money on the table. There are a number of ways that this can occur, however specifically let’s look at the “Ad Waterfall”.

What is an Ad Waterfall?

Also referred to as daisy-chaining, simply put, the ad waterfall works as a prioritized series of ad networks or exchanges arranged from top to bottom in order of performance set by the publisher. The performance tends to be based upon the network’s history of payouts (eCPM), their fill rate, latency delays when serving ads and many more other potential reasons.

To gain some context on what makes the ad waterfall so important, we recently published a monetization benchmarks report which specifically looked at the importance of first impressions. TL;DR – Advertisers payout exorbitant eCPMs for first impressions as they understand their importance.

Q1 2018 MONETIZATION BENCHMARKS

Waterfall Analysis Screen

The entire purpose of this feature within SOOMLA is to give publishers the ability to make more data-driven decisions rather than biased ones. Publishers often times have a strong biased towards one ad-network since they see a higher eCPM coming from that network however this has been shown to be misleading. The position of the ad network in the waterfall often dictates the higher eCPMs and not necessarily the caliber of the ad network.

There are however other key features of this screen. By giving publishers the ability to visualize the data, they can make data-driven decisions towards changing up their ad-network mix, as well as helping to leverage this information for more beneficial discussions / negotiations with the ad networks. How is this all achieved you ask? Here goes…

Feature 1 – Ad Networks per Impression

This particular section shows full details about what is happening throughout the first ten impressions broken down by ad-network. Publishers see the number of impressions, the total revenue generated by that impression and the current eCPM, all broken down by the impression # in the ad waterfall.
Inside SOOMLA's Ad Waterfall - Ad Networks per Impression

Feature 2 – eCPM Decay Chart

What publisher wouldn’t like to know if they are achieving the optimal eCPM and not leaving money on the table? Thanks to this feature, publishers are now able to see just that. For the first ten impressions, publishers are displayed the “Actual eCPM” (the average across all selected ad-networks) while the “Optimal eCPM” represents the maximal eCPM attainable for the given impression by one of the ad-networks. For a more in-depth explanation about eCPM Decay, check out one of our posts on it.

Inside SOOMLA's Ad Waterfall - eCPM Decay

Feature 3 – Ad Network Comparison

This section visualizes for the publisher which ad-networks serve at which impression and how many ads they server daily. Furthermore, you can see exactly the eCPM paid by each ad-network for each impression count.

This is an invaluable tool in conjunction with the eCPM Decay feature as it allows you to break down why certain ad networks, while having higher eCPMs, are not displaying more ads as I’m sure publishers would like them to be. Low fill rate or bad choices vis a vis the mediation are often the culprits here.
Inside SOOMLA's Ad Waterfall - Ad Networks Comparison

Conclusion

Our Ad Waterfall analysis feature is unique to SOOMLA and one has one of two effects on potential clients of ours: 1) They are amazed and want to see a direct business case via their data, or 2) The stream of questions comes, asking how we achieve this, is the data credible and so on.

If you have any of these questions, or want to see a far more in-depth demo of SOOMLA (not just the Ad Waterfall feature), reach out and we’ll get one set.

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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, Marketing

The 5Ws (and 1H) of Postbacks for Ad Whales

blog header image with postbacks for ad whales written as the title and signs that say where, what, why, who, when and how

Before we jump into the topic of postbacks for ad whales, lets first understand what are postbacks and why they are so important for any marketer of a mobile app company. Let’s say you have a dating app called TrueMatch and after you have had some organic growth you have recently partnered with a few marketing partners – mostly ad-networks who specialize in bringing installs. Let’s call one of them Tap4Buck. Tap4Buck places ads to promote your app TrueMatch on different websites and apps. As a result users click on them and get to your app-landing page. Some of them also decide to install your app and a smaller percentage even continues and converts to payers. Since Tap4Buck wants to give you the best results possible, they want to know which clicks ended up converting to installs and which ones converted to purchasing users. The problem is that the app store landing page breaks the flow of information so Tap4Buck can’t continue to track the user once they have installed the app. Postbacks solve this issue. If you are using an attribution provider (you should – it’s a must have these days), you can easily configure it to send postbacks to Tap4Buck and help them optimize your campaign for you.

What are ad whales and what are postbacks for ad whales

Now, let’s imagine that TrueMatch makes 50% of it’s ad-revenue from advertising. This means that sending postbacks for users who made purchases only tells Tap4Buck half the story. What about users who generate a lot of revenue from ad based monetization? Ad Whales are users who made at least $0.7 in ad revenue. This is the minimal amount of revenue a payer can make ($1 purchase minus 30% cut by Apple/Google). $0.7 threshold means that a conversion to ad-whale yields the same amount of money as a conversion to payer would yield. Postbacks for ad whales means that your attribution provider would send Tap4Buck an event every time a user that came through Tap4Buck has generated at least $0.7 in ad revenue and converted into an ad whale. This typically happens with 2%-5% of the users in games that are tuned towards ad based monetization but obviously changes from one game to another.

Who should care about postbacks for ad whales?

Companies who have any type of paid marketing activity would benefit from sending postbacks in general. The ones that also have an ad revenue component that amounts to at least 15% of their total revenue should be sending postbacks for ad whales. Ad whale postbacks also benefit the partners on both sides. For the marketing partner that sent the traffic to your app, better postbacks means more effective campaigns and happier customers. For the monetization partners, better postbacks means that the app will get more ad whales as a result of the optimization and therefore their volume of revenue would increase.

Q1 2018 MONETIZATION BENCHMARKS

When – 2017 is the year of change

If you have been following the industry trends you already know that ad revenues are becoming the dominant way to monetize apps. It’s already as big as In-App Purchase and is projected to grow faster in the next 4 years. In Mobile games alone, App Annie projects in-app advertising will amount to revenue streams of over fifty billion dollars ($50B) for the companies who will be placing these ads in their apps. The total mobile ad spend worldwide is projected to reach $195B by eMarketer. As ad based monetization is becoming so important, companies are looking for tools to optimize them and postbacks are a big part how the mobile marketing space has been operating.

Where – not all geographic areas are created equally

Most of the media buying today is concentrated in a few countries where people are willing to spend money on in-app items. These countries are often referred to as Tier 1 countries and are also where most of the postbacks are being fired today. At the same time, postbacks for ad whales bring a new opportunity to table. There are other countries with large population where people can’t afford to buy in-app items. These countries offer low rates for user acquisition due to lack of demand. Setting up postbacks for ad whales allow app publishers to find opportunities to acquire users in these countries with positive ROI. This means that as postbacks for ad whales became more popular through out 2017 we will see a shift in the postback geographical activity areas.

Why track conversion to ad whales and report it as postbacks?

There are 3 main reasons to track and post ad whale conversion:
Business goals alignment – many apps that have a big ratio of ad revenue today would make up a game progress goal such as “100 sessions completed” or “10 levels”. These goals would be defined as events and companies would track conversion to these goals and report postbacks to the ad-networks. However, these goals are not aligned with the business of the company. Conversion to payers and to ad whales is a far better goal and will bring better results in the long term.

ROAS not enough
– Measuring and optimizing the return on ad spend is the best theoretical approach. However, in a real world situation it relays on predictive models that are often hard to implement. Media buyers often require a more day to day metric to optimize against. This is why most UA campaigns track the conversion to payers as one of the leading KPIs. Similarly, in apps that monetize mainly with ads, the easiest way for media buyers to optimize is against a goal of conversion to ad-whales.

Postbacks allows manual as well as automatic optimizations – reporting the conversion to ad whales as a postback to the traffic source allows them to have an optimization goal that is aligned with your business. In turn, it impacts what users you will be getting from this traffic source. In some channels such as search and social media there is a lot of algorithmic optimization taking place. These algorithms need a goal to optimize against so having them optimize for ad whales would be the best approach for an ad supported app. Similarly, in other channels there is a manual optimization process of eliminating bad sub-sources such as sites or segments – these manual optimizations also requires a goal and reporting ad-whale conversion as postbacks provides such a goal.

How to set up ad whale conversion as postbacks

There are 3 components for setting up ad whale postbacks in your app:

#1 – Tracing back ad revenue per user – in order to detect the ad whales and report them you will need a way to measure the ad revenue for each user separately. Your monetization partners typically report ad revenue per country and average CPM but not the ad revenue for specific users. The most accurate way to measure ad revenue today is SOOMLA TRACEBACK. It is the only platform that can identify the ad whales for you.

#2 – Connecting the data pipelines – your attribution platform is the one in charge of sending postbacks to your marketing partners. Once you have SOOMLA integrated in your app you can configure it to send the right postbacks to your attribution platform with just a few clicks.

#3 – Setting up postbacks in your attribution platform – this step is slightly different depending on the attribution partner. However, they all have a partner configuration screen where you can set up the ad-whale conversion from phase #2 as the trigger for the postback.

 

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Guest Post, Marketing

BAAS vs. Push Service – What’s Better?

Baas offers a one stop shop but big app publisher often chose an architecture with internal DB and complementry point solutions

Disclaimer: There is no universal remedy for every single purpose: you have to see what aims you pursue and how exactly a push provider is going to boost your product.

Still, push notifications are not a supplement to a backend but a superior communication channel between you and your audience. If you feel this difference, you’ve already outgrown the “appendix” push notifications almost every BaaS platform offers. This article will help you realize you are all set to win the market using mature push campaign.

To make it more vivid, imagine your product is a car going through a race. Marketing strategy is a car engine aimed at helping you move forward and stand out. BaaS push notifications, as a part of marketing strategy, make it possible to start moving. However, it’s too slowly and you never foreknow when the engine runs too hot and gets broken. Point solution for push messaging is a dual fuel injection that empowers the engine and rushes you forward at full speed, so fast you just can’t back off.

Yet let’s go step by step.

To Each His Own

As stated in the disclaimer, it all depends on your goals, on what you are going to achieve with the help of your project. BaaS with push notifications is undisputedly the right choice for small apps with simple logic and basic push requirements. In other words, if your team consists of you and your idea only, it’s definitely a point in outsourcing a database for your project. The cloud backend lets you focus solely on the UX and business logic of your app, replacing your entire server infrastructure with an API-driven service. You’ll also get push notifications but in limited functionality mode. Anyway, it’s still enough to say meaningless “hello” to all your subscribers at once, but you won’t go beyond the simple push that way. No way you can guarantee to one million subscribers they will get notified the time and the way they like.

So, if you have a complex app and business goals to achieve with push notifications, BaaS is not the solution you are looking for. If you want to quickly prototype and run a proof of concept app – you’d better outsource backend.

4 Point Solution Perks BaaS Users Miss

Segmentation is a power feature not available through BaaS provided push

When you decide to use push notifications in marketing strategy, you want to have clear returns on your effort. And it’s impossible to make money out of push messages just by saying “Hello, Marianne”. It’s much better to say “We hope you are having a great weekend, Marianne! The red jeans you’ve added to your shopping cart are still trendy. Take a look at related items!”.

You will need advanced segmentation features to address the audience individually, the time when they are most responsive. That’s the right way to deliver them the reason and urgency to make a purchase.

Here come the marketing possibilities a point solution offers. Services like Pushwoosh has advanced segmentation that helps you precisely target your audience across different types of segments. Need to notify female users aged 25-35, who spent more than 35$ making in-app purchases last month? Not a big deal! Use Tags and Filters to collect additional data from your customers and send relevant messages to every single user, inviting them to visit your app.

Not all solutions deliver push notifications with the same speed

Delivery speed is a point of interest for every push provider. When your job is to keep notifications running fast and smoothly, you are interested in making guarantees for your users. The volumes may vary, but you are sure delivery speed is safeguarded when you sign an SLA with a push service.

Let’s say you are going to address 100000 users with a push message. If something goes wrong and notifications are being delayed – you can always rely on the previously signed SLA. As a result, both parties benefit from this mutual commitment.

The full solution approach of BaaS limits your flexibility

It is really important to stay flexible when you have an application released. The market is changing and you may need to evolve to stay ahead. BaaS is not a one-stop-shop for app development, you may require custom code, 3rd party integrations or complicated business logic on your stored data. Bummer! As a BaaS user, you are bind to use features your provider offers, but no more. By the way, these features are most likely proprietary, so you can’t migrate from your backend provider to another BaaS. Moreover, if you are a Firebase user, you are vendor-locked, and we all remember what happened to Parse, no matter how good it was.

In that case, having an internal database infrastructure is much more flexible, since you are fully in control of your product. Push notifications and other point solutions complement your feature set when keeping database infrastructure internally.

Point solutions approach proves more cost effective than BaaS in the long run

It might be profitable to let someone host your backend and handle your pushes at the very beginning. This entire database headache doesn’t bother you and you are free to create a design of your dream that drives tons of conversion. Everything is great and you are happy…until you make it. Out of the blue, you realize your app needs functionality that requires your own backend code. When you get 100,000 users and hit storage limit, you’ll be surprised to see BaaS can’t manage your custom needs. On Firebase free plan you have 100 simultaneous connections. It means you can handle 100 users at the same time, making 1 call for each of them. Or even 50 users at once, if making 2 calls for each. And what if you decide to boost your marketing campaign using push notifications? You’ll get cropped functionality incapable of sending targeted push messages and addressing your audience effectively. Gosh, it all hurts!

You’ll be forced to find another backend solution or DIY your database. It will result in extra development efforts, extra costs and extra time spent, which are lethal for the product.

Why should you doom yourself to titanic efforts? It will be much more reasonable in long-term perspective to deploy and maintain your own backend and let professionals run your push campaign. For example, you can reach 500,000 customers with unlimited push messages, and that’s just the free plan Pushwoosh offers. When you have your own backend infrastructure, you are unaffected by provider limitations and free to try each and every feature a push notifications solution has. After all, isn’t it the genuine goal of a trial period?

Takeaway

Well, it’s surely no crime to use push notifications offered by a BaaS platform. Depending on the project size and complexity, this solution can help you bootstrap your product and get to the market as soon as possible. And that’s great for model-view-presenter applications.

However, if you are seeking for long-term benefits and push messaging is a major part of your marketing strategy, you are good to go. A point solution is your lucky ticket.

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Marketing, Research

Singular’s ROAS Index – Which Ad-Networks Drive ROI

Singular ROI Index symbol with a banner saying best ad networks over a blue background

About a week ago Singular released a very interesting study ranking different traffic sources or user acquisition channels according to how much return on ad spend they bring for companies using them. Return on ad spend (ROAS) or marketing ROI has been a critical KPI for marketers in the mobile ecosystems. It allows decision makers to compare marketing activities not only by the amount of received installs but also by how much dollars were received from users who arrived through the channel and compare cost vs. return on each channel sperately.

The Singular ROI index

The study can be downloaded via this link – Singular ROI Index. It ranks the top 20 ad-networks in terms of ROAS for Android and the top 20 for iOS. It also draws some interesting insights about the differences between these two ecosystems. It finds that despite higher CPIs on iOS the ROI is 1.3x when compared to the ROI for the same app on Android running via the same ad-network. This is partially due to higher average payout on iOS.

What about Ad Revenue

The report is lacking in one aspect – it only accounts for In App Purchase revenues for ROAS calculation. A more complete view on ROAS today would consider 3 elements for each channel:

  • Cost for that media channel
  • IAP revenue made by users who came through the channel
  • Ad revenue generated by users who came through that channel

Factoring in the ad-revenue generated from in-app ads in the ROAS calculation is becoming more and more important as the change in the mobile monetization landscape continues. This means that ad-networks who bring users who don’t convert to payers but do convert into ad-whales are under indexed in Singular’s report and networks who brings users who convert to payers but don’t contribute any ad-revenue are over indexed in the report.

Your own ROAS should also consider ad revenue

If you are using Singular for calculating your own ROAS, your decisions may be subject to the same measurement errors. Fortunately, there are already solutions for attributing ad revenue and completing your ROAS picture such as SOOMLA TRACEBACK consider using them and connecting them to Singular.

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Analytics, Marketing

Lies, ROAS lies and Statistics

Reality can prove very different than the statistics that represent it

There is a simple idea at the core of most mobile marketing campaigns these days – if you spend $x on some marketing activity and received $y in return you want y to be grater than x. This is often referred to as ROAS or campaign ROI. We have trained mobile marketers to break down their activities to small units: ad groups, ad sets, ad creatives, audiences, … and find the ones that show ROAS. Doubling down on the positive ROAS units while shutting down the negetive ROAS units is the leading campaign optimization strategy today.

Here is the problem – it only works under certain conditions.

There is a famous saying by Mark Twain – “There are lies, damned lies and Statistics”. It comes to warn people about using statistics in a wrong way. One such way is using statistics when small numbers are involved. Another way in which statistics are deceiving is called Multiplicity or Multiple comparisons. Let’s see how those come into play when calculating returns.

Beware of the small numbers

Most companies base their ROAS calculations only on revenues from In-App Purchases. This is a result of 2 things:

  • Up until recently, ad based monetization and ad spend were mutually exclusive
  • Until SOOMLA TRACEBACK there was no way to attribute ad monetization

The problem with In-App Purchases revenue is that it’s highly concentrated. Studies have shown that purchases are less than 2% of the users and among those 2%, the top 10% generate half of the revenue. Let’s say that you spent $5,000 to acquire 1,000 users and you are trying to figure out the return. Most likely you have 20 purchases but there are 2 whale users who generated $1,500 each (this is aligned with the studies – yes). Now, suppose you had 2 ad-groups in that campaign and you are trying to figure out which one was better. Here are the options:

  • Group A had both whales
  • Group A had one whale and B had one whale
  • Group B had both whales

Since we are talking about 2 users here – the scenario that actually happened would be completely random. Even if one ad-group is better than the other it is still very likely for that group to outperform the other group when we are talking about only 2 users who can flip the outcome completely. The danger here is that our UA teams would double down on the ad-group that yielded the 2 whales without understanding that it’s not better than the other. If we look at sample sizes here n=1000 is normally considered a good sample size. Has the monetization been less concentrated a sample size of 1,000 should have been enough to make decisions. However, for the purpose of acquiring whales the actual sample size is n=2 in this case. We should try to get at least n=500 before we start making decisions on media buying. The problem of course is that attracting 500 whales could be a very expensive test – more than $100,000 based on the numbers in the example above.
On the other hand, companies who monetize with ads enjoy the fact that more users participate in generating revenue and can make decisions based on smaller sample sizes and smaller test budgets.

Multiplicity – the bias of multiple shots

Another bias we normally see in mobile marketing is Multiplicity. The easiest way to explain this is with the game of basketball. Let’s imagine you are through from the 3-pt line and you have 50% chance to score. What happense if you try twice, the chances of scoring at least once becomes 75%. With 3 shots, it’s 87.5% and so forth. The more times you try the better your chances to score.This is what happens when you try to hard to find positive ROAS in a campaigns that has a lot of parameter. You compare ad-groups – that’s 1 shot, you compare ad creatives – that’s a 2nd shot, you compare audiences – that’s a 3rd shot and so forth. The more you try to find a segments with positive ROAS by slicing and dicing the more likely you are to find a false positive one.

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Industry Forecasts, Marketing

CPI Increase Is Here to Stay – Your App Better Adapt or Die

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If you have been marketing your app long enough you must have noticed a CPI increase. Getting users to install your app used to cost a lot less than it costs today. This change can be noticed globally and across different platforms.

The reason behind CPI increase

One of the drivers of the CPI increase we are seeing is the brand budgets starting to pour into mobile. when the internet just emerged, users adopted it first and a few years later bigger budgets started to follow. Facebook story also shows a lot of resemblance – the social network first had 1 billion users and 3 years later it was making $25B in advertising. Mobile advertising also follows the trend of the money following the eyeballs. Recent report from eMarketer projects mobile advertising to reach $195B by 2019 with most of the increase coming from brand budgets.

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Ad spend per user is growing

Here is another way to think about it – if you devide the projected ad spend growth by the projected user growth you can see that the average ad spend per user has been increasing but will continue increasing even more.

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So apps who want to get users face 2 options:

  • Try to relay on organic discovery
  • Increase their LTV in order to afford higher CPIs

Relaying on organic discovery however has proven more and more difficult due to the app stores being overly crowded. Apps today have to invest in marketing to gain momentum. So that leaves us with only one option – increasing LTV.

Adapting to change in CPI prices

In order to increase LTVs app companies must adapt to the change quickly and make the brand budgets work to their advantage. In other words, your company needs to make sure some of this new money finds it’s way over to you. The most effective way to increase LTVs is to introduce a view-to-play model in your app and targeting the 98% of the users that don’t pay. This puts your app in a position to enjoy the projected increase in ad-spend per user and not suffer from it. From a unit economics perspective, monetizing a larger portion of your user base allows you to increase ARPDAU and LTV. Combined with an adequate ad revenue measurement tool, you would be able to increase CPI bids with confidence, remain compatitive in the market and keep growing your app.

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