Since the launch of the Bidshake UA automation platform in 2019, we worked with some of the biggest hyper-casual publishers out there, got acquainted with numerous User Acquisition frameworks, explored a variety of optimization strategies, and witnessed, first-hand, the significant impacts of automation on profit margins, ROAS, and growth opportunities.
It is now clear that automation is the answer to transforming campaign management and helping mobile apps and games scale profitably. But automation comes in different forms, and it is not always obvious which method is the best option for your app business.
This article will break down the main automation methods currently existing and present each's benefits and challenges.
1. AI-based Automation
Artificial Intelligence makes it possible for machines to learn from experience, adjust to new inputs, and perform human-like tasks by processing large amounts of data and recognizing patterns in the data.
2. Bid Streaming
The Bid Streaming automation framework relies on the advertiser's ability to aggregate performance data and implement advanced modeling algorithms to predict LTV and establish a bidding strategy to increase ROAS.
3. Optimization Rules
Employing optimization rules is a simpler, but nonetheless powerful solution. The mechanism is built on business rules set by marketers and relies on real-time data.
While AI might seem like the ultimate automation method, it is not the best solution for everyone. Disregarding the risk of relying on a robotic authority with no intervention from the marketing team, using AI-based optimization requires a substantial investment: to allow Machine Learning, you must let the machine learn. This means a massive investment of marketing dollars and a significant period of time before seeing results. Most casual and hyper-casual game publishers won't benefit from it, since their games' lifetime is significantly shorter. By the time the machine is equipped to operate autonomously, the focus will already shift to a newer title.
Ruling out AI, Bid Streaming might seem like a well-balanced solution, combining computer logic with human business logic. It is, in fact, a successful method that yields impressive results. However, it still requires vast investment in development and testing and relies heavily on historical data that not all publishers have.
Finally, custom Automation Rules allow UA teams' biggest flexibility to identify and automate the best optimization strategies. With no learning curve, the automation tool can rapidly optimize campaigns and be modified as needed later on.
When it comes to UA automation, one size does not fit all. It is important to understand your segment, business goals, and available resources before making a decision. The only thing we can say for sure is that manual UA is no longer viable in 2020 and onwards.