This is not going to shock you: app marketing rules have changed in the past two years as advertisers started removing all intermediaries in order to regain control over their marketing dollars. If you want things done correctly, you better do it yourself, right?
This new approach was a big bang in an industry plagued by fraud, inconsistent advertising, and lack of transparency. The good news is that it leveled the playing field - the leading players stayed in the race, while lots of others took this tsunami very hard. The main conclusion is that advertisers took a step back to disinvest massively and to learn. Trust took a severe hit, and advertisers started to reorganize their UA.
Now they are back in the game investing more than ever… however, this time they invest differently.
Conversion Rates are old, long live ROAS
For a while, the main KPIs advertisers were looking at were quite advanced, but didn't always reflect reality. Conversion rates, in-app events, user loyalty - all those are still valid, but not enough to judge the quality of a UA campaign compared to organic traffic. Mainly, because you can only trust in the return you get.
You can have millions of loyal users generated from your campaigns; but if these users have low or no value at all, it won’t help your business. Media Trading is now taking on its real definition. When you run an acquisition campaign, arbitraging between media sources to make more money is key, right? So you should not only examine how many new users you managed to bring but also what LTV you gained from these users. The math is simple, $1 invested in onboarding a new user means that this user must bring $1 or more in value to make it worth it. Return On Ad Spend is now THE KPI to follow.
DIY or DON'T
Agencies, performance networks, and affiliates are failing to deliver in most cases. App developers decided to internalize their UA efforts and to link them with their monetization scheme.
App publishers built strong teams, formulated better processes, and decided to invest in esteemed partners that are powered by direct traffic and can offer comprehensive insights. Media companies like Facebook, Google, Ironsource, Vungle, and Applovin are thriving in this new era.
Marketers regained trust in where they invest their budgets, although it has hindered their workflows. Just think about it: say you have five apps in two stores, a worldwide geo-targeting, and at least ten channels to set up, check and optimize all day every day. This can translate into a massive number of campaigns to operate on different platforms. You can hire 50 people to do the job, but you’ll probably lose control somewhere, open the door to mistakes, lose time (which equals money) on every repetitive task, and end up rethinking your entire strategy. You regained trust, you took back control, but paradoxically you lost control again.
You can use Excel sheets...
So, back to the roots: you’ve built the best pivot table in the world, or you found a lovely BI tool rendering some information you’re getting from your attribution system and fed with your own data. You're still required to analyze every single data point against multiple parameters, and you still need to log in to each channel, click on every campaign and ad set to change a bid or budget. This workflow takes a lot of your precious time every time you optimize, and you need to do it manually.
That’s a shame because we've been saying the word 'programmatic' over and over for years - so what IS programmatic? Nowadays, everyone offers a reporting API, but few companies let you manage your campaigns in a streamlined way. You still need to place your changes manually or ask a CSM to do it for you.
Or you can shake things up!
You can connect all your data points to one single platform that will analyze the information and present a clear picture of your Acquisition and Monetization measurements.
You can have a fully customized platform fitting your exact needs not only for Facebook or Google but for ALL your traffic sources.
You can access all your traffic channels from one command point without worrying about a (perhaps non-existent) API, and it WILL work programmatically.
You can execute all changes in a 2-click flow (even if there are thousands) and you can create automated optimization algorithms that will save you the labor.
Moreover, you can have and do all that at a minimal and fixed cost that is unrelated to your traffic volumes or monthly spend.