Whether your goal is to build brand awareness or acquire customers, mobile ads are a vital part of any comprehensive marketing strategy. Smartphones are now more common than desktop computers, and audiences use them to play games, post on social media, or browse the internet. Meanwhile, app usage has surpassed that of the mobile web, prompting many advertisers to adjust their marketing strategies accordingly.

Furthermore, in-app marketing is a vastly different discipline compared traditional web advertising. To succeed, advertisers and developers must work together to come up with creative ways of leveraging new and compelling mobile ad formats to engage audiences.

The good news is that advertisers and developers alike have a variety mobile ad formats to choose from. Here are some of the core formats to help you get started.

 

Offerwalls

Offerwalls are interactive in-app ad units that give users the opportunity to earn relevant rewards through incentivized actions. This allows developers and publishers to monetize their apps through contextually relevant offers while letting advertisers foster engagement with new audiences. In most cases, offerwalls take the form of in-app storefronts where users can complete objectives for virtual rewards like in-game currency.

Offerwalls can be deployed in any app, but are especially effective in free-to-play mobile games, where they provide an alternative method for engaged players to acquire in-game items or currency. Offerwalls can themselves be used as a vehicle for delivering other types of ad units, although rewarded ads tend to be the most popular with users. Other engagement opportunities include surveys or free trials for brand services.

Offerwalls are a form of value-exchange advertising, so their only hard rule is that users choose to engage with them, as opposed to interstitial formats which arrive unprompted. This has the added benefit of generating higher levels of engagement compared to unrequested advertisements, which in turn maximizes ad revenue for publishers. Pop-up reminders and notifications can still direct users to the offerwall if effectively integrated with the app’s native experience.

To learn more, check out our Offerwall page.

 

Rich media ads

In the early days of mobile advertising, most ad creative was delivered through largely static mediums like banners or image-based interstitials. Today, advertisers have found great success using modern web technology to feature more engaging experiences and the ability to respond to user input. Modern ad creative can feature video, audio, or any other creative element that enhances the user experience. What’s more, rich media can effectively attract user attention and provides higher engagement than standard creatives.

Facets of rich media advertising can be leveraged in a variety of other formats, most notably as interactive end cards for video advertisements. These are largely web-based interfaces that can include multiple calls-to-action that can direct traffic towards multiple destinations. Alternatively, rich media technology can be used to develop creative that is 100% interaction based, allowing audiences to engage with brands in new and exciting ways.

To learn more, check out our Rich Media Ads page.

 

Mobile video ads

Mobile video advertisements typically last around 30 seconds and often conclude with an interactive end card that makes use of rich media ad technology. They are an evolution of static interstitial ads which were common in the early days of mobile advertising, reimagined to better support modern device capabilities and advertiser needs.

Mobile Ad Formats

Mobile video ads are especially effective when deployed as full-screen in-app advertisements, while mobile web deployments are more limited. Mobile video ads can be employed as rewarded placements, or delivered as interstitials. In the case of the ladder, it’s recommended that developers carefully monitor and adjust the frequency of interstitial placements, as studies have shown unprompted ads can damage retention if used to excess. When necessary, interstitial videos are best delivered at natural breaks in user experience. For example, a mobile game should have video ads between levels or gameplay activities, not during gameplay.

For more information, check out our Mobile Video Ads page.

 

Rewarded video

Rewarded video ads are among the most popular forms of advertising on modern mobile devices. They go a step beyond traditional video ads by offering users a measurable benefit in exchange for their time and attention. Whether delivered through an offerwall or a standalone placement, rewarded video ads can provide in-app currency, in-game bonuses, or other kinds of premium content that address the vast majority of users who may not be willing to convert on an IAP purchase but are still eager to engage.

Since their inception, multiple studies and in-market examples have emerged to suggest that rewarded ad placements are among the most well-received by users. Many customers know and understand the premise of value-exchange and are happy to engage with rewarded placements knowing that it supports developers and enables further engagement with the products they love.

To learn more, check out our Rewarded Video page.

 

Playables

Playables are short in-app advertisements that offer audiences the chance to experience a sample of a game or app’s core engagement loop. Instead of presenting users with a static interstitial or passive video, playables use touchscreens and other mobile device capabilities to create a small interactive demonstration. Naturally, they are well-suited to mobile gaming categories.

In their most common form, playables highlight a single gameplay mechanic from the advertised app. This gives players the opportunity to sample a game’s experiential value before installing it, usually from a storefront link within the playable itself.

Some common playable deployment examples include:

To learn more, check out our Playables page.

 

Today’s mobile ad formats have transformed the way users engage with traditional marketing campaigns. Meanwhile, the emphasis on value-exchange advertising makes it easier to advertisers and developers to maximize performance and revenue.

Mobile ad format expertise is just one way the monetization and advertising experts at Tapjoy help our customers succeed. For more information on mobile ad essentials, contact the Tapjoy team today.

Looking to brush up your mobile marketing fundamentals? Take a look at our strategy article, “Mobile Ad Mediation – What Developers Need To Know”.

The movement to cultivate an equal opportunity workplace takes many forms in 2019. One of the most promising is Fairygodboss, a career development website specifically designed by and for women. Millions of users visit Fairygodboss each month to search for jobs, find leadership advice, or conduct research on how businesses treat female employees.

Tapjoy recently met with Fairygodboss Senior Director of User Acquisition Ngozi Ogbonna to discuss the unique challenges of building a women-focused career community.

 

What We Learned:

 

Hi, Ngozi. Thanks very much for speaking with us. Can you start by telling us about Fairygodboss, and your role within the organization?

Fairygodboss is the largest career community for women. We provide millions of women with career connections, jobs, community advice, and hard-to-find intel about how companies treat women. I’m the Senior Director of User Acquisition, so my role is primarily focused on driving growth via paid and organic media channels.

 

As a platform, Fairygodboss is geared towards an audience of professional women – a group that has been historically underserved. Does that create any unique challenges from a growth perspective?

Fairygodboss is really unique in that it’s a platform that not only provides really great content and articles for career-minded women, but where women can also apply to jobs at top companies across the US – companies who care about gender equality and supporting women in their work spaces; where they can read real company reviews by women, for women about what it’s like to work at those companies, what the benefits are like, whether women can grow and get promoted there, whether women are paid fairly, and other hard to get intel; as well as access a community of millions of peers to get advice, have meaningful discussions and connect with. Additionally, Fairygodboss also sponsors and produces virtual and physical events around topics about women in the workplace.

One challenge is that across those different value propositions, we have a lot of competitors who also do some of those things. I believe the unique opportunity for Fairygodboss is our community. Our users are driven and ambitious about developing their own careers, but are also determined to help other women advance as well.

 

What does monetization look like for a unique platform like Fairygodboss? Are there challenges you face that similar websites do not? Are there lessons from other digital companies that proved successful here?

Fairygodboss is a marketplace where we’re building a community of women who are engaged and interested in developing a career that fits their overall life. And on the other side, we’re partnering with companies that are actively looking to attract and recruit those women.

Fairygodboss wants to create an inclusive community where women feel empowered to speak their minds and give honest reviews about their employers. Like any other review site, we rely on the wisdom of the community to convey the truth about a particular company. And anonymity is important to us. While some reviewers register using their work email addresses, others don’t feel comfortable doing so, and we respect that. We look at other platforms that feature user generated content like Indeed or Glassdoor, who have done this well, to see how they’re managing and enforcing their content guidelines. Our content guidelines were crafted in consultation with Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic, so that’s something we take very seriously.

From a user engagement standpoint, I like what digital-first brands like Away and Casper are doing. Luggage and mattresses are infrequent purchases, and they both do a great job of continuing to engage their consumers throughout their lifecycles. For us, whether you’re an active job seeker, are just looking for career development advice or want to support the mission of improving the workplace for women, we want Fairygodboss to become a regular destination for you.

 

Fairygodboss generates profiles on a wide range of employers, from small nonprofits to massive corporate firms. Are there particular industries or business structures that seem particularly supportive of gender equality? Is there any field showing impressive advances in recent years?

We’re seeing the desire for meaningful diversity and inclusion initiatives across a myriad of industries and company sizes. There have been tons of independent studies confirming that diverse teams and organizations are more profitable and successful. Specific fields that are really striving to make more inroads are the tech and financial industries. Collectively, we still have a long way to go in terms of mitigating gender inequality in all workplaces – especially in historically male-dominated industries.

 

You’re also a co-chair for mBolden and a member of the board for Urban Bush Women. Are there any common themes you see between women’s communities for tech and the arts? Are there any obstacles that make them distinct?

Yes, both organizations are focused on supporting and elevating the voices of women who are underserved in their respective spaces. Showcasing the huge community of leaders and talent that don’t get the recognition they deserve – despite positively impacting and leading innovation in their industries. Both communities are continuing to challenge and make some process in changing those narratives.

 

What would you personally like to see men in mobile and tech industries do to support their female colleagues?

I think inequality is fostered by the lack of access and opportunities. I would love to see more male colleagues support the visibility and voices of their female colleagues in the workplace. We should all be empowered to challenge existing systems and be the change agents to transform workplace cultures.

 

Are there any current or upcoming mobile trends or technologies that you find particularly exciting?

The conversations around data – data unification, privacy, transparency, and accuracy – are exciting to me. As performance marketers, we want to measure everything. But we have access to so much data, and with continued legislative and platform changes on how we can collect and use that data – the challenge is figuring out how we can best apply the data in an actionable way. AI and machine learning are helping to solve that problem.

 

Are there any untapped opportunities for gender equality initiatives like Fairygodboss that you’d like to see more focus on? Are there similar projects someone else is working on that you wish Fairygodboss could be a part of?

Culturally, gender equality and diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives centered around career-minded women are dominating the zeitgeist right now. It’s exciting to see organizations that are focused around that intersection like mBolden, The Wing, Elpha and The Cru continue to expand. The future is female, and I’m excited for all of us to work together to shift the culture and effect lasting change for the next generations.

 

Tapjoy would like to thank Ngozi Ogbonna for taking the time to join us. For more insights from our Mobile Champions, check out our interview with Playtika’s Jeet Niyogi.

OTT stands for “over-the-top” and refers to the productized practice of streaming content to customers directly over the web. It represents the future of entertainment — one that is already unfolding.

My name is Meghan McAdams, and I’m the VP of National Brand Sales at Tapjoy. In this blog series, we’ll explore the platforms, opportunities, and challenges that are driving modern online entertainment. We’ll discuss topics like:

But first, it’s important to more clearly define these services and their role in the modern media landscape.

 

What is OTT?

An “over-the-top” media service is any online content provider that offers streaming media as a standalone product. The term is commonly applied to video-on-demand platforms, but also refers to audio streaming, messaging services, or internet-based voice calling solutions.

OTT services circumvent traditional media distribution channels such as telecommunications networks or cable television providers. As long as you have access to an internet connection — either locally or through a mobile network — you can access the complete service at your leisure.

OTT services are typically monetized via paid subscriptions, but there are exceptions. For example, some OTT platforms might offer in-app purchases or advertising.

 

Why use OTT?

With over 50% of North Americans maintaining Netflix subscriptions, it’s clear consumers love OTT content. Here are just a few reasons why the format is more appealing than traditional alternatives:

 

How is OTT content delivered?

What Is OTT 2

Thanks to its internet-based delivery system, OTT platforms bypass third-party networks that traditionally managed online content. The only things customers need are an internet connection and a compatible hardware device.

 

What types of content are suitable for OTT solutions?

While the OTT conversation largely revolves around video-on-demand, the technology actually covers a broad range of web-based content:

 

Is OTT replacing traditional media distribution?

Most OTT services are associated with “cord cutting” — the practice of cancelling TV or phone subscriptions to focus on web-based alternatives. While cord cutting has certainly increased OTT consumer adoption, that doesn’t mean traditional networks will disappear entirely. In fact, customers maintain traditional cable services alongside Netflix or Amazon Prime subscriptions.

It’s also worth remembering that OTT services are still fairly new, and could undergo significant changes as best practices are refined. For example, some experts believe OTT platforms could one day be bundled much like traditional cable packages. In fact, some cable companies offer OTT solutions like HBO Go as part of their premium subscriptions.

 

What challenges do OTT solutions face?

We no longer live in a world where Netflix is the only OTT game in town. Increased competition will be a major challenge for video OTT solutions in the years ahead:

We’re currently witnessing a new wave of diversification across OTT markets, creating new opportunities and challenges. Recent studies suggest 50% of OTT customers are experiencing “subscription fatigue” from engaging with so many platforms. In time, this could prompt customers to become more selective with their managed subscriptions. Meanwhile, the growth of large-scale platforms like Disney+ could impact the prospects for smaller, niche services.

 

What are the biggest OTT opportunities?

What Is OTT 5

Despite these challenges, OTT technology has immense potential. Video streaming services are on the rise globally, with North America representing the most mature markets at a 51% adoption rate. Europe and Asia-Pacific are seeing impressive growth as brands like Netflix expand internationally.

Beyond global adoption rates, major opportunities exist in non-entertainment markets. One recent survey determined that 50% of OTT subscribers pay for educational content, usually in the form of instructional streaming platforms. Streams that emphasize children’s programming or health-based content might hold immense potential.

OTT platforms should also consider the benefits of tiered monetization. While most solutions are subscription based, 20% of subscribers also made in-app purchases in 2018. Casting a wide net when it comes to monetization methods could help OTT solutions grow in the years ahead.

Performance marketing has proven to be an especially successful method of attracting subscribers to OTT platforms in a way that is scalable and predictable for marketers.

Over-the-top media services have been with us for years, but they clearly have room to grow. Increased diversification and competition suggests the market is healthy and growing, and many opportunities remain untapped. Whether you’re following up-and-coming platforms, or enjoying the latest Netflix original series, OTT clearly represents the future of media. It’s an exciting time to be a part of it.

Looking to brush up your mobile marketing fundamentals? Take a look at our strategy article, “Mobile Advertising – Best Practices For Success in 2019”.

Largely known for social casino games like World Series of Poker, Slotomania, and Bingo Blitz, Playtika is one of the most prolific and successful mobile gaming companies operating today. Having recently acquired top developers like Jelly Button and Wooga, it’s poised to succeed in all corners of the app store.

Tapjoy recently met with World Series of Poker marketing director Jeet Niyogi to discuss the trends that brought Playtika to its unique position in the industry.

 

What We Learned:

 

Thanks so much for chatting with us! Can you tell us about Playtika and your role there?

Playtika is one of the leading mobile gaming publishers, which started its journey in the social casino space but has now established games across various genres of the gaming space. It has acquired a wide range of studios, most recently Wooga (maker of June’s Journey, Pearl’s Peril), and prior to that Jelly Button (Pirate Kings, Board Kings). Right now we’re exploring opportunities and investing in the entire casual gaming market space.

Playtika has grown exponentially over the last 4-5 years. Founded in 2010, the company was among the first to offer free-to-play social games on social networks and, shortly after, on mobile platforms. We have over 27 million monthly active users. Five of our games are pretty regularly in the top 100 grossing apps on Google Play and the App Store.

At Playtika, I manage the marketing for World Series Poker, which is the #1 poker app and is quite consistently among the top 30 grossing games in the App Store and Google Play store. My team handles user acquisition, re-engagement, app store optimization, industry intelligence, product market planning, and creative marketing. It’s quite busy!

 

Mobile gaming has seen a number of major new genres arrive on the scene, including battle royale and hyper-casual. Has this impacted the social casino space?

I would not say that there has been a huge direct impact but whenever the industry is disrupted the pressures are felt in the shared ecosystem. For example, getting new players or retargeting can become more expensive… It starts with targeting the relevant people, and making those hard decisions on where to put money and when without taking your eye off of profitability. So, yes there might be a hiccup when something like Fortnite or Pokemon Go comes out, but the quality of your game and data-driven decisions can help create a sustainable niche with a decent active user base.

Let’s use WSOP, our poker game, as an example. Not only do we work hard to give our players an authentic poker experience, but we also go over and beyond with creating innovative special events and live operations. We developed new metagames such as Poker Recall, which can be best described as a combination of memory game, poker hands understanding, and some luck. No one else has done that, and our players like it a lot. Same with Texas Roulette, where you’ll either fold or go all-in, a new game mode. Players have fun with it.

We try to bring in the right people with our continuous campaign optimization and predictive modeling, but also give players new reasons to come back day after day, rewarding their progression and offering new social experiences.

 

You’ve discussed the concept of “sustainable growth” in the past. Can you give us examples of what that looks like compared to other mobile app categories? Is there somewhere specific you can see (or don’t see) sustainable growth occurring in the mobile space?

Gaming is more mature in the mobile app space. And within gaming we are in the mid-level maturity, which makes it harder for us to acquire new users at decent costs every passing day. The costs as we know are going only in one direction. So, given this situation you have to orchestrate actions and make decisions that may not look the greatest in the short-term but would pay off in the long term. From building the right team to analyzing data, investing in predictive analysis, testing new formats and networks, and taking actions that justify and balance out short-term and long term profitability.

My team looks at various things such as finding that right balance between bringing players with high ROAS and decent stickiness. Then we have to make decisions about how much to split between user acquisition and retargeting, which is very critical. I have a theory around the split which is somewhat correlated to the lifecycle of a game.

One consideration is that unlike the days of marketing yore, we have a lot more relevant and usable data. You can track the users coming in, analyze what they have done in the game, measure precise returns over the cost, measure engagement with your app, and apply what you’ve learned to improve how you spend your next dollar within a very short time span. The step beyond that is prediction, which a lot of big companies including us are headed towards. That means using data analysis, user behavior analysis, and artificial intelligence to better understand how and where you can create profitable opportunities.

Even with all the information we have on what makes for good creative, there’s no guarantee it will engage users once you throw it up on, say, Facebook. Even with all the constraints, if the analysis is directional, one can test things easily these days. As I say, tests can be quite disheartening as nine out of 15 fail. But sometimes those couple conclusives tests can make a significant difference in moving that proverbial needle.

 

Playtika just opened a new $6 million R&D studio in Bucharest. Can you tell us anything about projects that currently underway there, and how they might impact your work?

As I was mentioning before, we are continuously looking at producing quality content and reducing the time to market for all these new features and events in our game. One very important area is quality assurance. This new centre is part of a partnership with services company Qualitest, which will help establish the office and provide QA and software testing for Playtika’s mobile games.

There are a lot of projects underway to meet our objective of becoming one of the top gaming companies in the world. There are truly many different areas from tackling new genres, driving new features in the existing games, faster turnaround times, better service, investing in new ideas and content, so on and so forth. We are putting a lot of effort into this, and growing in every possible way.

 

Tapjoy would like to thank Jeet Niyogi for taking the time to join us. If you’d like to brush up on more mobile fundamentals, check out “What Is In-App Marketing?” for a deep dive into strategies and tips on developing your own unique in-app campaigns.

Marvel and Avatar are two of the biggest entertainment IPs on the planet, and FoxNext is developing mobile games for both. That creates a unique set of opportunities and challenges for mobile marketing campaigns, but Vivek Girotra is ready for them. Vivek recently spoke with Tapjoy to discuss the mobile trends he believes will impact his corner of the marketing world.

 

What We Learned:

 

Hi Vivek. Can you begin by telling us a little about yourself and your role with FoxNext?

Vivek: I’m Vivek and currently Director of User Acquisition Marketing at FoxNext. I’ve spent over ten years in performance marketing, both on the agency and the marketer sides. I work very closely with our media buying, creative, BI and data science teams to ensure we are all aligned and focused on driving our business objectives.

 

What sort of KPIs are most important to FoxNext in terms of mobile gaming growth and user engagement?

Vivek: At FoxNext, we want players to stick around in the game for years together; so our focus is always on the long-term when it comes to making decisions regarding growth and engagement.

As a UA team, we’re very singularly focused on driving ROI, and so we slice and dice our data by all possible dimensions. We are constantly testing different partners, buying models, optimization strategies, and creative formats to figure out what is going to get us the best bang for our buck. We work very closely with our data scientists to build predictive models and find early indicators to make decisions that will affect future revenue and growth.

We also keep a close eye on retention and regularity and ask questions like: How often do people come back to the game? How engaged are the players? How does the revenue stacking look like for cohorts month-on-month? Is the user base growing or shrinking? We strive to seek answers to such questions on a consistent basis.

 

Many FoxNext projects are associated with hugely successful properties like the MARVEL franchise. How do brand tie-ins impact your user acquisition efforts?

Vivek: We consider our association with the MARVEL brand to be a great asset. MARVEL has close to 80 years of history and brand goodwill which is a huge advantage when it comes to marketing a game. Users are already familiar with, and have a strong affinity for, many of the characters featured in our games and creatives. In today’s crowded and competitive gaming marketplace, getting over the awareness phase (using the AIDA funnel: Awareness > Interest > Desire > Action) is the biggest hurdle for most new apps. For our game MARVEL Strike Force, our partnership with MARVEL has definitely helped us to establish ourselves quickly and achieve $150 million in revenue during its first year. That’s a testament to the quality of our game, our team’s marketing efforts, and the power of the brand.

On the other hand, our partnership is not exclusive and there are many MARVEL games in the market. That creates a challenge for us to stand out amongst the crowd, create the correct product-market fit and find the right users and monetization strategy.

 

What are the biggest markets to focus on in 2019, either for mobile gaming or overall entertainment? What kind of spaces remain untapped?

Vivek: Nowadays we are focusing a lot on culturalization in non-English speaking markets. I am very specific in my choice of words here – I didn’t say localization. By culturalization, I mean making our products appealing and resonant with regional cultures. We are not simply slapping translated ad copy onto creative, but we’re fundamentally changing the creative depending on the region. We conduct research into the popular characters, prevalent color palettes, music etc. in different countries and customize the creative and messaging accordingly. We have seen an encouraging response to these initiatives and plan to continue iterating on this subject. Obviously, it is cost and time prohibitive to conduct this process for a large number of countries and so we restrict testing to higher-volume markets. We are lucky to have a highly competent and prolific marketing art team which has been leading this charge.

I also think the popularity of e-sports and social elements will continue to rise in the near future. For the first anniversary of MARVEL Strike Force, we recently released a new social feature called Alliance Wars. It adds a completely new social dimension to the gameplay by letting players form alliances, design custom Helicarriers and face off against other alliances in intense battles. We’ve been getting some really positive feedback and I can see it becoming an important part of the game experience.

 

What’s it like working with established brands when designing ad creative? Have you found zeroing in on specific brand characteristics like characters or plot lines to be helpful with campaign performance?

Vivek: Working with established brands is definitely a very different experience versus having your own IP. At my earlier firm, we had our own IP and hence had free rein on taking a lot of creative decisions with our advertising. However, with an established brand, one has to understand the brand history, all the associated elements, and work closely with the brand team to ensure alignment on brand guidelines. We have a strong working relationship with MARVEL and have devised efficient processes for marketing and creative approvals. It is definitely helpful to figure out which characters have more mass appeal as they tend to have stronger performance in direct response advertising. However, it’s important to test everything as sometimes the results can buck conventional wisdom too!

 

What’s one FoxNext game or project you’d be excited for even if you weren’t part of the team?

Vivek: I’m really hyped up about our new game Storyscape, which is in soft launch right now. It’s an interactive story app where you choose your own narrative, but it’s quite different from what’s currently on the market. It’s adult-focused with high production values and elaborate storylines from known IP’s such as Titanic and the X-Files. I sit next to the team creating Storyscape at the FogBank studio in San Francisco, and it has been exciting to watch the game come alive from hand-drawn flowcharts on whiteboards to a beautifully designed and fully functional mobile app over the last year. It’s completely unexplored terrain, and the feedback we’ve received from users has been incredible so far.

 

We’d like to thank Vivek for taking the time to chat with us. For more insights and trends from mobile industry influencers, check out Tapjoy’s latest interview with FoxNext UA Tech Lead, Dave Riggs.

Mobile marketing is both art and science. The creative side uses engaging designs to reach users, while the engineering side provides structure for the overall experience. UA tech lead Dave Riggs works on the engineering side. Dave recently spoke with Tapjoy about the design considerations behind FoxNext’s “Lighthouse” platform.

 

What We Learned:

 

Hi Dave. Can you begin by telling us a little about yourself and your role with FoxNext?

Dave: I’m Dave and I lead a UA Tech Team from my company UserAcquisition.com, embedded within the FoxNext Games UA group. We build UA technology to enable media buyers to work more efficiently.

 

We’ve heard that FoxNext is working on some advanced tech to make its UA initiatives more efficient. Can you tell us anything about it, and what elements it aims to improve?

Dave: We’re building a single platform that enables UA managers to log in to and perform UA functions in one place. To optimize campaigns, there’s no need to log into Facebook, Google, Tapjoy and other platforms — instead, one single platform to manage campaigns. Internally, we call it Lighthouse.

We’re largely focused on saving media buyers’ time and enabling them to use energy on higher-level functions, e.g. creative and strategy. At FoxNext, we don’t want a large media buying team. We tend to hire a lot more on the engineering and technical side because we believe much of UA optimization can be automated. Google has moved this direction too, as UAC pulls the controls largely away from UA managers and relies on machine learning and their own algorithms to do UA.

The tech that we’re building is largely in two areas:

One is campaign management. We have data scientists that feed bid & budget recommendations into Lighthouse so the media buyers can then approve or deny those updates. This allows UA managers to work faster than if they were wading through data themselves. We then score the data science recommendations by tracking the approval rate of the media buyer — if declines happen regularly, we review and refine our algorithm so the media buyer is approving recommendations more often.

The second piece of technology is around creative management, one of the most important elements of UA. We’re fortunate at FoxNext to have really good IP and a highly talented creative team that creates beautiful videos and commercials. We’re building a system that will house all those assets, bulk upload them to different systems, enable creative analysis in one single view, and generate reports to share learnings across teams. If there’s fatigue, alerts are sent letting you know to rotate your creatives. We’re working towards a point where these creatives can be rotated automatically. The benefits go back to time savings.

 

It sounds like many Lighthouse features are grounded in recent automation trends. How does FoxNext approach automated tools that other companies do not? Are there features you wouldn’t automate?

Dave: At a high level, our goal is to program everything we can and leave the creative analysis to humans. There are things computers can’t do and won’t ever be able to do. Number one is the creative editing or recreation of engaging videos. You can’t program a computer to build a good MARVEL Strike Force commercial, for example. We still have humans doing that.

We still need humans to analyze some of the data, especially during a new campaign launch without historical data. Let’s say we’re planning a new game launch like Avatar. We don’t want computers making the initial campaign and optimization decisions, e.g. what markets to launch in. There’s so many factors about launching a game that really needs human experience to provide context.

 

What drove your team to take this project on?

Dave: We’re fortunate to have been able to launch MARVEL Strike Force with a mostly blank slate of technology and team. We built our entire marketing technology stack before spending in UA, including our attribution partner, our cost data solution, our database, all data engineering, and our business intelligence tool. This enabled us to have a solid data foundation, and much easier to plug in the next layer, which is recommendations from data science.

These decisions had buy-in from upper management, so we had the ability to build our technology stack early and hire engineers early as well. That core philosophy of hiring technical people and automating user acquisition as much as possible drove us to build systems that accomplish that goal.

 

What’s one FoxNext game or project you’d be excited for even if you weren’t part of the team?

Dave: Avatar. I think it’s super interesting, because at FoxNext we’re fortunate to be part of a team that has really good IP that is advertised heavily outside of mobile. For example, we see big spikes in installs & purchases every couple of months when a new Marvel movie comes out. So when the next four Avatar movie promotions start gearing up, we expect that media buzz to also amplify existing UA efforts.

 

We’d like to thank Dave for taking the time to chat with us. For more insights from Tapjoy’s Mobile Champions series, take a look at our interview with IAB’s VP of Mobile, Susan Borst.

Mobile ad mediation is an app monetization solution that allows developers and publishers to manage multiple ad networks through a single SDK. These solutions also often consolidate revenue reporting and engagement metrics into a single dashboard instead of requiring monetization managers to merge data manually. Many offer custom reporting options which let publishers analyze CTRs, eCPMs, and response times by platform, region, or app category. This lets them optimize ad bidding, fill ad requests, and effectively monetize as many users as possible.

Mediation platforms work very similarly to standard networks, with a few key differences. Every time an app triggers an ad request, pertinent app and device information is forwarded to the mediation platform. In the case of automated mediation solutions, the platform calculates which ad source has the highest CPM, processes the request, and sends an ad directly to the user. Through this process, developers benefit from the increased likelihood of being able to deliver more impressions in response to their ad requests and achieve higher overall revenue by leveraging the resources of multiple networks at once.

Optimize ads at a lower cost

The ability to simultaneously connect with a wide range of ad networks is hugely beneficial. With a single integration, many developers find it easier to unlock new bids and monetize larger audiences. They’re able to keep overhead down and preserve their engineering cycles for product updates and other more pressing initiatives.

Mobile apps that rely on a single network often struggle to fill ad requests due to the fact that not all ad networks are able to provide 100% global fill rates. Leveraging multiple networks increases the likelihood of engaging with all users through a global ecosystem of ad networks. Rather than manage ad traffic across multiple platforms, a single SDK can source ads by region. This allows publishers to quickly scale monetization efforts, freeing them up to focus on localized efforts for international customers.

Perhaps even more importantly, mediation opens the door to increasing ad revenue with partners who offer incremental revenue plans and are more willing to compete with each other, leading to better rates for publishers.

Meet audience needs and cut down on SDK bloat

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While each ad network offers a similar core service, their individual features can be quite different. Some might specialize in video ads, while others focus on playables, rich media interstitials, or other mobile formats. Ad mediation solutions optimize each network’s offerings within a single dashboard, helping publishers focus on formats that engage their chosen audience. Where available, some solutions give publishers control over which formats to deliver and when.

Managing ad networks through a single platform isn’t just convenient — it can also increase performance. Integrating multiple SDKs at once creates an effect called “SDK bloat”, which has the potential to slow down app performance, degrade the user experience, or even prevent builds. In the past, this forced developers to choose between decreased performance or reduced eCPM. Mobile ad mediation SDKs can help bypass this issue by connecting apps with multiple networks simultaneously.

Automate or go manual

With many mobile ad mediation SDK, developers are free to choose between automatic optimization and manual waterfall management. Automatic optimization can minimize the time spent manually adjusting monetization strategies, and can help save smaller teams time. Alternatively, monetization managers can also handle things manually in the event that they have preexisting business relationships with specific ad networks or prefer a more hands-on approach. Most mediation platforms are purposefully-designed to automatically handle assigned tasks with limited input from team members. For small studios that can’t always afford a dedicated monetization manager, it can be a valuable source of time and resource savings.

Ready to get started with mobile ad mediation?

Tapjoy has recently acquired Tapdaq, a leading mobile ad mediation and monetization platform, to offer mobile publishers an even more powerful suite of ad monetization solutions. Check out our blog post to learn more!

Looking to brush up your mobile marketing fundamentals? Take a look at our latest strategy article, “What Is Mobile Advertising?

Engagement is a major factor in gauging the success of a mobile ad campaign. Smart marketers are turning to CPE advertising both as a strategic campaign pricing model and a clever way of fostering user interaction.

Simply put, cost per engagement (or CPE) advertising is a type of marketing in which advertisers only pay when users engage with their campaigns. That means initial impressions are free, but once a user engages in some way, the advertiser incurs a cost. In this pricing model, marketing teams can be sure they’re getting something in return for their ad spend. It’s a low-risk way to ensure that your ad spend is producing results, since there are only two end results, both beneficial in their own ways: a user engages with the ad (mission accomplished!) or doesn’t (you don’t pay).

What counts as engagement?

This question isn’t as easy to answer since engagement can be defined in many ways when it comes to smartphone usage. Broadly, it means that users are interacting with the ad in whatever given way is presented. Some examples include:

It’s up to the advertiser to figure out how they want users to engage with their ads and set that definition. There is one thing that all CPE advertisers generally agree on, though–the engagement must be the result of some high-quality action. That might mean significant interaction time between user and ad, which makes it more likely that the product advertised will be remembered. In other situations, the campaign might lead the user right to a product or service that’s specifically relevant to their interests. So while engagement can come in a variety of forms, it has to be meaningful in order to be considered successful.

How is CPE advertising different from other pricing models?

Cost Per Engagement ad campaigns share some similarities with other kinds of mobile advertising pricing models. For example, CPI (Cost Per Install) and CPV (Cost Per View) campaigns also rely on some kind of response from users in order to be considered successful, and in those cases, again, the advertisers don’t pay until users have completed said response.

CPE advertising is a little different, however. Where Cost Per Install and Cost Per View campaigns are pretty specific about the action that needs to be taken, Cost Per Engagement keeps things more general. This gives advertisers the freedom to define what counts as engagement on their own terms, which also makes it easier to quickly adapt to new advertising trends and mediums.

What are the benefits of Cost Per Engagement advertising?

How is Cost Per Engagement calculated?

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The basic formula for finding CPE is simple. Just divide your total amount spent by the number of measured engagements, and voila: you’ve got your cost per engagement! So for example, if you spent $10,000 for 5,000 engagements, each engagement cost about two dollars.

How are Cost Per Engagement campaigns deployed in mobile games?

CPE campaigns are often delivered to audiences via value-exchange advertising formats like offerwalls. The mobile gaming space is home to some of the most successful CPE campaigns ever run. Here are some ways mobile game devs are getting players to interact:

What all of these examples have in common are that they’re win-win scenarios for advertisers and users. The marketing pros get their meaningful interactions, gamers get to keep playing with increased in-game currency or items, and everyone’s happy on both sides.

Of course, there are plenty of mediums besides mobile games where CPE ads would work well; for example, they’re also rising on social media. Games are just a natural environment for cost per engagement campaigns because they can easily provide players with digital rewards in return for engagement, increasing the odds of interaction.

Is Cost Per Engagement Advertising right for my game/app/product/service?

If you’re wondering whether the time is right to implement your own Cost Per Engagement campaign, ask yourself a few questions:

If so, CPE ad campaigns could be a great way to push your marketing forward. No method of advertising is foolproof, of course, but knowing you’ll only pay if specified results are achieved certainly lowers the risk factor. And if you need help managing your CPE campaign–or just want more advice from the experts — reach out to the mobile advertising experts at Tapjoy to set up your first CPE campaign!

Want to learn more about the world of in-app advertising pricing models? Check out “In-App Advertising Cost – The Complete Marketer’s Guide”.

Ian Livingstone is widely acknowledged as a pioneer of modern gaming culture, with a storied career spanning multiple celebrated projects and franchises. Tapjoy recently spoke with Livingstone about the history of gaming, how digital technologies are impacting consumer behavior and what modern gaming investors look for in projects worth funding.

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Don’t forget to make room in your schedule for these fascinating sessions from leading publishers and platform providers.

GDC is almost here. If you’re anything like Tapjoy’s team members, that means you’re currently attempting to cram as many sessions, meetings, and parties into a ludicrously crowded schedule. GDC 2019 has an excellent line-up on that front, but mobile monetization professionals will definitely want to check out these sessions for some particularly valuable insights.

 

The ‘Flappy Bird’ that Laid the Golden Egg: Success in Hyper-Casual

Speaker: David Fox (CEO, Double Coconut)

Date: Tuesday, March 19

Time: 4:40pm – 5:10pm

Location: Room 2016, West Hall

Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Summits

Hyper-casual is mobile gaming’s fastest-growing genre, and its success traces back to the hugely successful Flappy Bird. In this GDC feature session, Double Coconut’s David Fox will highlight this mobile classic as a case study for today’s hyper-casual market. Along the way, Fox will emphasize the importance of polished gameplay experiences, and define the elements required of a high quality mobile game design.

 

Gone in 15 Seconds: Acquiring Sticky Players in an Instant World

Speakers: Eleanor Haeg (Head of Creative Strategy, Unique Influence), Taylor Lundgren (Sr. Digital Manager, Unique Influence), Conrad McGee-Stocks (Growth Lead, Uken Games), Rose Agozzino (Sr. Marketing Specialist, Ludia), Alex Pan (Director, Performance Marketing, Seriously Digital Entertainment)

Date: Tuesday, March 19

Time: 11:20am – 12:20pm

Location: Room 2000, West Hall

Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference, GDC Summits, Expo Plus, Audio Conference + Tutorial, Indie Games Summit

With thousands of apps launched each day, attracting new players is a pressing challenge for developers and marketers. This session will outline Unique Influence’s testing process for ad creative, offer suggestions for iterating findings, and make content suggestions for rising inventory sources.

 

Design by the Numbers: Using Data for Good

Speaker: Evan Losi (Lead Game Designer, Scopely)

Date: Tuesday, March 19

Time: 1:20pm – 1:50pm

Location: Room 2016, West Hall

Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Summits

Mobile games are overwhelmingly popular, but user data can make them even better. Scopely’s Evan Losi will describe the launch for Looney Tunes: World of Mayhem while highlighting design insights generated from ongoing data tracking. With this data in hand, developers can use analytical tools to find and correct any potential design flaws.

 

Top 3 Mistakes of ‘Angry Birds 2’

Speaker: Mans Wide (Executive Producer, Rovio)

Date: Tuesday, March 19

Time: 2:10pm – 2:40pm

Location: Room 2016, West Hall

Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Summits

Rovio’s Angry Birds was a smash hit that defined mobile gaming, but Angry Birds 2 had a more tepid critical reception than the original. Executive Producer Mans Wide will candidly explore the bad calls that impacted Angry Birds 2, highlighting three design lessons that took over four years to learn.

 

Three Technology Trends That Will Shape the Next Generation of Gaming

Speaker: Erik Smith (Head of Account Based Marketing, Arm Treasure Data)

Date: Wednesday, March 20

Time: 10:30am – 11:00am

Location: Room 3020, West Hall

Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference, Summits, Expo Plus, Audio Conference + Tutorial, Indie Games Summit

The video games industry has undergone dramatic changes over the past decade, but we might not have seen anything yet. Arm Treasure Data’s Erik Smith will review the latest trends in mobile gaming, AR technologies, and streaming audiences while suggesting ways the three fields might soon converge.

 

Making Games That Stand Out and Survive

Speaker: Nick Popovich (CEO, Monomi Park)

Date: Thursday, March 21

Time: 11:30am – 12:30pm

Location: Room 2016, West Hall

Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Conference

With increased competition in the industry, how do you make your game stand out? Slime Ranger director Nick Popovich will share hard truths about making your game stand out without breaking your marketing budget.

GDC 2019 will run from March 18-22 at San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center. We hope to see you there!

 

You could have the most engaging, innovative, and revolutionary marketing campaign at your fingertips, but it’s the end installs that matter. Find out more in our latest strategy article, “What Is CPI Marketing?