In the age of always-connected devices, direct to consumer companies have found more ways than ever to connect with audiences. This shift has led to a renaissance in the DTC category: Social media has replaced the mail-order catalog, and modern-day consumers embrace the hype with word-of-mouth. Whether they’re selling glasses, razors, mattresses, or cleaning products, modern brands are eschewing traditional retail strategy in favor of selling directly to customers.

For years, DTC brands have relied heavily on Google and Facebook for customer acquisition — and for good reason. Billions of people use these platforms daily, making both high-profile options for digital advertising. Although Google and Facebook are ideal for generating awareness, down-funnel engagement is a struggle. For instance,  67% of users report that they have not purchased “from” nor directly within social media. On top of that, customer acquisition costs are rising, and Google and Facebook remain expensive. To stretch their marketing budgets further, direct to consumer companies must find new channels for user acquisition and target down-stream engagement metrics.

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Create memorable, personalized experiences

The influence of Google and Facebook ought not to be discounted, but modern DTC brands are experimenting with new ways to drive ROAS. Alternative channels may not yield the same number of views, but if you deliver a memorable experience, they could drive more consumers to the purchase.

To do that, you’ll have to make your ads a little more personal. DTC marketers are always coming up with new ways to tailor products to their intended audiences. Often, the customer journey even begins with a personalized quiz. For example, vitamin brand Care/of quizzes customers and delivers personalized supplement recommendations. Similarly, haircare brand Prose specializes in making custom shampoo and conditioner based on customers’ hair texture, health, and environment. These kinds of experiences could easily translate into the mobile advertising environment.

In fact, mobile advertising is becoming an increasingly common strategy for brands looking to deliver personalized value. Playable ads, in particular, have surged in popularity over the past few years. IAB defines playables as “a single ad unit that combines interactivity [with] gamification to enable full-funnel marketing brand communications (attention, education, and action).” Direct to consumer brands are already seizing the opportunity, launching memorable mini-games that delight consumers and gently encourage a purchase. In fact, according to eMarketer, US agency professionals cited playables as the single most effective format for in-app advertising.

Furthermore, rewarded advertising in the in-app environment is a particularly powerful approach for creating memorable ad experiences. In a rewarded model, app users receive an in-app bonus, such as coins in their favorite game, just for engaging. Then the experience drives to the purchase as a secondary organic action. Alternatively, customers could be rewarded for signing up for a free trial. Virtual rewards foster brand affinity because it’s a two-way exchange of value.

 

Think about the end-game — Not clicks or impressions

It’s time to stop thinking about views and clicks as the most important measures of success. Since the dawn of internet advertising, marketers have chased these metrics, wanting to get ads in front of as many eyes as possible and entice a good percentage of those viewers to click through. The truth is, with so many screens and apps vying for users’ attention and so many brands to choose from, that’s simply not enough anymore.

Instead of running campaigns on a cost-per-mille (CPM) impressions basis, explore options like CPA — cost-per-action (also known as cost-per-acquisition). In CPA advertising, brands only pay for ads when the customer completes a desired action, such as a purchase. For instance, DTC brands that leverage a subscription model could run a CPA campaign that invites users to sign up for a discounted first month. Another popular CPA tactic is to encourage users to sign up for regular newsletters or emails. This is a particularly good option for brands whose content marketing is on point.

 

Keep it simple, streamlined, and relevant

DTC brands need to return to the tried and true tactics that have always served them: keeping things simple and relevant. These principles are evident in their products and websites, and they must extend to their advertising. Men’s shaving supplies company Harry’s is an expert at this: The brand earned over a million customers in its first two years in business by being straight-forward and user-friendly. Its website keeps things clean and streamlined, limiting itself to a few categories and only a handful of products within each. As a result, when someone sees an ad and clicks through, they’ll find an easy-to-navigate user experience where they can quickly find exactly what they’re looking for. Digital ads can follow this same philosophy — but remember, simple doesn’t mean boring. Whatever kind of interaction you’re hoping to achieve, it has to be designed intuitively so that potential customers can find their way to the desired result.

Finally, you can’t discount the advantage of influencers in today’s market. Influential YouTube steamers and social media users often have followings numbering millions of people, many of whom are active viewers. Studying the social media techniques that boosted these personalities to internet success could also be a successful technique in your own marketing campaigns.

 

While Google and Facebook still have their roles in the DTC marketing industry, gone are the days when they’re the only way to reach consumers or measure success. The successful modern DTC retailer is constantly evaluating new channels of communication, analyzing its own strengths and weaknesses, and evolving along with technology. For more information about modern DTC user acquisition and advertising, contact the experts at Tapjoy!

Programmatic advertising has been a game-changer for many online retailers. The ability to automate the buying and selling of ads saves time and streamlines marketing campaigns. However, this modern convenience soon gave rise to another problem: advertising fraud. In other words, unauthorized resellers found ways to claim and spoof inventories as their own, even when they weren’t authorized to sell it.

Enter Ads.txt, a fraud-fighting program released by IAB Tech Labs in 2017. Two years later, the research and development consortium has released a newer version, called App-Ads.txt, that cuts down on mobile advertising fraud within apps themselves.

Benefits

As an app publisher, adopting this specification allows your in-app advertising inventory to remain eligible and verifiable to programmatic buyers, allowing you to successfully reach your monetization goals. It reduces fraudulent in-app inventory from marketing campaigns, as well as identifying and blocking instances of unauthorized developer impersonation.

Implementation

Implementing the app-ads.txt specification primarily relies on the following steps, though details may vary depending on your own infrastructure.

  1. Create a publicly accessible website for your app (example: www.mybestgame.com).
  2. Specify the website in the developer website section of the app store at the time of your app submission.
  3. On your website, create and publish an app-ads.txt file that should be accessible at /app-ads.txt location (example: mybestgame.com/app-ads.txt). Make sure to carefully proofread all content.
  4. The file should be saved as a text file and the content of the file should be one line for each of your direct sellers and resellers. 

How to authorize Tapjoy as a Digital Seller

  1. Define the ad source domain:  For Tapjoy, this will be tapjoy.com
  2. Input the publisher ID: This ID is unique for each publisher partner. You can find this information on the Tapjoy Dashboard on the page for your app under Settings, on the Application Platforms Tab.
  3. Designate the relationship type: For Tapjoy, you can put ‘DIRECT.’ Please list Rubicon Project, our programmatic demand provider, as ‘RESELLER.’
  4. List the ad source ID: This is the ad source’s TAG ID. For Tapjoy, this will be 29e595b1aeb5904d

All four parameters must be separated by a comma and a separate line must be used for each authorized partner. Be sure to proofread your file as errors can be costly.

For example, for Tapjoy, and Rubicon Project as our programmatic demand provider, the two entries in the file are:

This IAB-recommended best practice of specifying resellers of your inventory keeps your reach at its fullest potential and helps prevent domain spoofing against your app.

For more information on all things mobile advertising, reach out to the experts at Tapjoy today! 

Mobile devices are more than the entertainment platform of choice for millions of people around the world: They’re highly effective marketing channels as well. That makes mobile attribution an essential practice in 2019. Attribution helps marketers understand the impact of every advertising campaign while determining precisely where ad spend should be directed.

So how can marketers effectively leverage the power of mobile attribution platforms? Here are some best practices all mobile marketers should should adopt:

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Opt for multi-touch mobile attribution

When preparing to implement mobile attribution solution, advertisers and publishers need to agree on an attribution model that will fuel actionable analysis and clearly illustrate resulting revenue. There are two common model types — single-touch and multi-touch — and both have their uses for different types of campaigns. In most cases, mobile marketers should opt for multi-touch whenever possible. This is especially relevant for campaigns that involve multiple placements across different ad networks.

Where single-touch models attribute conversions with a single click, multi-touch tracks multiple engagements across the conversion funnel. This allows attribution solutions to gain a complete picture of the user journey and assign a revenue percentage to each event. While multi-touch attribution analysis (MTA) is more complex than single-touch, its insights are far more valuable to marketers. Multi-touch models generate a 30% ROI increase on average.

Depending on your campaign’s conversion event, there are three multi-touch attribution models to choose from:

 

Define key performance indicators

Mobile attribution lets marketers analyze massive volumes of user data to understand how customers interact and engage with advertising campaigns. That being said, the bulk of campaign data will be not be relevant when assessing its performance. That’s why it’s important to define key performance indicators (KPIs) so that you can easily eliminate extraneous data.

Choose one or more KPIs that measure the success of conversion events and highlight the effectiveness of ad campaigns. This will help you obtain the best insights from attribution data and more effectively optimize campaigns to achieve your goals.

Here are a few examples of common attribution KPIs:

 

Define your attribution window

The core philosophy behind multi-touch attribution is that no single interaction determines whether a user will engage with your brand. And that’s true! But it doesn’t mean that all interactions are relevant — if a user watched a video ad six months ago and installed an app today, that install cannot be attributed to that video view with any degree of confidence.

To address this issue, marketers and publishers must define an attribution window. This timeframe determines which pre-conversion events should be included in the final attribution tally. In short, all events that occur within this window are non-organic traffic while outside events are considered organic traffic.

Any attribution window will vary depending on the campaign, publishers, and attribution solution, but there are a few common standards:

 

Adopt an attribution data privacy policy

Considering how easily user data can be accessed by an attribution platform, it’s crucial to ensure that personal information is protected. With the rise of legislation like Europe’s GDPR, mobile companies are increasingly likely to face stiff regulatory penalties for failing to protect consumer data. The good is news that brands that embrace data security will be better equipped to thrive in this changing market — and attract valuable customers.

The Mobile Marketing Association recently published a guide detailing suggestions for marketers securing their attribution models. The following techniques and best practices are highly recommended:

  1. Work with publishers who offer a “clean room” approach. In this model, marketing and publisher data are merged before extracting multi-touch attribution points for analysis.
  2. Use attribution providers who use data tagging systems approved by major platforms.
  3. Implement secure ad servers with unrestricted IDs.
  4. Create new models that aggregate findings from disparate sources and provide a high-level media impact summary.

While these are great first steps, don’t forget to consider the big picture as well. Mobile marketers should implement official data privacy plans that establish precisely how data is gathered, stored, and distributed within the organization. Ultimately, these steps will help you secure data and help marketers be more efficient in how information is accessed and used.

Mobile attribution solutions require comprehensive datasets to maximize their impact. That’s why partners like Tapjoy are essential: As an advertising network, we are committed to timely and accurate reporting. We also uphold stringent anti-fraud measures — ensuring your attributed conversions are always accurate.

For more information on how Tapjoy can help you navigate the world of mobile advertising, contact one of our talented growth consultants today!

Hyper casual games are an exceedingly popular genre, attracting players from around the world.

Yet from a development perspective, hyper casual isn’t just an app category: It’s also a design process. Making hyper casual games requires studios to design highly-engaging experiences using only the bare minimum of mechanics and art elements. Hyper casual design pipelines need to be highly efficient as a result, allowing developers to create entire games — from concept to launch — within the shortest possible timeframe.

In other words, successful hyper casual studios don’t just make games — they design pipelines that will maximize their efficiency. In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at the resources that help developers do just that:

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Choosing a game engine

Given the fast pace of hyper casual development cycles, studios don’t have time to create custom engines for each release. Thankfully, there are many third-party engines available that developers can license for a reasonable price. This helps studios save on development time while leveraging existing support channels for their chosen game engine.

While there are many engines to choose from, some lend themselves to hyper casual design more effectively than others. Here are some examples:

Making Hyper Casual Games Unity

Unity

Unity is one of the most popular mobile game development platforms — hyper casual or otherwise. It offers extensive cross-platform support, lets you import assets from Maya or Blender, and can be used to produce 2D or 3D games. Unity offers large volumes of supporting documentation, and powers major releases such as Pokemon Go and Angry Birds 2.

Making Hyper Casual Games BuildBox

Buildbox

Few engines are as robust as Unity, but Buildbox doesn’t need to be: Each supported feature is well-suited for hyper casual development. With Buildbox, games can be crafted without a single line code by assigning in-game roles to imported art assets. Completed titles can be exported to Android, iOS, and Windows PC formats to be distributed in their respective storefronts.

Making Hyper Casual Games GameMaker

GameMaker Studio 2

GameMaker products have supported indie and AAA development for years, and GameMaker Studio 2 is no exception. It features a drag-and-drop interface that simplifies level design and entity creation while enabling advanced features using an easy-to-grasp programming language. In 2019, GameMaker supports mobile, console, and even web-based productions, and is a cost-effective choice for many studios.

Making Hyper Casual Games Cocos2D-x

Cocos2D-x

Cocos2D-x is a 2D open-source engine made freely available to development studios. Not only does it stand out in terms of its extensive supporting documentation, but also for supporting exceedingly small apps: Even 1.5 MB games are supported!

Making Hyper Casual Games SpriteKit

SpriteKit

SpriteKit is a 2D-focused game development framework with one particularly unique perk — it’s designed by Apple and fully supports the iOS platform. That makes it easy to leverage Apple’s first-party tools and resources while producing games for the App Store. SpriteKit projects can also be integrated with GameplayKit for additional functionality.

While this is far from an exhaustive list, it proves that game engines are plentiful and offer many resources that would benefit hyper casual publishers. Yet a game engine is only the first step — now you have to design!

 

Making the right design choices for hyper casual

When designing hyper casual games, it’s essential to keep your audience in mind. Most players are looking for a brief yet engaging gameplay experience that will pass the time between other activities, such as riding the bus or taking a work break. As such, hyper-casual mechanics don’t have to be especially complex or nuanced. It should be possible to fully complete a single play session in under a minute — but the experience should excite them enough to play again!

In practical terms, developers should keep the following 6 design choices in mind:

It should go without saying, but replicating trends does not mean developers should just copy a game outright. Plagiarism will be taken offline by app storefronts, and it remains one of the quickest ways to harm your studio and brand. That being said, finding your spin for existing game mechanics is an easy way to develop your hyper casual portfolio.

 

Hyper casual resources

The aforementioned tools should provide a start, but developers might want some advanced resources or a better understanding of hyper casual best practices. The following items can help expand your work in this emerging field:

 

Art Assets

Hyper casual games might be minimally-designed, but there still do require engaging art assets for players to engage with. For first-time developers, creating these assets can be a real challenge — which is where asset storefronts come in. These services offer a wide range of prebuilt in-game assets, such as textures, character models, or levels.

While the unmodified assets can take the appearance of finished products, that is not what asset stores are intended for. Licensed assets can be used to add additional content or models to new projects that developers have limited time for, or they can be modified with editing software to develop new creative elements. In short, prebuilt assets are time-savers that help you focus on new game mechanics instead of visual environments.

 

Educational resources

While hyper casual represents a relatively new market, there are still educational resources such as books and courses that offer practical developer advice:

Of course, perhaps the best way game developers can learn about hyper casual games is to build one themselves. By choosing the right game engine, following common design principles, and leveraging key resources as outlined in this article, you’ll be well on your way towards making a successful and engaging title.

For more information on monetizing your hyper casual app or advertising it on other platforms, contact the mobile experts at Tapjoy today!

Increasing app retention is one of the top goals for app developers all across the industry today. This ultra-competitive environment has driven user acquisition costs higher than ever, making it imperative to keep existing users engaged. Today, the challenge is understanding what truly drives retention. An app must deliver value — in the form of exciting gameplay, engaging content, or functional utility — but how else can developers keep their users coming back? Developers must foster continuous engagement, days, weeks or even months after the initial install.

Tapjoy conducted a study to understand the relationship between rewarded advertisements and user retention. Rewarded ads gift app users with virtual currency or premium content in exchange for their engagement and attention. We sampled the behavior of over 500 million app users worldwide across nearly 10,000 apps. We then studied data from the first week post-install and examined how user interactions with rewarded ads affected their 30-day retention rates.

As the research in this report shows, rewarded ads have a profound positive impact on app retention. The findings are presented here to help developers understand how they can leverage rewarded ads to drive retention and maximize user LTV.

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Retention benchmarks

App users are finicky: Two-thirds of players never use an app again after the first day they download it. Retention rates drop to just 22% after one week and less than 13% after one month. Two months after they’ve installed it, just 6% of users will still be using the app. That’s why it’s critical to hook users’ interest right from the start.

With so many apps from which to choose, it appears that most players download an app with the intent to simply “try it out.” If they are not immediately impressed, they have no qualms either uninstalling the app or allowing it to languish on their device. With retention rates so low throughout the mobile industry, how can developers engage players during the critical first few days? This question is the key to increasing both short and long-term engagement.

 

App Retention 1

 

Advertising engagement frequency

Many developers believe that presenting ads too early may scare off new users, and that may be true for traditional, non-rewarded ads. However, our data shows that rewarded ads do just the opposite: They deepen engagement and drive long-term retention. Many players value the option of rewarded ads as an alternative to in-app purchases because they make premium features, content, and power-ups accessible to all.

Users who engage with just one ad in the first week — whether a video ad, playable or offerwall placement — are four times more likely to stick around after 30 days. Players who complete any advertising engagement in the first week have a retention rate of at least 50%, depending on the ad type, compared to the retention benchmark of just 12.72%. The more ads with which they engage in that first week, the greater the likelihood they’ll be around at the 30-day mark.

 

App Retention 2

 

Video ad performance

Rewarded video ads have the most profound effect on app retention of any ad type. Players who watched just one rewarded video during their first week had a 30-day retention rate of 53.2% — an increase of more than 300% over the average 30-day retention rate. For players that watch seven videos in their first week, the 30-day retention rate was 71% — more than 450% greater than the benchmark.

It’s easy to see why video ads are so effective at increasing retention: They are a great introduction to both opt-in, rewarded advertising and to an app’s overall virtual economy. They are easy to complete — requiring just 15 seconds of a user’s attention — and the reward they earn can be redeemed immediately and used to enhance their in-app experience.

Developers should use all of the tools at their disposal to direct users to rewarded video placements, including in-app messages to video, direct play videos, and push notifications to video. These tactics ensure that players have the opportunity to complete at least one rewarded video ad at some point during their first week.

 

App Retention 3

 

Full-screen interstitial performance

Full-screen Interstitials (FSI) also have a dramatic impact on players’ retention rates. As with videos, a user who completes just one FSI in first week post-install has a 300% higher 30-day retention rate compared to the average. From there, their retention rate goes up with each subsequent FSI with which they engage. However, subsequent FSI engagements do not have as strong an impact as subsequent video views.

FSI ads appear during natural break points in the app experience. They take up the device’s entire screen. With Tapjoy, developers have full control over the placement of FSI ads and can insert them wherever they feel is appropriate.

Developers should be judicious with their use of full-screen interstitials because they can be distracting if deployed too frequently. However, as the data below shows, when players engage with these types of ads, their 30-day app retention shows a dramatic increase over the benchmarks.

 

App Retention 4

 

Offerwall performance

A similar pattern emerges when looking at the impact on retention of players who complete an ad through the Tapjoy offerwall. The offerwall is a custom-skinned marketplace of rewarded ads that developers make accessible through their storefront or merchandising screen. A prompt to visit the offerwall can also be triggered through a message-to-earn (M2E) placement at specific moments in gameplay.

Players love the offerwall because it provides them with a long list of relevant offers from their favorite brands, enabling them to pick and choose which advertisements with which they’d like to engage. Some offerwall ads require minimal engagement, such as videos, while others encourage users to engage with brands on a deeper level for a larger reward.

Offerwalls provide a simple, unobtrusive way to let players engage with rewarded ads. By adding an “Earn Free Coins” or similar button to the store screen or main screen of their app, developers can let their players seek out rewarded ads all on their own — without disrupting gameplay.

 

The power of rewarded advertising

Many app developers subscribe to the outdated belief that their users will be turned off by advertising. But that perception is based on traditional advertising — the type that typically interrupts, annoys and does not reward its viewers. Rewarded advertising actually enhances the user experience and leads to higher retention rates.

The key lesson that developers should take from this data is that it’s important to present users with rewarded ads during the first week after they have installed an app. If they complete at least one rewarded ad offer, their chances of long-term retention will increase significantly. The more ads with which they engage, the more valuable they will become for your app.

Rewarded videos ads are the easiest and most effective way of maximizing 30-day retention, but other ad types — such as full-screen interstitials and offerwall ads — will boost retention as well. For more information, take a look at Tapjoy’s mobile monetization strategies.

Programmatic mediation increases revenue for mobile developers, creates brand opportunities for marketers, and surpasses the limitations of the waterfall mediation model. Naturally, mobile studios have begun embracing programmatic solutions and leveraging their various capabilities. To assist, we’ve assembled a programmatic mediation glossary that covers the most common terminology developers and marketers will see during their transitions.

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Ad Operations (Ad Ops)

Ad operations are the systems and processes which allow for the sale and delivery of digital advertisements. They allow digital publishers to deliver ad campaigns and earn revenue in a process called “fulfilling an order of sale.” In practical terms, ad operations allow companies who earn revenue from digital advertising to “sell, input, serve, target and report on the performance of online ads.”

Ad operations can also refer to a specific department within a digital publisher, ad network, or technology provider that manages advertising workflows. In these cases, such a department would largely be responsible for ad-based revenue generation.

 

Bid Depth

Within the context of in-app header bidding, bid depth is the number of eligible demand sources participating in an auction.

In most cases, high auction bid depths will see a corresponding increase in the value of winning bids due to increased competition. For that reason, publishers view high bid depth as positive, while demand sources view it as negative.

 

Bid Types

When a demand source submits a bid it can be one of two types: A hard bid or soft bid.

 

Hard Bid

Hard bids are real-time auction offers made by a demand source. The highest value hard bid wins the auction and the demand source pays its value in full.

 

Soft Bid

Soft bids are auction offers made by non-programmatic demand sources. The value of these bids is based on average historical or predicted CPM. If a soft bid wins an auction, but the actual CPM is lower than predicted, the demand source will pay the reduced value.

Soft bids occur when some or all demand sources within an auction cannot participate in real-time, making it impossible to offer hard bids. Programmatic mediation solutions make this allowance so demand sources who work with advertisers on a CPI basis can still participate.

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DSP

A DSP (demand-side platform) is a system where advertisers can buy digital inventory listed by publishers. They allow advertisers to manage campaigns across ad networks simultaneously, as opposed to one at a time. DSPs can also help marketers manage vertical and lateral targeting while optimizing their campaigns based on various KPIs.

 

KPIs

KPIs (key performance indicators) are the metrics advertisers use to measure the success of a given ad campaign. KPIs can vary depending on what a given ad initiative aims to achieve.

 

CPA

CPA (cost-per-action or cost-per-acquisition) is a measurement of total advertising spend against total attributed conversions. In programmatic mediation, it is a method of measuring campaign performance in terms of interactions that lead users towards the desired conversion event.

Some publishers use CPA advertising models where marketers only pay revenue for actions that lead to a conversion, such as an app click or opening a recently installed app. This model is beneficial to advertisers because it transfers much of the responsibility for campaign performance to publishers.

 

CPI

CPI (cost-per-install) is a measurement of total advertising spend against total attributed app installs. In programmatic mediation, it is a method of measuring campaign performance in terms of app installations.

CPI can be measured by country, platform, ad network, or app category as such individual results can vary wildly. Most publishers use CPI advertising models where marketers pay revenue for each completed installation. This is because app installations are one of the most common conversion events marketers use to determine whether a campaign was successful.

 

CPM

CPM (cost-per-mille) is a measurement of total advertising spend against every thousand attributed impressions. This format is one of the most common methods used to price web ads in traditional online advertising. CPM is often presented as an effective or expected CPM (or eCPM) that helps forecast revenue.

While mobile ad campaigns are arguably better served by metrics like CPI and CPA, CPM still has a place in the mobile advertising world because it effectively measures brand-building initiatives. CPA advertising models can also track user demographics and present a baseline for engagement rates.

 

ROAS

ROAS (return on advertising spend) is the metric that informs advertisers how much revenue their ad impressions are generating. ROAS is measured by recording the cost associated with acquiring users through an ad network or campaign and subtracting it from total revenue. A high ROAS suggests that an advertising strategy is successful, while a low ROAS implies that tactics need improvement.

This calculation is distinct from ROI (return on investment) in that ROAS focuses on returns from specific advertising initiatives, while ROI deals with entire campaigns.

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Header Bidding

In mobile ecosystems, “in-app header bidding” is the practice of running auctions for ad impressions between demand sources. These auctions are conducted automatically and in real-time by programmatic mediation solutions. The value of each bid fluctuates based on any market segments to which the intended user belongs — this lets demand sources assign higher-value bids to target audiences.

Header bidding is an evolution of and improvement to the waterfall model, in which demand sources are prioritized based on historical performance and expected yield.

 

First-Price Auction Bidding Model

In a first-price auction bidding model, final buyers will pay the exact amount of their winning bid. This maximizes seller revenue and encourages buyers to bid close to what impressions are worth to them. First-price auction bids are common among programmatic mediation solutions.

 

Second-Price Auction Bidding Model

In a second-price auction model, final buyers will pay $0.01 above the second-highest bid. This limits maximum seller revenue but encourages buyers to bid high amounts to maximize the odds of winning. Second-price auctions have become rare as programmatic mediation opportunities continue to grow.

For more information on how Tapjoy can help you navigate the world of mobile advertising, contact one of our talented growth consultants today!

We live in a mobile-first world.

Consumers have shifted their eyes away from desktop and TV screens, now dedicating up to 3 hours and 35 minutes of attention per day to their mobile devices. But these devices aren’t just alternative distractions — they’re companions, carried everywhere the consumer goes and integrated into myriad daily activities.

As a result, mobile is the most data-rich marketing channel in existence. However, when it comes to assessing campaign performance, the superabundance of data can be ungainly and hard to leverage. That’s why accurate mobile measurement tools are critical to the modern marketing arsenal. A mobile-first campaign can deliver a huge return on ad spend (ROAS), but to achieve this, every consumer interaction must be analyzed and attributed properly. As a result, many publishers turn to mobile measurement partners to enhance their offering to advertisers.

 

What Is An MMP?

A mobile measurement partner, or MMP, is a platform that collects, organizes, and standardizes app data to deliver a uniform assessment of campaign performance metrics. This is typically accomplished via the implementation of a software development kit (SDK) which allows the measurement partner to collect signals around viewability, time in view, non-human traffic, and user behaviors (such as click-throughs, installs, and purchases). As an independent third party, the MMP verifies performance and fosters trust between mobile publishers and their advertising partners through a standardized set of universally applicable metrics. Marketers can use these metrics to evaluate and optimize their campaigns and compare performance across various networks.

With that in mind, here are five essential tips for choosing a mobile measurement partner:

  1. Transparency is table stakes
  2. Fragmentation causes friction, so keep cross-device in mind
  3. The consumer lifecycle is king
  4. Find a partner who can measure what matters
  5. Keep UX in mind

 

1. Transparency is table stakes

Transparency has been a hot topic in digital marketing for the last few years. A handful of public scandals, coupled with a call-to-action from leading global CMOs, have put transparency in the spotlight. Today, providing a transparent marketing ecosystem is required across most digital channels, and mobile is no exception. Fortunately, the Interactive Advertising Bureau and some of today’s leading technology partners have spearheaded an initiative to bring an appropriate level of transparency to the mobile side of the digital supply chain.

The IAB Tech Lab’s The Open Measurement SDK is a ready-made tool that enables universal standardized third-party measurement in mobile app environments. Measurement partners that have adopted the OMSDK guarantee that marketers receive standardized metrics, enabling them to make an apples-to-apples comparison of campaign performance.

 

2. Fragmentation causes friction, so keep cross-device in mind

As advertising becomes increasingly data-driven, marketers must strive to connect the dots between channels and platforms. To build truly omnichannel campaigns, marketers must stitch together data from multiple sources to glean a complete picture of their desired consumer. The vast array of mobile environments adds an additional layer of complication to omnichannel campaigns. A quality MMP will provide consistent measurement across a variety of mobile devices and platforms, ensuring that mobile data is uniform enough to support omnichannel efforts.

 

3. The consumer lifecycle is king

As advertising becomes increasingly driven by lifetime value (LTV), marketers have placed a premium on channels that offer metrics segmented by phases of the consumer lifecycle. Understanding how consumers move through each phase of the customer lifecycle, from consideration to purchase, is a critical part of building an omnichannel campaign.

Marketers will look for metrics that enable them to understand consumer behavior at every phase. A strong mobile measurement partner will support lifecycle marketing and provide metrics that can be segmented accordingly. By identifying key moments for conversion and upselling, mobile publishers can help marketers to better understand the lifetime value of a consumer. Such insights also prove the value of their campaign investment, helping publishers capture more premium marketer dollars.

MMP

 

4. Find a partner who can measure what matters

Many of the same metrics on which marketers rely to assess digital campaign performance are relevant in mobile environments. However, mobile also offers some unique data insights that require equally unique measurement capabilities. It’s important to select a partner that can measure the types of interactions that really matter most to mobile marketers.

A decent mobile measurement partner should be able to provide reporting on standard digital metrics, such as video completion and ad engagement. However, the most effective partners will also report on mobile-specific metrics, like in-app purchases (a KPI for many mobile campaigns) and long-term user retention (which is key to understanding customer LTV).

 

5. Keep UX in mind

While measurement is a key part of a successful mobile monetization strategy, it’s also important to maintain perspective. The bigger and more robust your measurement integration is, the more likely it is to increase the weight of your app and increase latency. User experience is particularly important in mobile, where a few additional seconds of loading time may be all it takes to lose a user for good. Look for a partner with comprehensive measurement capabilities and a lightweight SDK — one that won’t compromise critical app functions are create unnecessary lag.

MMP

For mobile publishers, meeting marketer needs is key. As mobile becomes a larger part of the media mix, expectations for measurement transparency and consistency will continue to grow. However, providing a seamless, high-quality user experience is also a critical consideration. Balancing user needs and marketer expectations will allow you to capture a bigger slice of that growing pie, increase your bottom line, and maximize ROAS for marketing partners.

Offerwalls are a significant part of the freemium mobile ecosystem, and with good reason. Not only do they increase the revenue potential of in-app monetization strategies, but they also maximize engagement by placing control of ad deployments directly in users’ hands. These simultaneous benefits are driving developers to integrate offerwalls in their apps, most notably in the mobile games space.

That being said, all offerwalls don’t have the same revenue-driving potential, or offer the same value to your users. Tapjoy, for example, offers a wide range of customization options that can help you create engaging, native offerwall experiences. If you want to enhance the potential of your offerwall, keep the following considerations in mind:

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5 Questions to Ask When Considering Offerwall Monetization

  1. What audiences will you be targeting?
  2. Where will you place your offerwall within the app?
  3. What is your virtual currency exchange rate?
  4. How frequently will you promote the offerwall?
  5. What will your offerwall look like?

 

1. Which audiences will you be targeting?

Whether designing an app or integrating an offerwall, developers must always keep their audience in mind. Different markets will have different tastes and expectations in what rewards an offerwall provides. For example, are you targeting a demographic that will exclusively use rewarded advertising? Or will they be inclined to use in-app purchases in tandem? This knowledge will inform how the offerwall is presented and which rewards users may access.

Developers should always consider audience demographics such as age, gender, and region when preparing an offerwall strategy. Geographic distribution is particularly important, as each country will have unique policies for the management of virtual currencies. These will all need to be taken into account before a global launch. You will also want to consider the behavior of users within your app category. For instance, mobile gamers may be more primed for offerwall engagement, needing less encouragement from in-app messages.

 

2. Where will you place your offerwall within the app?

Offerwalls are unique, as self-serve portals for rewarded ad engagement, but functionally, they operate like any other ad placement. The same principles on which developers rely to place interstitial ads apply to offerwalls. For example, you might place links to the offerwall at different points of the gameplay loop — popular examples include:

Some of these placements drive higher conversions than others. The home screen is a particularly strong point for ad placement, while app launch is generally less effective. Regardless of your decision, it’s important to consider where users will encounter the offerwall — including whether it will have multiple access points within the app.

 

3. What is your virtual currency exchange rate?

Most offerwalls distribute virtual currency as a reward, which can be exchanged in-app for various bonuses. This currency will influence both user engagement and monetization initiatives for the app — so it’s essential to consider how that currency will be managed.

Virtual currency is intertwined with the functions of an app itself, sparking many additional questions for developers. Here are just a few of the most important ones:

If you intend to offer special promotions for your virtual currency, management becomes even more complicated. Special promotions are one of the easiest ways to attract attention to your offerwall. A prime example is seasonal currency sales — for example, you may set up a Black Friday promotion that doubles your users’ offerwall rewards during a 24 hour period.

 

4. How frequently will you promote the offerwall?

Unlike some rewarded advertising formats, offerwalls tend to be opened manually instead of deploying automatically. This ensures that the user experience is not disrupted and maximizes overall engagement. That being said, developers should still offer periodic notifications that remind users about the offerwall’s benefits.

As with all in-app messages, push notifications, and alerts, the key question is how frequently the offerwall should be promoted. While you don’t want users to forget about offerwall features, you also don’t want to message so often that it disrupts the gameplay experience. As a general rule, mobile apps should inform players as new offerwall deals become available. Here are a few other common scenarios in which the offerwall may be promoted:

Finally, don’t forget to consider the notification format. Developers can reach players through either in-app messages or out-of-app push notifications if the latter is enabled.

 

5. What will your offerwall look like?

Different offerwalls may provide similar rewards — or even identical advertisements — but they can still have their own unique look. Tapjoy’s offerwalls, for example, let developers customize offerwalls with a variety of visual characteristics. Developers can changes offerwall colors, add a custom virtual currency icon, and even add a branded header image to make it feel like a part of the app. These features provide a more native advertising experience for the user.

In the mobile space, native advertising refers to ad content that either mimics or is built into the UI of the app itself. It’s an important detail because many customers are more willing to engage with offerwalls and ad content that reflect the visual features of the host app.

As offerwalls become increasingly common across the in-app ecosystem, it’s crucial to ensure that yours stands out. By considering your chosen audience, placement locations, virtual currency details, and more, you’ll be better equipped to maximize their impact. If you’d like to take the value of your offerwalls even further, reach out to Tapjoy’s offerwall experts today!

Tapjoy studies have shown that mobile gamers prefer rewarded ads to interstitials 4-to-1. It’s a valuable insight for advertisers and developers alike when it comes maximizing ad revenue, but rewarded ads also have the potential to impact other parts of the user experience and your game’s performance overall.

To ensure a healthy portfolio, it’s critical that developers understand the additional impact rewarded ads have beyond ad revenue. This includes their effect on metrics like in-app purchase conversion rate, average user spend, 30-day retention, and daily session count. To find out more, we conducted an in-depth analysis of eight different high-DAU apps across iOS and Android for several varying timeframes to find out how users behave when exposed to rewarded ads compared to those who aren’t.

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Here’s what we discovered:

 

1. Higher IAP Conversion Rates

We studied new app users during a one month period and segmented them into two different groups: Those who engaged with at least one rewarded ad and those who never engaged with an ad. We then compared the IAP conversion rates (or percentage of users that made a first time purchase) for each group.

Impact of Rewarded Ads 1

 

2. Higher Average Spend Per User

We measured the average spend per user in each app for seven days before and seven days after a user’s first rewarded ad engagement.

Impact of Rewarded Ads 2

 

3. Increased 30-Day Retention

We measured the 30-day retention rates of users who engaged with 1-6 rewarded ads during their first week of using an app. Three types of rewarded ad formats were studied (rewarded video, full-screen interstitial, and offerwall placements) and measured against the average 30-day retention benchmark for all apps.

Impact of Rewarded Ads 3

 

4. Higher Average Daily Session Count

We measured the average number of user sessions per day — both seven days before and seven days after a user’s first rewarded ad engagement — for each high-DAU app.

Impact of Rewarded Ads 4

 

What does this mean for developers?

4 key monetization strategies became abundantly clear following our research:

Implementing rewarded ads are just one step to monetizing your app — you’ll also need to optimize deployments and leverage industry-standard mediation tools. For more information, take a look at Tapjoy’s mobile monetization strategies.

At Tapjoy, we frequently explore the ways that offerwalls increase mobile developer revenue while providing the best possible experience for app users. So what best practices can developers turn to that will maximize this impact? In this guide, we’ll outline six best practices that every publisher can take to increase engagement, boost offerwall revenue, and ensure that they derive the highest possible value from every user.

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Tip #1 – Use rewards to drive engagement

Promote the offerwall when users need rewards the most.

Invite users to visit the offerwall when rewards are needed the most: for example, after a moment of failure or when virtual currency is depleted. In Concrete Software’s PBA Bowling, users are given the option to complete a rewarded ad if they fail to qualify for “League Night”. The reward allows them to earn more pins and try for a better score, right at the moment they need it the most. The results of this led to a 3x lift in ad conversions and a 130% increase in overall revenue.

Offer a special reward for repeat engagement.

Consider offering users a special reward designed to encourage repeat engagement with the offerwall. For example, a bonus that can be collected once per day for opening the offerwall. This bonus could increase in value for each subsequent day that the user re-engages the offerwall without skipping.

Gamify the reward experience

The whole point of a game is to have fun – so why not make the offerwall part of the experience? Developers are getting ever-more savvy about weaving their rewarded ad strategy into the gameplay, making it something that players to look forward to and want to engage with. For example, completing an ad or offer could unlock a surprise box, and the user is only able to discover its contents upon ad completion. Alternatively, the user could receive a random award by spinning a wheel or picking a mystery card – not only is this approach interactive, but the user is likely to return for the chance to earn other available rewards.

 

Tip #2 – Employ smart segmentation & targeting

Just as you would test and refine any other element of your game, ad monetization should be treated with the same level of scrutiny. There’s no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to monetization – or at least, there shouldn’t be. The most successful games are those that understand their audience’s behavior and strike an optimal balance between IAP and ad monetization – and understand how the two can complement each other to maximize revenue.

Payers vs. non-payers

One of the most common ways that publishers choose to segment their user base is into paying and non-paying users. Often publishers choose not to show ads to paying users at all, while some may show ads but exclude the group from currency sales or promotions.

Inactive users

The offerwall can also act as a tool to re-engage dormant users. Publishers can segment users by the number of days since they last opened the app and send a targeted message to inactive users encouraging them to visit the offerwall to earn rewards. To influence ongoing engagement, they can also set up a permanent currency sale to users who fit this profile (see Tip #4).

Custom events

Developers can also segment their users by custom events – such as reaching a particular level. They may choose not to show ads until the user has completed a few levels, or to scale the offerwall exchange rate as a user progresses. (see Tip #6).

 

Tip #3 – Run a currency sale

Currency sales are limited time promotions that offer users the chance to earn more virtual currency than usual for every ad they engage with. Tapjoy’s platform makes it easy for publishers to run a currency sale at any time that they wish, or to join one of Tapjoy’s scheduled holiday currency sales throughout the year.

Currency sales not only encourage users to engage with rewarded ads, but they have also been shown to drive significant bursts in revenue.

To examine the impact that currency sales have on revenue, Tapjoy measured the average NEPDAU (Net Earnings Per Daily Active User) for 30 participating iOS and 30 participating Android apps during a three-day weekend currency sale (Fri-Sun) in May 2017. These results were then compared to the average NEPDAU during the weekend prior when currency exchange rates were not discounted.

Offerwall

 

Tip #4 – Experiment with permanent currency sales

Tapjoy now makes it easy for publishers to implement rules-based permanent currency sales that target specific user groups on an ongoing basis. Here are a few examples of how Tapjoy clients have used permanent currency sales to achieve specific goals for their app:

Shorten time to first conversion for new users

Run a currency sale that is billed as “limited time only” to users who installed the app within the last three days. Users are not told how long the promotion will last, which encourages them to return more quickly and make their first offerwall conversion. Introducing users early to the mechanics of the offerwall not only increases revenue but can have a positive impact on user engagement and retention.

Re-engage offerwall “churners”

Run a currency sale to previous offerwall users who have not completed an offer within a certain number of days. These users are already familiar with the mechanics of the offerwall, so an incentive may be the push they need to re-engage with the app.

Incentivize user loyalty

Encourage repeat engagement by promoting a currency sale to loyal users. To qualify for the sale, users need to open the app every day for seven days. On the 7th day, the user unlocks the promotion.

Convert non-monetized users

This approach is designed to target your lowest value users: those who have regularly played the game, but never made a purchase or converted on an ad. Targeting these users with a special currency sale may provide the push that they need to finally engage with the offerwall – and once they’ve enjoyed the value of the reward, they’ll be more likely to convert again.

 

Tip #5 – Customize your offerwall

Tapjoy makes it easy to customize the look and feel of your offerwall for any season, promotion or occasion. The Offerwall Plus platform allows developers to easily custom-brand several elements so that the offerwall appears native to the app. This includes the header section (which can feature any color, text or image the developer chooses), the overall color scheme of the wall, the app’s currency icon, and the interactive button which takes the user to the offerwall.

Tapjoy also offers the ability for developers to create offerwall headers that are unique to currency sales. These headers can be used to promote the length or value sale and encourage user participation.

 

Tip #6 – Explore custom exchange rates

Another way that publishers can optimize offerwall revenue is by exploring custom exchange rates. Custom exchange rates allow the publisher to set different levels of rewards for different user groups in exchange for their ad view or offer completion. For example, a new user may receive 100 coins for watching a video trailer, while a more mature user would receive 500 coins for the same action.

One common reason that publishers choose to implement custom exchange rates is to encourage conversion and engagement among more mature users. As users progress, the items they will need to advance in the game usually become more expensive. It can be discouraging to receive a 100 coin payout when 5000 coins are required to purchase a critical virtual good. To keep loyal users engaged and interested in the offerwall, the reward must be scaled so that it is meaningful as they progress.

 

Getting started with Tapjoy

Tapjoy is the industry’s leading offerwall expert for a reason: We make it easy for publishers to set up, customize and optimize their offerwall, all from a centralized dashboard. The UI is clean, user-friendly, and can be tailored to match the look and feel of your app.

Part of the Tapjoy Maximum Impact Platform™, developers are empowered to make the most of every user through advanced segmentation and predictive LTV analytics. These capabilities allow publishers to more intelligently monetize their users through advanced features, such as custom exchange rates, targeted permanent currency sales, and contextual in-app messaging.

For more information, take a look at Tapjoy’s mobile monetization strategies.