As a leading in-app advertising network, we’re big fans of detailed market research. eMarketer has long been one of our go-to sources, and we were thrilled to have recently made our own contribution to their massive collection of powerful industry insights. Last week the digital marketing research company published an article summarizing our Modern Mobile Gamer 2019 eBook.
Tapjoy’s third annual Modern Mobile Gamer is a deep dive into the market segments that drive mobile game advertising performance — specifically Millennials, Parents, and High Income Earners. Its results are based on insights from over 18,000 survey respondents, and highlights common careers, interests, and spending patterns.
As eMarketer notes, this report provides several fascinating results of interest to advertisers. For example, did you know that two out of three respondents would rather give up social media apps than mobile games? Or that 76% of millennials in the United States prefer opt-in rewarded ads over mandatory ad formats? eMarketer uses this opportunity to go a few steps further with follow-up statistics on playable advertising, exploring the features mobile games leverage that social media or OTT apps do not.
“The rewarded model is the most effective model of advertising in mobile games because players understand there is a value exchange, and they appreciate that a brand is giving them the ability to progress in the game without having to pull out their wallets,” said Emily Robinson, Tapjoy vice president of marketing. “This appreciation for the advertiser drives deep brand awareness, brand recognition, message recall and purchase intent with consumers.”
If there is a definitive voice on the state of app marketing, it is eMarketer’s. The market research firm’s latest Mobile App Installs annual report is now out, and its findings paint the picture of an industry in flux, making it a must-read for anyone charged with acquiring new installs and driving user acquisition for mobile apps.
According to the report, installs grew nearly 12 percent year-over-year in Q1 2019, driven primarily by developing markets. As in years past, gaming apps are still the most popular downloads, but games now face increasing competition for ad inventory from verticals such as retail, travel, utilities and more, resulting in higher prices across the board.
In response, many app marketers have embraced a “quality over quantity” approach that seeks to generate new users with a higher lifetime value (LTV) and better return on ad spend (ROAS). They rely on downstream metrics and post-install activity — such as levels completed or purchases made — to gauge the effectiveness of their install campaigns and re-allocate budgets accordingly.
As Tapjoy’s senior vice president of global performance, Sarah Chafer, explains, marketers are getting savvier at identifying certain thresholds that serve as a proxy for user engagement and indicate the quality of an install campaign. She tells eMarketer, “Every advertiser has the challenge of finding that point of adoption where once the user gets to this level, they tend to play 10 times more often or become the user who opens the app every day for the next 30 days.”
Identifying that threshold is one thing; finding install sources that drive those types of users is another. Fortunately, the definitive voice in app marketing delivers another seminal report on the state of the industry and how marketers can innovate to land coveted home screen placement.
To learn more about the three major strategies that developers follow to acquire and engage app users, purchase the full report on eMarketer.com.
Mobile advertising is an incredibly high-performing marketing channel, but we often forget how new it actually is. Most attribution standards have only been established in recent years, partly thanks to companies like Singular — an MMP that started life as a mobile analytics platform.
Tapjoy recently met with Singular co-founder and COO Susan Kuo to discuss how her company successfully merged analytics and attribution into a unified solution and what that means for today’s app developers.
I’m the COO and co-founder of Singular. In my day-to-day, I oversee business development with our partner ecosystem that spans across a thousand plus publishers, ad networks and other various marketing automation and analytics providers.
When we first started Singular, the mission of our platform was very simple: To give marketers a single source of truth to understand their ROI at the most granular level. But we quickly realized that in order to deliver on our mission to advertisers, we were beholden to the standards of existing mobile attribution at the time. No one in the industry was taking ownership to connect marketing channels and attribution solutions in a way that supported standardized data governance. In order to improve the industry standard, this meant that we would need to help marketers manage their data at the user level. This is why we decided to become an MMP, so that we have the foundation to build a best in class unified platform that provides both Analytics and Attribution in a single solution. Today, over 50% of the top 100 global app publishers use Singular.
The first three years of our business was dedicated to building our analytics solution. It not only connects to over a thousand ad channels, but the core IP also lays the foundation for understanding the taxonomy and hierarchies within each of these networks. Ultimately, that means that we can standardize marketing data sets across these channels so that marketers can see their ROI at the most granular and accurate level.
Until 2017, when Singular started offering attribution, marketers had to purchase an attribution and analytics solution side-by-side with different vendors. We are the only MMP to integrate all a marketer’s conversion and install data with their overall marketing and campaign data. The result: Context and color around your marketing investments that is essential for optimization and future growth.
One of the things that I noticed when we started Singular five years ago was how male dominated this industry was. Thankfully, there are more women in our industry today, in higher-powered roles than ever before. I’ve been very fortunate to have met some of the most amazing group of women in our industry. I can’t count how many times during off hours where we commented on how we would love to ‘get together more’ and learn from each other.
So, this is really the purpose behind THRIVE.
It is a community that is aimed at connecting and empowering women leaders and influencers in growth marketing. The goal is to learn from each other’s mistakes and accomplishments both in and out of the workplace, and most importantly coming together and forming meaningful friendships. If you think about it, the very definition of THRIVE is growing together, and that’s really the objective for this community.
We launched our first event at MAU in Las Vegas in May and I’m incredibly pleased with how the launch went. Not only was it one of the most well attended events across all of the adjacent events going on at MAU, but the overwhelming amount of interest from inspiring women across the industry who were keen on getting involved in the community. We came out of the event with some great topics for follow on events and will be looking to launch our second THRIVE event later this quarter here in the bay area, and more to come after!
There are three primary trends we’re watching unfold in our space:
There is a common misconception about the mobile advertising industry that there are only a few dominant media sources to work with. And yes, a good portion of spend in the market goes to Facebook and Google. But what some marketers aren’t aware of is that there is a considerable amount of good inventory and innovative ad units across other ad networks.
My advice to app marketers who aren’t doing this already is this: If you have the ability to scale beyond five ad networks, I definitely recommend trying this out. What we’ve seen in our data is that marketers who advertised on more than 5 ad networks — scaling efforts past Facebook, Google, and Instagram — had a 37% lower CPI and 60% higher installs with the same exact ad spend.
We see that there is an estimated 60% growth in mobile apps that will monetize through in-app advertising. Emerging ad-supported genres like hyper-casual are a big part of why in-app advertising revenue is set to triple from $72 billion to $201 billion. Publishers need to make sure that their UA strategy and measurement vendor has a solid solution in place to factor in the in-app advertising revenue into the equation so that you can understand true ROI across your marketing channels.
We expect to see tightening down of consumer privacy from dominant industry players like Apple. There’s been quite a bit of speculation across the industry that one of the likely outcomes can be the potential deprecation of IDFA.
At Singular, we’ve spent considerable time imagining and planning for a world where mobile apps and marketers would have to survive in a privacy-safe environment without a common device identifier like IDFA on devices. We recently launched an industry working group called MAP, which stands for Mobile Attribution Privacy. MAP is focused on defining the new standards around a privacy-first Mobile Attribution ecosystem.
There has been quite of buzz over the past few years about AI. While I think it’s still very much in its infancy, I think we will start to see some initial advancements within our industry this year. For example, we will be looking to launch our Insights product later this year that will be aimed at surfacing benchmarks and predictive models that will enable marketers to automatically uncover insights that they are having to do manually (or worse, not at all). This is an incredibly exciting move for Singular as this has always been the vision for the company since day one, to build the core foundation and standardization of data centrality and data governance.
And only when this has been achieved, can we harness the ability to provide insights on top of this data and become what we consider the next generation marketing analytics providers, a true marketing intelligence platform.
Tapjoy would like to thank Susan Kuo for taking the time to join us. To learn more about how Singular helps developers grow more while paying less, be sure to download their Scaling Mobile Growth Report and learn how you can unlock breakthrough mobile growth for your mobile portfolio.
Summer may have just begun, but it won’t be long before the back-to-school shopping season kicks in. Any marketers promoting fall clothing or classroom supplies should be getting ready to utilize the most effective ad channels. Tapjoy surveyed more than 4,000 mothers in the US and EMEA about their back-to-school purchasing behaviors and mobile gaming habits. The research proves that mobile games are high on the list of effective ways for marketers to reach parents in advance of the back-to-school rush. We found that the vast majority of mothers with 6-17 year old children play mobile games on a daily basis — often exceeding other app categories. What’s more, their smartphones play an essential role in shopping for back-to-school supplies.
As noted in our report, majority of respondents intend to purchase back-to-school items this year. More specifically, the biggest in-demand items include clothing, classroom supplies, electronics, backpacks & lunch bags, arts & crafts, and snacks. The most important purchasing incentives behind these products include:
So what does this have to do with mobile gaming? Well, it turns out that mothers spend an average of 80 minutes each day playing mobile games, the majority of which feature opt-in advertising placements like offerwalls and rewarded videos. Approximately 68% of respondents play while relaxing at home, while 45% would delete social media apps before giving up their mobile games. Combined, these figures represent an ideal opportunity for marketers to reach mothers during the back-to-school season.
That’s just a sample of what Tapjoy’s back-to-school study covered. For more results, you can download the full report. Don’t forget that Tapjoy’s mobile advertising experts are available to help you reach mothers during the busy back-to-school season!
Smartphone users spend 90% of their time in apps versus 10% on mobile web, making in-app advertising one of the most important and valuable marketing channels for modern brands. Unfortunately, taking your first steps into the space can feel like jumping into the deep end of a swimming pool. As mobile technologies become more powerful, the opportunity for advertisers will only grow, but with it comes a wealth of technical jargon that can be intimidating.
To better understand in-app advertising and realize its full potential, marketers must first understand the in-app stack — or the levels of technology that make it all possible. Accounting for the full ecosystem can help developers and advertisers achieve mutually beneficial outcomes, but it all starts with a high-level understanding of the environment as a whole.
The structure of the in-app stack remains fairly consistent across mobile platforms thanks to the historically well-defined relationships between users, advertisers, and publishers set in place by the world of web advertising in the early days of the internet. That said, the in-app stack does have some unique aspects that set it apart. From the bottom up, the layers include:
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at each layer and highlight the role it plays in making in-app advertising such a valuable opportunity for modern brands.
The base of the in-app stack starts with mobile software distribution channels — where users can browse and download apps. The largest platforms in terms of market share are Google Play and the App Store, but this layer also includes the Microsoft and Amazon app stores, among others.
For advertisers, what’s most relevant here is the volume of time and attention modern audiences spend engaging with the apps accessed through these platforms. A recent Newzoo study estimates global smartphone adoption will pass 3.8 billion users by 2021, or nearly half the current world population. Furthermore, mobile users spend 90% of their time in apps as opposed to mobile web.
Combined, these two figures equate to a massive advertising opportunity. Realizing this opportunity starts with understanding the tools used to create the apps we know and love.
This layer includes the programming languages, game engines, and integrated development environments used to build the apps that fill the distribution channels mentioned above. On mobile devices, roughly 50% of all gaming apps are based on the Unity engine, followed by the Unreal engine. Outside of these two, however, most developers build apps using each environment’s native programming languages: Java for Android, or Objective-C/Swift for iOS.
In a gaming ecosystem, developer platforms can include baked-in support for in-app advertising provided by the environment itself. For example, Unity features a built-in advertising API to help developers monetize their games and apps without having to integrate third-party SDKs. The option is cost-effective for smaller teams with limited advertising expertise, and is backed by Unity’s official support channels, but offers limited returns compared to more sophisticated ad operations involving multiple networks and/or mediation solutions.
Mobile apps are intended for massive audiences, however, and keeping track of what’s going on in your app can be challenging without the proper tools, which brings us to the next layer of the stack.
Continuing up the stack we come to the tools used to track data resulting from user engagement and digital marketing. As of 2019, the right tools can allow publishers to track just about anything, including user-level data. Developers measure KPIs like retention rates and average revenue per daily active user (ARPDAU) to optimize revenue and reduce churn. Marketers, meanwhile, seek to understand demographic and behavioral data to acquire users more efficiently.
Analytics measurement tools — such as App Annie, Localytics, or Tenjin — are essential to understanding how users engage with apps as well as in-app advertisements. They act as eyes and ears for the entire technology stack, collecting and analyzing data from top to bottom. They also make it possible for app marketers to conduct A/B product tests, generate actionable insights, and leverage the most effective monetization strategies. For advertisers, these tools unlock sophisticated targeting capabilities, measure return on ad spend, and help attribute revenue to discrete player segments.
Backend services include all features not built directly into a mobile device’s operating system, like account credentials or a tracking currency balances in a mobile game. Developers and advertisers access these tools using mobile backend as a service (MBaaS) providers that bridge an app’s frontend with any backend functionality. Google’s Firebase and Microsoft’s Azure platforms are prime examples.
Of all in-app stack levels, backend services tend to be underutilized by advertisers, though they have the potential to facilitate unique advertising partnerships that can make brands stand out. Although typically uncommon, one example is Sephora’s campaign with Puzzle Social, during which they promoted a Sephora-branded crossword puzzle in the publisher’s Daily Celebrity Crossword app.
These tools help marketers manage customer relationships at scale. As users interact with an app, automated processes can be made to periodically trigger specific messaging or functionality — such as ad impressions or in-app purchase offers. Developers can also leverage marketing automation tools to deliver push notifications that alert audiences to new promotions or to call users back after a period of inactivity. This strategy can be incredibly valuable, as push notifications have an average CTR of 7.8%, a figure that has grown each year since 2016.
Marketing automation is where Tapjoy first appears in the stack. Marketers can learn more from our whitepapers and reports to better understand how they can use marketing automation tools like ours to glean more value from their users.
Ad networks are the bridge between developers and advertisers, often enabled through an integrated in-app SDK. The purpose of an ad network is to aggregate available advertising supply, sell that supply to advertisers, and fulfill the ad requests by delivering campaign creative to the appropriate audience segments. When combined with marketing automation and mediation, this process can be scaled, optimized, and targeted to maximize performance for advertisers while earning publishers the highest possible eCPM. As an advertising network, Tapjoy provides these services to our partners alongside our other in-app stack features, like ad mediation.
Mediation gives app developers the ability to prioritize advertising demand from multiple ad networks and exchanges in order to ensure fill and earn the highest possible revenue per impression. Publishers can manage their mediation processes manually, automatically, or through a hybrid model. In the manual model, demand is prioritized in an ad waterfall, based off of pre-determined bids and negotiated payment terms. In 2019, however, more publishers are discovering the benefits of managing ad monetization programmatically through a process called header bidding, wherein multiple SDKs bid on ad impressions in real-time, ensuring the highest possible revenue for publishers.
Historically, advertisers have focused their efforts on the ad networks portion of the in-app stack. In recent years, however, they’ve begun to view the entire in-app landscape more strategically. For example, advertisers increasingly leverage the in-depth user data offered by analytics platforms to optimize targeting and attribution. They plan campaigns with knowledge of developer marketing automation and strive to differentiate their presence. They may also choose to bid for ad space programmatically to maximize ROI. Some brands even engage in creative partnerships with app developers to leverage backend tools for native advertising placements.
Foundational knowledge of the in-app stack gives marketers a greater understanding of the user journey and the tools required to optimize their media spend. Even beyond the stage of ad delivery, this background is essential for comprehensive data collection and analysis. With this understanding, marketers can optimize campaigns to account for the entire stack, increase conversions, and elevate their in-app advertising strategy.
For more information on navigating the in-app stack, contact Tapjoy’s mobile advertising experts today.
As a pioneer of value-exchange advertising, we’re intimately familiar with the benefits of rewarded ads. They allow publishers and developers to derive value from the majority of users who don’t convert on IAPs while stimulating engagement within their in-app economies.
Better still, advertisers get the opportunity to connect with receptive audiences who know that rewarded ads help developers create the content they love. It’s a powerful cycle that can be made even more so by introducing greater value at appropriate times.
That’s why Tapjoy gives developers the power to run Currency Sales in their in-app mobile offerwalls with the flip of a switch. By offering greater volumes of in-app currency in exchange for the same amount of time and attention, players get more currency to spend on engagement, advertisers deliver more impressions, and developers earn more ad revenue.
Like any other product-based commerce model, sales allow retailers (in this case, app developers) to earn more revenue by offering products to their customers at a reduced price for a finite period of time. The increase in perceived value generates greater demand, hopefully resulting in net-positive revenue gains despite the lower price point. It’s a commercial phenomenon known as lift and has become a core facet of mature commercial markets like consumer packaged goods or ecommerce.
Mobile games and apps are no different. The product being put on sale is in-app currency, and the discount being offered is a greater volume in exchange for an equal amount of their time and attention. If an offerwall placement typically offers 100 redeemable points to viewers, it might instead award 150 or 200 points during a Currency Sale. This incentivizes more ad impressions, introduces more currency, and stimulates the app’s internal economy.
To start a currency sale, developers can simply initiate one via their Tapjoy dashboard. Currency Sales are always activated at the developer’s discretion, although a Tapjoy monetization expert can work with you to suggest historically profitable timeframes and discounting practices based on our years of experience. Most successful currency sales are tied to seasonal events like Christmas or Spring Break where users have more leisure time than usual. Culturally significant events for your community are also great opportunities to run Currency Sales, like a game’s anniversary or recent content update.
From the user’s perspective, they will instantly earn more in exchange for the same rewarded activities. This drives users to engage with a higher volume of rewarded ads to maximize the benefit of their session time, resulting in more ad revenue for developers.
The goal of a Currency Sale is to encourage users to convert on more ads in exchange for greater rewards. When a currency sale is successfully marketed and optimized, this generates a lift in ad revenue and can even result in higher in-app purchase sales due to the boost in economic activity.
While developers technically take less revenue from the conversion-to-reward ratio during a Currency Sale, the higher number of conversions ensure they earn a net-benefit. Our clients typically report lift figures of 20% to 80%, with some seeing even higher gains.
These benefits are enhanced further when advertisers increase their bid rate, which Tapjoy promotes on behalf of our developers during peak seasonal activity times. Simply raising bids by $1 to $3 can drive significant visibility for the app in the marketplace. This action creates a feedback loop that maximizes in-app sales, conversions, and overall marketplace exposure.
Currency sales are a win-win marketing strategy for developers, advertisers, and users. Tapjoy’s market research shows that mobile players are more willing to engage with mobile ads during the holidays.
If you’d like to start increasing ad revenue in your mobile game and app portfolio, contact our mobile monetization experts to get started.
Looking to brush up your mobile marketing fundamentals? Take a look at our strategy article, “In-App Advertising Cost – The Complete Marketer’s Guide”.
Mobile gaming has officially gone mainstream, and a new report from App Annie suggests it’s also quickly becoming a market force to be reckoned with. The new 2019 State of Mobile Games report contains a wealth of insights for advertisers and developers.
Here are just a few of the study’s most compelling findings:
Users worldwide play roughly two to five games each month, and that number gets even higher in areas with higher smartphone adoption. In the United States, for example, Americans play four or more games per month, and have eight games installed on average. At the same time, emerging smartphone markets are driving an increase in mobile game download rates. Outside of established markets like China or the US, India and Brazil are becoming major gaming centers — a statistic reinforced by Tenjin’s recent hyper-casual report.
One particular insight worth noting is that downloads and consumer spend are directly correlated. Android’s Google Play storefront accounts for 74% of global downloads, while Apple’s App Store represents 64% of global monetization. This suggests that Android devices are ideal for freemium in-app advertising, while Apple devices are well-suited to IAP-based monetization.
Perhaps the most important insight is that mobile gaming isn’t slowing down. Overall engagement is increasing by 10% year-on-year thanks to a growing consumer base and existing gamers who spend more time in-app. The hyper-casual market is one of the most significant drivers of this trend, suggesting there is an opportunity for low-cost games which drive revenue through advertising.
The full App Annie report highlights additional details, including the most popular genres by region and China’s impact on this growing market. Once you’re finished reading, don’t forget to check out Tapjoy’s Modern Mobile Gamer persona ebook for even more insights.
Meet Scott Aument, our Account Manager at Tapjoy’s New York office.
What makes Tapjoy a great place to work?
Culture. Working remotely can sometimes be a challenge and doesn’t work without great people. I’ve had the opportunity to work with the best team at Tapjoy over the last year. Whether it’s answering the phone early in the morning for an urgent east coast request or helping with questions late at night these guys are the best in the biz. It makes working 3,000 miles away from each other not seem as far. And when we do get the opportunity to see each other we always have the best time. Work is only as good as the people who do it with you.
What motivates and challenges you to do your best work?
Looking to grow every day is something that motivates me on a daily basis. There is nothing worse than feeling stuck or bored within a role. Tapjoy is an ever-changing dynamic ecosystem where there is always something to learn. There is always something that you can become better at and there is always someone who will help you achieve that goal. Continuing to improve yourself as a professional is what drives me while others around challenge me to be my best self. This competitive nature is something that I believe is necessary in a successful business environment in order to achieve at a high level.
What is one important skill every person should have?
Believe that every person should be confident when speaking to a group. Whether it’s at a large meeting in front clients, a casual lunch meeting, or out at a client happy hour. Being able to display confidence to those around you helps create a lasting and trusting relationship. When you are confident in yourself then that also shows confidence in your product. Some of the best working relationships I’ve had have been built in this way.
What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?
Now that we are in the summer months, I love to get out and play golf as much as I can. Whether that’s out on Long Island, back home in CT with my Dad, or traveling with a couple buddies to play. Chelsea Piers outdoor driving range is definitely on the list of things to do this summer. Big fan of the NYC rooftop bars for Happy Hour or eating outside on a restaurant patio.
Where do you want to go on your next vacation?
My next planned vacation in a couple days in Ocean City Maryland I’ll be down there for 3 days and 54 holes of golf. Other than that, I really need to get over to Europe since I have never been and just recently got my first passport (I’m looking at you London Team). Possibly an Island vacation as well later in the year, the beaches in New York just don’t cut it.
The next Tap Into Our Team installment might be about you! Visit our Careers page to see Tapjoy’s latest employment opportunities.
In our last article with Susan Borst, we learned about the goals and objectives of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, (IAB) and the growing importance of storytelling for digital marketers. Today, we conclude our conversation with a discussion about the rapidly growing role of women in the mobile marketing industry.
Great question. At IAB, the whole topic of equality is very important. I’m very proud that IAB has hosted a Women’s Visionaries event for the past two years. We convene top leaders in tech, media, and marketing to share workplace wisdom and industry insights. Presentations focus on important lessons in leadership and real-world advice to advance women’s trajectories and help empower the next generation of leaders. A truly impressive list of women (and some men!) have shared their insights. The energy in the room, and the corresponding conversations, is so inspiring!
The industry is making progress on the speaking front. I used to find myself as the only woman speaking on a panel, but I see that changing significantly. As an organizer of speaking panels myself, I used to get mostly responses from men. But today, when I approach a company for speaking opportunities, they’re organically suggesting more women to speak, which is a step in the right direction. I do think women have a responsibility to put themselves out there — it can be a little bit of a chicken or egg scenario in some cases. But you need to take that step to be heard.
I work with a lot of women from leading companies in both the mobile-specific and the gaming space. For the IAB Game Committee that I’ve led for the past five years or so, the committee leadership has, in fact, been dominated by women in senior leadership positions including Kym Nelson from Twitch, Julie Shumaker/Agatha Hood from Unity Technologies and Gabrielle Heyman from Zynga. Working with Tapjoy, I see many women leaders there, too! Most of the women leaders I work with are in the marketing or sales positions, so I can’t speak to the game developer side of the equation where I understand there is a greater male/female discrepancy.
I think the biggest challenge for both men and women in the mobile/games space, or any digital marketing space for that matter, is staying relevant. Things are moving very quickly in this increasingly mobile-first world. New technologies are rapidly emerging. The current public policy landscape is evolving. And consumer expectations are changing. It’s important to stay ahead of the curve and be prepared to adapt or even pivot as needed.
Generally, I think women tend to have a different leadership style vs. men, but I wouldn’t necessarily call this an advantage or a disadvantage. I think great leaders – men or women – have the same qualities in that they are strategic and results-oriented. They see the big picture to be able to know what needs to be done, and how and when to execute. They also know how to build great teams of people with different strengths who, together, are working toward a common goal. From an interpersonal perspective, great leaders clearly communicate and strive to help their teams grow as individuals and have high expectations on team performance. Do women have an inherent advantage in any of these areas? I really hate to stereotype, so I’d say the answer to that question is no. Women can have the same advantages as men.
Taking into account the key factors that make good leaders that I described, women need to step up to the plate and be their confident selves. This means taking risks and stepping out of your comfort zone, relying on your team to do the work you hired them to do and, importantly, taking credit where credit is due.
When I think back to the most effective women I’ve had the pleasure to work with, one perhaps surprising trait comes to mind which is that they are all real. By this, I mean, they lead the way while showing their true selves. They are not afraid to share. Or show their vulnerabilities. Or help a newbie. Or stand up for the team when needed. Being real inspires trust and with trust, comes results and respect. Two women in the digital industry who really stand out in my mind are Meredith Kopit Levien, EVP and Chief Operating Officer at The New York Times and Linda Yaccarino, Chairman of Advertising & Partnerships at NBCUniversal. They are both wildly successful, real and I admire them greatly.
“Influencer” is a loaded word, so I’ll focus on the notion of building, or even rebuilding, your personal brand. This comes into play both within your organization and outside of it. Dorie Clark, a top marketing strategy consultant, author, university teacher and professional speaker who I had the pleasure of meeting at SXSW a few years ago, is a leading voice on the topic of building/rebuilding a personal brand. In this Harvard Business Review article, Dorie outlines five ways to reinvent yourself by building your personal brand: Define Your Destination, Leverage Your Points of Difference, Develop a Narrative, Reintroduce Yourself, and Prove Your Worth. Some of these steps will be easier for some than others, but the point is that you have to be honest with yourself, understand how the world views you and you need to get out there and make your voice heard! As Dorie points out, “Taking control of your personal brand may mean the difference between an unfulfilling job and a rewarding career.”
I think you spot, develop, grow and support your female talent the same way you’d do for your male talent. For spotting talent, I look for smarts, enthusiasm and curiosity. Smarts alone won’t do it. For development, I grew up with the advice that as a leader, your goal is to develop your staff to be able to take your job, so you can move up yourself. Supporting your team, trusting that they can do the job you hired them to do, and being by their side through the wins and losses, is the way to grow and support future leaders. If they look good, you’ll look good.
Tapjoy would like to thank Susan Borst 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.
OTT streaming is often hailed as the future of entertainment media. Customers can now choose between multiple competing platforms and watch the latest hit shows the instant they launch on traditional cable channels.
The new future of OTT streaming revolves around mobile devices — or more specifically, OTT apps. As of 2019, roughly 75% of OTT streaming occurs on mobile devices. Even platforms like Netflix, which customers generally view using home entertainment systems, sees most customers access their accounts from smartphones once a month. And as mobile devices become the default online-connected devices for international users, streaming from smartphones and tablets will become even more prevalent.
I’m Meghan McAdams and I’m Tapjoy’s VP of National Brand Sales. In this chapter of our OTT blog series, we’ll weigh the strengths and weaknesses of popular OTT apps as the market exists in 2019 and offer a high-level picture of what customers can expect from OTT providers today and into the future.
Netflix is the largest and most popular OTT video provider, and with good reason. It was the first brand to successfully pioneer the concept of television and movie screening during a time when its service model consisted of mail-based movie rentals. Since then, Netflix has become a streaming giant with a massive licensed library and an impressive original content collection.
One major reason for Netflix’s success is its comprehensive device support. Customers can watch their favorite shows across desktop PCs, smart TVs, and mobile devices without losing track of where they’d left off. More recently, Netflix has introduced tiered membership plans with SD and HD content packages. Finally, its mobile app has the ability to download a limited selection of movies and television shows for offline viewing — an excellent option for users with limited smartphone data plans.
Unfortunately, Netflix is not without its drawbacks. While its service is available internationally, its licensed content availability varies from country to country — a major inconvenience for travellers trying to watch their favorite shows. From a UX perspective, Netflix’s search feature is unintuitive and poorly optimized. More importantly, new episodes of licensed TV seasons often don’t arrive on the platform until a year after the initial premiere. Netflix remains the king of OTT providers, but these disadvantages have resulted in market vulnerabilities that some competitors have already started capitalizing on.
Hulu is one of Netflix’s biggest competitors in the OTT space. Not only does it offer an impressive selection of licensed and original content, its Live TV subscription packages include 50 television channels — all streamed to their mobile app. That’s a major perk for customers who enjoy parts of their cable package, but aren’t interested in an expensive cable subscription.
Despite these benefits, Hulu’s film and TV selection is limited compared to Netflix. More importantly, the service is geolocked to the United States and Japan, minimizing its growth potential to those regions.
One of Hulu’s most unique features is that it combines subscription and advertising revenue. Users who subscribe to the basic Hulu package pay a reduced fee in exchange for viewing the occasional advertisement. This can be viewed as a benefit or a drawback — many customers are frustrated by ads, but it does provide a lower entry barrier compared to Netflix.
HBO’s critically-acclaimed original content was traditionally funded and monetized using reliable cable subscriptions. This left parent company WarnerMedia understandably reluctant to license content to streaming services like Netflix. As OTT services have become more popular, WarnerMedia opted to launch its own independent subscription service called HBO Now.
HBO Now’s most significant benefit is its original content. This provider is the only United States platform where users can stream full episodes of Game of Thrones, Late Night With John Oliver, or legacy series like The Sopranos and Sex and the City. Since HBO Now is directly controlled by its parent network, episodes can also be streamed the moment they launch on cable.
That being said, HBO Now lacks many user experience features supported by competing OTT apps. Its library is not available internationally, since HBO does license original content to streaming services outside of the United States. Its interface is poorly implemented, and its base price is more expensive than Netflix’s entry-level subscriptions. Then again, customers who want to watch Deadwood fifty times over might find those costs worthwhile.
Amazon Prime Video may have started as a small Netflix streaming competitor, but it’s quickly becoming a major OTT player. Backed by Amazon’s brand and finances, the platform has secured a trove of exclusive licensed content. Its entire library is available as a standalone Prime Video subscription, or unlocked free for current Amazon Prime customers. Prime has also managed to finance critically-acclaimed original series like American Gods, Jack Ryan, and Good Omens that rival Netflix and HBO Now’s output.
Prime’s OTT app goes the extra mile in its user interface. At any time, customers can pause an episode to access actor profiles, bonus content, trivia, and even musical score information. To top it all off, customers can choose to buy digital content that will remain available once the subscription ends.
Amazon Prime certainly does have disadvantages — its selection is lacking compared to Netflix, and its rent/buy services are not universally available in all regions. But compared to other OTT apps, Amazon is investing heavily in becoming a direct Netflix competitor.
YouTube will always be a crucial OTT service thanks to its massively popular, ad-based platform. YouTube TV, meanwhile, is Google’s recent experiment in merging OTT services with traditional cable packages. Its service offers over 70 channels for a monthly fee, including CNN, Fox, MSNBC, the Discovery Channel, and even the Food Network. Smartphone users can also rest assured that YouTube TV has a well-optimized mobile experience and a comprehensive DVR feature that lets you record shows for later viewing.
Despite these facts, YouTube TV remains the most expensive OTT live TV service. Subscriptions cost approximately $50 each month, which is far higher than comparable OTT cable-replacement packages. The interface and viewing experience on non-mobile streaming devices is also limited — which is good news for mobile customers, until you’d like to switch to your home entertainment system.
These are just a few of the OTT streaming services making headlines — platforms like Sling and PlayStation Vue are also worth following. But when it comes to mobile apps, these OTT providers are trend-setters that will determine how the medium evolves over time. Netflix may have kicked off the OTT app market, but it’s far from alone today — which is good news for customers and advertisers alike.
For more information about OTT media services, check out Meghan’s full blog series starting with What Is OTT?