As the mobile industry matures, developers have no shortage of options to choose from when it comes to monetizing their users. One of the most effective and time-tested methods is the mobile offerwall. It combines all the benefits of high-performing ad formats like rewarded video and playables with the fun-factor of earning virtual currency. Offerwalls have the potential to generate unparalleled eCPMs while also fostering user engagement and retention. In this brief guide, we’ll introduce you to mobile offerwalls and their benefits for mobile developers.
Offerwalls are in-app advertising units that monetize apps through incentivized engagements. They can be implemented in any app that offers virtual currency and are most commonly used in mobile games for Android and iOS platforms. Offerwalls function as storefronts in which users can complete various objectives, such as watching a video or signing up for a free trial in exchange for in-app currency. On Android, these offers can also include incentivized offers to download and install promoted apps or even reach certain milestones in the game or app’s progression.
Industry studies have consistently shown that mobile players are highly willing to engage with advertisements, provided they can do so on their own terms and receive something of value in return. Offerwalls satisfy this need by providing an opt-in portal for incentivized ad engagement.
Offerwalls don’t just benefit end-users: They have immense benefits for developers and advertisers as well. When a developer implements an offerwall in their app, our studies have shown that they consistently produce the following benefits:
After a developer integrates an offerwall into their game or app, they can add elements such as “Earn Free Currency” buttons to the native UI that produce the in-app storefront. These buttons can be placed anywhere in the app, but are most effective in the store, main menu, or “game over” screens. Upon launching the offerwall users are presented with various objectives that they may choose to complete in exchange for premium currency or in-game bonuses. This list is refreshed daily so that well-retained players can engage with new offers on a consistent basis.
Some common offerwall objectives include:
When it comes to maximizing offerwall impact, mobile developers have several techniques at their disposal. By optimizing the offerwall design or strategically placing offerwall engagement CTAs, developers create a better user experience and in turn generate more revenue.
For more tips, read our latest offerwall guide: “6 Tips For Maximizing Mobile Offerwall Revenue”.
Tapjoy’s SDK allows developers to quickly and seamlessly integrate offerwalls into their apps from a centralized, easy-to-use dashboard. We also provide the tools and resources to fully customize your offerwall UI. We also know how important it is to ensure a positive experience for your players, which is why our customer support team is provides players with dedicated resources and monitored social media channels. We also offer a complete developer dashboard that grants full visibility into the reward fulfillment process and even lets you manage payouts manually. With a few simple clicks, anyone can implement custom exchange rates, launch a currency sale, or deploy in-app promotions to help drive awareness and engagement with your offerwall.
An offerwall is one of the best tools developers can use to monetize their apps, so don’t let the opportunity go to waste! For more information on the benefits of a Tapjoy-powered offerwall, download our first-party reports or check out our mobile monetization features.
Choosing the right offerwall provider is an important part of your overall mobile monetization strategy. Engineering time isn’t cheap, and every integration needs to be tied back to a clear ROI. So how do you know which offerwall provider is worth your time?
In this article, we’ll outline the questions every developer needs to ask before committing to an offerwall provider.
The most effective integrations take a holistic approach to where, when and how offerwalls fit into your game or app. Having an experienced ad monetization professional on your side makes all the difference. Before committing to an integration, be sure to find out who will be supporting your team during the process and what sort of experience they’re drawing from. Ask things like:
If you’re not confident in any of the answers provided, proceed with caution. An experienced offerwall professional should be able to steer you in the right direction when it comes to category specifics, placements, exchange rates, and more.
Offerwalls perform best when they look and feel like any other part of your game or app. The more smooth and intuitive your integration, the better it will perform. The best offerwall providers give you the freedom to customize every part of your offerwall’s appearance, including:
When offerwalls match your brand, it’s easier for players to recognize the role they play in your virtual economy. As a result, offerwall engagement (and ad revenue!) increase. Once you’ve confirmed that you’ll be able to customize your offerwall’s appearance, the next step is knowing what offers players will see.
While you should always take the time to form your own opinions of providers, having a stable of successful partners can be a helpful early indicator as to which ones are worth investigating. Ask around in your professional communities, but also free feel to ask potential providers direct questions like:
Don’t be afraid to ask for specific references, either. An experienced provider should have no shortage of satisfied clients that they can connect you with. This will help you not only verify the value of their product, but can also help you get a jump start on any best-practices that will help you get the most out of the implementation.
Find out who will be competing to place offers in your offerwall and what sort of control you have over what gets shown to your players. Get into specifics and ask questions like:
If control over offers is limited, or if advertisers aren’t advertising with your potential provider, it could be a red flag that they might not be what you’re looking for. For example, we here at Tapjoy work with a diverse combination of brands and app developers to ensure that we’re always able to provide your players with offers that will be relevant to their interests and encourage engagement.
Well-balanced virtual economies are the key to successful freemium games. They keep players progressing through your games and promote regular engagement through a delicate balance of supply and demand. Any major changes to that balance could have drastic consequences, which is why monetization managers need to stay in full control of their offerwalls and the rewards they provide. That means having a firm grasp on the size and variety of offers being made available. Be sure to find out the following:
Developers should be skeptical of any black-box solutions that don’t offer a transparent look into offerwall engagement levels and how they’re affecting player behavior. Make sure you’re given full visibility into how your offerwall is performing, as well as control over key variables like virtual currency exchange rates. Extra points if you’re able to introduce greater value through the offerwall at key times throughout the year (with a Currency Sale, for example).
Your offerwall provider should be able to give you a reliable and accurate estimate as to how much money an offerwall will generate for your business. Every game or app is different, and so much depends on where your audience is located in the world, so don’t be afraid to drill down into specifics like these:
Getting answers to questions like these will give you the information you need to weigh a commitment to any potential offerwall provider against its potential benefit to your business overall. At Tapjoy, we’re not shy about the fact that our publishing partners typically see twice as much revenue or more when they monetize their games and apps with rewarded video placements and offerwalls compared to rewarded video alone.
We’re proud to be the leading provider of mobile offerwalls for the world’s best developers and publishers. Tapjoy offerwalls offer the following benefits for mobile developers like you:
Our developer relations team is always available to discuss opportunities and best practices for getting the most out of mobile offerwall placements. To learn more about how you can start generating more ad revenue using Tapjoy offerwalls, click the button below to contact our team.
Offerwall monetization can be incredibly effective for mobile developers. It provides an engaging opt-in monetization option for users, increasing ad revenue and improving overall engagement.
However, it isn’t a fit for every app. Offerwalls drive revenue by providing value, and they can’t do that if your game or app doesn’t leverage a few fundamental parts of traditional freemium app design. In this article, we’ll walk through some key questions every developer should ask themselves before committing resources to an offerwall integration.
One of the main benefits of a in-app offerwall is that it provides players with an extra avenue to further engage with the games they love when they may not wish to make an in-app purchase. Like many aspects of free-to-play games, offerwalls depend on a strong relationship between supply and demand. If interaction with your game’s core features doesn’t depend on some element of a virtual economy, offerwalls might not be a right fit.
If your game does include a virtual currency based economy, then offerwalls likely have a place in your core engagement loop. They are most effective when they serve as a source of currency that’s in particularly high demand. In freemium economy terms, this is typically referred to as a game’s “hard currency”.
Unlike soft currency, which players can typically earn through gameplay, hard currency is more valuable and is typically kept scarce to foster demand. It’s this high demand that motivates players to complete IAPs, but can also be channeled into providing value for developers through offerwalls and other kinds of rewarded ads.
Concerns over IAP cannibalization have been widely disproven by a variety of industry studies, including our own. In fact, offerwalls have been found, in many cases, to increase conversion rates and average spend per user by fostering greater levels of overall engagement. With that in mind, it’s still important to take a qualitative look at your user base and consider what it could mean to them.
Many games are solitary entertainment experiences, but some let players interact with each other, giving rise to organic community interactions on social media, subreddits, fan sites and Discord channels. Many developers come to depend on these communities for organic user acquisition and retention. Before adding an offerwall, ask yourself what impact it might have on your community dynamic.
It’s been our experience that when it comes to free-to-play titles, most communities would benefit from adding an additional currency source. Rewarded ad placements of any kind can often end up in blog posts and articles shared by experienced players in an effort to help newcomers.
Starting fresh with offerwalls integrated at launch is one sure-fire way to ensure that they’re well received. If you’re updating an existing app to include an offerwall, it’s a good idea to notify your community through patch notes and social media channels to make sure you get the word out.
While economies of any kind can quickly get complex, they’re fundamentally comprised of two things: sinks and sources. Sinks are any opportunity for players to spend currency, and sources are ways to earn it. It’s critical that these two are kept in constant balance in order to fuel engagement. Too many sinks and players might get frustrated. Too many sources and they won’t have anything to aspire to.
Adding an offerwall means introducing a potentially powerful source into your game economy, and so they perform best as part of an economy with an equal or greater number of sinks. These come in many forms, but can include any of the standard freemium economy drivers, including:
If your game or app offers players indefinite opportunities to engage meaningfully through hard currency transactions with assets like those listed above, then it’s likely a great fit for offerwall monetization. If you have only a limited number of ways for players to spend currency, consider adding more before finding ways for an offerwall to fit into your overall strategy.
The revenue generated by any rewarded ad placement is limited by the number of opportunities players have to engage with it. Furthermore, offerwall engagement increases the closer it is to moments in the user experience in which players feel the need for hard currency. If your game or app includes one or more high-traffic bits of UI where players can experience demand for hard currency without interrupting gameplay, then an offerwall is again likely to fit nicely into your economy at large. Some examples of ideal placements include:
Some of these placements drive higher conversions than others. Ideally, each offerwall will have multiple access points in order to maximize engagement. As with any monetization tactic, user experience comes first. If you can integrate an offerwall in such a way that players don’t feel distracted or annoyed by your placement then you’re in good shape for boosting ad revenue, engagement, and retention. Remember – offerwalls is are an opt-in experience for your users.
As offerwalls become more common across the in-app ecosystem, it’s crucial to ensure that yours provides a seamless and engaging user experience. That means ensuring full control over things like conversion rates, display frequencies, branding, and more.
If you replied “yes” to one or more of the questions, then we should talk! As the originators of the mobile offerwall format, we here at Tapjoy have spent more than 10 years perfecting the practice of offerwall monetization and helping countless developers use offerwalls to add a powerful new revenue stream to their business. Click the button below to get in touch with one of our monetization experts and learn more about offerwall monetization with Tapjoy!
For nearly a decade, mobile publishers and developers have relied on ad waterfalls to monetize their user bases. It’s an approach that made sense given the technical limitations of the time, but new developments are allowing for more advanced strategies to take root. It’s time for a change, and we believe programmatic mediation, sometimes referred to as in-app header bidding, is the way forward. Understanding why starts with recognizing the shortcomings of ad waterfalls.
The mechanics of ad waterfalls contain a number of biases, some less useful than others. Their reliance on estimated revenue per ad impression means that demand sources with the best historical track records are given the greatest opportunity, while others rarely get the chance to prove their value. It’s a model given to both negative and positive momentum.
The top demand sources tend to stay at the top, delivering high eCPMs for the majority of ad impressions, while the lower sources are only given occasional opportunities to deliver value. As a result, publishers are able to realize greater value than if they were to depend on a single demand source, but not as much as if every source were given the chance to demonstrate their strengths consistently. These blind spots can mean missed opportunities for publishers, especially as the entire ecosystem develops a stronger understanding of who their audience is.
As mobile targeting capabilities grow, it has become easier for demand sources to determine which customers are most valuable to them. In these circumstances, a lower-waterfall network might actually be willing to pay more for impressions to these audiences than networks ranked above it.
“Waterfall mediation was a good and natural progression from the manual management of individual ad networks, but it’s proven to be inefficient when it comes to giving each demand source a level playing field to compete for the most valuable inventory.” Amit Bhojwani, Head of Partner Management, Facebook Audience Network said. “Bidding flattens the waterfall and gives every network the opportunity to compete for publishers’ inventory. ”
“Waterfall mediation is certainly widely used, but it also makes it harder for smaller demand sources to compete at a premium level — even when they have the means to pay premium prices,” Jackie Cooper, Manager of Professional Services at MoPub said. “Programmatic mediation levels the playing field by allowing all demand sources to truly target their most valuable markets in a way that is both transparent and competitive.”
For example, a premium source with a stronger track record may be willing to bid $1 for an ad impression, but a secondary network with greater knowledge of this particular user would pay $3 to reach a key market segment. If the premium network fills demand in this scenario, the publisher is missing out on revenue that was hidden behind the waterfall’s prioritization. Even worse, because the secondary network fulfills impressions less frequently, the average price that determines waterfall rankings can become volatile and prone to error.
From this perspective, waterfalls run counter to mediation’s intended purpose of maximizing publisher revenue. So what can be done?
Programmatic mediation represents a more effective and transparent mechanism for monetizing apps through the power of in-app bidding. Instead of prioritizing networks and contacting them consecutively, in-app bidding solutions contact each integrated network concurrently and provide an opportunity to buy the impression in a real-time auction. By offering these opportunities to multiple demand sources at the same time, programmatic mediation platforms can increase competition, maximize yield, and diversify demand for each impression.
“For years, in-app ad monetisation suffered from inefficiencies, lost revenue, and an overall lack of transparency,” Amit Bhojwani, Head of Partner Management, Facebook Audience Network said. “Impartial systems that award impressions to the highest bidder help in solving these problems directly and create new opportunities for sustainable ad businesses.”
Let’s revisit the scenario mentioned earlier — where the high-paying premium network offers $1 for an impression, but the secondary demand source offers $3. In a real-time auction, the higher bid of the secondary source means it wins the impression and pays more revenue to the publisher.
“The meritocracy of real-time bidding for in-app advertising makes a world of difference for publishers,” Jayme Farrell-Ranker, Senior Product Growth Manager at MoPub explained. “In recent A/B tests, publishers using our in-app bidding solution, Advanced Bidding, saw increases in ARPDAU of up to 45% and enjoyed the reduced overhead that comes with switching to a unified solution.”
Advertisers benefit from in-app bidding solutions as well. The transparent nature of programmatic mediation creates an equal playing field for all demand sources. It allows advertisers to leverage market data to determine whether an end user warrants increasing the bid’s value. Suddenly, the broader advertising ecosystem is more sustainable as it increases buyer confidence and matches the right ads to the right audience.
Despite the notable benefits of in-app bidding, much of the industry remains entrenched in waterfall models. Transitioning to programmatic solutions will take time, but steps can be taken to implement them more effectively:
Exclusively programmatic in-app bidding is not the only solution available to publishers. In this transition period, hybrid models allow publishers to monetize apps through auctions while still prioritizing direct partners. This combines the best elements of both models by allowing publishers to continue to get the most out of their existing demand relationships while providing new opportunities to experiment.
Flattening the waterfall with in-app bidding is a great first step to increasing competition. The second step is to maximize the number of demand sources on your platform. Even within hybrid models, the more partners you have taking part in auctions, the greater the benefits will be for publishers and advertisers alike.
When transitioning networks from a traditional waterfall integration to a bidding integration, publishers need to ensure they measure performance changes effectively. Additionally, when running a hybrid waterfall that contains both bidding and fixed price/auto optimised demand, it’s important to measure the share of voice bidding partners have in the overall demand mix, as well as the impact bidding has on non-bidding demand that remains within your app. By reviewing overall ad APRDAU publishers can best measure the effectiveness of programmatic mediation.
Ultimately, programmatic mediation benefits publishers as competition increases on a per impression level. On the flip side, demand partners get greater transparency on available supply, improving advertiser confidence and long term performance.
Direct to consumer, or DTC retail, is on the rise: According to a study from CommerceNext and Oracle, there are now more than 22,000 companies in the DTC retail category. By cutting out the middlemen, DTC brands can offer quality goods at affordable prices and reinvest in marketing. Traditional retail marketers are left wondering how to keep up, as DTC brands continue to out-market them.
With all of these apparent advantages, many DTC retail brands often still leave one major opportunity untapped: mobile marketing. The majority of DTC marketers focus on social media exclusively, rather than crafting a comprehensive mobile strategy. Some marketers are beginning to see that social media impressions don’t equate to ROI, hence why DTC brands are pulling as much as 30% of their ad spend away from Facebook.
To maximize ROAS, marketers should define more concrete KPIs, such as engagements, completed views, trials, sign-ups, app installs and more. Mobile is the most intimate channel for consumer engagement. Here are a few of the best growth tactics mobile marketers can use to maximize their DTC retail strategy.
Cost-per-action or CPA advertising is a pricing model in which advertisers only pay if and when an ad leads to an action or sale. For DTC retail brands looking to uplevel their mobile strategy, CPA advertising can be particularly effective. 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. This is ideal for brands with a low-friction and affordable offering, such as Dollar Shave Club’s razor subscription. Meanwhile, DTC brands that have a strong content marketing strategy may run CPA campaigns geared at newsletter signups. For example, DTC luggage brand AWAY runs a branded travel magazine called HERE. A mobile CPA campaign could be an effective way to promote engagement with the brand’s content.
Like other forms of performance advertising, CPA campaigns transfer more liability to the publisher as advertiser payout is not guaranteed with each impression. As such, some publishers may be reluctant to host CPA ads. However, most major digital ad networks, including Tapjoy, now support CPA advertising. CPA advertising remains one of the most valuable growth tactics in the DTC arsenal.
In keeping with their status as digital-natives, many DTC retailers have an app to facilitate consumer interactions. One company that has seen marked success with its branded apps is Warby Parker. It offers an augmented reality app for testing and purchasing glasses frames, and a mobile prescription check app. For DTC retail brands, the advantages of investing in a mobile app are numerous, including an in-flux of first-party data and an improved purchase journey. But after the app is launched, a mobile user acquisition strategy is imperative.
Mobile is the ideal environment for app user acquisition. Rewarded video is particularly effective in driving high-quality app installs because the secondary action is not incentivized. Consumers may elect to watch a video ad in exchange for a reward, then choose to download the app of their own volition. What’s more, opt-in rewarded video is the optimal ad experience among consumers, as they perceive it to be more relevant and engaging.
When devising a mobile strategy, DTC retail brands should partner with an advertising network that prices rewarded video on a cost-per-completed-view (CPCV) basis. Industry viewability standards dictate that just 50% of the video player must be in view for at least two seconds. If priced on a CPM basis, advertisers pay by impression — in essence, paying to show an ad that is never watched. A completed video view is infinitely more valuable.
In the CPE advertising model, advertisers only pay for completed engagements as defined by the campaign. These engagements can be intimate branded experiences, such as mini-games or branded quizzes. For example, the DTC vitamin brand Care/of quizzes new customers and provides personalized supplement recommendations — this brand would be an ideal candidate for a quiz-based campaign. Similarly, skincare brand Skinsei offers a holistic skin diagnostic and provides a personalized care regimen. These and other DTC retailers that include personalized quizzes in the purchase journey would get particular value from a CPE strategy.
Mobile mini-games are also a memorable and engaging option for DTC brands across the board. A brand does not need to have a cartoonish mascot or a humorous tone to create a successful mini-game. Any brand could benefit from a gamified product showcase. Perhaps consumers tap to pick their favorite colored product or catch falling items in a branded shopping cart. The potential of the mobile format is limitless — regardless of the CPE format you choose, this strategy will drive significantly more ROAS than impression-based advertising.
Despite the overwhelming popularity of the DTC approach among consumers, the majority of DTC retail brands struggle to achieve profitability at scale. Instead of turning to the traditional retail playbook, these companies should return to their performance marketing roots. Investing in outdated non-digital formats, like television, will only dilute the authenticity, originality, and intimacy consumers have grown to expect from DTC retail. Mobile advertising offers a much more compelling alternative. Armed with these three growth tactics, DTC retail brands can uplevel their mobile strategy and retain authenticity at scale.
For more digital marketing insights, including how DTC brands can drive maximum ROI from their mobile strategy, contact Tapjoy’s mobile advertising experts today.
Direct to consumer brands have taken the retail world by storm.
These young market disruptors have won the hearts of consumers by preaching straight-talk, authenticity, and perhaps most crucially, by offering quality goods at a lower price. Some successful DTC startups have already come of age, getting acquired by massive global retailers like Unilever and Walmart. Even entrenched brands like Nike have developed a DTC strategy to compete with the model’s upsurge in popularity.
So what’s driving the direct to consumer trend? These brands share a unique business model that enables them to fully leverage all the tools of the digital age.
DTC brands have infiltrated nearly every retail vertical in existence, including CPG, fashion, pet supplies, and more. Some frontrunners that we’ll talk about include:
They’re all known for taking a creative approach to digital marketing, telling unique stories that draw attention and engage consumers. Here are a few of the secret weapons that are helping these brands shake up the retail world.
Secret weapon: A disruptive brand story (in 100 words)
Direct to consumer brand Warby Parker turned the eyeglasses industry upside down with its wide selection of affordable frames and home try-on options. How did the brand do it? It built a digital marketing empire around a disruptive story. Every new pair of glasses is accompanied by a polishing wipe emblazoned with the story of “Warby Parker in 100 Words.” This quirky no-nonsense narrative describes a young man who sought a simple solution to an age-old problem — the high price of prescription glasses.
Fashionable frames and affordability aren’t Warby Parker’s only selling point, however. Its philanthropic mission sets it apart: The brand partners with groups worldwide to support their “buy a pair, give a pair” program, which distributes glasses to communities in need. So far they’ve given away more than 5 million pairs and talked up their efforts across every marketing channel, including email and social. On the company blog, Warby Parker customers can also catch up on the latest updates around the brand’s Pupil Project — an initiative which donates glasses to young students in need.
Last year, Warby Parker raised $75 million in Series E funding, bringing its total to nearly $300 million. The company is currently valued at $1.75 billion.
Secret weapon: Viral video engagement
Direct to consumer brand Dollar Shave Club burst onto the DTC scene with a viral video that has garnered more than 26 million views since the brand’s launch. The video features the founder of Dollar Shave Club, Mike Dubin, explaining the company’s value proposition. The pitch is simple — for a dollar a month, they send high quality razors right to your door. And, according to Mike, their blades are “f****ing great.” In its first 48 hours, nearly 12,000 people signed up for the service. By the following year, that number rose to 330,000. In addition to its killer price-point, the brand’s charming smugness and irreverence immediately set it apart from industry incumbents, such as Gillete.
The tone of Dollar Shave Club’s video marketing has matured over the years, it still injects humor at every opportunity. This follow-up video, which promotes One Wipe Charlies, shows consumers that Dollar Shave means more than razors, but its off-the-wall comedy is here to stay.
Dollar Shave Club’s subscription-based price model and digital marketing efforts immediately marked it as a major player in men’s grooming. Apparently, CPG giant Unilever agrees — in 2016, it acquired the five-year-old startup for $1 billion.
Secret weapon: Social media presence
Direct to consumer brand Casper broke the $29 billion mattress industry with the radical suggestion that one size really could fit all. The company, which specializes in memory foam mattresses, delivers comfort right to their customers’ doors in an impossibly small box. The online retailer has been so successful that a number of DTC competitors have sprung up in its wake, including Leesa and Tuft & Needle. However, Casper’s digital marketing strategy continues to set them apart from the pack.
Casper is particularly effective on social media, where the brand regularly engages consumers with sleep-related content and replies to mentions. For example, customers who ask Casper for help after oversleeping on their comfortable new mattress may receive a custom excuse note for their boss, explaining their tardiness. The brand also uses social channels as a platform for sharing charming sleep-related videos, such as this one which showcases sleepy turtles.
Although DTC competitors are making headway in the new digital mattress retail sector, Casper remains the clear frontrunner. The company recently secured $100 million in Series D funding, bringing its total valuation up to $1.1 billion.
Why they are killing it: Cult content
Direct to consumer brand Glossier began as a simple beauty blog called Into the Gloss, run by founder Emily Weiss. A thriving community sprung up around the blog, thanks to the value its content generated. When the beauty brand launched, it soon amassed a cult following. It now has a notable hype, with product waitlists occasionally exceeding 10,000 people. Throughout this startup’s three-year journey, content-based marketing has been the cornerstone of its digital strategy. In fact, in 2018 Glossier was named to the “Top 50 Best Content Marketing Brands” by NewsCred. The company has maintained its popular blog and added new video content to its expanding library, to take advantage of the surge in video streaming popularity. In the future, Glossie plans to personalize the buyer journey with content by leveraging its wealth of data.
Glossier’s devoted community remains critical to its success The company invited about 100 of its top customers to be a part of a Slack discussion around products, and they exchange over 1,100 messages a week. User-generated content (UGC) is also key to its marketing strategy.
This year Glossier entered the unicorn club among startups, securing $100 million in Series D funding. This round effectively tripled the company’s 2018 valuation, brining it up to $1.2 billion.
Examined holistically, all of these successful brands have a few things in common. Traditionally, retail has been run by distributors, but the advent of the internet unlocked myriad opportunities for direct consumer engagement. It’s always been possible for retailers to skip distribution channels by selling to consumers directly via catalog or mail-order, but in the digital age, the DTC approach yields a number of major benefits:
In 2019, direct to consumer brands have already transformed retail and radically shifted consumer expectations. The model has come a long way from the mail-order catalogs of the 20th century, but the evolution of DTC is just beginning. In the future, they will undoubtedly adopt new digital marketing strategies and learn to leverage data even more effectively. A key shift on the horizon is the move from desktop to mobile. Already, consumers spend over three and a half hours per day on mobile devices, which surpasses the metrics for desktop. Because apps account for 90% of internet time on smartphones, the in-app environment is poised to become the next great marketing frontier for DTC brands.
For more digital marketing insights, including how DTC brands can drive maximum ROI from their mobile strategy, contact Tapjoy’s mobile advertising experts today.
Direct to consumer brands are shaking up the retail world by skipping traditional distribution channels and passing the cost savings along to their customers. For businesses, however, DTC has an additional perk: It allows marketers to build relationships with target audiences through sustained engagement with their brand. Direct to consumer marketing is fueled, in part, by a wealth of first-party data, which DTC brands collect at each stage of the customer journey. When this data is integrated into a mobile in-app advertising strategy, DTC brands unlock a marketing superpower.
Direct to consumer marketing differs from traditional retail in that manufacturers promote products and services directly to consumers. While this model existed well before 2019, its scope was often limited to directing customers to catalogs and mail-order products. Today, eCommerce technologies allow brands to manage their storefronts directly, interact with target audiences, and provide personalized services.
DTC marketing campaigns and their associated operations often require direct oversight from first-party sales and marketing teams. Despite this additional time and resource investment, DTC has significant benefits compared to traditional retail:
These insights come courtesy of Mena Iskander’s article, 3 Direct to Consumer Trends Reshaping Digital Marketing in 2019. Read the full article here!
Thanks to the direct to consumer business model, DTC brands have a wealth of first-party data at their disposal. This data is incredibly effective at building detailed customer profiles and driving performance marketing campaigns. This allows brands to target specific audiences with relevant high-value offers, including:
These offers are then delivered to audiences through an in-app programmatic environment, optimized in real-time based on audience insights, and finally utilized by the customer.
Social media marketing is often praised as a driver of DTC purchases, but that’s not entirely accurate. According to various market research studies, 67% of users have not made purchases via social media. Instead, the value of social media lies in its consumer engagement elements that cultivate brand affinity.
In 2019, this can even take the form of “social justice” marketing. According to recent data from Accenture, 62% of consumers want brands “to take a stand on current and broadly relevant issues”. One prominent example occurred when Heidi Zack, CEO of the DTC lingerie brand ThirdLove, wrote an open letter to Victoria’s Secret condemning comments from CMO Ed Razek. This letter was published in the New York Times and shared across ThirdLove’s social channels, eliciting a resoundingly positive response from customers.
To paraphrase Google Canada head of marketing Fab Dolan, the most successful DTC brands are those that understand the interplay between experiences and transactions. Customers are loyal to the brands that make them feel something, which makes experiential engagement strategies ideal for DTC markets. This can take many forms depending on your audience, but some examples include:
Each of these experiences can be delivered with impact through mobile environments, including in-app advertisements and custom branded apps. Rewarded advertisements have proven especially effective at engaging customers while offering the highest return on advertising spend (ROAS).
For more detailed information on DTC consumer trends, take a look at “3 Direct to Consumer Trends Reshaping Digital Marketing in 2019”.
As smartphones become the primary digital contact point for most consumers, digital-focused DTC brands are using mobile to facilitate customer engagement. Some brands even go so far as to create their own apps. Warby Parker’s augmented reality app is a prime example: It allows consumers to visualize and purchase custom glasses frames. To fully maximize the benefits of mobile apps, however, brands will need to run user acquisition campaigns that attract new customers. Thankfully, mobile is an ideal UA environment thanks to the prevalence of in-app advertising options. Even for DTC brands that have not entered the app market, mobile is the single most valuable marketing channel. In the US, consumers spend nearly three hours each day on their mobile devices. On mobile, users are attentive and primed for brand engagement. Here are a few promising mobile strategies DTC marketers can employ.
Cost-per-action (CPA) advertising is a model where advertisers only pay if and when an ad leads to a specific action, usually a sale. For example, DTC brands might run a CPA campaign in which signing up for a subscription is the core KPI. Such a campaign could then be tied with performance marketing initiatives such as offering a discounted first month.
CPA advertising is an ideal growth tactic for brands with affordable, low-friction offerings and strong content marketing strategies. However, CPA ads do pose some risk to app publishers who are not guaranteed payouts for each impression. Because of this, CPA advertising works best in conjunction with a rewarded model.
Cost-per-completed-view (CPCV) advertising is a model where advertisers for completed video views. Rewarded video, which incentivizes the video view but not the secondary click-through, is particularly effective. Rewarded video was rated the optimal ad experience by consumers because these opt-in placements create a low-friction value exchange.
Cost-per-engagement (CPE) advertising is a model where advertisers pay for user engagement as defined by the ad campaign. For DTC markets, CPE campaigns are best geared towards playable ads such as mini-games or branded quizzes. Any brand could make use of gamified product showcases that help move users along the buyer’s journey with a higher ROAS than impression-based advertising.
For more detailed information on DTC mobile marketing tactics, take a look at our full guide “DTC Retail – The Top 3 Growth Tactics for Mobile Marketers”.
They’re all known for taking a creative approach to digital marketing, telling unique stories that draw attention and engage consumers. Here are a few of the secret weapons that are helping these brands shake up the retail world.
Warby Parker disrupted the eyeglasses industry thanks to its affordable frames, home try-on options, and DTC business model. But Warby Parker also promotes itself as a brand that seeks to help others by lowering prescription prices and supporting philanthropic causes. The company has partnered with international groups to create a “buy a pair, give a pair” program that distributes glasses to needy communities while a Pupil Project initiative donates glasses to students. These traits have endeared Warby Parker to loyal customers, and given the brand high engagement on social media platforms.
Perhaps most importantly, Warby Parker places a strong emphasis on mobile-first services. It’s primary Warby Parker app lets users see what frames look like thanks to built-in AR technology. A secondary Prescription Check app lets customers update prescriptions with mobile vision assessment features. Warby Parker is even integrated with Apple Pay for easy payment and sends package updates via SMS text. Between these features and a fully mobile-optimized website, Warby Parker is well equipped to serve customers directly from their smartphones.
For more details, read our article The Warby Parker Marketing Strategy Decoded.
Dollar Shave Club’s first attempt to promote high-quality razors for a low price made a great impression, thanks to a viral video where founder Mike Dubin joked that his blades were “f***ing great.” Since the brand’s launch, this video has garnered 26 million views and established the brand as a DTC leader in the men’s grooming subscription industry. While Dollar Shave Club’s video marketing has since matured, it continues to use humorous experiences as a selling point by injecting charm and comedy into each piece of video content. In 2016, Unilever acquired the five-year-old startup for $1 billion.
Casper is a DTC brand that managed to break into the $29 billion mattress industry with an innovative product, unbelievably small packaging, and a highly engaging social media campaign. The brand frequently uses sleep-related content to engage with customers on social media, even replying to comments with personalized notes that apologize to employers for sleeping in. Casper also uses social channels to share memorable sleep-related video ads, including the following:
@Casper I was late today. Send help
— Hugo Filipe (@MrHugoFilipe) August 24, 2016
While it first began life as a beauty blog, Glossier expanded into a full-fledged DTC company by making community experiences part of its brand. Named one of 2018’s Top 50 Best Content Marketing Brands, Glossier’s blog posts and videos encourage thousands of users to actively engage with the company. The brand makes user-generated content a key part of its marketing strategy and has held live Slack discussions with 100 top customers. Glossier’s runaway success ultimately brought it to the unicorn club in 2019 thanks to a $1.2 billion valuation.
For more details on how DTC brands managed their digital marketing campaigns, read our full article “4 Direct to Consumer Brands Using Digital Marketing To Shake Up The Retail World.”
Direct to consumer markets have transformed digital marketing, creating multiple avenues for customers to engage with brands. Mobile technologies are a major driver of this development thanks to shared viral content, personalized experiences, and the social engagement potential of the platform. As more brands embrace the power of direct to consumer marketing, we are starting to see a new future for retail where consumer values define significant portions of the brand experience.
For more insights into how DTC brands can enhance their mobile strategies, contact Tapjoy’s mobile advertising experts today.
Warby Parker aimed to address a simple problem: Glasses are too expensive. They boldly shined a light on incumbents, claiming that the eyewear industry is monopolized by a single company that keeps prices high for its own gain. Like many direct to consumer (DTC) brands, they told consumers that they shouldn’t have to make trade-offs where quality, convenience, and affordability are concerned. Warby Parker’s marketing strategy would go on to disrupt a $140 billion industry.
Beyond its narrative, Warby Parker’s value proposition is what really hooked consumers’ attention. In fact, Dave Gilboa, co-founder and co-CEO of Warby Parker attributes the brand’s success to its “highly delineated offering.” He notes the company’s Home Try-on program, which was the first of its kind in any category, unlocked the eCommerce channel fully for them. This model also made it possible to sell quality frames for just $95 — a much smaller price than those offered by traditional retailers.
Without a doubt, Warby Parker’s Robin Hood–esque mission makes for a good story. But what else is behind the Warby Parker marketing strategy? Let’s take a closer look.
At the outset, Warby Parker spent money solely on its initial inventory, its website, and a PR firm. That last piece may seem counter-intuitive, but it laid the foundation for the word-of-mouth buzz that would propel them through their first year. The company successfully launched with features in Vogue and GQ magazine. As a result of this press traction, Warby Parker hit its first-year sales target in three weeks and generated a waitlist of 20,000 customers.
Co-founder Dave Gilboa acknowledges that good press doesn’t always generate this level of impact. However, Warby Parker’s differentiated offering and socially conscious mission propelled it into the spotlight. In Gilboa’s words, “what [we] were doing was unique — that is what got editors excited and got readers excited.”
Today, Warby Parker relies more on word-of-mouth then press. They still find new small ways to keep consumers talking, including their recent April Fool’s Day spoof, Warby Barker. The prank website features a full line of doggie eyewear, including a “dog-ocle,” a monocle for your dog.
Since its inception, Warby Parker has remained committed to its Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program. The brand works with a handful of global partners to ensure that with every consumer purchase, a pair of glasses are distributed to people in need. Today, they’ve donated over 5 million pairs to vision-impaired people in over 50 countries. Later, in 2015, Warby Parker created the Pupils Project. According to the CDC, vision disability is the most prevalent disabling condition among school children in the US. The company seeks to alleviate this problem by working with organizations and government agencies to provide free prescription glasses to children in need.
While these initiatives lie outside of the sphere of traditional marketing, Warby Parker often promotes them through marketing channels. For example, on the company blog, consumers can review the progress of the Pupil’s project. Similarly, the brand leverages social media channels to keep its philanthropy top-of-mind. Warby Parker recently tweeted an image of an article from the New York times which notes that vision impairment health crisis only costs $1.50 per person to correct. In the tweet, the brand then explains how its Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program is combatting this health crisis by donating millions of glasses to people in need.
For many direct to consumer brands, the key to success is maintaining a consumer-centric dialogue. This means that brands must always be ready and willing to engage in conversation with consumers, whether through content, social media, or other channels.
Warby Parker created an incredibly powerful dialogue with its “Wearing Warby” series. This series, which features Warby Parker customers, consists of video interviews paired with blog posts. These interviews are hardly celebrity testimonials. Instead, the company chose to highlight individuals with unique and inspiring stories. As a result, consumers may feel that they, or their aspirations, are represented.
The best DTC brands foster a dialogue that flows both ways, and Warby Parker has cracked the code to user-generated content (UGC). Its Home Try-on packaging includes a clever call-to-action, which invites consumers to share pictures of their new glasses across social media. Warby Parker itself will also weigh in on social media to help consumers make a selection if they use the #warbyhometryon hashtag. This tactic led to the creation of more than 56,000 user-generated videos. What’s more, Warby Parker found that those who shared content were 50% more likely to actually make a purchase.
In reviewing the Warby Parker marketing strategy, it’s clear that this brand believes that the future is mobile. In fact, Warby Parker has two cutting-edge apps in addition to its website, which is expertly optimized for mobile eCommerce.
The Warby Parker app is the most compelling piece of the brand’s mobile strategy — it allows users to virtually try on frames using AR (augmented reality). The app has over 55,000 five-star reviews, and it even won a Webby award. It includes an Apply Pay integration and text updates regarding package delivery. The brand’s Prescription Check app also removes a major purchasing roadblock — it enables consumers to update their prescriptions using mobile vision assessment technology.
DTC brands like Warby Parker are building mobile-first for a reason — the next generation of consumers relies on their mobile devices for purchasing 70% of the time. A strong mobile presence lays the foundation for an impactful mobile marketing strategy. Direct to consumer brands already leverage social media heavily, but opportunities in the broader mobile ecosystem remain largely untapped. On mobile, DTC brands can create personalized experiences, such as mini-games, quizzes, and more. These brands are also ideal candidates for mobile rewarded video, which is the optimum advertising experience amongst consumers.
Direct to consumer brands have carved territory for themselves in the retail market, and they’re not ceding ground any time soon. Warby Parker is leading the pack, chipping away at the eyewear monopoly with its simple story and compelling marketing. The brand made a name for itself using PR, UGC, and mobile. If your brand has a great story, you can do the same.
For more digital marketing insights, including how DTC brands can drive maximum ROI from their mobile strategy, contact Tapjoy’s mobile advertising experts 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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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:
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.
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!