In the age of always-connected devices, direct to consumer companies have found more ways than ever to connect with audiences. This shift has led to a renaissance in the DTC category: Social media has replaced the mail-order catalog, and modern-day consumers embrace the hype with word-of-mouth. Whether they’re selling glasses, razors, mattresses, or cleaning products, modern brands are eschewing traditional retail strategy in favor of selling directly to customers.
For years, DTC brands have relied heavily on Google and Facebook for customer acquisition — and for good reason. Billions of people use these platforms daily, making both high-profile options for digital advertising. Although Google and Facebook are ideal for generating awareness, down-funnel engagement is a struggle. For instance, 67% of users report that they have not purchased “from” nor directly within social media. On top of that, customer acquisition costs are rising, and Google and Facebook remain expensive. To stretch their marketing budgets further, direct to consumer companies must find new channels for user acquisition and target down-stream engagement metrics.
The influence of Google and Facebook ought not to be discounted, but modern DTC brands are experimenting with new ways to drive ROAS. Alternative channels may not yield the same number of views, but if you deliver a memorable experience, they could drive more consumers to the purchase.
To do that, you’ll have to make your ads a little more personal. DTC marketers are always coming up with new ways to tailor products to their intended audiences. Often, the customer journey even begins with a personalized quiz. For example, vitamin brand Care/of quizzes customers and delivers personalized supplement recommendations. Similarly, haircare brand Prose specializes in making custom shampoo and conditioner based on customers’ hair texture, health, and environment. These kinds of experiences could easily translate into the mobile advertising environment.
In fact, mobile advertising is becoming an increasingly common strategy for brands looking to deliver personalized value. Playable ads, in particular, have surged in popularity over the past few years. IAB defines playables as “a single ad unit that combines interactivity [with] gamification to enable full-funnel marketing brand communications (attention, education, and action).” Direct to consumer brands are already seizing the opportunity, launching memorable mini-games that delight consumers and gently encourage a purchase. In fact, according to eMarketer, US agency professionals cited playables as the single most effective format for in-app advertising.
Furthermore, rewarded advertising in the in-app environment is a particularly powerful approach for creating memorable ad experiences. In a rewarded model, app users receive an in-app bonus, such as coins in their favorite game, just for engaging. Then the experience drives to the purchase as a secondary organic action. Alternatively, customers could be rewarded for signing up for a free trial. Virtual rewards foster brand affinity because it’s a two-way exchange of value.
It’s time to stop thinking about views and clicks as the most important measures of success. Since the dawn of internet advertising, marketers have chased these metrics, wanting to get ads in front of as many eyes as possible and entice a good percentage of those viewers to click through. The truth is, with so many screens and apps vying for users’ attention and so many brands to choose from, that’s simply not enough anymore.
Instead of running campaigns on a cost-per-mille (CPM) impressions basis, explore options like CPA — cost-per-action (also known as cost-per-acquisition). In CPA advertising, brands only pay for ads when the customer completes a desired action, such as a purchase. For instance, DTC brands that leverage a subscription model could run a CPA campaign that invites users to sign up for a discounted first month. Another popular CPA tactic is to encourage users to sign up for regular newsletters or emails. This is a particularly good option for brands whose content marketing is on point.
DTC brands need to return to the tried and true tactics that have always served them: keeping things simple and relevant. These principles are evident in their products and websites, and they must extend to their advertising. Men’s shaving supplies company Harry’s is an expert at this: The brand earned over a million customers in its first two years in business by being straight-forward and user-friendly. Its website keeps things clean and streamlined, limiting itself to a few categories and only a handful of products within each. As a result, when someone sees an ad and clicks through, they’ll find an easy-to-navigate user experience where they can quickly find exactly what they’re looking for. Digital ads can follow this same philosophy — but remember, simple doesn’t mean boring. Whatever kind of interaction you’re hoping to achieve, it has to be designed intuitively so that potential customers can find their way to the desired result.
Finally, you can’t discount the advantage of influencers in today’s market. Influential YouTube steamers and social media users often have followings numbering millions of people, many of whom are active viewers. Studying the social media techniques that boosted these personalities to internet success could also be a successful technique in your own marketing campaigns.
While Google and Facebook still have their roles in the DTC marketing industry, gone are the days when they’re the only way to reach consumers or measure success. The successful modern DTC retailer is constantly evaluating new channels of communication, analyzing its own strengths and weaknesses, and evolving along with technology. For more information about modern DTC user acquisition and advertising, contact the experts at Tapjoy!
Increasing app retention is one of the top goals for app developers all across the industry today. This ultra-competitive environment has driven user acquisition costs higher than ever, making it imperative to keep existing users engaged. Today, the challenge is understanding what truly drives retention. An app must deliver value — in the form of exciting gameplay, engaging content, or functional utility — but how else can developers keep their users coming back? Developers must foster continuous engagement, days, weeks or even months after the initial install.
Tapjoy conducted a study to understand the relationship between rewarded advertisements and user retention. Rewarded ads gift app users with virtual currency or premium content in exchange for their engagement and attention. We sampled the behavior of over 500 million app users worldwide across nearly 10,000 apps. We then studied data from the first week post-install and examined how user interactions with rewarded ads affected their 30-day retention rates.
As the research in this report shows, rewarded ads have a profound positive impact on app retention. The findings are presented here to help developers understand how they can leverage rewarded ads to drive retention and maximize user LTV.
App users are finicky: Two-thirds of players never use an app again after the first day they download it. Retention rates drop to just 22% after one week and less than 13% after one month. Two months after they’ve installed it, just 6% of users will still be using the app. That’s why it’s critical to hook users’ interest right from the start.
With so many apps from which to choose, it appears that most players download an app with the intent to simply “try it out.” If they are not immediately impressed, they have no qualms either uninstalling the app or allowing it to languish on their device. With retention rates so low throughout the mobile industry, how can developers engage players during the critical first few days? This question is the key to increasing both short and long-term engagement.
Many developers believe that presenting ads too early may scare off new users, and that may be true for traditional, non-rewarded ads. However, our data shows that rewarded ads do just the opposite: They deepen engagement and drive long-term retention. Many players value the option of rewarded ads as an alternative to in-app purchases because they make premium features, content, and power-ups accessible to all.
Users who engage with just one ad in the first week — whether a video ad, playable or offerwall placement — are four times more likely to stick around after 30 days. Players who complete any advertising engagement in the first week have a retention rate of at least 50%, depending on the ad type, compared to the retention benchmark of just 12.72%. The more ads with which they engage in that first week, the greater the likelihood they’ll be around at the 30-day mark.
Rewarded video ads have the most profound effect on app retention of any ad type. Players who watched just one rewarded video during their first week had a 30-day retention rate of 53.2% — an increase of more than 300% over the average 30-day retention rate. For players that watch seven videos in their first week, the 30-day retention rate was 71% — more than 450% greater than the benchmark.
It’s easy to see why video ads are so effective at increasing retention: They are a great introduction to both opt-in, rewarded advertising and to an app’s overall virtual economy. They are easy to complete — requiring just 15 seconds of a user’s attention — and the reward they earn can be redeemed immediately and used to enhance their in-app experience.
Developers should use all of the tools at their disposal to direct users to rewarded video placements, including in-app messages to video, direct play videos, and push notifications to video. These tactics ensure that players have the opportunity to complete at least one rewarded video ad at some point during their first week.
Full-screen Interstitials (FSI) also have a dramatic impact on players’ retention rates. As with videos, a user who completes just one FSI in first week post-install has a 300% higher 30-day retention rate compared to the average. From there, their retention rate goes up with each subsequent FSI with which they engage. However, subsequent FSI engagements do not have as strong an impact as subsequent video views.
FSI ads appear during natural break points in the app experience. They take up the device’s entire screen. With Tapjoy, developers have full control over the placement of FSI ads and can insert them wherever they feel is appropriate.
Developers should be judicious with their use of full-screen interstitials because they can be distracting if deployed too frequently. However, as the data below shows, when players engage with these types of ads, their 30-day app retention shows a dramatic increase over the benchmarks.
A similar pattern emerges when looking at the impact on retention of players who complete an ad through the Tapjoy offerwall. The offerwall is a custom-skinned marketplace of rewarded ads that developers make accessible through their storefront or merchandising screen. A prompt to visit the offerwall can also be triggered through a message-to-earn (M2E) placement at specific moments in gameplay.
Players love the offerwall because it provides them with a long list of relevant offers from their favorite brands, enabling them to pick and choose which advertisements with which they’d like to engage. Some offerwall ads require minimal engagement, such as videos, while others encourage users to engage with brands on a deeper level for a larger reward.
Offerwalls provide a simple, unobtrusive way to let players engage with rewarded ads. By adding an “Earn Free Coins” or similar button to the store screen or main screen of their app, developers can let their players seek out rewarded ads all on their own — without disrupting gameplay.
Many app developers subscribe to the outdated belief that their users will be turned off by advertising. But that perception is based on traditional advertising — the type that typically interrupts, annoys and does not reward its viewers. Rewarded advertising actually enhances the user experience and leads to higher retention rates.
The key lesson that developers should take from this data is that it’s important to present users with rewarded ads during the first week after they have installed an app. If they complete at least one rewarded ad offer, their chances of long-term retention will increase significantly. The more ads with which they engage, the more valuable they will become for your app.
Rewarded videos ads are the easiest and most effective way of maximizing 30-day retention, but other ad types — such as full-screen interstitials and offerwall ads — will boost retention as well. For more information, take a look at Tapjoy’s mobile monetization strategies.
In 2019, mobile is an essential advertising channel for marketers across every industry.
Mobile devices are becoming more ubiquitous than desktop computers and, in the US, mobile has surpassed TV as the medium with the most daily time-spent. Apps account for over 90% of internet time on smartphones, making them an ideal marketing environment—specifically for primarily digital businesses like mobile games or e-commerce brands. To run mobile advertising effectively, however, marketers must understand the complexities of mobile attribution.
Attribution is the practice of measuring and analyzing the impact of an advertisement in driving user engagement. When applied to app ecosystems, mobile ad attribution allows marketers to better understand — and optimize — a user’s journey across the entire conversion funnel.
Unfortunately, on mobile, attribution can sometimes be difficult to accurately track—there are a number of competing models and few industry standards around which data points ought to receive credit. What’s more, the issue of widespread fraud adds another layer of ambiguity and uncertainty. Mobile users might view the same ad creative across multiple apps before ultimately converting. If the user only partially engages with the first placement, how do you attribute ad spend? Should the first or final click be given full credit for the conversion? Or should all placements receive equal credit?
Mobile ad attribution is constantly evolving, but let’s start by taking a closer look as it exists in 2019.
Once a pre-defined conversion has been achieved, mobile marketers must analyze the engagements that led the user through the funnel. But if a user watched a video a year prior to making a purchase, should that conversion be attributed to that campaign? Most attribution providers say no, and exclude data points that fall outside of a certain timeframe — this is called an attribution window.
Often, an advertiser and publisher will agree on a reasonable attribution window, such as a seven day period. Then if a user converts within that window, the publisher will receive credit and payment for that conversion. However, if a marketer is running a robust mobile campaign with multiple placements over many networks, a user may see several different ads from different sources. This is where things get complicated — advertisers and publishers must agree on a mobile attribution model so they may analyze more complex interactions.
All mobile ad attribution models can be separated into two distinct types: Single-touch and multi-touch.
Single-touch models attribute conversions solely on a single click. As such, two models apply to these circumstances:
What happens if you want to account for multiple engagements with an ad placement? Multi-touch models measure these clicks and grant a percentage of attribution to each event. Multi-touch attribution analysis (MTA) is more complex, but it can result in an average of 30% increase in ROI when implemented correctly. Multi-touch attribution models include:
Mobile ad attribution works by measuring user engagement at key points of the conversion funnel. While single-touch attribution measures a single conversion event, multi-touch attribution can measure multiple events leading to conversion and prioritize their importance.
Here is an outline of the typical mobile attribution conversion funnel:
Data sharing for attribution purposes is an essential practice for mobile marketers, but it does raise privacy concerns. New consumer data legislation, including GDPR and California’s Consumer Privacy Act, mandates that conscientious data management is practiced across the industry.
Fortunately, mobile marketers have found ways to maintain effective attribution models while supporting consumer data privacy. The Mobile Marketing Association recently published a guide detailing suggestions for updating existing attribution models. The following approaches are recommended:
These recommendations will ensure compliance with regulations and help brands foster trust with customers.
The mobile ecosystem is always changing, and attribution frequently changes along with it. 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!
It’s official: mobile gaming has gone mainstream.
Our latest survey of more than 18,000 mobile gamers has revealed mobile games are downloaded and enjoyed by users from all walks of life, even more so than social media. Parents are just as likely to unwind with Candy Crush or Quell+ as their children are to enjoy Pokémon Go or Fortnite.
Perhaps most compelling was the diversity of respondents from which we received answers. Survey participants came in largely equal measure from rural and urban backgrounds, high and low income, parents and non-parents, and much more. All of this points towards the sheer scale and variety of inventory available to marketers, especially those taking advantage of programmatic advertising strategies.
With only a few quick clicks, programmatic ad buyers can leverage the power of mobile gaming and the Tapjoy ad network to connect with almost any desired audience at scale. With more than 2.4 billion people playing mobile games this year, in-app advertising is an opportunity few marketers can ignore.
With such widespread adoption, we set out to identify some of the largest and most valuable market segments within the mobile gaming ecosystem. We distilled our findings into the Modern Mobile Gamer – 2019 Personas eBook to give marketers a clearer sense of the opportunities that exist.
The full report is available here, but here are some high-level insights we uncovered:
While modern mobile gamer demographics reflect a diverse range of backgrounds, there were a number of consistencies among respondents.
Perhaps most important is the fact that identifying with mobile gaming as a cultural touchstone is becoming increasingly common. Roughly 60% of respondents self-identify as gamers, a 26% increase from a prior study conducted in 2017. Gaming is also ranked as one of the most common mobile activities, second only to texting in terms of overall usage. When asked which mobile apps they would be willing to give up, 69% of players claimed they would give up social networks or television before deleting their games.
To better our understanding of who’s playing mobile games, we took a deeper dive into three specific personas our research uncovered:
Millennial mobile gamers are a market group primarily made up of educated females from densely populated areas throughout the United States. Roughly half of this group are married or in a significant relationship, yet the majority do not have children. 67% of millenial respondents said they would rather give up social networks or television before mobile games.
The majority of millennial mobile gamers pay more attention to mobile game advertisements than ads in any other medium. Only 10% avoid rewarded ads, while 76% prefer rewarded ads over interstitials. Roughly 68% of millennial respondents enjoying playing while relaxing at home, with 59% playing four or more times each day.
The top careers of millennial mobile gamers are:
Millennial gamers don’t always have the disposable income of other demographic groups, but they do enjoy spending what they have on travel experiences and on demand services. Programmatic campaigns are a great way to get your app’s offering across to this demographic that has a higher than average response rate!
The mobile gamer parents group primarily consists of educated females in suburban areas with two or more children. Most have established careers, and are married or in a committed relationship. 62% of this group are employed full or part-time and most earn enough to enjoy some level of disposable income. Mobile gamer parents tend to engage with ecommerce, real estate, entertainment, and puzzle apps.
Mobile gamer parents are also quite likely to engage with rewarded video ads, with 93% of respondents preferring ads that connect with gameplay. A full 100% of parents enjoy playing mobile games at home, usually while watching TV or before bed. 87% of respondents play two or more times each day.
The top careers of mobile gamer parents are:
Advertisers should note that gaming parents don’t shop solely for themselves — 45% of respondents intend to make purchases for their children in the immediate future. Programmatic advertisements for back-to-school clothing or children’s entertainment is especially relevant to this demographic.
High income mobile gamers are equally split between men and women, most of whom live in urban or suburban areas. The vast majority of this group is highly educated and currently holds a senior career position. Most are in committed relationships and have one or more children. Many high income mobile gamers earn over $75K each year and engage with financial, ecommerce, travel, and entertainment apps.
A significant volume of high income mobile gamers — roughly 40% — recognize rewarded ads provide the revenue that supports game developers. Even when this fact isn’t recognized, 74% of respondents still prefer rewarded ads over other formats. An impressive 87% of high income mobile gamers will play two or more times each day, while a majority also spend time on traditional gaming consoles.
The top five careers of mobile gamer parents are:
High-income professional gamers are primed to engage with rewarded advertising, even if simply to support mobile developers. Many are interested in financial services, and are willing to spend disposable income on expensive items like trips, game consoles, or entertainment outings. Programmatic advertisers should tailor their ad deployments to this market accordingly.
Mobile gamers come from a wide range of backgrounds, interests, and careers, but all are found playing games — often on a daily basis. What’s more, mobile gamers are highly receptive to branded messaging in their apps and will gladly engage with opt-in rewarded ad placements. By understanding the unique needs and interests of each gaming demographic group, advertisers can deploy engaging creative that converts players into loyal customers. Better still, marketers taking advantage of programmatic buying capabilities can connect with these and other demographic groups at scale through the power of the Tapjoy private exchange.
For the full results of our study and further mobile game demographics insights, download the full report today!
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!
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.