Publisher Spotlight: From the public health sector to successful online dating apps

February 14, 2018

Tags: 2018, Publishers

Julia Martin
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We’re excited to share the second episode of MoPub’s Publisher Spotlight video interview series, where app developers can find tips and inspiration from some of our top publisher partners. This interview series is not only about highlighting important monetization strategies for apps, it’s also about sharing the stories of the people who make those apps successful. There are many different paths to success in the app world, and we’re delighted to be able to hear the stories of some of the best in the business.

David Novak is Director of Advertising at Online Buddies, the publisher behind hugely popular dating websites and apps which in sum have over 10 million members worldwide.

Press play below to watch the interview, or read on to learn more about David and Online Buddies before watching! 

In our premier episode, we sat down with three top performance marketers, representing three key verticals: Communications, Gaming, and FinTech.  These three marketers (Tyler Cooper, Head of User Acquisition, TextNow; Stevie Duffin-Lutgen, User Acquisition Marketing Lead, Mobilityware; and Cole Morris, Growth Marketing Analyst, Root Insurance) are all part of MoPub’s Marketer Program, and each have years of experience in mobile marketing under their belts. Today, we’ll be sharing much of that knowledge with you via takeaways from our latest interview. Read on to learn more about how these mobile marketers approach all things programmatic. 

Transparency, flexibility, and scale

To be successful in mobile user acquisition, you have to test, test, test, and then test some more.  With each test comes new learnings and an overall better understanding of what works for your business and your app.  For Tyler, Stevie, and Cole, programmatic offers a combination of transparency, flexibility, and scale. As Cole puts it, “we have total control over [the users] we are acquiring, where we’re getting them, and the context in which we’re getting them.”  This isn’t necessarily true with social channels or ad networks which can operate in a black box. Furthermore, diversification is key, and programmatic allows for that control and transparency, along with unparalleled reach and scale.

Programmatic budget allocation

So, how much of your marketing budget should be spent on programmatic?  For our marketer interviewees, the range is anywhere from 40-60%. According to Tyler, this percentage continues to grow: “We’re shifting more budgets over time [...] to DSPs.”  Why? Outside of the obvious reasons around improved performance and lower cost, some DSPs offer excellent creative services. Stevie shares, “[DSPs] can be really dynamic in helping you, with small sets of assets, produce hundreds of creative, that would be difficult  to do in-house.”

Absence of fraud

Finally, there’s fraud — or rather, as Tyler and other top marketers have found, the relative absence of fraud in mobile programmatic, compared to other channels.  Tyler says TextNow uses a combination of fraud detection tools and have found programmatic to pose the least amount of risk, primarily due to its inherent transparency.  “We know what we’re buying [...] we’re able to see the impression, the click, the install, and the post install event, matching it all together to know we’re actually driving performance.”

Be sure to tune into Part 1 of this episode to hear more about programmatic best practices from Tyler, Stevie & Cole —  and reach out to our team if you’re interested in working with us. Stay tuned for the next episode. 

David never envisioned he’d be managing ad monetization (and hundreds of thousands of dollars) for a portfolio of highly successful dating apps. In fact, just a little over 10 years ago, he was in a completely different role, going down a very different path — working first for the Health Department in Massachusetts, and then for the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), as a disease elimination coordinator!

At first glance, there would appear to be zero correlation between David’s past and current careers. However, as David explains, this is not actually the case. There was indeed a very natural transition that led him to where he is today: that is, the Director of Advertising for Online Buddies (OLB), the publisher behind hugely popular dating websites and apps with over 10 million members worldwide.

Part of David’s role in the public health sector was to inform the public about certain diseases and their prevention tactics. To do so, he needed a canvas to spread his message — and he soon realized digital advertising was the most efficient and effective way to achieve this goal.  Before long, he became a digital advertising expert, even creating a guide for the CDC on advertising techniques and best practices (including “how to get 2-3% CTRs for banner ads”!). Around that time, he began to work closely with digital publisher Online Buddies which, realizing the huge revenue opportunity ahead, was just starting to expand their ad monetization strategy.  Impressed by his background and deep knowledge around digital ads, they soon brought David on full time.

When David first came onboard at Online Buddies, their ad revenue was almost negligible — and all of their inventory was sold directly. As the team learned very quickly, the only way to scale revenue was to open up that inventory to third party demand.  But in order to do this right, they needed to work with an ad serving platform that also offered support for ad network mediation as well a real-time bidding (RTB) exchange that would allow them to maximize revenue for every ad impression. For this, they turned to MoPub, and that’s when, according to David, "everything changed"; David adds, he "wouldn’t know what to do" about monetizing OLB’s nearly 400,000 DAUs and 500M monthly impressions "without MoPub’s support team."

David asserts MoPub’s support team has, in a way, been more like a (very effective) team of consultants than simply a means of getting answers to questions.  From recommending ad network partners to new ad sizes, the MoPub team is continuously helping OLB “take things to the next level”, ensuring user experience is preserved while ad revenue is maximized.

In fact, David says he learned the hard way when it came to the importance of consulting MoPub with major decisions affecting monetization. A few months ago, his team made a change in one of their most popular apps — they started charging for what had once been a free feature — and the result was a drastic reduction in ad inventory that subsequently caused a huge decrease in ad revenue. The MoPub support team brought this to OLB’s attention right away and OLB quickly reverted the change as they saw the negative impact to ad revenue far outweighed the revenue gained from the paid feature. For David, the learnings here were twofold: 1) don’t ignore the cost of reducing ad inventory, and 2) always consult with MoPub before making big changes.

Overall, David recommends MoPub to all app developers looking to level up their ad strategies and better understand the world of mobile ad monetization. Rather than try to figure it out on their own, "I would hope app developers think, 'I need to find the experts that will help me monetize.'" We hope so too!

To learn more about David’s story and his tips around ad monetization (including the ad networks he recommends), check out the video interview above!

Looking for the first episode of our Publisher Spotlight series, featuring TMSoft's Todd Moore? You can find that here.

©2018 MoPub, Inc.
TWITTER, MOPUB and the Bird logo are trademarks of Twitter, Inc. or its affiliates. All third party logos and trademarks included are the property of their respective owners. The views expressed in this interview do not necessarily reflect the views of Twitter, Inc. or its affiliates.

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