Partner Spotlight is a series on our blog where we hear directly from advertisers, agencies, DSPs, publishers, and partners about industry hot topics, challenges, predictions, and more. In this edition we interview Akin Babayigit, Co-founder and COO of Tripledot Studios, on the facts and myths of user-level data.
There are over 2 million unique apps in Apple’s App Store and 3.8 million in Google’s Play Store, making organic acquisition extremely competitive. Many mobile publishers are using paid acquisition as a main driver to attract, convert, and retain their most valuable users. As a result, mobile app publishers need a way to measure and optimize their advertising ROI. Access to granular user data is the solution as it enables publishers to analyze users and measure the revenue impact they bring as well as the cost to acquire them.
Leveraging user-level data is not a new trend in the desktop world, but it’s getting a lot of attention in the mobile app space today. That being said, there are challenges that are preventing publishers from moving quickly. We sat down with Akin Babayigit, Co-founder and COO of Tripledot Studios (previously at King, Facebook, and InMobi) to discuss the importance of user-level data, current industry limitations, what the future holds, and an essential piece of advice that all app publishers should consider.
MoPub: Why is user-level ad revenue reporting important to your business?
Akin Babayigit: Tripledot Studios’ business is built on three main pillars: building great games, acquiring users at scale, and monetizing users smartly through a combination of in-app advertising and in-app purchases. We believe that ad-based monetization is increasingly important in the gaming sector, and as such, gaming companies need to develop more sophisticated tools & systems to understand whether their ad-based monetization can support scalable and profitable user acquisition (UA) campaigns.
To be able to do scalable UA, and to differentiate in an increasingly competitive market, we have to be able to attribute our ad-based revenues to each UA campaign, in order to separate profitable campaigns from the loss-making ones. In addition, we are starting to use user-level and impression-level data to improve user experience and find the right balance for ad monetization.
MoPub: What are the limitations in our industry today that prevent accurate user-level ad revenue reporting?
Akin: To accurately measure the ad revenue generated for each individual user, the data needs to be collected at least at an impression level. Unfortunately this is not possible today as networks do not share revenue data at the impression/user level, which is extremely important to create accurate ARPU and/or LTV models. Instead networks provide an average CPM at a country and placement level which could be used to build estimated models since averages are not as accurate as CPM bid data received when the impression is sold in real time in a programmatic auction.
MoPub: Do you use such tools today? How has the data impacted your business?
Akin: Today we are using Soomla for measuring user-level ad data. Soomla allows us to get a lot more insight into how our users interact with the ads that we serve in our games (including our users that generate most ad revenue for us). It allows us to see which UA sources generate what type of ad revenue, allows us to see which advertisers may cause churn, and also gives us incredible information related to the bid-levels that are optimal for our waterfall.
MoPub: What is going to fix that in the future?
Akin: Accurate user-level ad reporting won’t be a reality in our industry until in-app bidding becomes widely adopted. Only then will ad networks be bidding on each user in real-time and hence delivering granular data at the event level. Combining that with the granular data that already exists from programmatic RTB auctions from the likes of MoPub, publishers are then able to gain a holistic view of the advertising value of each user.
MoPub: What advice would you give publishers using current solutions today?
Akin: I would advocate asking detailed and probing questions of your provider to understand how the data is collected. I don’t believe anyone can offer you granular event-level reporting across networks today. If you are using any solution today to calculate ARPU and LTV, you should be aware of the limitations of these results and use them as indicators only. More importantly, we need to collectively as an industry push for in-app header bidding to become the defacto mechanism in mobile mediation, to ensure every player has a level playing field and to deliver critical granular data that helps publishers create accurate LTV models.
At MoPub, we agree that the next big thing in mobile monetization is in-app bidding, known as header bidding in desktop (You can check out MoPub’s own in-app bidding solution: Advanced Bidding, currently in beta.) In-app bidding will enable publishers to collect granular user level data from ad networks in real-time, augmenting the granular DSP data that publishers get today. In the meantime, we have began work on a solution that will enable publishers to leverage data at different granularity levels to better understand their users and optimize monetization. Check out this blog post to learn more.
From Tripledot Studios: Tripledot studios is a mobile gaming company, with offices in London, UK, and Minsk, Belarus, founded by Lior Shiff, Akin Babayigit and Eyal Chameides. The team brings together several senior executives from King, Facebook, Product Madness and they just raised an $8M seed round to create the "Apollo program of mobile games". Like the Apollo Program brought the best and brightest to achieve amazing things, Tripledot hopes to bring exceptional people together to create extraordinary mobile games. Learn more at https://tripledotstudios.com.
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