Marketing KPI bootcamp: the training and tools you need for success in the long haul

You couldn’t run a marathon without proper training. Think about your programmatic KPIs in that same way: you need training, preparation, strong short-term habits, and stamina in order to eventually build towards and achieve long-term success. MoPub is here to help you #ElevateYourGame with a programmatic KPI bootcamp. Whether you’re an industry veteran or are brand new to the concept of programmatic advertising, we’re here to make sure you have the tools you need to make well informed decisions when it comes to your ad spend.

Bootcamp begins: calling all
marketers (from MVPs to newbies)

In the current mobile landscape, it can be difficult to judge downstream KPI success at the start of your campaigns. A typical high value user might follow this trajectory: impression, click, install, registration, pre-monetization events, monetization, and eventually, retention. 

Inevitably, that process takes time. Marketers today are concerned with monetization, but what many fail to realize is that it requires patience and lots of dedicated attention to evaluate the entire marketing KPI funnel over time to ensure marketing dollars aren’t wasted before total monetization occurs. Many marketers today simply don’t invest the necessary time and effort into their short-term strategy that supports longer-term goals, instead just focusing on immediate results. While that might work temporarily, it ultimately may not serve your longer-term business goals. If you’re not yet fully ready for elite training camp, you can practice with our UA 101 and UA 102 overviews first.

Training tip #1:

Play the long game

In-app programmatic is viewed as a necessity for most app businesses looking to hit their KPIs while also scaling to a much more diverse user base. However, the in-app programmatic landscape is vastly different from that of ad networks, and programmatic campaigns can typically take more time to hit optimal results. Ready to train for your own respective programmatic “marathon”? Whether you have big UA budgets and can test multiple channels while relying on a DSP partner to find profitable users and are looking for new ideas on what to test next, or are new to in-app programmatic entirely, MoPub’s dedicated team of programmatic consultants can advise you on down funnel strategies and advanced programmatic KPIs to help you achieve your particular business goals. On your end, you’ll need to gear up for the long game and be prepared to invest the time and effort necessary to find success at scale. 

Training tip #2:

Memorize the KPI playbook 

So you’re ready to train. We’re glad to have you! Most importantly, we need to start with some ground rules. There’s a certain degree of complexity when it comes to looking at the kinds of KPIs that actually provide monetary value. Though incremental revenue might be the end goal, just like any objective, there are milestones along the way that can help ensure you are moving in the right direction. No matter what your end KPI is, it takes time and planning to achieve optimal results. This is why different KPIs matter at different campaign stages and can help set you up for long term success. Using our marathon metaphor, you couldn’t progress from never having run in your life to completing the full 26.6 miles overnight. When it comes to your marketing KPIs, if the ultimate goal for your UA efforts is incremental revenue (finishing a marathon), you also need to put in the time and effort to be sure you’re moving in the right direction before the big race. Here are KPIs that matter when you’re looking to adequately prepare for the programmatic race:
Top of the funnel:

CPM and IVT

Top of the funnel:
CPM and IVT

Though it will take time for your campaigns to be fully optimized, there are entry level KPIs you can look at as good indicators of future campaign success. First and foremost:

CPMs - CPMs are the first checkpoint marketers should consider to make sure they are tracking against overall goals. This is a good warmup for your marathon.

IVT - Marketers should understand the importance of ensuring that in-app traffic is valid. Without reaching real users, CPMs, CPIs, and CPAs — and all other KPIs for that matter — will not matter because they mis- represent the actual KPIs. We will provide more detail on IVT below.

Higher/mid-funnel:

CPI and CPA 

Higher/mid-funnel:
CPI and CPA 

CPI and CPA are crucial to overall campaign success and can be suffi- cient enough to fulfill certain objectives. If you are in hyper growth mode or you don’t have a monetary ROAS goal, then both CPI and CPA can be great markers to determine campaign success. IVT, CPMs and CPIs (for CPA) will all play a factor in achieving those results.

Lower/mid-funnel:

LTV and ROAS 

Lower/mid-funnel:
LTV and ROAS 

The estimated or projected LTV (lifetime value of a user), and the optimi- zation towards maximum ROAS (return on ad spend), is a bit harder to achieve but allows for a clearer picture of ad spend and return. This is especially true if you are doing UA for an app that can have multiple transactions, such as food delivery, ride sharing, or subscription-based apps. If you want to understand LTV and optimize towards maximum ROAS, you’ll need to make sure that all of your higher level KPIs are in a good place, otherwise this defeats the purpose. If you’re looking at scale and performance as your end goal, you’ll have more flexibility knowing how much money you can spend to attain a new user when you know what an average user's return is.

Final level:

ROI, incrementality, and attribution

Final level:
ROI, incrementality, and attribution

This stage of the KPI funnel is equivalent to finishing the marathon be- cause not only should you be bringing in profitable users by this point, but you should also be bringing in profitable users who would not have found your app had they not seen your ad. The marketer’s goal, then, is ultimately to bring in new users without stealing from organics. Incremental user growth is the ultimate goal for some businesses, and working towards this goal helps to hit additional KPI milestones along the way. Incrementality is important to revenue; knowing that incrementality takes a long time, here are steps you can take along the way to ensure success. 

Here at Lyft, one of our top goals is to ensure that our ad dollars are spent wisely. In the UA world, that means utilizing channels and methods that ensure our investment is incremental and profitable. Through a variation of testing methods and partners, we’ve been able to achieve successful results using in-app RTB. These efforts take time and might seem daunting, but have been necessary for the overall success of our app.

— Kevin Hsu, Senior Manager, Acquisition Strategy, Lyft

Training tip #3:

Don’t forget defense!
The fight against invalid traffic

Advanced marketers will tell you that none of this training or strategizing matters if you’re not taking proper precautions to battle invalid traffic (IVT). Let’s say, keeping our marathon analogy in mind, that you do hit the KPIs you set out to hit, you surpassed your run time goals. If your traffic isn’t valid once you get there, then it won’t matter; you’ll be disqualified. By monitoring and investing in IVT prevention, you can help ensure your in-app buying strategy is safe while scaling towards those bigger KPIs, and making sure your spend is efficient. At the end of the day, if your partners aren’t taking precautions to fight fraud and IVT, then it’s not worth it to make the programmatic investment in the first place. By the time you get to the bottom of the funnel, IVT will ruin your progress and can impact all of these KPIs negatively. That’s why it’s worth the long-term investment and working with a legitimate partner from the start. 

At Current, we’re focused on making sure paid media is above industry standards with regards to invalid traffic. One important first step we’ve taken is to ensure that the partners we are working with provide value to our business. It’s difficult to get downstream KPIs right when IVT is a problem. Working with a vigilant exchange partner like MoPub has helped us spend our time on more complex KPIs without having to worry about the potential of IVT.

—Drew Fung, Director of Performance Marketing, Current

Advertisers, remember: programmatic is an investment, not a quick fix (a marathon, not a sprint)

Advanced techniques can be difficult to master when it comes to your programmatic advertising strategy, but these techniques are important for long-term success. Our marketer KPI bootcamp will provide insights for what you can do to ramp up to that end-goal (revenue generation.) Remember, there are things you can do in the short-term that are beneficial, even if you’re not ready to run the programmatic marathon just yet.

Questions about what to do next, or want to talk strategy with our team of mobile marketing experts? Get in touch today to learn more about how you can maximize your programmatic investment, and check out our Programmatic Academy event series, where we tackle all things programmatic from the marketer's perspective.

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