Mobile Sense Series – Volume 3
Marketing of mobile applications is another phenomenon, an area where there is a tremendous opportunity gap. eMarketer research showed a wide gap between mobile consumption and media spend; mobile made up 23.8 percent of all time spent with the media last year for U.S. adults but only 10.7 percent of all U.S. media spend – — it’s apparent that brands have yet to embrace mobile like consumers have.
For a long while, in mobile especially for the smart phone applications, targeting a specific audience was very hard due to closed app eco-systems. However, this is evolving and changing fast. With the exponential growth of the application development and marketing, every social network is trying to monetize and follow the great success that Facebook had when it started the app install ads with audience targeting a couple years ago.
Facebook recently expanded its app marketing suite with engagement ads, that are now followed by Twitter, Google and even Youtube.
There are many players in the mobile advertising value chain, including Facebook, Google (acquired Admob couple years ago), Twitter (acquired MoPub in 2013), Youtube (new comer), many DSPs that are offering custom mobile audience targeting and many technology marketing platforms focused on mobile advertising and mobile analytics.
Here are the top four platforms that you cannot ignore as a brand anymore:
We all now know that ‘free’ traffic provided by Facebook is phasing out. Organic reach on the platform is now less than 2% and Facebook is becoming a pure pay-to-play platform in many cases.
However, there are many very exciting news for brands to focus on, especially on the mobile advertising arena. At the moment, 59 percent of Facebook’s overall ad revenue came from mobile in the first quarter of this year, a 30 percent jump compared to last year, FierceMobileIT reported.
The hype all started with the install and engagement app ads which help marketers raise awareness among their apps plus increase user engagement. Now, due to the ‘big data’ Facebook commands – social graph, interest, contextual, purchase, search – advertisers could be able to target very specific audiences at the right time. Facebook install ads were the best lead generation tool for the last couple years, and now Facebook is making it even better.
New Install Ads
All Facebook mobile app advertising will include page links, social context, and like, comment and share buttons beginning Aug. 6, Facebook’s Calvin Grunewald revealed in a blog post.
Facebook Audience Insights
Now Facebook offers amazing audience targeting capabilities, including ‘custom audiences’, ‘core audiences’ and ‘look-alike audiences’. Custom audiences are the primary party data that brands collect via the web or mobile analytics, email subscriptions, or CRM systems. The idea is to retarget visitors, users who have interacted with brand’s digital assets (mobile or web) on Facebook again to increase engagement and acquisition. This was not available through Facebook Exchange (FBX) to a few. Now everyone gains access to it.
Look-alike audiences are also another hot trend now in the digital advertising arena thanks to ‘big data’. Google, DSPs, Twitter and now Facebook all enabled this type of targeting to the brands. You select your existing audience (page, web, mobile audience) and have Facebook target similar audiences based on innumerable similarities in demographics and interest data.
Furthermore, Facebook introduced recently significantly better audience targeting capabilities based on not just demographics, but also purchase behavior, retail spending, life style, job title, interests, device usage, spending type and many more attributes. This alone is a substantial opportunity for marketers to meet their core mobile audience in a much effective way.
Facebook’s Audience Network
Facebook announced an expanded test of Facebook’s Audience Network — a new way for advertisers to extend their campaigns beyond Facebook and into other mobile apps. Facebook is following the footsteps of AdMob and Millenial Media to be able to expand its success through other apps as well.
The Audience Network uses the same targeting available for Facebook ads today, including custom audiences, core audiences and look-alike audiences. It features the same measurement tools marketers use for their Facebook ads, too. This approach is fairly different than AdMob and other mobile ad networks that were depending on the past behavior (where they have been and what they have downloaded before) of the user to serve the ads. However, Facebook brings the social graph along with the behavioral data which make things pretty interesting. Google is keeping the other direction, and will add more context to the apps (by indexing each app page); more on this in a moment.
The network will be available to all marketers shortly.
Ads in the Audience Network are designed to help marketers meet strategic business objectives, like driving app installs and engagement. To help deliver the best ads possible, the Audience Network delivers ads in three creative formats:
As you can see, native advertising is a part of the top trends for all kinds of advertising platforms that we see over and over again. More on this topic on another post.
Facebook improved its analytics dashboard dramatically over the last 12 months and now offers detailed metrics for your campaigns. Two metrics that I wish all the other ad network would have, as well are ‘the app install starts’ and ‘the app install’ metrics. If there is a gap in these two numbers, it means that people are clicking on your ad, landing on the app store but for some reason they don’t download your application. Every number tells a story and along comes an opportunity to enhance the campaign.
Google also recently announced further changes regarding its mobile advertising platform.
Google will be starting indexing each page within apps as well to provide more relevant ads for app downloads and engagement. One example would be that when you search for a travel site to get hotel prices in San Francisco, Google will soon return you a page within one of the apps that you already downloaded, so by clicking on it, it will open the app and will bring you to the page where you can book a hotel in San Francisco right inside the app. This is an important feature to re-engage users with their existing apps, considering most of the users don’t engage again with many of the apps they downloaded.
With the new feature just announced by Google, users will be able to listen to their band or artist they just searched on Google, on their favorite music application. Google will launch the app for you:
This topic is a very important one and highly ignored by many ad networks for so long. Mobile app tracking has been a significant challenge for many mobile ad networks and Google is introducing some terrific features to make it work for all advertisers. New enhanced mobile app analytics by Google Analytics offer great insights about how people are using your application, which campaigns work better in terms of leads, acquisitions and which devices are used with your applications. All these help marketers optimize their campaigns and provide better user experience for all. Furthermore, you can add tracking to your ‘Google play’ badge on separate pages to differentiate the source and medium parameters on your link so that you can track them (and optimize them) based on performance in Google Analytics.
Twitter started making interesting moves in the ad market for the last one year. They first acquired MoPub, a real time bidding ad exchange, then just recently acquired Namo Media in June to bring native ads to its platform.
Twitter offers brands four ways to promote on its network; promoted accounts, promoted twits, promoted trends and app install or app engagement. Twitter started testing new install ads for few brands, and as of this June 30th, they made it available for all. We need to see the results first before claiming anything, but considering the strong focus on mobile, I am hopeful that Twitter will optimize and offer very exciting tools to marketers shortly.
Twitter offers different types of format for mobile app promotion:
Although Twitter started as a 140 character micro-blogging application that consists of mainly text, it has shifted its focus more to images and video with the introduction of ‘twitter cards’. There are a variety of twitter cards that you can integrate with your landing pages or campaigns. When the link of your landing page is mentioned on Twitter, your ‘Card’ automatically shows up attached to your tweet (similar to what Facebook does).
Example of app card:
Action Based Ads
In addition to the landing pages, Twitter also allows advertisers to create three different types of twitter cards for your promotional tweets.
Recently Twitter introduced ‘Buy Button’ to its timeline, so it seems like e-commerce (buying products inside your timeline) is not far off. Twitter is testing different types of call to action buttons and I am sure soon they will make this new advertising action card available to all.
Twitter is a critical channel especially for entertainment vertical, because it also enables you to target audiences around TV shows. With Twitter ads, you can target; by keywords in search and tweets, by interest and gender, by location and language, by device, by similarity to your existing followers, by tailored audiences (based on first party data – similar to Facebook’s custom audience), TV ad targeting and TV conversations targeting.
Twitter is working with multiple app analytics platforms where you can integrate with and get detailed conversion metrics. One I like is ‘Has Offers’; you can tag your campaigns and get valuable metrics with this platform for your twitter app install ad campaigns.
Pinterest has been making the agency rounds as it prepares to introduce ads to its platform, further to Digiday report.
“The images, provided by an agency that Pinterest recently pitched, show that Pinterest is pursuing a native ad strategy similar to Twitter’s. That is, Pinterest ads will look almost identical to the “normal” pins they’re displayed next to except for a “Promoted Pin” disclaimer at the bottom. They’re highlighted with a red border in the deck below, but that is just to single out the promotions to the deck’s readers:”
More than 75 percent of Pinterest “usage happens on mobile” according to the report. Women ages 25 to 54 spent a sum total of more than 3,500 minutes accessing Pinterest via mobile in January 2014, almost double that of Twitter (more than 1,800 minutes) and far more than Tumblr (194 minutes) and Flipboard (72 minutes), according to a chart in the deck.
There are many other types of ad formats that are available thanks to ad networks, including native apps (Appsfire), contextual mobile app install ads (XYO), video exchange for apps (Vungle), and even keyword based chat ads format. Now with these platforms you can even define post install targets such as purchase, tutorial completion, Facebook Connects and optimize your campaigns accordingly. This is a game changer since you no longer depend just on the cost per install but also optimize your campaigns based on the lifetime value of the user.
Furthermore, platforms like Urban Airship allow marketers to add deep linking, tagging (segmenting customers), creating landing pages directly inside the app for every push message that they send. In my experience, push notifications are the best way to make contact and engage with the consumers; far better results than any SMS (5x better in terms of interest) or even email campaigns (2x better). So, I would highly recommend brands to concentrate on ‘push notification’ tactics while working on the mobile ‘sense’ which can make an immediate difference compare to its competitors.
Mobile App Analytics
It is imperative to have a mobile download measurement system in place to understand how your campaigns are performing on different channels. Unfortunately there is no one size fits all type of service that you can integrate into your application and see all the attribution statistics. Google Analytics did an amazing job with the enhanced app analytics but alone is not sufficient to tell you all the sources of the campaign.
Google tops this section with so many insights on it Google Analytics dashboard. The major issue still (for all other campaigns) the attribution problem – which itself is another topic for another post.
Optimizely allows marketers to do A|B testing on apps without app upgrade (which is cool)
Crazy egg allows heat maps for mobile apps like they do for web pages (which is also very cool)
App Annie is also a wonderful tool for you as competitive intelligence where you can track all your downloads, upgrades, and compare yourself with your competitor’s applications.