Mobile app install ads made up 30% of global mobile ad revenues in 2015 and this percentage is only on the rise. Eric has worked on all sides of the mobile app economy, driving installs from an affiliate as well as an affiliate network perspective, from his own cross-promotional ad network’s perspective, from an in-house game dev UA perspective, in an agency capacity, as well as with Go2mobi on its mobile platform. Eric will share his 360° view from all sides of the mobile app economy, giving valuable tips and tricks about how to drive installs at scale that work for all parties in the value chain.
Eric Dyck Speech Transcript
Hi everyone, welcome to my talk here.
This is the, App Installs: The 360-Degree Perspective. Get ready for some high-impact slide pyrotechnics like that.
So, I’ve been in the Ad industry for about 10 years. I’ve been in the mobile industry for about 8.
And so this talk is basically talking about app installs from the different perspectives of the businesses that I’ve worked for so or that I’ve done.
So, I started at GlobalWide or NeverBlue, as they’re known.
I was employee number 5 there. So, I was there throughout their whole their whole time. We ended up putting a big focus on mobile towards my last couple of years there.
And from there, I moved to start my own company which was a tap exchange for mobile app developers. So, the idea was that we would get as many app developers as possible to put in our SDK.
Then we create a tap exchange environment essentially where it’s like a chart boost where we’d be cross-promoting apps based on taps as a currency.
I learned a little bit about the sell side when I did that. We sold that in 2014.
And then, I moved to director of user acquisition at a funded app company. They were a super exciting group of developers and artists and well-funded.
And we put together a super top quality game and I have some of the learnings that we took from that.
It was developed as a Clash of Clans killer but news flash it didn’t kill Clash of Clans.
And then, for the past year and a half, I’ve been director of marketing at Go2mobi which is a buy-side platform. The ultimate platform for performance marketers.
We like to say, because of our ability to be super granular in how you optimize. I’m gonna be talking about some of the automation features, some of the ways in which we drive installs. The way we think about installs at Go2mobi.
About Eric Dyck
So first a little bit about me, we’re looking at this presentation through the lens of the different jobs I’ve had.
First of all, I just want to say how lucky it is to be in digital advertising. I think it’s been a great career path for me.
I know it’s a really great career path because I’ve had the worst job probably that any of you have ever had and I’ll just tell you quickly.
I worked in a propane dispensary / municipal sign shop.
So literally, my job was to make signs, stop signs and things like that. And also, I just had to dispense propane all the time.
One time, my boss came to me and he said, “Okay, Eric I have about 10,000 camping propane tanks that I have to dispose of. And I don’t want to take the time to let that gas out properly. So, what I want you to do is take this spike hammer. I want you to put it up against a fence post and I want you to go one clean shot through. And, you’ll be fine. They won’t explode, it won’t be a problem. What you don’t want to do is create a small leak and then create a spark with your second hit. That could be a problem for you.”
I spent about a week just spiking, spike hammering these propane tanks.
And that’s the worst job I’ve heard of anyone having because I just got sprayed the propane. These things would go flying around like crazy. So, overall it was a very bad job.
The best job I’ve ever had is, of course, a father to my two-year-old daughter.
You can tell what a devoted father I am. Don’t worry, we’re a circus family so she landed fine. It’s a Photoshop job.
The Tap For Tap Years
So Tap for Tap started in 2012 with the idea that we’re gonna create a community of app developers. And, we were gonna aggregate all these app developers together and get them exchanging taps basically.
So you show an ad for an app, they show an ad for you. Every time a tap occurs, you earn a tap credit which then you can use to promote your own application.
We thought it was a really good idea. There were other companies doing it but not exactly with the way we were doing it.
The one thing that we kind of ended up doing is focusing on the long tail of app developers.
If you know anything about the app economy, the long tail basically goes on forever. It goes on a really, really long way. And really, what matters in the app economy is the top 1% or the top 3%.
So that became a bit of a problem at Tap for Tap.
Supply Side: Key Learnings
Some of the learnings we got from being on the supply side and developing Tap for Tap like, app developers don’t really need another currency.
They don’t really need tap credits.
Because what they need is money. And they’re not really concerned about it. They already have a currency, it’s called money.
And, so really that’s what you should be focusing on in all aspects of app installs. The clicks and installs don’t really have value of themselves.
They’re really just means to an end to generate engagement and generate ad revenue, generate in-app purchases and all that.
So it’s not a really good idea to be focusing on clicks and installs as a super valuable in and of themselves.
The Long Tail Doesn’t Pay
The long tail just doesn’t pay. We aggregated thousands of app developers. And, we had probably 8,000 app developers with our SDK installed.
But it was problematic because they had very small amounts of inventory. Even aggregating these huge amounts of app developers, we weren’t able to get to a real critical mass.
And then, we would get a big app developer to come on but the problem was it’s a tap exchange so then we couldn’t balance it.
You need two big app developers to come on at any given time or else they’re not gonna get the kind of exchange they’re looking for.
The chicken-or-egg problem there was very difficult.
As an app installer, you really want to focus on the budgets, on the big budgets on the companies that have the huge scale.
They’re looking for huge scale that allows you to drive quality or alternatively, to just kind of blend in and just send your leads to them as well.
That’s one of the strategies that work as well.
The Strategy Game Year
After we sold that in 2014, I went to go work at a funded game company. I was super excited to be working on the product-side.
Super excited to be creating something really cool. And you know, I was working with so many great artists, so many great coders. It was this funded company, they really over hired, I will say.
This company hired a lot of people.
Before the product was ready, they had to marketers working for them round-the-clock.
We did so many things to try to get the name out. It’s is built for it to be a “Clash of Clans Killer” for the “Midcore” market.
The key differentiators in this game were that, instead of one faction, we used to call Clash of Clans, Clash of Clones because you’re only ever one group.
And this one, you had three different factions – the humans, the tegu and the dwarves. Also, you’re able to control your troop as opposed to Clash of Clans where you couldn’t.
So, we felt that these were strong differentiators in the space for people that were, you know, in that Midcore market but actually wanted to have more gamers and they wanted to actually control their troops.
It relied on in-app purchases, exclusively for monetisation.
FB Creative Insights
A quick little thing about the creative. This is a little learning we had about the creatives on Facebook when we were running there.
We were so lucky to work for a company where we had all these amazing art assets.
I know that a constant theme for people running installs is not having great creative assets. So, it was so nice to be in-house to have these great creative assets.
We tried this artistic cartoon approach. These were built for storyboarding the game.
Then, we actually went and we tried both hybrid versions of cartoons as well as in-game footage. And that kind of worked okay as well. But by far the best.
And this was a really great opportunity. We actually add a 3D modeler who was able to take our in-game assets and pose them in sort of like interesting emotional tableaus.
This one where you’ve got like a bunch of human foot soldiers being ambushed by a bunch of like tegu and there’s this fear sense in there.
There’s some aspect of feeling what it would be like as characters in the game.
And this just killed. These kinds of creatives just worked so extremely well. We were able to drive on Facebook, targeting our look-alike groups to the tune of hundreds of installs a day.
Basically, around $1/ $1.50 which is, on Facebook, pretty good for app installs, especially for such a targeted group. Like targeting our 1% look-alikes of people who like Clash of Clans, for instance.
“Better Than Clash Of Clans”
We ended up using an Ad text. The Ad text that works best where we literally just went head to head. And we just said, “Better than Clash of Clans.”
That’s all we said in the ad text. And we’d get hundreds of people just being like, “You’re stupid, you don’t know anything.”
And, I’d respond. We’d actually take time and respond to these people and say, “Well, here’s why we think it’s better. You can control your troops and there’s 3 factions.”
And stuff like this.
We would actually spend an hour a day to respond to these things. And 90% of the time we swayed them. 90% of the time, they’d be like, “Oh, I actually tried it, it’s actually pretty good. I do like it.”
And so it was a really interesting strategy because it also takes advantage of the nature of the social network. So every time they’re commenting on one of my ads, their friends are seeing it.
We saw this huge residual effect that helped drive the CPI down which was kind of a cool thing.
This game was featured best new games when it launched globally. We started with over 100,000 installs which was just amazing.
It’s been featured dozens and dozens of times all around the world. It’s still featured on like best of Canada and Canadian made and all that.
The day 1 retention was super good. We had 40% day 1 retention, we had 10% day 14 retention which is actually a pretty good retention rate.
The UA costs were low. They were down to $1 / $1.50. So, everything’s looking great. We made a super embarrassing Youtube show that I starred in which was kind of funny.
The Game Still Flopped
And we did all these different things. But the game still more or less flopped.
And, it flopped because it just never had a monetisation engine.
It never had a proper engine built into it. Like, we were getting our UA cost down to a $1 / $1.50 but lifetime value of the average user was still 25 cents or so.
So we weren’t able to, like people were playing the game but the engine wasn’t built in a way so that you made that money back. And that was a big problem.
It’s still going but it’s never really taken off to the level it needs to.
And I think there’s also a bigger problem which is just that the strategy market is just so competitive at this point.
You really need an 8-figure budget even to consider entering this space.
And you need to be spending millions of dollars a month and probably have Arnie and maybe Kate Upton promoting your app at this point in order to have any success at all in this strategy genre.
It’s so competitive.
By the way, if you’re trying to be productive, don’t Google Kate Upton transparent. That’s problematic.
The App Economy – The Good News
The good news about app development is the gold rush really isn’t over. As you know, there’s crazy phenomenons happening every day or every month with apps coming out.
There’s an example there. And the really interesting thing is we have a branded agency side of our business.
We’re going to speak to agencies and brands directly about our managed service where we do more data-based styles of targeting.
And every one of them is asking us for installs. Every one of them wants to know about installs.
So these guys are driving installs at the hugest scale and those budgets are always going to be trickling down through affiliate networks and places like that.
CPI Is Not Going Away
CPI is not going away. Their desire for installs is only increasing.
And as games take on new features that are made possible by the new devices, we’re creating new categories of games like Pokemon Go here.
It’s first of all only a matter of time before that becomes a massive budget campaign.
Right now, I saw a statistic today that showed more people are searching for Pokemon Go than did for the Euro or that they’re doing for the Olympics.
The scale of this phenomenon is something we haven’t quite seen yet.
Also, the first thing is like, late 30-year-old guy where I’m like, “Hey that’s the first thing that I’m would kind of tap out on.”
I’m actually saying, “All the kids, what’s wrong with the kids.”
But as a marketer, I can.
As a marketer, I have to understand that phenomenon. And there’s gonna be other things built on the shoulders of that phenomenon. Those are the opportunities to look out for as an app installer.
Installs On The Go2mobi Platform
Now, talking about Go2mobi, we’re driving installs programanually.
And this is something that Hugh talked a lot about. Combining your ability to grind and to optimise campaigns with automatic tools that make things a lot easier.
We’ll just do a little overview on Go2mobi.
9 of 25 of our top buyers drive installs. So, a big portion of our top revenue earners drives installs.
41% of our ad spend is on installs which is even more substantial. You can look at the breakdown there of our genres of apps that people promote.
#1 is travel. That’s gonna be your Ubers, your Lyfts, those things are huge. And again, that’s another example of an app that has taken advantage of a phone functionality, in order to achieve massive scale.
So then, there are games which is the second biggest. Utilities is a really big one, especially internationally. And then, it breaks down into some other ones after that.
iOS-Android split is 60-40. So it’s pretty even there.
And 60% of our advertisers are using programmatic tags at this point. So, that means 60% are sending us tags and optimising things on their side, 40% are sending us direct links and creatives.
This is a breakdown of installs outside the US here. And, this is actually not installs, that’s incorrect, this is actually impressions. This is ad impressions spent on install campaigns.
And so, the US is still #1, I believe. Followed by the UK. But this is the rest of the world.
You can just see this huge international opportunity.re
So many ad impressions in India, so many in Indonesia and Russia and Brazil, France. There’s a lot of opportunity outside of the US to drive app installs for companies. So that’s something to keep an eye on.
Click At All Cost
You’ve probably seen some of these before. These are high CTR banners.
When you’re advertising installs, the most important thing is getting that click.
Because once you get someone to the app store, it’s a place they trust. It’s a place that converts very well, generally.
And, it’s a place that if it’s a good developer, they’ve laid things out in such a way to really get you to want to download it.cpire
So, really the point is to get them to the app store. And so you’ll find a lot of the times the creatives don’t even have anything to do with the app you’re promoting.
Now, not all of these creatives will be approved on Go2mobi. But we’re a company that comes from performance, we understand what needs to happen in order to drive installs.
What we’re really good at is, with our compliance team, working with you and in a dynamic fashion to approve the creatives we can, for the exchanges we can, without blocking your campaign as a whole.
We’re really good at that sort of granularity of breaking things down and working with you.
Who here has run a bouncing candy creative? Anyone? Everyone loves these bouncing things. It’s crazy.
So this is a campaign that we ran with one of our advertisers and got permission to kind of show it.
It’s a campaign that’s still running today. We’re driving hundreds of installs a day on our platform. It’s a lot of data up here.
Example: How The Campaign Started
But what it shows is how the campaign started. It was set up within a very broad fashion on both iOS and Android.
And then we started pretty early with an auto rule using our Go2d2 auto rule campaign, don’t sue me Disney for calling it Go2d2.
But yeah, we started with an auto rule. And it was just a very simple thing that said, “Okay, if you’ve spent over $12 and you haven’t recorded a conversion, blacklist that publisher.”
And so, you can start to see that the campaign started improving from that, got to 0.88% conversion rate.
Whenever we run app install campaigns, we always recommend that you do remarketing campaigns where you’re targeting clickers who haven’t converted.
It’s going to always be your highest converting segment is people who’ve already shown some interest in your platform but haven’t converted.
We have the tools to build your remarketing list. And then make sure that you’re marketing them. So that you can start to see it going up a little bit more there.
And we were just like, “Oh iOS sucks on this campaign.”
So we’ve blacklisted iOS. Got rid of that and that made us a huge jump.
And then we started creating the micro-campaigns based on our granular targeting.
So, being able to say, “Okay, run a report on Android and run it by site and then within each of those sites, look at carrier.”
You’re able to then create smaller micro-campaigns based on iOS, one carrier, maybe one site, maybe three devices and we create like hundreds of these campaigns that spin out into these.
Allows you to really dig down and find the areas that have the conversion rate that’s required in order to arbitrage the campaign.
We built the new campaigns around these pockets of traffic that had +5% conversion rate or higher.
So, an example, we had one on Nexage with one carrier and three placement. It’s a really small campaign but we’re able to really milk these combinations of attributes that result in high conversion rates.
The overall result from this campaign is we raised the conversion percentage almost 800% over the course of 10 days or so.
And then through these automatic rules and manual optimisations, we also lowered the CPM by 40% to get it into an effective range for the advertiser.
Don’t Settle For Static CPI
One of the things we’re seeing in install advertising is that as advertisers get smarter about the installs they drive, they’re getting more granular with how they’re able to assess the quality of their publishers.
So we’re seeing more people working with their networks to really push for dynamic super reflective CPI’s that reflect the value that they’re driving.
Not everyone is driving super high quality. That splits the two strategies.
One, you want to blend in a super-high-volume campaign and just get your traffic in there. And then, if you’re actually able to drive high-quality installs, then you’re actually able to request what you deserve for these campaigns.
People we see all the time getting 40/50/100/200% higher CPIs based on the quality of the traffic that they’re driving.
The advertisers are getting granular, you can benefit from that.
The other thing, we offer post-install tracking.
So if you’re able to work with advertiser in a closed fashion and actually get them to send postbacks when actions after the install occur, that’s a really strong way to drive higher quality traffic where you can actually optimise your campaigns not just based on installs but based on the actions that the advertisers actually want to have happen.
Re-engagement retargeting is something that we also do.
When we drive install campaigns, we also will take a portion of the budget and allocate it to actually re-engaging users once they’ve downloaded the app.
We actually retarget people based on their device ID to get them back in the habit of using the app.
Because once you can get them in that habit, they are a lot more likely to use it and become a quality user. That’s something that we do.
Automation Taking Over
There’s our lawsuit bait there, Go2d2.
Campaign auto rules allow you to make basic optimisation rules based on simple if-then statements.
This is v1 of this tool and it allows you to basically, any stat that we track, cost, clicks, impressions, any relationship between these things, you can create rules that do the work for you.
We’re working on iterations of this tool to allow us to be even more granular to say, okay when like I described the pockets of profits, to say, “Okay, when it’s on this publisher, on this device, on this carrier, bid this.”
It’s a way to really start accessing programmatic advertising, automatic programmatic advertising by creating manual rule sets.
This is gonna be a big evolution for us going forward.
We also have what we call our total control API that we’re here talking quite a bit about. It’s just in beta.
You could actually go to docs.go2mobi.io right now and take a look. We have really strong documentation. I know there’s other APIs out there that have less documentation, I would say. Ours is fully documented.
It also has every feature that our actual product has. You can do everything on our API that you can do on our actual platform.
So we’re here actually looking for beta partners.
If there’s anyone out there that wants to get involved with our API pretty much at the ground floor, come talk to us at our booth because we’re looking for people to work with us on that.
You can create any advertising experience you want, you can create your own white label DSP.
Some people are using sequential retargeting which is something we’re doing for some brands and agencies where we’ll hit people in the morning with a certain kind of ad.
And then we’ll retarget them later in the day with a more conversion-focused ad.
The first Ad will be really based on click-through rate. Second Ad will be a lot more focused on getting them to actually convert.
And we find that the conversion rate when we’re able to link these two events, skyrockets.
You’re able to bring your own data, bring your own algorithms. And it’s a much lower barrier to entry than some of the big players like AppNexus.
That’s the area that we see us really being able to succeed.
So that’s basically my presentation here.
Just wanted to end on a high note.
This is my favorite gif of Carlton. Is Carlton big in the UK as well? Are they big in Europe? Is it just us? No?
Okay, it’s just me.
Anyway, thanks very much, everyone. I appreciate it.