Elad Natanson is the founder of Appnext – an app monetization and distribution platform, exclusively dedicated to building mobile businesses by promoting apps with 10,000 developers, 6 Billion app requests per month across 230 countries and 300m unique users. The Appnext Self-Serve Platform operates on a cost per install (CPI) bidding basis, allowing advertisers to optimize their bids and focus in on their target audience.
Two to three years ago, the app install business still seemed to be in the proof-of-concept stage, hovering on the outskirts of the burgeoning mobile ad market. In my view its rise was inevitable, due to its unique, truly-native, mobile nature and to the heating up of the app discovery battle, day by day.
Having reached more than 30% of mobile ad revenue in the US in 2014, app install ads seem to have convinced even the disbelievers that app promotions are now mandatory for a successful ad monetization strategy on mobile.
Facebook’s move to the attribution analytics side, coupled with its fascinating success in generating over $3 billion annual revenue from app installs alone, has consolidated the trend even further, carving in stone that app install business model is here to stay. The newly announced Analytics for apps provides developers with robust marketing and app insight capabilities that will be warmly embraced by the developer community. As an app advertising platform with over 15,000 mobile publishers on board we, at Appnext, have already received several queries about its potential integration. Yet, this move will neither change, nor reshape the industry. Let’s examine its effect on all the parties involved to see why.
With its miraculous post-install analytics, the new solution won’t serve as a one-stop-shop attribution answer. This is because mobile user acquisition is always multichannel and is hardly ever limited to Facebook alone and its integrated partner networks. Therefore, the advertisers need unedified dashboard to efficiently manage their attribution, marketing, and retention programs across all acquisition channels.
At the same time the free-of-charge nature of Facebook’s Analytics tool will counterintuitively appeal more to the bigger app advertisers rather than making paid app-install ads more accessible to those without the ones with no multi-million budgets. Saving a few cents per install definitely helps, but contributes about 1-3% from the install cost. Therefore, it doesn’t solve the marketing scalability issue for small and medium size developers.
Embracing the marketing capabilities of the new Analytics kit, the developers, using app install ads as part of their monetization strategy, won’t be affected. On one hand, app-install demand won’t be poised for explosion with the Facebook’s entrance to analytics, and on the other hand the entire Facebook app-install eco-system is centered around targeting specific user groups, rather than publishers and placements to buy directly from.
Ad Networks and Industry Giants
At F8 yesterday Facebook claimed to be integrated with nearly 90% of apps released to GooglePlay and App Store. For the ad networks that integrated with Facebook’s Analytics at its launch, it is a logical step to open the door to a massive pool of app developers who are excited to try the brand-new tool. Besides, every advertising network strives to provide advertisers with a broad variety of solutions to enable them to run their campaigns.
As for the other industry pillars, including Google, Twitter and iAD, who are presumably upset, their absence among the integrated partners could have numerous explanations, from data exposure to their competitive strategies. But, most importantly, each of them is an all-sufficient user acquisition channel that in the long-term is as likely to be abandoned by app advertisers as I’m likely to switch Google Search for Facebook Search (should it be launched).
Offering the attribution solution for other traffic sources, outside the Facebook orbit, free-of-charge could, in the long term seriously rival the tracking attribution pioneers, such as TUNE, Kochava, AppsFlyer and others. Moreover, app marketers not only need a fascinating marketing, insight and retention platform, but, they also need to be able to work with such a platform across all acquisition channels. That is why app advertisers, and particularly the ones with the deepest marketing pockets won’t abandon their trusted, all-in-one tracking and attribution partners.
“Facebook’s new analytics tool for mobile app marketers is a great resource for those who aren’t already using a solution to track and measure the performance of their app install campaigns. In reality an app marketer needs to understand where the highest and lowest quality installs are coming from across all the channels employed and be able to manage marketing and retention with a unified solution kit. And in our eyes the industry balance in this sense will remain untouched.”
At least in the near future, Facebook will not be able to provide a one-stop-shop solution for app install attribution. As a result, its marketing and insight kit is under threat of remaining an “either-or” proposition for app user acquisition – either Facebook and its integrated partners, or everyone else, including Google and Twitter.
Head over to the Appnext website for more.