2014 User Acquisition Predictions in Review
In this episode of App Marketing Conversations; Ryan, Robi and Ian review their user acquisition predictions from last year. How accurate were they? What else changed? And, should you generally believe what these guys say?
Watch the video here, or read the transcript below!
Ryan: Good morning, and welcome to another edition of App Marketing Conversations. I am Ryan Morel with GameHouse. As always, I’m here with Robi Ganguly of Apptentive and Ian Sefferman of MobileDevHQ by TUNE. It’s kind of getting to be a mouthful.
Ian: Yes it is.
Ryan: Yeah. Today, we’re going to actually recap our predictions from last year and talk about how accurate or inaccurate we were. In my segment last year, we talked about our user acquisition predictions for 2014, and there were, I think, three of them actually. The first one was that we would see… I’ll list them, and then we’ll go through and talk about each one.
The first one was we would see more tools for developers to help them manage and optimize their yield, make sure they’re making as much as possible from each impression. The second was we would see additional native channels beyond Facebook and the ability for developers to be successful in them at scale. The third was we would see, I’ve got to look, the simplification of programmatic buying and selling, the ability for developers and publishers to utilize exchanges in a much easier fashion than they work today.
Let’s start with the first one, which was more developer tools to manage and optimize yield. In your view, did that happen, or not?
Robi: It seems like it. I mean if anything the space is so noisy that it feels like. At least half of the vendors out there are saying that they’re [Inaudible 00:01:40] even if they’re not necessarily releasing lots of tools, the marketing clatter along the stories they’re telling are about that, I would say.
Ian: Yeah, I would agree. I mean I think to some extent TUNE has this as well. We’re in that zone. I think yes, that there’s a lot of players out there, all sort of eating at it from a lot of different sides. Yeah, I think we were, like, maybe not strongly right, but generally right, directionally correct.
Ryan: Yeah, okay.
Ian: Do you agree?
Ryan: I agree. I think it was more just developer awareness driving it in the end than actual, creation and development of tools that didn’t exist before.
Ryan: And, I would also say probably we’ve seen, and we’ll talk a little bit more about this when we talk about the programmatic stuff, we’ve seen more developers and publishers starting to utilize exchanges to get rid of or to at least floor their inventory against networks, etc. Okay, so we were pretty good with that one.
The second one was we would see additional native channels beyond Facebook, and not only additional ones, but they would be able to scale and there’d be an easier way to buy them. You both made really good comments during the segment we did last year about the challenge of scaling them is that native, by default, means that all of the ad content is custom, so that’s going to make it hard. What is your… Well, let’s just ask what your view is of how native progressed over the last year. Did we see any other players besides Facebook emerge, or where are we?
Robi: Just recently, people were talking about the expensive cost that is Snapchat advertising. People have been talking about Snapchat recently, saying we’re going to draw a hard and fast line at $750,000 a day for a big campaign. I think that’s one big new player on the scene from the native advertising perspective with their own inventory. I think Twitter has been doing some interesting stuff. It doesn’t look like it’s yet taking off, but it’s definitely driving more app installs and experimentation. I’d say those two players are kind of advancing the state of the world. Then, Yahoo’s talking about it, but I don’t see much in the way of what’s actually being done.
Ian: They did launch a Tumblr app install, right? Is that right?
Robi: Yeah, that’s right, actually, but would you consider that native ad or…?
Ryan: Native by definition of this market.
Robi: Okay. So, then yeah, they’re making plays there, too.
Ian: Yeah, I think we were partially right, that there’s more than one player. It’s no longer just Facebook. There are viable other options for native ad buying. I think we were wrong on two distinct pieces. The first is I don’t think anybody allowed us to scale native advertising to hundreds or thousands of publishers. I think the second piece that we’ve kind of missed on was I don’t think it’s particularly easy to buy native across a widespread number of publishers, either.
Robi: Right, that’s true.
Ryan Morel: Yeah, I agree. I have nothing to add here, other than I don’t really see any of that getting any easier moving forward with these particular challenges.
Ian: Yeah, I mean, Appsfire is trying to solve some of that problem. I guess it seems like they’re doing okay. I’m not close enough to that business to really know. But, it has not met with widespread adoption yet for sure.
Ryan: Okay. The last prediction we made was that we would see a simplification of programmatic buying and selling for developers and publishers. We’ll start with you. What do you think?
Ian: Again, I’m not sure I’m close enough to really know. To me, it feels like it wasn’t necessarily a simplification of buying on the exchanges, that there was more of an adoption. Right?
Ian: Partially right?
Robi: I think we’re seeing more people go to agencies which, from the customer’s perspective, ends up looking like a simplification, but it’s not. Like Ian said, I don’t think we’re seeing the simplification actually in the tools, but the process is being simplified because agencies are getting involved and helping customers do it with bigger spend.
Ryan: Yeah. You know, it’s amazing. I was watching the video, and we were talking about real time bidding and exchanges. We were all kind of like… Me, I was like, “We kind of get it.” And we actually built and launched a real-time bidder over the last year. Now, we’re doing this. That’s funny how things change really quickly.
I would say that selling has gotten better. It’s just more publishers move into exchanges as we talked about before, but, buying, it feels like more people are moving into the value chain, and maybe the markets are even getting less efficient than they were, but there’s clearly room for them to get more efficient, right? So, I would guess that next year we’ll start to see some tools become available for publishers to buy directly. We see it done through companies like Distillery – actually that’s a product that lets you buy in exchanges directly, which is pretty cool.
So, all in all, I would say we were 60%, right?
Robi: I think it’s pretty good.
Ian: Above 500.
Ryan: Yeah, that’s pretty good. We could get paid doing that.
Ryan: Okay. We also recorded our predictions for 2015. I’m not sure of the cadence of when we’ll release each one, but make sure to check those out. Also, watch the segments from Ian and Robi. Thank you very much for watching. Make sure to like this video, subscribe to our channel, and we’ll see you next time.