Are large advertisers helping to perpetuate some of the root causes of ad fraud? Have organic installs really hit the bottom of the trough and how will user acquisition fill the app growth gap? We’re looking at both those questions this week in Mobile Monday, with stories from Forbes and MarTechSeries.
Context is King
We take ad fraud very seriously, as our efforts and partnerships show, but as many times as we and our friends at the Coalition Against Ad Fraud say “it takes all of us to fix this problem” there’s always going to be folks who don’t have their ears to the ground in that particular conversation, particularly traditional advertisers with massive ad budgets and entrenched practices.
Dr. John Malatesta, Chief Executive Officer and President at Codewise, put forward a very simple solution brand advertisers could implement in order to vastly reduce the level of fraud raw impression-based campaigns can potentially generate: use performance metrics.
“Visibility and impressions are the prime targets for ad fraud. When you rely on those metrics for brand advertising, you are opening yourself to be hit by ad fraud,” Malatesta writes. By shifting to metrics that indicate actual engagement and interactivity with an ad, advertisers remove a huge amount of incentive for bad actors who simply press play multiple times. Interactive video, interactive end-cards and other indicators of actual human interaction are key metrics.
Partnering with better exchanges and ad networks that support proper third-party measurement and viewability over simple visibility can also be a huge help for brands to put money into the right places. Measurements of consumer action beyond the initial ad interaction can also help brand advertisers refine their strategy.
Organic Installs — Dropping?
It used to be that organic installs were something that app developers could count on. A user simply discovering an app and installing could turn into a high LTV user. Organic search via the app stores and even search engines could be relied upon for a steady baseline of users for most high profile apps. That trend appears to have dropped off, according to Olga Bazarova of Scalarr Inc., writing at MarTechSeries.
“Many apps and games have seen a tangible drop in their organic installs in the light of the Google Play Store ranking algorithm changes this year,” Bazarova writes, “Some of the developers have reported an 80-90% drop in their organic growth during the course of June 2018, when changes came into effect.”
Nothing to sneeze at.
How many of those installs were purely organic in the first place? Many users don’t download that many apps on the regular. In our own global Under the Microscope Survey, 45% of users only had 1-3 games installed on their phone at a time. If those apps are good enough to earn a permanent spot, the likelihood of a true organic install is getting low, and the App Store and Google Play search algorithms were always pushing some stuff to the top anyway. That trend is hardly new, as research from 2014 (!) from ComScore shows.
So what’s an app growth marketer to do? Verify verify verify. UA campaigns are now even more important, and validating installs and targeting users who have a high probablity of becoming high LTV users is more important than ever. The right attribution partner and ad network is just the start.
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