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Partner Spotlight: Kochava

Posted Jan 7, 2021

Managing millions of attribution, analytics, and performance data points without good technology can bog down the best teams. That’s why we work with our partner Kochava, offering AdColony clients industry leading real-time data solutions.

We caught up with our friends at Kochava to learn more about what they offer, their outlook on the future of the mobile industry, and, of course, their unforgettable yearly summit. Get to know them better!

Services Offered

What services does Kochava provide to mobile publishers and advertisers? 

The Kochava Marketers Operating System™ (m/OS) provides a suite of solutions for mobile publishers and advertisers including measurement and attribution of their ad campaigns, audience identity solutions for more precise targeting outside of device IDs, deep linking, push notifications and predictive churn, and comprehensive fraud prevention tools. In addition to these solutions, Kochava supplies publishers and advertisers with SKAdNetwork support and other tools that serve our customers as they grow.

Why did Kochava enter the attribution, analytics, and performance space in the first place?

Formerly known as PLAYXPERT, Kochava entered the industry as a mobile app consulting firm. We entered the attribution, analytics, and performance space because our Founder and CEO, Charles Manning, saw the need to better understand the feedback loop of user acquisition, engagement, and lifetime value (LTV) for mobile applications. Back in 2011, when smartphones were growing in usage, our customers were looking for ways to understand their app data and where app growth was coming from. We realized that a solution to understand what media advertising efforts were converting users and the effectiveness of mobile ad spend by partner were not available, so we built that solution which is what Kochava is today.

How do Kochava’s services make life easier for mobile advertisers?

Kochava’s omni-channel marketing services provide one place for mobile advertisers to gather, analyze, and understand their data to improve their marketing decisions. No matter where you are in your marketing journey, Kochava has solutions that grow with your business. We also have world-renowned customer service available 24/7. We understand that our customers’ needs are unique and have an experienced staff available to guide marketers regarding use of our tools or in fulfilling requests about their data.

Why is it important for advertisers to utilize services like Kochava?

Kochava is the single source of truth for advertisers across their omni-channel marketing channels. We offer a holistic view by tracking everything on one dashboard back to the original source of conversion to help optimize their marketing strategy efficiently and effectively across all partners, channels, and solutions. We exist for our customers and always have their best interest in mind with every tool that we develop. With respect to the current industry, we are keeping abreast of data privacy policy changes and helping marketers manage user consent in compliance with the law. 

What is your go-to example of your tools/services enabling advertiser success?

Our customers are a reflection of our success. They come to us wanting solutions and stay with us because we tailor our support to their specific needs and often provide tools they didn’t know they needed. Western Union came to us wanting to understand various user journeys across different regions while maintaining brand integrity. After working with Kochava, Western Union now understands their customers at a user-level and gains valuable product insights around the globe. Each of our customers is unique and requires different support. Check out our customer testimonials page to read more stories like Western Union’s.

Kochava is one of the big innovators in the space, with a public GitHub repository. What major innovations have become part of Kochava’s offering, and what might we expect in the future?

Ad fraud continues to increase in complexity and is a major industry problem. Kochava created a major solution within the space with a comprehensive suite of detection and prevention tools as well as an independent fraud audit for non-Kochava customers. Our fraud prevention tools continue to expand along with the mobile industry. 

Kochava identity solutions, including IdentityLink™ and IdentityLocker™, are gaining traction and will become a valuable offering into the future. IdentityLink helps marketers link user identity across devices and households using an internal identifier that can be passed with user engagement data for holistic measurement. IdentityLocker is a privacy-first identity solution that will enable partners across the demand-side and supply-side to buy and sell media leveraging secure identity tokens. Our consent management platform, Intelligent Consent ManagerTM, will provide a foundation of user privacy and consent across these solutions. In the wake of iOS 14 and other industry shifts, these new privacy-first identity solutions will be invaluable. 

Tell us a little more about the acquisition of Thalamus and the Kochava Media Index?

With the acquisition of Thalamus, the largest research database of ad vendor data in the world, Kochava is taking another giant step toward creating an unbiased industry standard. The Kochava Media Index gives marketers a robust and transparent way to research ad vendors and for ad vendors to properly prospect buyers. It is the industry’s most comprehensive source for researching digital media purchase decisions. Connecting buyers and sellers through a discovery experience that offers breadth, ease of use, and the industry’s most robust data.

The Industry

Where do you see mobile heading in the short term (2-3 years) and long-term (5 years and longer)?

With the changes happening within the advertising industry, mobile marketers will be reallocating their budgets to account for SKAdNetwork and other changes that are coming along with iOS 14. The over-the-top (OTT) and connected TV (CTV) space will continue to grow as marketers expand to marketing channels where they can measure growth and connect the dots back to their mobile apps. Likewise, we too are expanding our holistic measurement so that marketers better understand what devices their users are on and what channels they are coming from. We are also accommodating for marketers moving to subscription-based services and assisting them in growing their monetization through that model. Overall, these next two years and beyond will bring a lot of new and innovative ways in which to measure, attribute, and target marketing efforts while keeping privacy and consent at the forefront.

How do you see the shift from traditional forms of entertainment and utility (TV and desktop usage) to a more mobile-focused world impacting companies that use your services?

We have made it possible for marketers to incorporate mobile measurement technology behind methods such as scannable QR codes and location-based ads like billboard and bus signs. With mobile as the anchor of all connected devices, and with increasing data privacy policies, companies expanding to out-of-home (OOH) and digital OOH forms of advertising must ensure that they are attributing and measuring across all engagement methods. 

The industry is undergoing major changes, many coming as data privacy policies, as we see with iOS 14. Companies need to adapt to these changes by implementing privacy and consent into their apps and utilizing new ways in which to perform attribution. With all of these changes, we are fully prepared to help our customers with our out-of-the-box support for publishers, networks DSPs, and marketers.

What industry trend or development are you most excited about in the near-term, and why?

The opportunities around CTV and OTT streaming services are growing. Mobile is adapting and expanding into new realms, and we are excited for its growth. We have been working to optimize our cross-device visibility of CTV and OTT services to provide a more holistic understanding of the user journey. Marketers can gain a better understanding of their customers’ viewing habits with Kochava OTT/CTV insights to create an improved experience for their customers and increase ROI (return on investment).

How is Kochava preparing for the switch on iOS to SKAdNetwork campaigns for UA? What top-level recommendations do you have for publishers about gaining IDFA consent?

With all of the changes coming with iOS 14 and SKAdNetwork, we have been working on creating holistic solutions to ensure our customers and partners have all of the tools they need to keep growing their business. Our updated iOS SDK supports SKAdNetwork integrations, IDFA collection, and App Clips. We have also created a partner certification program to ensure markets that our partners are taking the necessary steps to maximize advertisers’ success with SKAdNetwork. We are supporting our advertisers by including conversion calls, conversion models, tracking, and reporting of SKAdNetwork campaigns. For Ad Networks, DSPs, and Publishers, we offer SKAdNetwork support-in-a-box which makes it easier for them to support SKAdNetwork by decreasing the large infrastructure cost. 

Apple has been clear that incentivizing users to opt into ATT is a no-no. That said, certain aspects of the consent process and user experience are still in the publisher’s control. They are able to craft a customized description within the prompt window; and it’s important to take this opportunity to emphasize the value of the product or service in a digestible way. Another important aspect to the user experience and successfully gaining consent will be the timing of the consent prompt. The prompt may be called at any time, with the caveat of the IDFA not being available until consent is granted. Publishers will need to strike the right balance and find the sweet spot to ask users “the question.” The right answer will come from considering each of the above points in the context of a given app, some creativity, as well as thorough A/B testing.

Fraud is still a struggle for mobile publishers and advertisers and helping clients combat it is obviously a big focus for Kochava. What are some simple top-level steps mobile advertisers and publishers can take to safeguard themselves?

Education is an important step in understanding ad fraud, how it works, and what it looks like. There are many ways in which ad fraud is accomplished and familiarizing yourself with what these are is a great first step. Some forms of ad fraud include click flooding, bot farms, and SDK spoofing. 

Look for outliers in your own data. If there are large spikes or no data at all that cannot be explained, it is worth looking into the cause, and we’re always here to help. It’s a good idea to look at your campaign data in aggregate at least quarterly so you are looking at the big picture. Fraud tends to creep in and might be more obvious in an aggregate analysis. Implement a fraud detection tool that allows you to filter out tainted traffic. It’s hard to look through all of your data yourself. By utilizing fraud detection tools, it is easier to find fraud and remove it before you see it impact your data. Some tools that Kochava offers include the Global Fraud Blocklist, Fraud Console, Traffic Verifier, and Alerting.

Company Culture

How big is the Kochava team, and how would you describe them? 

Worldwide, the Kochava team consists of over 160 members. The individual teams at Kochava, Product and Engineering Solutions, Data Science, Client Success, Client Analytics, Client Partnerships, Product Operations, Sales, and Marketing, support each other which has made Kochava a major data solutions platform servicing some of the biggest brands and Fortune 500 companies. Everyone contributes to the whole and supports one another to host the leading real-time data solutions and omni-channel measurement and provide the best customer service in the industry.

You’re headquartered in Sandpoint, Idaho, which is fairly unique for a company in the mobile space. What made you choose it as your HQ? How has your location informed company culture and strategy?

Our Founder and CEO, Charles Manning, chose Sandpoint, Idaho as the location for our company headquarters because the community and quality of life the town offers allows the team in producing cutting-edge solutions. He and his wife Kimberly chose Sandpoint after being influenced by the book “Life 2.0” which encourages to live in a place one loves but still doing work that is globally relevant. Sandpoint helps cultivate a work-life balance that encourages thoughtfulness, creativity, and passion both in the office and at home.

Kochava Summit is one of the premier industry events every year. What was the original inspiration behind hosting such an event? 

The Kochava Summit started as a way to bring together some of our biggest customers and prospective clients to create an intimate networking environment where everyone could discuss the latest industry topics. Each year, we plan an event that is both informative, with industry experts as keynote speakers and panelists, and entertaining, with various Sandpoint restaurants, musicians, and Schweitzer Mountain as backdrops to the Summit.

2021’s Kochava Summit is going to be a little different and online, for the health and safety of everyone, what can attendees expect and how will you keep the show up to the high standards for both work value and unique entertainment that the Kochava Summithas established? 

We had to go virtual when hosting our Summer Celebration, which is our smaller event where we discuss products in development, and learned much from that event. We were still able to host a productive and fun event that included a virtual happy hour with a local wine sommelier. There is a challenge with the Summit being a larger event, but we’ve had a huge success so far with attendees and sponsors. We’ve got a great lineup so far with Kai Kight as our inspirational keynote speaker and Richard Kramer, Managing Director and Founder of Arete Research, the leading independent global technology research firm, to give us his take on what’s happening in digital advertising.

Keeping up with Kochava
Follow Kochava to keep up with all their news, thought leadership, and events! Follow them on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. The Kochava blog is also full of market insights and more. Check it out! 

Join the Conversation
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Ellen Plant
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