#Asia Something is broken in mobile advertising; here are the 4 rules to fix it


Make sure you are no longer clueless to the sorcery behind the word “optimisation”

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What does optimisation really mean?

When you run a mobile app install campaign, you’re counting on your agency or media partner to deliver a great performance. Agencies use the word “optimisation” a lot, and the usual drill goes something like this: you monitor the traffic a little, felt something wasn’t right, write to your media partner or agency, and get a response that goes “We’ll fix it.” You waited.

Two days later, if the magic wasn’t right, you gave your agency another shout-out, and wait for another round of “We’ll fix it.” Whatever sorcery that is brewing, you’re taught to call it “optimisation.” It works under the hood and we’re all blind to the inner workings of this beautiful word.

Everybody calls for more transparency. Nobody is providing it.

This didn’t feel right. Advertisers are tired of being kept in the dark – and here are the four rules that can help fix that:

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1. There should be a ban on the word “optimisation”. Agencies or media partners owe it to their client to concisely –but accurately– describe what will or will not be done to improve the marketing campaign’s performance and restore the campaign back on track. When your media partner say “We’re adding more traffic sources”, ask “How many exactly?”

2. Stop measuring CPI. You’re not acquiring app installs; you’re acquiring customers. Measure cost-per-objectives instead. Media A’s US$1 CPI vs Media Z’s US$1.2 CPI may seem like a straightforward comparison favouring A. But consider this:  A delivers four customer conversion every 10 installs, and Z delivers five every 10 installs. This mean the cost per customer acquisition for A and Z is really US$2.5 (US$1 CPI * 10 installs / four objectives) vs US$2.4 (US$1.2 CPI * 10 installs / five objectives).

3. Know everything. Know where you app is being promoted on – how many sites, how many apps, how many publishers or networks are promoting it; know which ad creatives are more effective. Hell, go so far to as request direct access to the tools their ad-ops (ad operations) are using in monitoring the traffic quality. Seriously, ask “What is the tool your ad-ops team use in managing the campaign? Would it be possible if I get my analyst to look at it from time to time?”

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4. Set clear, reasonable benchmarks and don’t compromise after that. Set a realistic benchmark, like three video play actions per 10 first-day installs; or one check-out event every 100 installs. And once you see that it is attainable, put in place a monitoring and feedback loop between your marketing team and the ad-ops team.

The struggle to manage all four rule-of-thumbs seem simple enough until we realise at any point of time, a startup growth team manages tens or hundreds of campaigns. All over the place. Ten, 20 or 30 different media partners. In-house Facebook ad team. In-house AdWords ad team. Many external agencies and traffic providers. That’s a problem we see far too often, and the only solution is to have a reasonable level of automation in place and a more collaborative client-partner working experience. That calls for accountability on both end of the table. That calls for proactivity and willingness on both parties to practice “transparency” instead of preaching it.

Image Credit: Melody Bates on Unsplash

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