Robin van der Heiden
Business Development Manager
Pocket Media is a Mobile Advertising agency specialized in User Acquisition and Monetization of mobile phone applications.We work with selected clients in order to provide only premium publishing and advertising services. Pocket was founded in 2012 by Benjamin Pomerantz, our current CEO. We have seen huge growth this past year, counting over 50 employees, and in addition to the headquarters in Amsterdam, Netherlands, we have offices in New York City and Singapore.
Our global offices allows us to be available for our clients almost 24/7. A new initiative this year has been developing our own apps in order to test and optimize are monetization products. Pocket’s most successful monetization product is our Native Ad Unit API. This allows app-owners to design their own ad units quickly by using our extensive library. At the moment we also offer a special deal to new clients signing up for the Native Ad Unit, but I don’t want to advertise too much here. In the beginning of the year we were selected as a certified partner by Tune, showing that we excel in following industry standards and trends regarding reporting and optimization.
In the mobile world, it is common to have an Ad Network also be an Agency that provides value added services such as localization, translation, creative asset creation, etc. Can you share more on the distinctions between pure-play Mobile Ad Networks and Ad Network / Agency hybrids?
As you said, Ad agency hybrids offer way more than just making sure that installs are generated. They help app-owners to optimize their apps, even provide technical assistance, if needed. Especially smaller developers can profit more from ad agency hybrids than bigger developers, since those companies usually do as much as possible in-house.
For example we work with a large ecommerce site in the Netherlands that was new to performance marketing. We were able to guide them through the process of setting up a third party tracking platform, which is what a traditional agency would do, while also finding publishers to run this campaign, which is what a network does.
View-through attribution is an important topic in mobile, as many users will view (or click) on an ad but not download the app right away. What are your thoughts on the appropriate view-through or click-through attribution windows developers should use? Will it differ depending on their app/game genre?
In my opinion the app or game genre should not play a role here. I am personally convinced, that the last interaction with the ad should count, therefore the attribution window should be infinite, no matter if it is view-through or click-through.
If you have to choose between the two, I’d say go for click-through and make the last click count. Right now I am seeing the industry standard being “first click/view” with many of the larger brand name apps.
Are there any innovations happening now in mobile advertising that excite you the most?
I am excited to see, that the ads on mobile devices are getting more engaging. For example, some of you might have seen them already, the ads where the user can “pre-play” the app and download it after the short trial period. Genius! It’s like a test drive with a car.
Also native advertising is something I am excited about, it is nothing really new, but the way it is used in some apps now is really amazing. And to be honest, it is about time that the display of ads is more engaging and of higher quality. Most banners even today remind me of the first banners which were used on desktop traffic.
Both Facebook and Google are powerhouses in the digital and mobile advertising space, with some estimating that over 60% of media dollars are being spent on those platforms. What are your thoughts on the dominance of the major platforms in mobile advertising, and how can independent players and ad networks truly differentiate and add value?
As in every industry, it is not a good sign that two companies have a monopoly. However, there is a reason why Facebook and Google are so big and that is their groundwork and data-gathering. They did a really good job and are able to advertise your campaigns very well.
However, being so big, in my opinion, forces them to forget about the “little guys” and might not have time to analyze your campaigns into depth, such as independent players and networks will do for you. The interactions are more personal and sometimes faster I suppose. I think the real value comes from the expertise networks have to offer, they offer different traffic than Facebook and Google, sometimes more relevant.
If you really look for in-app traffic, you are way better off with a network, which can distribute your campaign into multiple apps simultaneously. The targeting might be better with Facebook and Google due to the data they have about users, but this comes with a cost of course.
There is such a plethora of both digital advertising companies and mobile ad networks a marketer can now work with. How do you think a user acquisition manager can sort through all the noise to find the networks that will truly drive high-LTV users to their app? Is the only way to know this to test with that specific network?
Very true, the market is still exploding and new players are popping up every day. I’d say that UA managers should start off by checking certain indicators. For example, the Tune certified program, this at least makes sure, that the companies that have this certificate are complying with the industry.
If I were a UA manager, I’d look for networks that work with similar companies like mine. This will save a lot of testing time and budget, since the network already published ads for a company that is comparable to mine. Of course, this is not a guarantee for success, but it can be.
Furthermore, I would insist on being as transparent as possible. Pass site-ids, show screenshots of the placements, share URLs, etc. Trust me, advertisers are not interested in stealing your competitive advantage, being transparent will enhance your relationship with your client way more than the value of that little mobile web-page you did not want to share with them in the first place, plus you can protect yourself with contracts. In case the advertiser really steals your competitive advantage, go sue him and have a nice vacation afterwards.
Re-brokering of inventory is a huge issue in mobile, with many networks using affiliates or other networks to hit install volume goals for customers. How can an advertiser know if a network they are working with is re-brokering their deal to others?
I think transparency is key here. Simply ask, if your publisher does not want to share anything with you, chances are high that something strange is going on.
Ask for the exact placements and check traffic referrals, if passed. You might see a name of another network popping up there, then you know for sure your offer was re-brokered.
What do you think are some of the biggest problems plaguing mobile advertising today?
I think install fraud is still the biggest problem at the moment. It gets harder to detect every day, it used to be quite simple, you check the IPs of the installs generated and if they fall into the same range there is something going on. Chances are small that a family of 200 decided to download an app at the same day. Also, check the time-range of the installs, if all installs generated fall into the same interval of click to install, let’s say 30-35 seconds, this might be automated traffic.
But this is almost news from yesterday, what a new plague is going to be and already is, is bots that use the app to reach certain KPIs. We encountered this with one of our advertisers, all users that installed the app through the source we used were using the app until level X and then all of them stopped playing. Of course we stopped using that source and we did not get paid by the advertiser for those installs, but this indicates how tricky it can be to detect fraudulent activities, as much as we get smarter in detecting fraud as much the people get smarter in committing fraud.
CPL and CPA pricing models are getting more and more popular. Advertisers are not interested in just the installs anymore, but in what happens after. Especially gambling companies and food delivery companies are pushing towards that direction, since an install is not of any monetary value to them.
Lastly, what is your take on the future of mobile user acquisition?
In my opinion, the CPI model is going to disappear slowly, since an install nowadays is just not good enough anymore, the number of multiple postback campaigns will increase, causing the hunt for high LTV users to be better and cheaper for everybody based on earlier experiences and data gathered.
The data gathered over time will also assure better targeting, therefore, with every day an ad agency/network is operating, the better their targeting should get.
Furthermore, I think banners will disappear during the next years and native advertising will take over. Simply because banners do not look good in apps in general and they are way too intrusive for the user, causing app developers bad reviews in app stores.
The last thing I’d like to add, is that I am sure, that within the next 5-10 years, we will see a clear decrease in companies working within the mobile marketing industry. The competition is getting stronger, companies are being acquired or merging at the moment. The point where the mobile marketing space is getting overcrowded will be reached at a certain point and I hope for all of the companies in our industry that by then, they are big enough to face the competition, if not, they will disappear as quickly as they came.
Pocket Media is a fast growing performance based Mobile Advertising Agency founded in 2012, based in New York, Amsterdam and Singapore. With an experienced and savvy team, we create and expand our partnerships with advertisers and publishers worldwide. Our focus is on App Installs and Mobile Entertainment. For Advertisers we select the supply that fits the product. Real-time optimization on post install events is standard with us. We monetize traffic via a Native Ad API solution that gives control back to developers. Transparency is key to success.