Industry Insights
Cost per Install is Not the Way: An Interview with GET IT Mobile


Steve Gleitsmann
GET IT Mobile

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For those of us that aren’t familiar with Get It Mobile, please tell us a little more about your company and platform.

GET IT is a programmatic agency that drives mobile user acquisition and re-engagement campaigns through our proprietary buy-side platform. We work with some of the largest ad buyers in the industry and are known for our transparent and data driven approach to media buying.  

Unlike many of the other players in our industry, we run campaigns towards specific KPI targets rather than an arbitrary cost metric (think ROI and ROAS targets instead of CPI or CPM). Our programmatic buying engine utilizes our partners’ performance data to optimize bids in real time and drive budget toward higher value traffic while automatically turning off underperforming media.

All of our data is exposed to our partners so they can monitor bids on any network, and even review performance line items from clicks to installs. This approach allows our partners to focus on the more important metric of optimizing their overall margin rather than individual ad purchases.


Both mobile and programmatic as separate categories are extremely hot in the world of digital advertising, and GET IT Mobile sits at the nexus of both. Can you share more on how mobile programmatic works, and where you source your inventory from?

From a technology point of view, mobile programmatic isn’t any different than programmatic advertising on the web, but when it comes to in-app inventory, targeting the right audience is a completely different game. On web, individuals can be easily tracked as they move from site to site. When marketers try to reach a specific audience on the web, they can simply tap into commercial DMP data to optimize their campaign. This does not work for in-app advertising.

Mobile apps are essentially silos that don’t allow any targeting based on cookies, which means none of the web-based tracking and targeting methods work. There are a lot of advertising companies that tout their ability to effectively reach users on desktop and mobile alike. This is very misleading because it usually means their mobile reach is limited to mobile web inventory, which can be targeted and tracked like traditional web inventory. Considering that about 80% of all mobile usage is now in-app, this means that the marketer misses out on a huge portion of traffic that, in our experience, yields a lot more value than mobile web inventory.

At GET IT we are focused solely on buying in-app inventory and we use proprietary programmatic and segmentation technology to target users that are most likely to meet our partners’ performance targets. As for our inventory sources, we have the ability to buy from a variety of networks and exchanges both via direct API integrations and via RTB. Historically, we have had tremendous success on Google as many of our partners found this to be the most challenging network to transparently buy media at large scale.


Programmatic has been known to be a high-frequency, mechanized, automated way of buying digital advertising at scale. However, it definitely doesn’t have the reputation of having custom or high-impact inventory available through it. What types of custom ad units are currently available through your mobile programmatic platform and do you eventually see all custom formats being available programmatically?

Programmatic is a means and not the end. The goal for any marketer is to target the most relevant audience in the most effective way. And what’s more effective than to have computers automatically take care of audience evaluation, segmentation, and ultimately, the ad buy? Our system can set up to 1 million bids per second on millions of media segments. Imagine how many people it would take to do this without computers.

We are running a multitude of different ad types at all times including; text, banner, and video, and there’s no reason why certain ad types could not be managed programmatically. In our experience, you can drive very high-impact campaigns programmatically if the network offers the appropriate inventory quality and if you have the ability to target effectively using the right medium.  If the network does not offer quality inventory, you need to take your ad spend elsewhere. The only way to determine the quality of a given network or channel is to carefully analyze how the media actually performs for the individual advertiser.

This is one of the reasons why we advocate against the simple CPI metric. Cost per install can only tell you how much media costs, and not how well your ads performed. It is also important to note that we have seen a shift of high-value inventory moving away from the open exchanges and into private marketplaces where it can be sold at a higher price to a more exclusive group of ad buyers. Although more expensive, this media may still back out for the marketer if downstream revenue events prove to outweigh the costs.


How has ad blocking affected mobile inventory, especially mobile inventory that can be purchased programmatically?

When I think about ad blocking I always wonder why it took people so long to adopt this technology, both on mobile and on desktop.  Being an avid mobile user myself, I’ve had my share of horrible experiences. From intrusive ads and extreme lag to the infamous auto-redirect to the app store, I understand the frustration inferior ads can cause a user.  

As for the impact on our business, there hasn’t yet been any as we exclusively target in-app inventory, and ad blocking currently only works on desktop and mobile web. I also think that the in-app advertising experience is a very different, and arguably superior experience to what you find on mobile web. Because apps automatically optimize ad placement and the app store submission process has become quite rigorous, apps with poor user experience are finding it harder and harder to be published.

From an industry perspective, I think ad blocking is healthy because it creates a dialogue between the advertiser and the consumer. The advertiser is forced to provide a better user experience, and if ad blocking continues to gain momentum, the user might eventually be asked to pay for content that had been previously been ad sponsored.


Mobile eCPMs have been known to be much lower than desktop, either due to lack of brand advertiser demand (or lack of knowing how to tackle mobile still), or lack of high-impact units on handheld devices. Are eCPMs really lower on mobile, and if so, why do you think that is the case?

eCPMs vary widely across different media segments and there is an ongoing effort to improve the advertising experience on mobile devices. Since our focus is mobile first, I don’t have much in the way of comparison data, but I would expect eCPMs on mobile to continue to grow as more brands have the ability to effectively target and bid on in-app inventory.


From your internal data, what are some emerging markets where large swaths of mobile inventory are becoming available through exchanges?

Exchange based buying continues to be a lot more popular in the western hemisphere than in Asia where we have not seen a lot of quality inventory offered via RTB. Recently we have seen a growing number of companies in China that now offer inventory directly to western buyers, but we have not had an opportunity to evaluate if this inventory is sourced from quality publishers or simply repurposed from other exchanges.

Overall, given the trend of premium inventory moving to PMP, it is going to be interesting to see what kind of inventory will continue to be available on the open exchanges.


What are some of the core differences of mobile in-app inventory as compared to mobile web inventory? Are there different use cases for each?

Mobile web inventory has always been tricky due to tracking and attribution issues, as there is no device ID to collect. It has also not performed well for us from a monetization perspective so we stopped buying mobile web about two years ago. Some of our advertisers acquire mobile web inventory from other advertising companies.

If the price is right and the inventory is available at sufficient volume, it certainly helps drive app store ranking. As I had pointed out earlier, targeting mobile web inventory might also make sense for a marketer who is already targeting users on desktop because of reusability of web based targeting data.


Ad fraud is one of the biggest problems in mobile advertising, with many marketers claiming to have been sold fraudulent impressions or even installs. How can a marketer best mitigate their purchase of fraudulent impressions or users on the open exchanges?

Fraud obviously is a hot topic in our industry and unfortunately, there isn’t a silver bullet. As fraud detection improves, so does the ingenuity of the fraudsters. One easy and effective step to combat ad fraud is to always know the origin of the inventory. We have seen a lot of questionable traffic that is re-brokered among the various offer boards and exchanges.

Large and reputable networks such as Google and Facebook leverage their own inventory and deploy their own fraud detection. This is by no means a perfect solution, but we have seen relatively low amounts of questionable traffic coming from our tier-one partners. Marketers that buy traffic on an open exchange need to ensure that their advertising partner has the ability to identify potential fraud patterns either directly on acquisition or by monitoring post-acquisition events like tutorial completions or sign-ups.

Our system monitors post-acquisition events by default because we associate a conversion value with each ad click or user engagement that we drive. The most important value to our clients in the mobile games space is an in-app purchase event, and we can tell relatively quickly if a traffic source does not yield any revenue.

This is yet another example why we encourage marketers to focus on conversion funnel events instead of CPI or CPM. We have seen a lot of traffic that meets our partners’ CPI targets but resulted in zero value further down the funnel.


There is such a large plethora of advertising companies, ad tech providers, and web publishers that sell directly to advertisers, that it is almost becoming impossible to keep up. Do you think that these many vendors existing is sustainable, and how do you see the market evolving over the next few years?

Predictions in an emerging industry are always tricky, but I think it’s safe to assume that many of the current advertising companies will disappear once marketers get more sophisticated about determining the real value of an ad impression, app install, or whatever their internal performance metric is. I am still seeing a lot of arbitraging of cheap traffic, and while I don’t think that this will ever completely stop, I believe it is going to get a lot more difficult for the individual advertising companies to get paid for traffic that simply isn’t worth anything.

At the same time, I expect the dominant advertising companies to be less open to any of the smaller players in order to protect their own business. Though, they will probably claim it’s for the protection of their users’ privacy. One of the biggest obstacles in our industry is the inability to match mobile device IDs and cookies in a scalable way. The companies that are most likely to solve this problem are the ones that have a strong presence on both the traditional web and on mobile. Think Alibaba, Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Tencent to name a few.

The real value in advertising is accurate targeting and user profile data, and I expect that companies who have this data will protect it a lot more securely in the future.


Lastly, what is your take on the future of mobile advertising?

In the future, we will no longer talk about mobile advertising as a separate entity like we do today. Instead, we will simply talk about advertising across a myriad of different touch points where mobile is just another piece of the puzzle. Other pieces will include IoT devices and cars. Because when your car drives itself, you’ll have plenty of time to look at ads.



GET IT is the leading programmatic mobile user acquisition solution running on the worlds top mobile ad networks. We manage large-scale, ROI-focused user acquisition campaigns for some of the biggest brands in the mobile industry. We do this by leveraging GET IT proprietary programmatic high-frequency bidding technology to drive major volume for premium quality app installs throughout the world.

GET IT campaigns are fully managed, completely transparent to our clients, and driven by our partner’s exclusive business metrics.

GET IT is profitable with extremely strong revenue growth.

The company was founded by the brains behind Google Earth and is backed by Javelin Venture Partners.

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