Industry Insights
Appnext on the Importance of Transparency for User Acquisition

elad-natanson-appnextElad Natanson



For those of us not familiar with Appnext, please tell us a little more about your platform and core offering.

We launched Appnext in 2012 with the idea of making it easier for mobile entrepreneurs to grow and monetize their app business, while owning full control and transparency. No black holes. Exclusively dedicated to app discovery, we connect tens of thousands of developers, from the top known giants to indie ones, directly and transparently.

Nowadays, successful mobile businesses cannot be defined by building a product and finding the users to install the app. What matters most is the actual app usage and engagement. Hence both monetization and advertising efforts must be centered on user relevance and context. Having realized that early in the game, we built all the infrastructure and tools necessary to offer relevant app content to diverse global users. Today, the Appnext platform serves over 2,500 concurrently live app campaigns to 490 million users worldwide.


Fiksu recently announced that the Cost for Acquiring a Loyal User has hit an all-time high of $4.23. Do you think that this is sustainable for the ecosystem, and how do you see this CPI for a loyal user evolving over time? 

I think CPI rates will continue to increase, although at a lower rate, forcing app developers and publishers to improve their offering, app quality and optimization process in search of  loyal users. Such a high rate may not be suitable for some of the players in the app industry, but it’s certainly feasible for a lot of them. Loyal users can invest a lot more than $4-$5, so keeping the ROI positive is definitely possible, even at these cost levels.


Appnext offers a self-serve CPI platform for user acquisition managers. Isn’t there a lot of risk that Appnext takes upfront by allowing advertisers to bid on a CPI-basis, and what was the company’s reasoning for building this great tool out? 

There’s always a risk when building a platform that is designed to serve tens of thousands of publishers and advertisers – working on CPI is just another factor in that set of decisions made when we created our platform. The entire service was built on the basis of advertisers having the ability to change their CPI rate as they go along and fully control their spending on the go, based on real performance and not just ads, as done on CPM- and CPC-based ad networks. In that sense, since Appnext actually offers a unique solution that fits almost every app marketer out there, the risk is minimal.


What is your take on view-through attribution and what windows do you typically use with advertisers?

We use a 24 hour window for post view attribution. When video becomes such a key factor in the users’ decision to install an app, we believe that the 24 hour window best fits their intentions. When the time-window is over, users will need to ‘create’ a new intention to install the app.


Are there any innovations in mobile occurring right now that excite you the most?

I’m not a big believer in Internet of Things, as I rather vote for Internet-of-Everything. It’s hard to believe now, but mobile will become even more central in our everyday lives than it is now. Internet and especially its capabilities in the mobile space, are about to disrupt the most conventional and conservative parts of our lives – Health Care, Education and Food.

Drilling down to the mobile jungle, Google’s recent introduction of “Instant Apps” is a logical and long-awaited step. We are living in exciting times, the sunrise of the next mobile revolution. We are very hopeful and happy to be a part of it.


How do you think the ad blocking connundrum will play out over time?

Ads are the engine of a very big part of the internet and mobile industry. It’s not going away any time soon. Ad blocking services will become more available, as well as sites and services blocking users who block ads. In the end, the wheels of the mobile industry will keep rolling, much thanks to ads and app recommendation. I don’t see how such a big force can be stopped, but it can be  refined.


It was recently announced that the Facebook Audience Network hit a $1B run rate as of Q4 last year. What do you think the effect of FAN will be on the independent ad network ecosystem?

Facebook ads in general, and FAN as an ad network in particular are another sign of the ad network arena being taken over by the big players. Independent ad networks which do not have a real and unique offering to make to advertisers and publishers will either be sold or shut down. Consolidation of the industry is already taking place, leaving a room for only those who have a unique proposition to the 3 parties involved – publishers, advertisers and end users.


From your internal data, can you share some data about average eCPMs you are seeing for publishers by genre and geo?

As you know, eCPM is a very dynamic parameter, that varies by platform, GEO, OS and app category. So, the range is as broad as 5-12 average eCPM.


Install and click fraud are huge problems in the mobile user acquisition industry. What do you think that we, as an industry, can do to mitigate ad fraud?

I’m not sure the industry itself has a lot do as a whole, but I do feel that each player in the industry has an obligation to fight such fraud. However, as advertisers lean more and more towards deep analytics and post-engagement quality, fraud attempts are becoming easier to recognize and eventually block. That itself is another way to make sure that only quality services will survive the consolidation period in the network industry. Those who lack the tools to fight fraud and false installs, will not be able to survive it anyway.


Lastly, what do you see as the future of mobile user acquisition?

Mobile user acquisition will continue to evolve, spreading to new segments and new technologies (AR, VR). Video will become an even stronger player than it is right now, as it is yielding the best quality users. In addition, native ads, still not that common, will take over the mobile industry, with easier and diverse solutions to implement them. Additionally, tracking post-engagement will become a must and the ultimate benchmark for the entire industry. Relevance and engagement have become more and more central when it comes to the users’ mobile experience. Deep linking partially solves  this issue, and this trend will continue to grow.

More importantly, as  discovery became one of the major challenges, this issue will be further reframed to the battle for usage. Getting an app installed is becoming increasingly insufficient. Developers need to ensure their app is actually used as opposed to just landing on a user’s screen under the icon tomb stone.



Appnext is a leading monetization and app distribution platform, exclusively dedicated to building great mobile businesses by promoting apps. The Appnext self-serve platform enables a holistic customer experience driven by technology and innovation and operates on a CPI bidding basis, allowing app advertisers to optimize their bids, and hyper target their preferred audience. By using the Appnext platform, advertisers and publishers can introduce new monetization and revenue opportunities while delivering the most engaging and contextually relevant app trailers and content to mobile users. With a growing community of over 30 thousand developers, Appnext has created a marketplace that connects publishers and advertisers directly and transparently, amplifying their monetization and app distribution efforts.

Our unique monetization solutions, from API to Native Ads SDK and Ad-Tags, guarantee above-market-standard eCPM and full transparency over your mobile business. Implement our highly performing interstitials, widgets and other special tools, or follow your imagination and build the units yourself in the native UI of your product with Appnext API or Native ads SDK.

The Appnext Self-Serve platform operates on a CPI bidding basis and enables you to stay on top of your campaigns’ performance 24/7, and close direct deals with the partners who work best for your goals.

Appnext supports all major development tools and frameworks such as Unity, Marmalade and Corona and is available for mobile and social apps.

Are you a mobile developer, a media partner, a mobile website owner willing to build and grow a thriving mobile business around app discovery? Join the Appnext team, think big, stay creative and differentiate your apps even in the way they are monetized.

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