4 Tips Mobile Advertisers Can Use to Pick Ad Networks
Ad networks have been under scrutiny lately over costs, middlemen and media placements. With so many networks to chose from, marketers are up against a gamble when selecting a partner. Our research isolated the key metrics necessary to create the most objective ranking of networks and provide insight into their performance.
The “Kochava Traffic Index” takes into account that marketers have thousands of media partners to choose from when looking to launch a marketing campaign. With so many options and little comparison data, choosing the right partner can be daunting. In the world of marketing, large ad budgets are at stake and having proactive insights into what to expect from a new partner is a significant advantage. While marketers have often been left to simply launch a campaign and see what happens, using a data-driven, objective ranking of media partners helps eliminate much of the mystery and unknown.
Data quality and transparency are the most important factors in measuring ad networks’ effectiveness. These areas — in particular, signal clarity — surfaced as factors that need more focus in this industry. Across the board, scores were lower in this category. As an assessment of the breadth, depth, and reliability of the data that is sent to and received from a media partner, the impact is profound. Some of the questions considered for this metric include:
- Does this partner pass only clicks, or do they also pass impressions? The inclusion of impressions allows for view-through attribution, clickthrough rate (CTR) analysis and assessment of effective frequency. These are valuable insights for a marketer that are completely unavailable if a partner can’t distinctively report impressions.
- Is a creative ID passed to facilitate A/B testing at-scale and allow for creative optimization?
- Is a site ID passed to transparently report publisher inventory placement or the bundle ID of the app where the ad was served? While a partner may run inventory optimization on the back-end without providing this data to the marketer, it significantly limits the marketer’s understanding of inventory performance. It also prevents the marketer from informing the partner of publisher and sub-publisher trends they see from their data that could further inform optimization decisions.
- Can the partner receive both install and event postbacks? If a partner can’t, opportunity for app event optimization is limited or unavailable.
Taking note of these metrics doesn’t only help advertisers choose media sources, it also informs media partners, most of whom genuinely want to provide high-quality inventory. There are steps that partners can take to improve signal clarity, which can have a downstream impact in the fight against fraud and the drive for better quality traffic and correlation between clicks and installs.
Having poor signal clarity is likely indicative of problematic traffic in campaign data. If the data being passed to measurement providers is incorrect or insufficient, it could mean that there is fraudulent traffic, poor quality users, and/or poor correlation between clicks and installs.
Fraud still remains an elephant in the room. Click flooding is the most common fraud tactic observed. A publisher (site) with thousands or millions of clicks per install should never be deemed normal or acceptable. The narrative that clicks don’t matter because most marketers pay for the outcome (CPI or CPA) is losing its foothold.
Partners should proactively monitor for click flooding and other anomalous traffic patterns to self-regulate and optimize against fraud to the greatest extent possible. A reduction in fraud, in addition to ensuring a clean ad signal, will directly and positively impact correlation and quality.
Before their next campaign, marketers can work toward having a clearer signal by ensuring that their media partners send click and impression data separately, confirm that various data elements are being passed, and check for the type of postbacks being ingested for future optimization. Marketers can also see how the top 20 media partners compare and understand the foundation metrics of campaign data.