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Wow.. Conference Season is back and what a month July was for conferences!
The display.io team hit a number of shows with the highlight being Postback 2017 and Chinajoy in Shanghai. Below we highlight our experiences at each of these great industry shows.
Postback Conference 2017
In terms of industry get togethers Postback 2017 is probably the most unique event out there right now. It discards the typical booth/ meeting format, instead putting the attendees at the centre of the show. They do this by creating great social activities around a solid speakers format.
The former is what makes the show so special. The format is built to lead to serendipitous meetings while tossing a football on the beach or quaffing an afternoon beer in between the speakers. So while your sales guys aren’t going to have 10 x 30 minute meetings booked a priori, if they have the networking skills they’ll be able to take advantage of a great mix of vendor / spender crowd.
Being a former opera singer before joining Tune, CEO Peter Hamilton was as charismatic as ever and sang his way onto stage in true operatic fashion. However, like most of the attribution platforms these days, the central product iterations revolve around delivering insufficient fraud prevention tools while pandering to the major ad networks like Google.
In fact the highlight of this years speakers session was not industry related but was in fact Seattle Seahawks charismatic coach Pete Carroll who spent his stage time encouraging the crowd to pursue success, offering stories from his career as a Super Bowl winning coach.
Each year Postback delivers a ‘Surprise Artist’ and this year was no different with Lido taking to the stage for an energetic performance in the MoPop hall next to the iconic space needle on the last night of the conference.
All in all Postback 2017 was great conference that allows the attendee’s to let their hair down and have a good time, as well as do some business.
Chinajoy Conference 2017
Riding the jet lag dragon express to the max (Israel->Seattle->Shanghai) our team touched down in Shanghai in preparation for the more conventional industry staple – Chinajoy 2017. I’ve not met an industry colleague who doesn’t enjoy heading to Shanghai to enjoy the tremendous skyline the city centre offers.
This year the Chinajoy organizers are celebrating their 15th year of a conference which has gotten exponentially bigger in the 5 years from a B2B perspective. That means more show floor space, more booth and potentially more business.
This years booth highlight included an effort from Outfit7 who had a massive Talking Tom castle in the centre of one of the large show halls!
However, the show continues to be a struggle for business goers as its held in the middle of the Shanghai summer where temperatures surged to 37 degrees celsius on show day. Smart casual just isn’t going to cut it at this show…T Shirt and shorts is the only way to combat the heat. You will thank us when you see the hordes of business goers showing up with shirts filled with sweat and a look of exasperation on their faces.
Each year vendor from across the industry drop big money to compete for the best after hours parties with Vungle, Avazu, Facebook, Google and Mobvista among a clutter of others competing for this title. Our team chose the latter and boarded Mobvista / Adjust party boat to sight see down the bund while quaffing on Champagne!
Over the course of 2 weeks our team covered over 28,000 KM’s, stead in 7 different hotels and met hundreds of folks from our industry to share the goal of display.io – to deliver ad performance and service for our partners.
The display.io team will be will be at Booth J12 during GMIC Beijing April 27th – 29th 2017.
If you have some time to spare, think about popping along to see the panel on Mobile Data Transparency on 27th April @ 4:40pm. display.io CEO Stephen Caffrey will be one of the panelist deep diving into the world of Mobile Data.
Let’s set a meeting or visit our booth to see how display.io can help improve the ROI from your mobile app!
Startups are what Israel is known for and this is more so the case than ever in the area of advertising.
Israeli VC Glilot recently released a map of the burgeoning Israeli advertising startup scene as part of an overall review of the large exits taking place in the industry.
display.io excited to be featured as one of the top mobile marketing startup companies in the region, which is testament to our commitment to providing cutting edge marketing automation tools and superior service to our mobile app partners.
We had a blast at this years Israel Mobile Monetization Summit – bigger than ever with a lot of our overseas partners coming to town.
Check out some of our snaps below!
Our friends at GMIC have built up a fantastic conference series around the world of which GMIC Beijing remains the jewel in the crown. The Beijing has come to represent the bridge between the online world in the East and West, facilitating business deals, investment opportunities and high level networking opportunities.
This year display.io was invited to be guest moderator on the Mobile Marketing Panel. Stephen Caffrey (display.io CEO) shaped the panel around the sharing of insights into emerging marketing trends in the West, Western companies attempt to establish Chinese operations and challenges ahead for the market as a whole.
Meanwhile our business team, lead by Natalia Makselon-Sinuani, engaged with our existing app developer clients throughout Beijing, as well as meeting with new potential partners onsite at GMIC. Special mention to Hola and Baidu for the hospitality and Apus for putting on a great party!
Five grounded pillars to build apps businesses and one cosmic fact to remember
During my career in the mobile advertising industry I have met many very talented and creative developers who despite of their unquestionable talent, struggle to succeed with making money out of their apps. On the other hand, I have seen many average apps turning installs to real fortune, just because the founders did their homework from strategy, marketing and business planning. There is no golden formula but these 5 pillars can certainly help stabilizing any app-business and seemingly improve app popularity & revenues
Pillar 1: The user
In an ideal world the developer’s app would get on every smartphone, but even the most popular apps like Candy Crash, Snapchat or Instagram have their demographic target. By defining the target audience in all major aspects of development – from app design, via user experience through to app launch date – the developer will increase their chances of success. Any lack of clarity around the target user may have potential negative ramifications once the app is already out in the stores.
Once the app is the app is launched, the developer should be aware of critical aspects of this pillar – users feedback and happiness. App store rating and comments have a big influence on the marketing efforts and buzz around the application. While user feedback is one of the most precious things for any developer. It’s worth noting that as a developer you can’t please everyone. So maintain the focus on correcting negative feedback from the target audience.
Pillar 2: The Narrative
Great narrative around app functionality is what truly makes the buzz. “It is just a game” – one may say, but smart developers will build meaning into it. Rather than being another standard puzzle game- the puzzle game can transcend the mundane and become ‘Mental Training for Better Brain Function’. Maybe there aren’t many apps designed to save the world from say global-warming but app developers are certainly improving our every-day life and those that focus the narrative will improve their chances for success.
Pillar 3: Business strategy
When a developer already understands and (believes!) in the value their app represents to the users, it is time lay out the plan for this app to improve his own existence livelihood… and to generate ROI.
There are 3 major ways for monetizing app businesses:
- Paid apps – even though freeapps are way more popular than paid apps (according to AppBrain stats only 196,000 of the total 1.4 billion android apps are paid-apps) some developers decide to go for the simplest way of monetizing their business, asking users to pay for their products. This solution works well only on matured mobile markets, especially for apps which represent unique functionality/features.
- Free apps with ad units – app is monetized via advertising banners/videos
- Freemium apps using Virtual Currency – freemium is term used for apps which are free to download but offer in-app purchases
This Business Strategy pillar is absolutely crucial considering the fact that many apps with great potential fall due lack of clear vision on monetization model during the planning stage.
Pillar 4: Simplicity
The majority of successful apps all share the same element; clear functionality, a simple and well-structured user experience. Every good app should be so intuitive that even children and seniors – who are not so familiar with newest technology – can easily understand its flow. With thousands of apps on the app stores users loose their attention pretty quickly regardless of how well targeted the user marketing campaign is. In my experience it is those developers that overcomplicate the user experience who tend to have issues scaling.
Pillar 5: Data
Marketing without data is like driving with your eyes closed – claims Dan Zarella, guru of viral marketing
The power of paid marketing in competitive industries like the mobile as app industry is unquestionable (you can find more information about mobile advertising myths and facts in my last post), yet many of marketing and advertising activities we’ve seen in the industry aren’t backed up with data. Which is unfortunate as this generally leads many great campaigns to miss their ROI goals.
I find it absolutely essential to track user activities in app as well as to perform AB testing for ad-placements and creative units across different users profiles.
Some agencies or adnetworks (likes display.io J) analyze this data for the developer (display.io does it in real time) and optimize marketing strategy accordingly. Additionally, post-install events – offered by leading mobile tracking solutions like MAT or Appsflyer – is giving developer solid data for optimizing not just marketing efforts, but the app itself.
Fact to remember:
Have you know that your mobile can literally take you to the moon? Thanks to fact slides and NASA podcast about rocket evolution, I have learned that each mobile phone has more computing power than the computers used for the Apollo 11 moon landing.
So.. what are YOU going to do with this power, huh? 😉
Thanks for reading and looking forward to hear your thoughts!
Straight out of a jam packed MWC Barcelona and on to AdTech Delhi. We’re looking forward to meeting our Indian partners!
Samsung owned company, Rocket Ship Apps, had uploaded Android’s newest adblocker with an open API for 3rd party developers to build in content blocking features for the pre installed Samsung browser.
However, the Play store rejected it within 3 days stating that it violated the T&C’s of the Store.
The issue show’s Google’s reluctance to allow adblocking technology to be introduced into the Android eco-system, but the plot is also further complicated by the fact that Samsung is also Android’s largest partner.
Check out the full article here
6 years after getting into advertising sales Apple is shuttering its direct sales team. Even after the company spent $275m acquiring Quattro Wireless to provide the tech which iAd is based, the iAd platform always seemed cumbersome and overtly manual in its processes in our internal tests.
This is reflected in the success iAd has had in the marketplace. According to eMarketer Apple had owned less than 6% of the display ad market versus platforms like Facebook (37%) and Google (10%).
It’s by no means the end of Apple in advertising. As both the hardware and software owner they control the ad ecosystem on their platform. As such we expect that they will look to open up thier inventory to more programmatic channels that can handle the ad buys at scale meaning apple doesn’t have to get its hands dirty in the jungle which is direct ad sales.
Check the out the article here
“Change is neither good or bad. Change just is.” (–Don Draper)
Below I’ve distilled my thoughts on what I think is next for the mobile performance marketing industry as we enter 2016.
We work in an industry deep in transition to new processes that focus more on greater efficiencies and improved performance, rather than on paradigm shifting models.
(10 minute read)
Despite what the ad sales guy might say, advertising technology doesn’t always need to change the game in order to have a positive impact. I think it will be the mobile platforms and processes that run on a philosophy of audience data and automation that will come to characterize the most successful companies of 2016.
End of Big Data, Rise of the Right Data
The hype around big data will die down as the reality sets in that the signal noise and infrastructure costs outweigh the kudos gleamed from saying the words ‘Big Data’ at industry events.
Mobile ad companies that can put the right accumulated user data to work in unique and more effective ways will be the cornerstone of 2016. This will lead us away from an app industry based on incidental discovery, to one driven by relevant recommendation.
Further automation of key mobile advertising processes.
The mobile performance advertising eco-system is like a series of disconnected pipes- with both supply and demand side still transitioning from a manual based cooperation model. This will significantly change in 2016 as industry evolution forces the majority of companies to embrace automation of key processes as a means to maintain revenue growth.
How the mobile ad is constructed will be dramatically rethought.
Great spotlight has been given to video and native ads through 2015 – and rightly so. These cosmetic improvements in ad format have delivered a much needed improvement in user ad experience. However the method of building the creative remains as manual and labor intensive as it did during the advent of online advertising.
2016 will see the emergence of new methods in creative production. One where the best mobile ad serving companies will discard the human made creative and will instead implement proprietary or 3rd party creative production platforms that provide machine generated creative constructed from raw assets and optimized on the fly.
The ubiquity of Deeplinking will support better mobile advertising.
The dissonance a user experiences between ad tap to landing on the right content in-app will reduce through 2016 as developers finally prioritize the schema of their app during development. The result will provide mobile ad companies the opportunity to sell individual users specific products or services through a creative that will deliver the user directly into that experience– deep inside of an app.
Fraud – Continuation of the billion-dollar problem.
Not the most popular prediction among my industry peers, but I think fraud will continue to dominate the agenda in 2016. Particularly as existing 3rd party solutions only treat some of the symptoms but don’t cure the disease. This is an industry wide problem that requires industry wide transparency and cooperation, which I believe is beyond the limits of what current business models allow for. As such, expect mobile ad fraud to continue to be the elephant in the room through 2016.
Approaching maturity in the Western mobile market will force ad companies to pay more attention to far flung growth markets that are culturally less analogous and economically less developed- presenting new and unfamiliar challenges that require a longer term approach to strategy.
Fresh turbulence in the Indian mobile market.
The halcyon years of 2014 and 2015 are but a distant memory, as many developers need an alphabet soup of rounds to save their business. They’re not all to blame, this conundrum is compounded by the lack of credit card penetration in India, making the Play and App Stores less viable as a business model. Meanwhile, the market (read: bubble) is underwritten by American pension funds that are now focused on viable business models as opposed to number of daily active users.
For the mobile ad industry this means a cool down in budgets during the early part of the new year, credit default and nail biting NET terms.
Complex opportunities in China.
Chinese companies continue to present both opportunities and challenges.
The former is due to the huge developer ecosystem attempting to tap overseas markets. The latter because Chinese culture, company structure and to a lesser extent the emergence of Chinese ad networks with overseas aspirations, may continue to inhibit the majority of Western companies ability to form meaningful developer partnerships without investing significantly in local operations.
As an industry in transition, the mobile advertising industry will continue to provide fertile landscape for M&A activities through 2016.
More broadly, we can also expect further OS level and even state level legislation further demarcating and policing the borders of mobile advertising.
Mobile advertising M&A’s to continue.
Despite a challenging year for adtech stocks, 2015 was characterized by a series of acquisitions including Perion>Undertone, Applift>BidStalk, IronSource>SuperSonic amongst many others. I believe this trend will increase through 2016 particularly as bigger mobile ad companies seek to acquire both mind and marketshare.
Further Industry Regulation.
2015 saw Google clean up its developer eco system while Apple attempt to control advertising on its OS and Safari browser. Even the US Federal Trade Commission chimed in with draft legislation to control what qualifies as a legal native ad- making the IAB something of a lame duck. Expect these state level evaluations to continue as part of a wider global trend toward a more controlled less open Internet.
These are my thoughts on the mobile ad industry as we turn to 2016.
Let me know what you agree and disagree with or if you have other predictions to add to in the comments section below!
Stephen Caffrey, CEO