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Moloco guest column | Pocket Gamer.biz

Henry Wang is the director of product marketing at Moloco. He has five years of mobile programmatic experience on both the demand and supply side.

He also headed global product marketing at Google AdMob from 2013 to 2016 and headed product marketing for Liftoff from 2019 to 2021.

Nearly 70% of iOS bid requests worldwide now come from devices that have opted for Ad Tracking Restriction (LAT), and while the transition to a post-IDFA advertising world has impacted the entire mobile advertising landscape, every app category has in unique and often contradicting ways.

For example, a closer look at the ad traffic of sports and racing games shows that the release of iOS 14.5 marked the beginning of a divergence in ad prices between iOS and Android.

For sports and racing titles, the post-IDFA world is one where the value of iOS traffic – most of which is now LAT – pales in comparison to the demand for Android traffic, which still gives marketers the benefit of user-level identifiers offers .

A closer look reveals an instructive series of events that marketers can use to prepare for future market changes:

Unpacking the effect

Prior to the introduction of iOS 14.5, advertising costs were typically closely correlated on both iOS and Android platforms.

Gone are the days of relying solely on user-level identifiers.


The occasional exceptions – like one observed from January to February 2021 – were short-lived and reset to average within weeks.

Shortly after the initial release of iOS 14.5, advertising costs rose steadily for both platforms and then split abruptly after the release of iOS 14.6.

This mandatory update presented Apple’s ATT prompt to all users and initiated the shift towards iOS traffic primarily to LAT.

Android prices continued to rise, peaking in June before finally falling. The iOS costs, on the other hand, fell significantly immediately after the iOS 14.6 patch, as the targeting functions were no longer available.

The divergence comes with a massive shift in ad spend from iOS to Android in direct response to privacy restrictions.

Hoping to minimize the negative impact of losing targeting information on their campaigns, marketers moved resources to Android, where they could continue to use Google’s Android Advertising ID.

The initial rush of Android traffic sent costs skyrocketing before eventually falling back to levels closer, albeit still higher, to pre-iOS 14.5 averages.

How to adapt

The lesson for marketers to learn is that mobile advertising is going through a fundamental shift, and it could likely do so again.

The days of relying solely on identifiers at the user level are over – especially as Google is considering data protection upgrades for the Android advertising ID.

When these changes go into effect, Android and iOS prices will likely align again, and marketers will need to be prepared to explore new solutions that will allow them to make the transition.

Sports and racing app marketers need to develop new strategies that make the most of both LAT and context targeting.

There are several promising options:

  1. Minimize risk by diversifying UA channels: Promotional prices for all app categories have changed since the launch of iOS 14.5, and much like trading in unpredictable financial markets, diversification is key to reducing risk. Marketers who maintain an active and diverse media mix can shield themselves from the uncertainty that comes with large market changes and ensure that their campaigns still produce positive results overall.
  2. Optimize campaigns for ROAS: While it may sound easier said than done, modern marketing tech stacks can leverage powerful machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies to drive campaigns not only for top-of-funnel engagement but also for return on ad spend ( ROAS). Wherever resources allow, marketers must invest in the performance platforms and toolsets that make it possible.
  3. Actively experiment with new platforms, creatives, and targeting strategies: Even if the market changes, there is no substitute for extensive research specifically tailored to your unique product and its target audience. In the absence of custom identifiers, ad creation needs a new focus, and an active A / B testing program can ensure your team is working from a place of knowledge.

The future is privacy-centric

The effective flow of IDFA is not an isolated event. There is a growing demand for stronger consumer and governmental privacy.

The new guidelines from Apple and Google follow the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other newly passed laws.

While moving advertising spending to Android platforms is a short-term solution, marketers need to think long-term if they want to future proof their efforts against upcoming market changes.

By diversifying their spending, prioritizing bottom line results, and finding new solutions, sports and racing game marketers can face the months ahead with confidence.

You can learn more about Moloco’s services on the Moloco website.

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