Tag Archives: Mobile Advertising

Google Mobile Analytics

Google Mobile Analytics

In the early days of mobile apps, marketers used Flurry Analytics in their iOS apps and Google Analytics in their Android apps.  Apple released an analytics module in iTunes Connect (where marketers and devs manage their apps) that only worked for iOS apps. Then Facebook started offered event-driven analytics as part of both Parse and the Facebook SDK.

The mobile analytics space has been fragmented by platform, and challenged with incorporating app data back to a multi-channel marketing campaign or a web property.

There were signs that Google was going to start to view their (primarily web) analytics service differently when KPIs like “visits” – which describes a web site visit – were changed to “sessions” – which was the way most referred to opening/starting a mobile app.

Google’s aim is to have access to data – which they monetize by organizing and aggregating for discovery.  Google did this with the web and became one of the most valuable companies in the world.

Social media and their walled gardens, and mobile apps and the information essentially hidden from Google in the app silos presented real challenges to Google being able to collect and aggregate data.

To make things worse for Google, the market was flocking to mobile apps, not just for games but for reading and watching videos and even search.

One of the places Google is uniquely positioned, Google Analytics is the most popular website analytics service by far.  GA offers all the basics one would expect from an analytics package – like number of sessions, when and from where, how long a session lasted, where they came from etc..  But GA also provides (free) tools for attribution, funnels, segmentation and more, all tied back to AdWords and AdSense.

Where Apple provides a basic analytics service for just iOS apps, Google’s mobile offering works across Android and iOS (connecting data from the same app across platforms), and the web.

A content publisher who both sells ad space and promotes content can now see how an article (for example) performed on their website, and in their app (both iOS and Android).

This is all free from Google.

If app downloads are the ultimate vanity metric, then user lifetime value (LTV) is the ultimate KPI. It is just that measuring LTV is not so easy, especially across marketing and consumption channels.

Google’s Mobile SDK gets marketers closer to a holistic view of their digital business and marketing efforts.

How Google Mobile Analytics Can Help Your Mobile App Marketing Campaigns

More than just merely providing data the volume of users of a given app, Google Mobile Analytics help marketers segment their audiences and maximize their mobile app marketing efforts.

Quick Quiz:  who knows you better?  Google, Facebook or your spouse?

They each know you in different ways, but the three (2 companies and your partner in life) are  probably closer than you think.

What that means here is Google can provide insights to who your audience is by broad demographics, but also with very specific personas.

LTV takes on a whole new meaning when you can not only track user LTV by source or funnel, but by persona.  Persona X converts with the highest LTV from Facebook ads, Persona Y via web ads, Persona Z shows the highest LTV when acquired organically in app store search.

  • Which channels created the highest number of downloads and which drove the most in-app purchases?
  • Which channel and persona showed high downloads but low retention?
  • Which channel can you scale, or what other channels can you use to reach a valuable target persona?

Google Mobile Analytics enables marketers and app developers to wade through data and make informed decision for better apps and better marketing.

Google Mobile Analytics Features and their Benefits

Marketers using Google Mobile Analytics stand to benefit from the data gathered from seven major features. This data when gathered provides the marketer with important information regarding the success or lack thereof of a given marketing campaign. Google Mobile Analytics features include the following:

Install Attribution

Mobile app install attribution tracks user interactions with an app that has resulted from specific marketing campaigns or activities.

The user interactions that can be measured include anything event driven:

  • App installation
  • In-app purchase
  • Repeat launch app
  • Level completion

Mobile SDKs

Native Android and iOS SDKs help marketers measure the level of user interaction with an app and its content.

For app publishers that have content parity on the web (a website), this feature helps connect in-app events and locations with the corresponding location on the web.  An example question – Did users read the recent article on Tesla longer in your app or on the web?

Cross-Device Data

Cross-device data employs a Measurement Protocol that uses a user ID feature to monitor data across devices and sessions when they are logged in. Measurement Protocol measure usage across digital platforms beyond apps and web log ins. This allows marketers to measure a user’s online activity and offline conversations.

Event Tracking

Events in the world of mobile apps measure in app activities by users. These events can include passing levels, adding items to cart (in the case of ecommerce) or up-voting. All of these and more are measured by Google Mobile Analytics’ event tracking feature.

Demographics and Remarketing

Demographics and remarketing is a two-fold feature of Mobile Analytics that provides marketers with data regarding:

  • The gender, age and interests of a user
  • Tools to build audience lists for retargeting

Facebook’s SDK is amazing at building audiences, but any app that spends to acquire users should use both Facebook and Google SDKs for analytics if for nothing more than the insights to users (in aggregate) these services provide.

Lifetime Value and Retention Analysis

As the name suggests, Lifetime Value and Retention Analysis is a report feature that allows developers and marketers to get insight regarding just how much revenue a given cohort have brought to the app since making their first visit.

The report shows retention rates for different groups and uses and allows developers and marketers to develop a long-term picture of how users value the app and the features therein over time. This feature supports making positive long-term marketing decisions.

Your can learn more about Google Mobile Analytics here, and check out our other posts on mobile analytics here.

Mobile marketing trends

Trends in Mobile Marketing

Mobile app usage and the enormous volume of apps continues to impact  marketing departments and requires mobile marketing and promotion to evolve.

We see the impact and change in ASO,  messaging, notifications, shopping.  Continue to stay on top of trends – specifically related to mobile app marketing, or get passed by those who are embracing mobile and spearheading the related marketing efforts.

The end game for mobile marketing  and app marketing is not just more users or installs, but improvements in retention and engagement, more social/viral sharing and increased user LTV.

Here are four ways you can use expected 2016 trends in mobile marketing to help boost your mobile apps’ ROI.

Brands will aim for omnipresence (app, web, social)

Greater exposure is a plus for any brand or product. As consumers move from “just” the physical and web to social apps (Facebook, Pinterest), mobile devices and mobile apps – brands are recognizing each of these represent a customer development and acquisition channel.

Coordinated messaging and shared attribution across these channels is the goal and challenge of many marketing departments in 2016.

Many large retailers have proven the value of a mobile app (or several) for their businesses, and now use the mobile app as the hub for all other marketing efforts – from email marketing to social media properties.

Mobile app marketers can capitalize on the trend of omnipresence by ensuring (or advocating) for a mobile-first perspective in all company marketing efforts.

Video, platform specific ads and deep linking will play prominent roles here.

Video ads for user acquisition

If we gave awards to trends, 2015 was the year of the video ad. Video ads made up a third of mobile ad spending. As mobile ad spend increases, video looks to take an outsized share.

In many cases, traditional ad budgets are fuelling mobile and digital video as the shift of budgets from print and TV move to mobile.

Popular platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram all feature videos prominently in their feeds – which leads to native video advertising opportunities.

The traffic on these properties are overwhelmingly skewed to their mobile apps, and even internet video platforms like Youtube are mostly mobile.

Mobile app marketers who invest in videos to promote their mobile app can use these videos in Google Play, on Facebook and in mobile ad campaigns (Facebook, Vungle, Ad Colony and others).

Apple has several restrictions for app videos as part of an app listing, so videos used for promotion are probably not a good fit for an Apple app listing.

Calls to action in videos to install an app, offers of incentives or promoting specific in-app content can now be linked to directly from the videos via deep links.

Deep linking

App deep linking is an attempt to index, surface and connect in-app content not unlike how hyperlinks work for the web.

Navigating the internet is easy – everything is connected via links. Mobile has historically been different in that the app listings were “open”, but all in-app content was essentially siloed from indexing and discovery.

Deep linking addresses the “silo” problem by allowing developers to tag in-app content, add metadata or even link it to web content.

The implications for marketers is enormous as campaigns can now be fully personalized, with targeted ads leading to targeted “landing pages” inside an app as opposed to dropping a new user in the home screen after install.

Using deep links in non-app marketing efforts is a great way to ensure user acquisition and increased downloads.

A simple use case:  adding deep links to specific calls to action in an email marketing campaign encourages subscribers to install your app, view specific content and carry out actions.

Mobile apps will be integrated into marketing campaigns as opposed to standing alone

Some of these mobile app marketing trends are overlapping, but worth considering separately.

Brands will continue to invest in omni channel marketing and attribution, using video ads and deep linking – and increasingly the mobile app is not a stand alone marketing tool but the hub for all digital and physical marketing efforts.

We know more people (globally) are increasingly relying on their mobile devices and apps.

We have all seen the aggregate stats that mobile surpassed the web in time spent, and more time is spent on mobile devices than watching TV.

It has happened so fast, it is hard to even process the implications.

What it means to marketing departments is your emails are read on mobile devices, your content is subscribed to and read from mobile devices, and your website is searched for and visited more from mobile devices.

Notifications and messaging apps are replacing SMS and email.

Online shopping and in-store shopping are now not mutually exclusive.

The app stores and digital assistants like the new Spotlight (iOS 9), Siri, and Google M are replacing web search.

A mobile app is your chance to be in the pocket of your customers and prospects, to send personalized notifications and special offers.

The significant trend across all of marketing is the mobile app as the hub to everything else you do both online and off.

Facebook Mobile Advertising

Facebook Mobile Advertising

The more specific advertisers can get in targeting their advertisements to audiences, the better they can deliver, test and optimize the ads and their target audience.

No one provides better targeting options at scale than Facebook.

With Facebook, advertisers can reach specific audiences based on where the live, their age, gender, what they read and share, what they like and about 1,000 other data points in a medium where they spend more time than watching TV.

Facebook mobile advertising is big for Facebook, accounting for 74% of total Facebook revenues in 2015.

Infographic: Facebook's Growth Is Entirely Fueled by Mobile Ads | Statista

Advertisers can use Facebook to reach their target audience in two ways:

  • natively in the Facebook user’s news feed (mobile and desktop),
  • in mobile apps using Facebook’s Audience Network

Facebook mobile market

Advertising to Facebook’s mobile app news feed provides brands a significant opportunity to reach target users where they spend the most time.

Facebook’s mobile app is by far the biggest single app in terms of time spent on both iOS and Android, with “mobile-only” users almost 50% of total Facebook users.


A company like Macy’s that might run Facebook ads to reach an audience in the desktop news feed can now reach the majority of Facebook users – mobile users.

Advertisers who want to reach their target market outside of Facebook, but still have access to all the amazing targeting Facebook provides can use the Audience Network.

With the Audience Network, a  click of a button in a campaign allows Macy’s to reach hundreds of millions of users in other mobile apps.

Facebook mobile advertising strategy

The Audience Network is Facebook’s mobile ad network – helping app publishers monetize their apps with native, banner and video ads while providing existing Facebook advertisers much greater reach.

This is great news for app publishers selling ad inventory as the value of their inventory increases with new and more mobile advertisers.

App publishers driving installs through CPI campaigns are seeing costs per install increase as they compete with non-mobile brands for mobile ad inventory.

The Audience Network was introduced October,  2014.

Fiksu CPI Index Nov 2015

Instead of a casino app serving ads for Candy Crush and other games relevant to the app, an ad space could be used by Facebook to serve an ad relevant to the user of the Casino app – which could be shoes at Macy’s or a course on Udemy.

Facebook’s Audience Network moves mobile advertising from targeting relevant apps to targeting relevant users whichever app they are using.

Ads on mobile phones

The ad formats for Facebook mobile advertising are banner, interstitial and native.


For more, check out Facebook’s case studies of both mobile publishers and advertisers.

Mobile Holiday Shopping

The Mobile Impact on Holiday Shopping

As we leave for our holiday vacations, let’s take a look at how mobile and mobile apps have not only nudged their way into retail, but how mobile shopping is now leading much of the shopping experience.

We are not talking about mobile or apps taking over only ecommerce (which they are), but the huge impact mobile is having in “brick and mortar” – meaning the impact of mobile on all retail sales.

Until recently, there was a clear divide between ecommerce sales and “in store” sales.  No one was opening their Mac in Best Buy purchasing online from Best Buy while in the store (maybe someone has done that – but not a significant use case).

With smartphones, purchases can be made digitally and in the store.  As we’ll see, this happened with greater frequency in 2015 than ever before.

We’ll look at ecommerce vs in-store, and by medium of PC, Smartphone or at a retailer.

Several companies have shared their holiday shopping data including IBM via Watson, and Adobe via their Adobe Marketing Cloud. Then we have forecasts and other informed data points from consultancies like Deloitte.

Black Friday

IBM and Adobe shared data for Black Friday which is “traditionally” a holiday shopping day on the friday after Thanksgiving.

In 2015, Black Friday started on Thanksgiving, with digital sales increasing 26% over 2014, with 60% of traffic and 40% of sales coming via mobile devices.

On Black Friday, mobile accounted for 57.2% of web traffic and 36% of online sales, an increase of 30% over 2014. The average order on a Tablet actually exceeded PC average orders sizes for the first time.

Source: IBM Holiday Benchmark Study
Source: IBM Holiday Benchmark Study

Data shows that this spike is not due to traditional retailers selling in-store, with mobile-first or traditional online sellers (like Amazon) selling online and via mobile.

Of the top 5 ecommerce revenue generators on Black Friday, 4 were traditional retailers.

Source: infographic from Signal.co
Source: infographic from Signal.co

Adobe’s data mirrored IBM’s, but they also shared that of mobile revenues, 70% were from iOS devices.

Note that in the US, the market share by mobile OS is around 50% Android, 40% iOS and 10% Blackberry, Microsoft and others.

Cyber Monday

The same thinking that has brought us Grandparents Day and Boss’ Day has brought us Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday.

For Cyber Monday 2015, retail online sales increased almost 18% from 2014.

Mobile accounted for 50% of traffic and 30% of sales on Cyber Monday – an increase of more than 25% year over year.

Mobile Purchasing in Retail Store

Customer service consultancy and software platform provider Eptica shared the results of their multichannel customer experience study in retail that showed 23% of respondents completed a purchase from the store they were in, on their mobile device.

This could be related to not having to transport the purchased goods home, to see a wide range of reviews or ratings, a long checkout line or price shopping.

In the same study, a full 20% responded purchasing from a competitor while in a retail store.

Best Buy has long been the poster-child of the challenge of “Showrooming” – where consumers use a retail location to touch and feel merchandise, only to go home and price shop.

Apparently, consumers are not even leaving the retailer before placing a purchase on their smartphones.

Mobile App Discovery

Mobile App Discovery Challenges

Apple recently announced there are 1.5 million apps in their app store, Google Play has 1.4 million. Mobile app discovery continues to be a hot topic among mobile app marketers and publishers. From the broad perspective of all search, discovery and marketing , to specific discovery challenges in the app stores – standing out in the app store is becoming more challenging. Recent changes to Apple’s App Store make it even harder for apps to gain an initial traction previously found with a listing on the “new to the app store” section.

Get Used to Buying Traffic?

Benedict Evans of a16z suggests that the two “organic” options for discovery (of anything from mobile apps to books to furniture) are machine learning “If you bought this, you will like this” and curation. He is not bullish on either, stating machine learning can’t provide relevant enough recommendations, and curation ends up being too shallow. His conclusion:  get used to advertising (spending for traffic).

Tools Coming?

Mobile discovery specifically has some coming tools that may aid app discovery – namely deep linking or App Links. These tools partly enable apps to communicate with each other and direct link, and also “unlock” the content in mobile apps for indexation by Apple and Google. Presumably, adoption of deep linking would enable the app stores, Siri, Spotlight and Google searches to return relevant app results impacting discovery tremendously. Eric Seufert of Mobile Dev Memo and VP of User Engagement at Rovio isn’t as optimistic saying:

Deep linking is a marketing tool, not a quality proxy.

While deep linking is not mobile’s version of PageRank, it can be a tool for relevance if not quality.

Top of the Charts

Even if landing at the top of the app charts is extremely impactful, those spots are taken by portfolio apps (Facebook and Facebook Messenger) and apps who have made huge investments in buying installs (Clash of Clans, Candy Crush). Most apps are not competing with Facebook.  Most apps have a core audience and a feature set that differentiates their app and solves a problem for their audience. Connecting to that audience is the key.

Are we really competing with abandoned apps?

Consider 83% of apps in Apple’s App Store are “zombie” apps, or apps that do not appear on any top list (free, paid, grossing) for any category or sub-category for more than 20 days of the month being measured. At the time of the last report (before Apple’s recent app store changes), there were 23 categories and 18 subcategories each with free, paid and grossing top 300 lists. The number of apps, the top of the charts, even the vanity metric of “downloads” distracts us from our primary goal -to identify and connect with our audience. This starts with an app listing that utilizes modern app store optimization strategy, and continues to optimize metadata and creative elements for a changing marketplace. Your audience is frustrated with app discovery as well. By identifying the way your audience searches the app stores, you can rise above the noise and be exactly where they are looking in their app store search results.