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I have this buddy I see roughly 4-5 times a week—but only at the gym. I know she’s about the same age as I am, likes to get to the gym early, hates burpees and always wears the same ratty old college sweatshirt when it’s cold. All of that info is useful to me in the context of initiating small talk while we work out, but that’s pretty much it.

My interesting-but-limited knowledge of my gym buddy is similar to what app developers and game developers understand about their users. Depending on the analytics tools you’re working with, you know some unique things about each user ID associated with your mobile app:

  • Device type, operating system (OS) and/or manufacturer
  • User location, gender, age and/or language
  • Application install, open and registration information
  • In-app behavior data related to clicks, session length, levels completed, content viewed, purchases, etc.

This information can help you improve user experience, engagement and acquisition. But it’s also valuable to advertisers—because it reveals things about users that no other source of information can, enabling advertisers to target more effectively and therefore get more bang for their marketing buck.

But it’s nowhere close to the whole picture.

What you don’t know about your users could hurt you with advertisers.

Let’s go back to my gym buddy analogy. In reality, I don’t know that much about her. If I did, our burpee-avoidance techniques and friendly gym banter might be more successful. For example, what if I found out she’s an avid traveler who’s been to Burma, Peru and Iceland in the last three years? What If I discovered she owns a yorkie, too? Or learned that she loves almond butter and is an fan of Master of None? We’d have a lot more to talk about and I’d know what to bribe her with, should I decide to bail on burpees in our next training session.

This is how app developers are missing out when it comes to user data. You don’t have access to what your users are doing when they’re not in your app. Those behaviors, patterns and preferences contribute to a deeper and richer understanding advertisers need to target more accurately.

Let’s say you do know some additional behavioral information—for instance, that 40% of your users are interested in or play puzzle game apps. How do you make this information actionable and compelling for a brand advertiser? If you don’t have access to insights about a brand’s audience and the ability to target them, you’ll have a hard time getting that brand to run its campaigns in your apps.

For example, let’s say retailer Sports Shoe Biz wants to run an ad campaign targeting the device IDs of people who have run a 5K in the last six months, visited a mall at least once per month and fall between ages 24 and 45. The brand’s ad platform looks for apps with audiences that contain any of these highly specific users. But if Sports Shoe Biz has no way of knowing whether any of your app users fit their highly specific target, your app won’t get that campaign.

Putting Your User Data to Work

Only 8% of brands say they have tied together customer data from multiple channels for an omnichannel view of their customer—while a whopping 68% say they still have “a long way to go” to achieve this integrated understanding. It’s still not easy to get a detailed user picture—or to monetize it effectively.

That’s where a monetization partner comes in. Because ad platforms touch multiple apps, they have access to far more data—about what users are doing in other apps as well as location-specific info like “visited an airport” or “ran in a 5K.” Find a monetization partner that can target branded campaigns to your users based on behaviors outside of your app. It improves your fill rate and your revenue if brands can segment your users across more than just your app name and category.

When app developers capture and share anonymized user data with an expert monetization partner, each User ID can be augmented with additional data points that reveal what users are doing in other types of apps—and even in the world outside their mobile phones.

This is a win for advertisers:

  • The more specific and unique the available user data, the more precisely targeted ad campaigns can be. Advertisers can use this precise targeting to reach users with more relevant and, hopefully, conversion-driving campaigns.
  • They can also use enhanced targeting to boost ROI. For example, instead of spending a huge chunk of budget in the latest “trending” app just because it’s going viral, advertisers can often find the precise users they’re looking for in other apps.

This is a win for advertisers:

  • Finely targeted ads can be sold at higher price points, so the revenue potential is greater.
  • Precision targeting opens opportunities to emerging apps that have unique and interesting audiences.
  • Well targeted ads are usually more relevant to users, helping to protect the user experience.

Wondering how to find a partner who’ll help you derive the most value from your app user data? Download “6 Smarter Questions to Ask Your App Monetization Partners” and, as always, feel free to reach out to the Phunware Monetization team at audiencemonetization@phunware.com.

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