Mobile app user acquisition: running at efficient scale


The future of mobile app user engagement points squarely at video, which has become a huge growth area for mobile advertisers as the quality of content improves and the delivery technology becomes more sophisticated.


“People are trying to leverage video as much as possible,” said AppLovin’s Tom Lemrond in a recent wide-ranging panel discussion at The Mobile Growth House at SXSW hosted by TMGA.


“You see more and more brands coming to the video side and leveraging less of the static interstitials.” Andrew Birnbryer of AppLift credited improved technology with video’s rise. “Back in the day, phones couldn’t deliver video units in a clean way, and now you don’t have the load times, you don’t have the spinning wheel, it’s seamless.”


Birnbryer also pointed out the apparent disparity between companies’ desire to have quality video ads and their lack of ability to create them in-house. “Tons of people still don’t even have video assets,” he said. “Which I find crazy. Like huge brands, huge names.”


On the buy-side, Vivian Chang of RetailMeNot said the challenge for them is figuring out a cost-effective way to scale their video investment. “We usually see good LTV for our video, that’s the reason we try to invest there. With Facebook, I think Vertical Video has been really good for us, similar to the networks. We’re trying to figure out how can video play both a branding and a DR role and how do you measure and attribute that credit and fund it that way.”


As for spend, Chang said RetailMeNot has brought both the brand marketing and direct response budget under one umbrella to allow more precise allocation.


Interstitials once reigned supreme, but their quality has dropped off in recent years, as has users’ willingness to do anything but desperately search for the “X” to close it. Birnbryer says he thinks interstitials have outlived their usefulness.


“I think interstitials are dying off, frankly. Just in terms of user experience, it’s super intrusive, and the only way you see engagement is to make your “X” really small or force them to look at it for a certain period of time. To me, banners offer higher engagement because if it’s a banner you’re clicking on it because you want to, not because it’s interstitial and you fat fingered it and missed that tiny little “X” at the top,” he said.


Attribution is another perennial topic in the mobile ad space, and the panelists had strong opinions about it. Ryan Bruss of HomeAway said despite extensive discussion lasting months, the Expedia Group mobile marketing heads have been left unable to definitively determine the efficacy of the providers’ attribution. “There’s a fear that much of what the providers are going to tell us in attribution is that it’s people who would have installed our app anyway, so what’s the real incrementality?” Birnbryer chimed in with a jab at Facebook. “Facebook has a 28-day lookback window and just has view-through attribution. No one calls them on the fact that they’re the original click-stuffers.”


RetailMeNot’s Chang says there’s an impetus to push the publishers to properly tag and report impressions and view-through, but says the challenge doesn’t end there. “Then there’s the broader challenge of do you look at mobile app in a vacuum. It’s hard enough figuring out attribution across desktop and mobile web as it is, I think we have both sides trying to figure out how to do all of this, but no one is there yet.”


Check out the full discussion here:



To learn how we can help you acquire and retain the right users, contact TMGA today.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *