Ad Fraud Tutorial Series: What are App Install Farms?

As the iOS and Android app business grows, we are seeing more and more bad actors attempt to perpetrate advertising fraud on our industry.

This series of Singular blog posts is designed to provide brief tutorials more mobile device app advertisers on some of the key ways that advertising fraud is committed, as well as provide advice on how to reduce or mitigate the risk to your app business.


App Install Farms and App Store Rankings
“Farms” have been around almost as long as the digital industry. In the PC-centric Internet era, “click farms” were used to manipulate site rankings and affiliate marketing programs by artificially increasing click counts. In fact, click farms were for a time so prevalent that spoof sites like this grew enormously popular as a reaction. As mobile and mobile apps have come to dominate the digital space, a different class of “farm” has emerged in a big way: app install farms.


An app install farm uses a team of people (or technology) to install, launch, and then uninstall apps from devices. The process is then repeated by the farm employee so that it appears that an app is being installed by many people when the reality is that each install is fraudulent.

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Download the Singular Fraud Index

SIngular has just released its 2017 Singular Fraud Index, which reveals the mobile industry’s Most Secure Ad Networks. The Index is the first study of its kind to examine fraud data collected from multiple fraud prevention solutions, each with its own set of proprietary detection methods. Drawing on this unique dataset, the study exposes the effectiveness of today’s most common anti-fraud mechanisms as well as the 25 ad networks driving the lowest rates of fraud.  

Get your free copy here.

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Early on, app install farms were knowingly used by some unscrupulous app publishers to manipulate rankings on the Apple App Store and Google Play. By radically increasing the install count for an app, an app install farm could help an app secure a top ten ranking. Top ranking g radically elevates the profile of an app and often drives many (legitimate) installs because consumers assume the app is strong.


Over time, the app stores caught on to this flagrant attempt to manipulate their data, so they adjusted their algorithms to reward brands that drive persistent installs and penalize brands that exhibit high immediate uninstall rates.


App Install Farms and Advertising Fraud

Today’s app store farms often help bad actor media companies artificially increase the number of ad-driven installs for a brand. Here’s how it works in 5 steps:

  1. The person first clicks on an ad for an app on each of the N devices s/he manipulates
  2. They then install the app on one of the app stores
  3. Then, when the app is downloaded, they launch the app to register the install with the brand or attribution provider
  4. They then uninstall the app
  5. Once uninstalled, they click on another ad and begin the process again

The team at a farm would be paid to click ads, then install an app and launch it, so that the media company could register a new install for payment under cost-per-install media schemes.

Driving false installs in this manner can be very profitable for the farmer/fraudster because Android and iPhone app publishers are often invest a great deal of money for installs. Industry estimates of the average cost of an install vary, but most estimates place the worldwide average at around $2. If an app farm worker could operate 100 devices and drive 25 installs per day per device, that means they could generate $5,000 per day for the farm.

Farm-based artificial installs have no value to an advertiser because they don’t represent the actions of consumers, yet they are likely to cost just as much as legitimate installs. That’s why it is so important to detect and prevent them.


App Install Farms Around the World

When we use the term app install farm, we are usually referring to an arrangement where people are used to install, launch, and uninstall apps. Because this is a labor-intensive job, but requires no formal education, such farms are far more likely to exist in developing countries than in the US or the European Union. However, some farms use technology to drive the installs rather than manual labor. Thusm these criminal enterprises exist all over the world.


App Install Farms and the “Ad Fraud Arms Race”

Battling against fraud is a constantly changing proposition because every time legitimate businesses find a way to detect and prevent fraud, fraudsters change their methods. For example, the classic app install farm formula – of rapidly installing, then launching, then uninstalling, and then repeating the process – meant that many installs were being credited to a single device advertising ID (IDFA or Google Advertising ID.)

As advertisers began to block large numbers of installs from the same device advertising ID, fraudsters simply added an ID reset to their workflow. Now savvy anti-fraud actors must monitor their data for lots of new device IDs in addition to multiple installs on a single ID.

Protecting Yourself

It is important to be vigilant as regards monitoring for signs of advertising fraud. Here are a few strategies to help you do just that:

  • Anti-Fraud Tools: Some attribution and analytics suites offer tools to help advertisers identify and prevent fraud. SIngular, for example, automatically offers many protections. Such tools may use signals like IP addresses, click and install pattern detection, and activity monitoring to pinpoint campaigns, partners and buying models that are driving suspicious app installs.
  • Common Sense: A deal that sounds too good to be true is likely to result in low-quality app installs.
  • Focusing Resources on Trusted Partners: Large or niche vertical media companies are more likely to have the scale and resources to detect and prevent fraud. Further, properties like social networks can leverage user account information to help ensure that installs come from legitimate people.
  • Leveraging Retention and Uninstall Data: By comparing the set of user traffic attracted by different media companies, brands can learn a lot about user quality. Low user retention or high uninstall rates increasingly are seen as signals of possible fraudulent activity.
  • Use ROI Analytics as a Primary KPI:.  Arguably, the best KPI to monitor and prevent fraud is ROI, or revenue divided by cost, as it is particularly difficult for fraudsters to simulate a sale, especially because most marketing analytics platforms — including Singular — verify in-app purchases with App Stores.

Fighting advertising fraud isn’t easy, which is why so many companies turn to companies like Singular for help.

Singular and Ad Fraud

Singular offers an industry-leading fraud solutions that you can learn more about right here. For a capsule summary of some of the steps we take to detect and prevent fraud for our clients, read on.

At Singular, our unprecedented visibility into BOTH the ad performance and spend sides of the install category gives us unique advantages in detecting and protecting clients from fraud. Our fraud detection and fraud prevention technologies are a mix of the best known techniques today as well unique proprietary techniques only we can offer.

Singular monitors the flow of data into our platform, looking for signs of fraudulent activity such as illegitimate networks, IP addresses, devices, mismatches in targeting, and more. Further, Singular verifies every in-app purchase (IAP) with the appropriate app store to ensure that you recognize revenue from every reported purchase.

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Singular’s New Anti-Fraud Improvements

Learn about Singular’s new Enhanced Fraud Protections. See how working with Singular can help protect and defend your business. Click for details.

 

Mobile Tutorial Series: All About Beacons, iBeacons, and Eddystone Beacons

People have been talking about the promise of beacons as a marketing tool for some time, but lately that conversation level has escalated. Perhaps it’s because more consumers than ever will have access and experiences with beacons this holiday season. Given that, we thought we’d put together a little primer on beacons for those who are intrigued and want to know more about this fascinating area of technology-empowered marketing.

What Are Beacons, iBeacons and Eddystone Beacons

In the context of marketing and mobile marketing, beacons are small Bluetooth transmitters that are placed in strategic locations, often inside brick and mortar stores. A beacon detects the presence of smartphones within its range, and can deliver content and experiences to those devices, with the permission of the user. Key to beacons is the use of “Bluetooth Low Energy” technology that enables a beacon to run on internal power for a long time without the need for an electrical connection on frequent battery changes.

Beacons transmit a unique identifier called a UUID that helps a device “understand where it is” and display contextually relevant content for that location, as defined by the individual or company that placed the beacon. In addition to transmitting messages to phones, beacons can also be used to understand in-store traffic patterns and other behaviors by detecting the location and path of individual mobile devices.

iBeacon is the protocol standardized by Apple. Beacon device makers create iBeacon compatible devices in order to communicate with Apple devices. iBeacon is a proprietary standard limited to communicating with iOS devices. Eddystone is Google’s competing protocol. Apple licenses the iBeacon protocol, whereas Eddystone is open source. Eddystone works on both Android and iOS.

Different beacons can have very different signal ranges. Some are set for “Immediate” range, and communicate with devices only when they are within a few inches of the beacon. “Near” beacons communicate when a device enters within a given number of feet from a device. “Far” beacons can communicate with devices 100 yards away. In the retail context, the most common use cases are for “near” beacons. At least so far.

Beacons v. Geofences

Proximity-based marketing is not limited to beacons. Some marketers also use an older location-based technology, geofencing, in order to communicate with devices when they enter a particular radius. For example, an app might be designed to deliver information and offers when a person enters within 3 miles of a retail location. Geofences are generally for larger areas than beacons — distances measured in hundreds of yards to a couple of miles.

Why Retailers are Intrigued and Excited about Beacons

Four core strategic uses have been identified for beacons: in-aisle location-based marketing, automatic customer “check-in”, analysis of shopping behaviors and as a means of enabling customers to pay for purchases without entering checkout lines.

Beacons hold the potential of adding a layer of content and engagement to the retail experience. In an environment where malls and many brick and mortar retailers are struggling to attract and retain traffic, beacons are viewed as a potential tool for enhancing the in-store experience. Some also believe that they could be a powerful tool to combat showrooming – when store visitors visit retail to evaluate goods but transact online to save money. Many retailers also see them as a way to drive loyalty and to better understand the shopping habits of their customers.

While most discussion of beacons revolves around consumer experiences, this Digiday piece, and many retail analysts, believe that data collection may be even more important to retailers than creating consumer-facing experiences, at least in the long haul. By more precisely understanding shopping habits, retailers will be able to take steps calculated to increase transactions and ring.

Retailers Using Beacons

A number of leading retailers are testing and implementing beacons and beacon technology in their stores. Some of the biggest include Macy’s, Lord and Taylor and Simon Malls. Other users of beacons include Virgin Atlantic, Starwood (as a way of checking in and entering your room without a key or front desk interaction,) and certain major league sports teams for seat upgrades in stadiums. A number of additional retailers are conducting tests as well.

Beacons and Push Notifications

Beacons do not deliver push notifications or other foreground experiences to all devices. This is definitely opt-in technology, in which a user is provided a proximity-driven experience through an app that they have downloaded. Whether that is a retailer’s own app, a shopping app, or another type of app that is designed to deliver content based upon proximity triggers. For beacon technology to be beneficial to the customer experience, it needs to deliver experiences only to those that want them.

Naturally this has implications on the size of beacon marketing programs and results, at least in the near term. It is challenging to seed a new app with brick and mortar customers. Some retailers have very popular apps and will likely incorporate beacon technology into these. Other stores may opt instead to use cross-retailer shopping apps that already have a strong install base.

Five Beacon-Based, Triggered Customer Experience Use Cases

Here are a few example ways that a beacon could be used in a brick and mortar retail context:

  • When a consumer enters a store, a beacon would trigger a special “VIP” offer or information about seasonal fashion trends
  • A shopper could receive notices of all available sale offers by nearing a special kiosk near the store front
  • When a person entered the detergent aisle in a grocery store, a coupon for a particular brand might be available
  • If a store visitor wanted information and reviews about a product, they could place their device next to it and receive content
  • An auto shopper could opt in to get car brochures as they shopped a dealership

The Beacon Nightmare Scenario, and Getting the Experience Just Right

Like many other marketing technologies, beacons hold tremendous promise but also potential pitfalls. For consumers who want to receive information and offers about products that they are in market for, beacons offer a unique opportunity to juxtapose content delivery with critical moments of consideration. They could also be a great way for consumers to save on products and types of products. These could be great opportunities for brands to influence a decision process or close a sale.

But unwelcome beacon communications could severely damage a retailer or product brand. You can imagine, for example, the backlash that would be triggered if your phone buzzed six separate times as you traversed a single store aisle. Unless, of course, you were extremely price conscious and opted into such frequent communications. In any case, without robust customer experience management, beacon-based communications could easily become the pop-under of this decade.

Recently a bunch of research has been done to determine the ideal beacon push message frequency. Many think it’s about one or two messages per store. For the retailer, making sure that the customer experience is a welcome one will be absolutely critical to ensuring that beacons help instead of hinder efforts to drive sales and loyalty.

Many retailers see the true promise of beacon-based marketing as pull- versus push-based. Instead of broadcasting messages, apps will make information available when it is requested by the user. That seems a rather sensible approach given the need to tread pretty cautiously in this new marketing arena.

Beacons, Apps, and Mobile App Measurement

Beacon technology is truly in its infancy, and understand customer behaviors and reactions to messages will be absolutely critical in order for retailers to get it right. Mobile app measurement will play a critical role in the process of creating and calibrating the right experience from beacon-based marketing.

Mobile app measurement will help marketers understand the behaviors that take place in apps, whatever triggers them. That sort of incredibly granular understanding will be critical as retailers test and optimize their way to ideal customer experiences. In addition, the ability to segment app users based upon their reactions to content and actions will likely help retailers create more custom and personal experiences based upon individual shopper preferences.

This isn’t an area where brands or retailers will want to “wing it” without a robust and granular feedback loop.

Note: This blog post was published first on the Apsalar blog, prior to Apsalar’s merger with Singular. Learn more about our united company at Singular.net.


Singular enables data-oriented marketers to connect, measure, and optimize siloed marketing data, giving them the most vital insights they need to drive ROI. The unified analytics platform tracks over $7 billion in digital marketing spend to revenue and lifetime value across industries including commerce, travel, gaming, entertainment and on-demand services.For more information, click here.

If you’d like to learn more or see a demo of the Singular unified analytics platform, get in touch.

Coming Soon: An Explosion in App Cross-Marketing

Many app publishers have developed multiple mobile applications, and often the target audience for at least some those apps is the same or similar. We’ve seen a big increase in the number of companies exploring app cross-marketing when it appears that they can drive efficiencies.

We help clients drive better ROI from their iOS and Android apps by enabling them to quickly and easily identify audiences of users from one app, and then specifically target those anonymized individuals in the advertising and other marketing programs of a second app.

It is usually much cheaper to get a user of one of your apps to install and engage with another app than to attract a new-to-file individual to your business. Here are a few reasons why:

  • You already know that existing iPhone, Android, Windows or iPad app users are people who are willing to download and install an app of the type you offer
  • You can leverage low- or no-cost app marketing vehicles to persuade that user with app cross-marketing. Push notifications, CRM emails, house ads, message center alerts and more provide great message impact at little or no cost. These are highly effective at sending users to the app stores
  • You can leverage low- or no-cost app marketing vehicles to persuade that user. Push notifications, CRM emails, house ads, message center alerts and more provide great message impact at little or no cost. These are highly effective at sending users to the app stores
  • New programmatic media tactics enable you to focus your app cross-marketing spend on the device advertising IDs of thousands or even millions of completely anonymized individuals, thus improving program efficiency and eliminating waste. This makes it possible to execute cross-marketing at tremendous scale

New programmatic media tactics enable you to focus your spend on the device advertising IDs of thousands or even millions of completely anonymized individuals, thus improving program efficiency and eliminating waste. This makes it possible to execute cross-marketing at tremendous scale

Our audience analytics and segmentation tools make it easy to identify individuals for cross-marketing. Here are some of the most popular ways that people “cut” the user base of one app to create high-performing apps for another:

  • For ad-supported apps like casual games, any ongoing user would be a potential target for cross-promotion. But identifying the heaviest/most frequent users would enable you to concentrate more of your marketing investments on people who, by dint of their frequent and prolonged play, are most likely to drive more ad revenue
  • For “fremium” app experiences, our clients target the payers of one app to install another app. This is an important use case because the number of people who are willing to transact in an app is finite. Focusing your efforts on people who have demonstrated a willingness to buy in-app can be tremendously valuable
  • For retail and transactional apps, many of our clients first cross-market to buyers in another app. Often, however, further segmentation may be warranted, depending on the content of the second app. Characteristics like gender, OS, device type, lifestyle and lifestage can be critical considerations for identifying the best prospects for cross-marketing

App cross-marketing provides another great example of how taking control of your data and actioning it can have tremendous impact on your ROI. And that’s a fantastic reason to make cross-marketing a part of your mobile app marketing plans. Take a few moments to think about your Android and iOS app portfolio and how you can drive additional scale and efficiency from these cross-marketing tactics.

Note: This blog post was published first on the Apsalar blog, prior to Apsalar’s merger with Singular. Learn more about our united company at Singular.net.


Singular enables data-oriented marketers to connect, measure, and optimize siloed marketing data, giving them the most vital insights they need to drive ROI. The unified analytics platform tracks over $7 billion in digital marketing spend to revenue and lifetime value across industries including commerce, travel, gaming, entertainment and on-demand services.For more information, click here.

If you’d like to learn more or see a demo of the Singular unified analytics platform, get in touch.

How to Prevent and Reactivate Lapsed App Users

There are dozens of studies that tell us something that most of us already knew intuitively – that lapsed app users are an incredibly common challenge for mobile app businesses. Most people uninstall long before that might make an in-app purchase.

People stop using iOS, Windows and Android apps for a variety of reasons. Those most often cited in industry studies include:

Poor Value Propositions

Many apps are one-launch wonders, meaning that what they do and the value they provide is fleeting.

Upfront Registration

Many people are reluctant to register the first time they use an app. We want to kick the tires before we commit. We get only so much information from Android, Windows and iOS app descriptions in the app store, and we want to try before we do all that data entry. In addition, people are becoming far LESS tolerant of performance issues over time. Think back to that Amazon study that said that they lose 1% of sales for every 100 milliseconds of delay there is in loading a page. Now, think about how people have even higher performance expectations for apps. That’s the challenge app developers face!

Complicated UI/UX

On mobile, it’s absolutely critical to make utility simple and intuitive. It can be instructive to imagine a time-lapse film of someone using their phone throughout the day. In many or most instances, the user will be on the go or be dividing their attention between two things. In those cases, the operation of an app needs to be simpler than a PC website. Much simpler. App development absolutely needs to focus on simplified use and control.

Forgetting

There are 1.5 million apps in both Google Play and the Apple App Store. One use of an app is usually insufficient to automatically get that mobile application into someone’s routinized behavior. I, for example, have 27 news apps on my phone. The ones that get used regularly clearly had an engagement plan built before launch, or at least before I downloaded them. The right quantity and content of push notifications, emails and other sorts of in-app messaging reminders have gotten about half a dozen of them into my morning routine.

Strategies to Combat Lapsed App Usage

Any app developer or publisher wants to maximize the number of people who use their smartphone app regularly. For the purpose of this post, let’s assume that your app has a good value prop and overall performance. If that’s the case, our challenge is really in ensuring that we engage the user often enough and well enough to get them to adopt the app as a regular part of their life.

First, identify your lapsed app users

Knowing who you need to communicate with is a critical consideration. At Singular, we’ve developed tools that enable our clients to create triggers for when users (small or large groups of users) have not used an app in N days. N, in this case, is obviously something that needs to vary based upon what your app does and how often someone might realistically need it.

Our tools then enable you to share that audience of lapsed users with the platforms and partners of your choice. You can use the data to power your push notification and/or marketing automation solutions. Our system is pre-integrated with all of the leading app marketing platforms so you can quickly and easily implement using the tools of your choice.

Second, figure out what sorts of messages will compel lapsed users to come back

Tell them WHY they need to relaunch. How will relaunching impact their lives? OK, maybe that sounds a little over the top. How will relaunching your iOS, Android or Windows app enrich the next few moments of their lives?

Third, architect a communications stream.

Think about it in four contexts:

  • Prevention versus treatment. It’s easier to keep someone engaged than toget a lapsed app user to re-engage. Create a comms plan that encourages routinized behavior. Without it, large numbers of lapsed users are probably inevitable. That doesn’t mean you can’t do things to bring them back. But why wait until you have a problem, if an ounce of prevention can be worth a pound of cure?
  • Reminder stream. You can’t keep delivering the same push notification expecting relaunches again and again. You need to find a way to vary your messages and give them urgency to prevent lapsed app users
  • Personalization/customization. Does it make sense/can you reflect the unique interests and usage of individuals in your messaging plan? If you have a travel app, for example, and the user often goes to Las Vegas, how can you use that information to deliver messages with genuine importance and urgency?
  • Learning and optimization. Some of the messages you craft will deliver gangbusters. Some won’t move the needle at all. How will you test and learn which sorts of messages work at preventing or re-activating lapsed app users?

With Singular, you can deliver parameters with your lapsed user notifications. Things like the actions they take, the items they shop for, the last thing they looked at. All of that information can be delivered to your marketing platforms and media partners in order to create and deliver more timely, urgent and effective messages.

If you are looking for a more powerful way to prevent and eliminate lapsed app users, please get in touch and see what we have to offer.

Note: This blog post on preventing lapsed app users was published first on the Apsalar blog, prior to Apsalar’s merger with Singular. Learn more about our united company at Singular.net.


Singular enables data-oriented marketers to connect, measure, and optimize siloed marketing data, giving them the most vital insights they need to drive ROI. The unified analytics platform tracks over $7 billion in digital marketing spend to revenue and lifetime value across industries including commerce, travel, gaming, entertainment and on-demand services.For more information, click here.

If you’d like to learn more or see a demo of the Singular unified analytics platform, get in touch.

How to Build More Customer-Centric App Marketing Plans

As mobile vehicles have moved from a supporting to a starring role in brand experience, expectations about the quality and richness of these mobile experiences have grown dramatically. App marketing plans MUST reflect this new reality. While once mobile played primarily a DR role for most marketing efforts, these days brands expect digital media and experiences to carry a great deal of the water when it comes to protecting and enhancing the brand itself. Thus, apps have become an important component of a multi-channel business plan to differentiate a brand and drive customer loyalty.

Apps now represent fully half of connected customer time in the US, and even more in other parts of the world. Further, app users tend to be the most committed audience for a brand — its true believers. The meteoric growth in user mobile time spent has caught a large number of marketers off guard. As app developers and app publishers come to grips with the starring role that their creations now play in brand experience, we need to make a big shift in the way that we approach app marketing and app marketing strategy.

No More Siloed Mobile App Marketing Plans

Specifically, an app business needs to stop thinking about what happens in apps as a discrete experience, and recognize that in-app user experiences are now powerful parts of  integrated, customer-centered brand journeys. App companies must both recognize and reflect this truism to drive maximum ROI.

Users don’t think about a brand’s messages in one medium as somehow separate from brand experiences that take place in another. Whether users are visiting your page on the app store, reviewing messages in social media, viewing pieces of mobile app marketing, or having analog or real-world brand experiences, people think about a brand as a single entity.

We should actually thank our lucky stars for that, because the huge number of digital marketing options has led to a Balkanization of media, as channel experts creating what are often distinct consumer touch points, with insufficient regard paid to the whole brand experience. OK, on some level that sentence makes it sound worse than it is, because marketers instinctively work toward building a brand with an integrated marketing mix even if all of the components of a marketing program are not overtly coordinated. But it is not at all unusual for mobile app marketing teams to operate separately from marketers focused on other channels.

Holistic Brand Experience

As we create new app concepts for mobile devices, and explore new ways to meet consumer needs with apps, we need to take the long view – one that thinks about brand experience holistically, and apps as integral tools that help guide customers through their marketing journey.

Now, lots of mobile apps are the alpha and omega of their brands and companies – games, for example, often live only in the app realm. But lots of other apps have been developed by brands that connect with customers in a myriad of different ways. We need to develop marketing plans and mobile marketing strategies that carefully consider all of the ways that an app could fit into the larger customer experience. Not just view them as alternative estores but rather as tools that serve a broad range of purposes for users.

In terms of app marketing plans, strategy and measurement, Singular is leading in helping marketers integrate the insights that they get from all channels and action them across all elements of their marketing campaigns. We have 1,600+ pre-built integrations,so that:

 

  • Marketers can add marketing platforms and partners to their mixes without integrating new SDKs, if they wish
  • App user data can be integrated into broader BI systems
  • A mobile-first company’s cross-channel marketing automation tools can deliver tailored messages based on the actions people take in apps and other media

 

As goes app marketing plans, app information is most useful when it can be combined with other data sets, and when it can be made immediately actionable in the platforms you already use and love. This helps ensure both an integrated brand experience and a marketing budget that is aligned to the same goals and metrics.

Note: This blog post was published first on the Apsalar blog, prior to Apsalar’s merger with Singular. Company informaiton has been updated. Learn more about our united company at Singular.net.

 


Singular enables data-oriented marketers to connect, measure, and optimize siloed marketing data, giving them the most vital insights they need to drive ROI. The unified analytics platform tracks over $7 billion in digital marketing spend to revenue and lifetime value across industries including commerce, travel, gaming, entertainment and on-demand services.For more information, click here.

If you’d like to learn more or see a demo of the Singular unified analytics platform, get in touch.

Horseshoes, Hand Grenades and App Cart Abandons

You know the adage, “close” only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. The meaning of this admittedly humorous statement is pretty self-evident. You either win or you lose; being close to winning – even a hair away from victory – doesn’t make a material difference. It’s thumbs up, or thumbs down. So how does that relate to app cart abandons?

It’s a stark assessment of what it means to win or lose. But it is certainly true that in ecommerce and mcommerce, you either make sales to customers or you don’t, and a cart abandon represents one of the best examples of how “close” is not a “close.”

App Cart Abandons Explained

With mobile app shopping cart abandonment, the user place items in a virtual shopping cart or shopping bag and then leaves the app. Sometimes they transact immediately upon leaving the app – either on the PC web, at retail, or in a competing app. Many times, though, they postpone or forget to make a purchase.

What Causes App Cart Abandons

For an ecommerce site, shopping cart abandons arguably represent the most frustrating of all customer actions, because the app user is so near to transacting. We can use that “closeness” to our advantage, because often it doesn’t take much to get people to take that final step. A little nudge and they buy,

There are lots of reasons why someone might abandon a shopping cart, but the most common include:

  • Ecommerce app or site performance issues. Pages that take a long time to load and other types of basic app or site performance challenges have strong effects on online shopping cart abandon rates.
  • Bad conversion process. Apps that make users jump through hoops to buy often have extremely high abandoned cart rates.
  • Uncertainty about whether or not to purchase. Do I need this? Do I really want this? Is this a good use of money? Negative answers or even dissonance in answering any of these questions can stop a would-be buyer in their tracks.
  • Uncertainty about pricing. For online shoppers that are price sensitive, the driver of many cart abandons is a desire to see if a discount is available – either via a coupon or on another site/app. In fact, many retailers issue so many online coupons that they have trained a generation of users to ALWAYS check coupon sites before transacting.
  • Distraction. We use this term broadly to describe any of a host of reasons why someone might lose focus on making a purchase during the shopping price.

Retargeting Your Way to Reactivated Shopping Cart Abandons

More and more commerce apps are dedicating a significant share of their budgets to addressing the shopping cart abandons challenge. The first step is understanding your shopping cart abandonment rate. From there, you need concrete strategies and tactics to impact that rate over time.

App Cart Abandons and Remarketing

Retargeting for apps operates under the same principles as retargeting for the PC or mobile web. A user who abandons a cart is identified and is then delivered a series of ads (often cost-efficient display “banner” ads) to remind or entice them to return to the app to finish the transaction. The level of personalization varies significantly for different retargeting efforts and solutions providers. Most effective are models that feature goods recently viewed or added to cart by the user.

Most PC retargeting companies use third-party cookies to identify users on the PC web. But because third-party cookies are problematic when it comes to smartphone apps, we need a different methodology to identify users.

Singular has developed a set of tools to help advertisers identify cart abandons as they occur so that a marketer’s media partners and internal marketing platforms can be leveraged to message them in hopes of driving a transaction complete. First, we use the Singular SDK to understand all of the tracked actions that a user takes while they are in the mobile application. We use “AND NOT” logic to identify cart abandons.

App Cart Abandons Audience Segmentation Logic

A person places one or more items in a cart during a session <<add to cart event>>
The person did NOT make a purchase <<and NOT purchase event>>

With Singular, you work with the partners and platforms of your choice, using Singular tools and data to power more effective marketing.Singular informs the media partner of which device advertising IDs to target. Our vision has always been that it is important to be able to do this on both a batch and triggered basis. The key challenge with triggered delivery is ensuring that your app has sufficient traffic and usage to meet the minimums of your media partner(s).

From retargeting display ads to abandoned cart email and push notifications, customized brand communications have been shown to drive significant incremental transactions – sales that far outstrip the media costs. While some of the sales possibly would have occurred anyway as a consumer naturally returned to the app, cart abandon retargeting shows incredibly strong ROI. It is shown to drive strong incremental sales.

So as you plan your next marketing efforts, think about horseshoes, hand grenades, and the new retargeting capabilities that Singular can provide to help you reactivate app cart abandons and so many other groups that can help you take your business to the next level.

Note: This blog post was published first on the Apsalar blog, prior to Apsalar’s merger with Singular. Learn more about our united company at Singular.net.


Singular enables data-oriented marketers to connect, measure, and optimize siloed marketing data, giving them the most vital insights they need to drive ROI. The unified analytics platform tracks over $7 billion in digital marketing spend to revenue and lifetime value across industries including commerce, travel, gaming, entertainment and on-demand services.For more information, click here.

If you’d like to learn more or see a demo of the Singular unified analytics platform, get in touch.

The ABCs of DMPs

The language of digital is full of acronyms and abbreviations – so full that sometimes it can be hard to keep up with all of the terminology. We’re going to start publishing short posts that explain some of the most talked about concepts – in plain English. One of the most important of such terms is DMP or data management platform.

For decades, marketers have dreamed of speaking to each consumer as an individual. To anticipate needs and provide the perfect solution to solve problems and drive maximum revenue from the relationship. Today we can go a long way to making this a reality, because digital allows us to collect signals consumers send as they navigate digital media. But all this data needs to be centralized, united with other sets of data, and associated to anonymized profiles – each representing the actions of an actual person. To do all that you need a data management platform (DMP).

A DMP is the centralized computing system for a brand’s customer data. It collects data from across your marketing touch points and unites it into profiles. It then manages these profiles and updates them with new data as consumers take additional actions. While the most critical role of a DMP is to bring together first party data, it should also be able to enable the marketer to import third party data to enhance customer profiles and empower more effective marketing.

From there, the DMP enables analysis and segmentation of the customer profiles so brands can understand their customers and segment them into audiences. Finally, a DMP delivers data and audiences to marketing platforms for more tailored marketing efforts based upon the characteristics and past actions of the audience segments.

Virtually all aspects of marketing are made better with a customer-focused approach powered with behavioral and intent data. Different marketers benefit in different ways:

For senior marketers, a DMP enables a customer-centric go-to-market approach. Further, by combining data from a variety of sources into a single profile, it helps to share insights and data across teams, and can help break down team silos. It also can empower customer analyses to help you set direction for your brand and company.

Practitioner level marketers benefit because the DMP can power more effective customer contact programs across channels. Your team can segment your customers with certainty based upon past actions, interests, and other characteristics, and then target those segments using a variety of touchpoints. Further, by understanding the types of customers represented in your user base, your team can devise more effective creative and media strategies, and fully capitalize on “real-time bidding.”

For the analytics team, a DMP provides the customer profiles necessary for the richest possible analysis and understanding. Further, they can perform analysis on a huge cross-section of customers and based upon real behavior, not just a small sample of paid respondents and what they report that they do.

Entire books have been written on this topic, but those are the basics.

Note: This blog post was published first on the Apsalar blog, prior to Apsalar’s merger with Singular. Learn more about our united company at Singular.net.


Singular enables data-oriented marketers to connect, measure, and optimize siloed marketing data, giving them the most vital insights they need to drive ROI. The unified analytics platform tracks over $7 billion in digital marketing spend to revenue and lifetime value across industries including commerce, travel, gaming, entertainment and on-demand services.For more information, click here.

If you’d like to learn more or see a demo of the Singular unified analytics platform, get in touch.

mCommerce Conversion Rates Increase to Near PC Commerce Figures

There’s some really interesting data available today in an article on eMarketer entitled Smartphones Are Closing the Retail Ecommerce Device Gap. The data compare the digital commerce conversion rates for transactions made on different platforms, including mcommerce. From the piece:

Smartphones have the lowest conversion rate of any device—at 1.0% in Q1, it was just half the rate on tablets and even lower compared to desktop or laptop PCs. But it has also more than doubled since the same period the previous year, even as PC conversion rates fell and tablet rates climbed by just 18.1%.

eCommerce and mCommerce Metrics

That growth trajectory indicates a growing comfort level with transacting via phone, which could relate to waning concerns about data safety as well as improved check out experiences. Average revenue per visit also increased in a big way between 2014 and 2015, up even faster than mcommerce transaction rate increases. AOV gaps are also closing, albeit more slowly.

It’s clear that mcommerce is growing even more quickly in the US than many expected, which underscores the need to reliable and accurate mobile behavior data collection, as well as customer profiles that are just as well informed on mobile-based transactions as PC-based transactions. If your business relies on digital transactions, it’s clear that you need to close the mobile data gap – a data “hole” that afflicts virtually every major brand.

Note: This blog post was published first on the Apsalar blog, prior to Apsalar’s merger with Singular. Learn more about our united company at Singular.net.

 


Singular enables data-oriented marketers to connect, measure, and optimize siloed marketing data, giving them the most vital insights they need to drive ROI. The unified analytics platform tracks over $7 billion in digital marketing spend to revenue and lifetime value across industries including commerce, travel, gaming, entertainment and on-demand services.For more information, click here.

If you’d like to learn more or see a demo of the Singular unified analytics platform, get in touch.

mCommerce in the Mall!

There’s an interesting piece this week from Mobile Marketing Daily about how mcommerce and mobile apps are figuring into the new in-person shopping experience in malls. We all know that mobile devices have become a keystone of many American consumers’ shopping strategies – and indeed became so long before retailers were taking aggressive steps to capitalize on this activity. In the early days, many brick and mortar stores feared the rise of showrooming and in-aisle comparison shopping. But things have changed on that score and one of the keys to making in-store mobile activity work FOR your business is leveraging your data advantage.

In-Store and Mobile Data Usage

Many research studies show that the majority of customers are using their phones while in stores — at least some of the time. But this activity — it’s not just for price comparisons. They are seeking advice, visiting a retailer’s site for more info, taking selfies to get opinions on a new outfit, keeping track of their kids as they wander, or getting the best deals via iBeacon-triggered coupons. Wi-Fi is increasingly expected inside stores.

Today’s retail customers are constantly connected and that has made them savvier about price comparison and information gathering. They’ve also completely reset expectations for engagement with, or about, a brand. Radical shifts in consumer behavior are shaking up the industry in profound ways. Far from creating only problems, however, these new customer dynamics are creating more opportunities for savvy retailers to drive connection and sales.

Retailers Need Rich Customer Understanding

When a retailer understands its customers, it has many means to compete for a sale. While price shopping is certainly more prevalent these days that in decades past, we know that “fit” with a customer can often trump rock bottom pricing. When a retailer can provide the information that the consumer seeks, and present them with a solution for their specific needs, they not only create an opportunity for a sale – they also help cement a bond that can contribute to a profitable long-term relationship with a customer.

Ultimately, what makes all this possible is data – mobile app and mobile web data that reveals preferences and intent. When a company takes a holistic approach to data by combining mobile data with PC web, site visitation, CRM and other types of first party data, they can capitalize on opportunities – in the aisle and everywhere else, around the clock.

Where’s Your Mobile First-Party Data

\What’s unfortunate is that most companies – even those that consider themselves very progressive with regard to data-driven marketing — don’t yet have the means to understand customer behavior in apps. Which is sad because they could easily remedy the problem.

Missing in-app customer signals might not sound like a huge deal until you realize that according to comScore 52% of connected customer time takes place. You hear that and all of a sudden the need for understanding in-app behavior becomes quite clear.

This post was originally published on the Apsalar blog, before Apsalar and Singular merged.

 


Singular enables data-oriented marketers to connect, measure, and optimize siloed marketing data, giving them the most vital insights they need to drive ROI. The unified analytics platform tracks over $7 billion in digital marketing spend to revenue and lifetime value across industries including commerce, travel, gaming, entertainment and on-demand services. For more information, click here.

If you’d like to learn more or see a demo of the Singular unified analytics platform, get in touch.