How to lead your company’s data revolution in 4 steps

There’s more data available to marketers than ever before, and that’s great! But most of us aren’t data scientists. So how can marketers learn to make sense of such a rich source of information and use it to grow their business?

It’s all about making that data work for you; being able to access it all and transform it into insights. Becoming a revolutionary marketing leader is all about taking a data-driven approach to executing and optimizing your marketing efforts.

Building your data revolution

We’ve put together resources for marketers wanting to implement a full data strategy in their organization and revolutionize the way they do business. With these tools, we’ll share How to lead your company’s data revolution.

We partnered with App Growth Summit to put together an on-demand webinar where you’ll hear our VP of Marketing, Barbara Mighdoll, interview Vivek Girotra, Former Director of Performance Marketing at FoxNext (currently Senior Marketing Director at Elevate Labs) and Jon Lau, Programmatic Lead, Digital Growth at DraftKings. You’ll hear from these experts about how they leverage the power of data to achieve growth.

Also download our tip sheet for full information on how to lead your company’s data revolution in just 4 steps:

  1. Map your data sources. Determine where you need to collect data from, and what you need to measure and analyze.
  2. Build a data infrastructure. Standardize all of your campaign data from ad partners. Tie all of your standardized campaign data back to attribution/conversion data to understand the true impact of your ad campaigns.
  3. Visualize and analyze performance. Use a marketing analytics tool that’ll provide a complete view across all channels, and allow you to easily visualize and pivot your data.
  4. Democratize your data. Establish a single source of truth for all of our marketing data.

Register today to watch the on-demand webinar and get the tip sheet!

How Singular can help with your data revolution

To learn more, schedule a demo with us. We’ll show you how to navigate the steps needed to revolutionize your marketing programs.

Interested in some more growth-related insights? Tune in for AGS SpeakHer Virtual Summit on June 17 to hear from 24 industry-leading women about their experiences and visions for the industry!

Cody Christie and Riot Games take on mobile user acquisition

As we continue to stay in our homes and ensure our customers have the most complete view of their marketing performance, it’s full speed ahead at Singular.

Today’s digital marketing strategies will inform the industry’s next highs and lows. And, as COVID-19 continues to impact global markets, gaming shows no signs of slowing down.

In our previous article, we spoke with Mary Kim of Game Hive to hear what her team’s doing to test new partners and gain more efficiency. This time around, we checked in with Cody Christie at Riot Games to learn what they’re focusing on testing and optimizing for the year.

Cody is the User Acquisition lead for Riot Games’ global UA team. He’s worked in the mobile gaming adtech industry for six years and is a life-long gamer. (“I’m terrible at shooters though,” he says, “so Valorant will be my Everest.”)

riot games

Are there any marketing strategies or tactics that you’re really excited about testing in 2020, or that you’ve started testing, that you want to double down on?

Yes, for Riot Games, it’ll be our first-ever foray into mobile UA (user acquisition). It’s quite literally square one for us on that. What that means is we get to start with best practices in hand because of how closely we work with Google and Facebook, plus other publishers invested in us doing well. We have a pretty good first foot forward. So, the tactics I’m interested in are more related to creative testing, to really see what’s going to resonate with our potential players.

And, of course, creatives are a pretty big deal for engaging gamers, right?

Absolutely. That’s where the bulk of our mental energy is going. It’s not as channel-specific so much as trying to really identify who our potential players are for each game, because we’re launching five games in 2020. We’re trying to figure out which player wants to play what game and how to really showcase the games that appeal to the segment they belong to.

Speaking of channels, you said that creative optimization is your main lever you’re trying to test. What are your thoughts on overall channel strategy?

I’m personally excited to check out TikTok and see how that works. Because it’s a channel we haven’t done before, and given its nascency, we’d like to work with them and most likely Snapchat. Otherwise, it’ll be almost exclusively self-attributed ad networks (i.e. Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc.).

It’s interesting that you mentioned testing TikTok. We have awesome data analysts who look out for trends in the industry to share with customers—what people are testing and what’s working. 

We were really surprised to find a trend of ad spend accelerating like crazy from May to November last year on TikTok. And, the gaming vertical is leading the way. We were talking to Mary Kim at Game Hive and she mentioned that historically people thought TikTok was only for a younger demographic, like Gen Z. I think what they’ve found is that’s not necessarily the case. 

They definitely have millennials as well. I know you’re doubling down on creative; are there any new formats you want to play with, or new themes?

I don’t know if we’ll end up doing this because there’s a lot more teams involved than just me, but I really want to try and leverage influencers in a different way. And by that I mean actually using the influencers as the ad generators—looking at the way those influencers are playing games on Twitch or Mixer or Facebook Gaming. I want that standard Twitch view, where you see the streamer in the bottom right and what they’re doing on the screen in front of you. I want to turn that into an ad format and see how that works with very niche, regionally specific influencers, and just activate those in their home regions and see how it works.

That’s an awesome idea. What do you guys think about video versus static? We know everyone’s doubled down on video, because it typically has higher engagement rates. Are you all of the same philosophy?

Yes we are. We do some programmatic for display like working with Google Display & Video 360, which has really good returns in very specific countries. But video, across the board, remains king in terms of performance. That tends to be the general case from what I’ve seen in the past. It’s true for gaming specifically because you’re able to highlight, in those video ads, what game play actually looks like. Then your retention rate ends up being pretty strong, because you’ve already shown what the player is going to get and there’s no surprise. 

You know, I think back to some mobile game creatives that were very different from the actual game you end up playing. So, the churn rate is high because you’re thinking, oh, I thought I’m getting a tower defense game and I’m actually getting a city builder. You need to be very clear with your audience about what they’re getting.

From a UA perspective, what I would consider a success on an emotional level is if a player sees an ad, downloads the game, opens it, and goes, “yup, that’s what I thought it would be.” If that’s the reaction I get, then in my mind it’s going well.

Are there any kind of new performance indicators that you’re looking at measuring or optimizing for?

For us, it’s a little different than most mobile games because Riot Games is very intent on our catalogue of games not allowing players to purchase power, which means you can’t pay to progress like you could in other mobile games. That means that I need to value players differently, which for us is more likely to be the number of games played or average game hours played. That’ll be more the metric that I consider for a “valuable” player—somebody who’s finding value in our game. 

Are you trying any new marketing automation in 2020? For example, doing rules-based bid optimization, or sequencing creatives in an automated way?

We actually do both of those things now on YouTube. We’ll probably just advance that and try out some new stuff.

Something I wanted to try is around characters. Our characters inside League of Legends or the greater League universe, which will also include TeamFight Tactics and the game later called Wild Rift—they’re all in the same IP family. Those champions have very specific personalities, and I wanted to create some ad campaigns where some of them appear to be interacting with a player throughout the ad process. 

riot games


One of the characters is a bit like a psychotic stalker, a kind of Harley Quinn from Batman personality, following you around the internet and peeking out at you from behind things. I’m trying to play around with different things like this, actually expressing character personality through ad sequencing, which might be interesting. But that’s harder to do.

Are there any marketing strategies or tactics that you’re really going to be doubling down on this year?

Not so much honestly, because like I said earlier, it’s going to be starting from ground zero. First, we just have to train up a lot of muscles inside of Riot Games that don’t exist around mobile. It’s a lot of asking questions like, what does our creative update sequencing look like? How often do I need them? How many do I need? We have to go from square one on that, and we’ll try and do it fast, but we’re catching up to other game companies who already have this mechanized.

Any other things that come to mind when thinking about your focus for this year?

It’s really strongly going to be on player sentimentality because UA is entirely new to Riot Games. It didn’t really exist before I got here, which has been less than a year. So, for 10 years, Riot did zero UA and now we’re starting. A big reason behind that is the game was a tremendously strong organic success. But it’s also because Riot takes our players’ experience very, very seriously, often to the detriment of monetization mechanics, or other teams who want to do certain things. 

I joined because of the player’s experience. I really liked that ethos. And ads are, in general, negatively received by people globally. So it’s going to be a challenge to try and create ads where when somebody sees it, they go, “Oh, that was cool,” instead of, “When can I skip this?” The goal is figuring out how to make it so that if somebody is already a player and they see an ad, they say, “Oh, cool! I’m happy I already played that game. That represents my passion really well. This ad displays my passion project in a positive light in a way that I agree with,” which is an interesting thing to take on.

It’s a challenge, but a really fun one. Again, working at the ad network side of things, I’ve worked with hundreds of mobile apps at this point, and most of the time, that was never the sentiment I received from any of those companies. So that was a really fun reason to join Riot. How do I run a UA team when LTVs are necessarily going to be lower because we don’t have pay-to-win mechanics and you can’t whale out even if you want to? How do I compete with the likes of Supercell and King? It’ll be a process.

As you said, you have a fun challenge ahead of you. I’ve heard great things about the team, too. So, it’s been just under a year. And it seems like you’ve made a massive transition, and we’re excited to take this journey with you all.

Thank you for the opportunity. This is really cool. I’ve been a fan of Singular for a long time, so I’m glad.

How 6 gaming marketers achieve campaign optimization victory

With COVID-19 sending people indoors and looking for more entertainment options, gaming apps have brought in a chart-busting $23.4 billion and ad spend has
jumped 25%
as a result. Now, gaming marketers are contending with how to keep pace in an overwhelmed, rapidly changing space.

We can learn from history—and a few Singular customers—about what to do to keep gaming ad campaigns optimized and high-performing.

1. Jam City spends moments, instead of hours, measuring and reacting to performance

When a “rapid response” to changing consumer behavior becomes even more vital, marketers can’t waste time manually gathering data and updating spreadsheets. Jam City eliminated manual data entry and started using Singular’s automated tools for assembling data from every source, loading it into dashboards or preferred BI tools, and allowing teams to slice and dice it the way they want.

“Having that data in the dashboard, especially for someone like me who’s spending across 8-10 titles, we have a massive portfolio, the dashboard really gives us the ability to easily pivot that data whether it be by spend, by channel, by paid installs, by tracker installs, impressions, it’s very, very useful, as well as creative.” — Brian Sapp, VP of User Acquisition Marketing, Jam City

See our full interview with Brian Sapp here:

2. DGN combines strategy, people, and tools for massive growth

DGN wanted to aggressively scale their user acquisition efforts while ensuring a profitable ROI. To this end, they implemented a three-pronged strategy:

  • Leveraged Singular to aggregate, standardize, and analyze their campaign analytics across all of their apps and +10 media sources in a single platform
  • Uncovered insights, such as publisher-level ROI, that ultimately enabled faster and smarter decision-making and optimizations
  • Exported their insights—such as cohorted KPIs by App and Source—from Singular to leverage in their internal BI systems, freeing up precious BI resources

Many gaming companies develop multiple titles and advertise across multiple ad networks. Fragmented data can be measured by orders of magnitude—for gaming marketers, that means keeping track of all your titles and all of your data sources, often from five to 15 networks and with 10 games or more.

With so many different sources and factors to consider, having data all in one place, for a single source of truth, becomes a treasured resource for cross-functional teams.

For more information on how DGN experienced 85% YoY growth, read the case study.

3. Ilyon automatically optimizes their creative to visualize and act on performance

Like many gaming companies right now, Ilyon’s focus was quickly increasing their user base and keeping those users engaged. Gaming marketers seeing rapid user growth can learn from how Ilyon improved their storytelling and broke through to audiences using Singular’s Creative Analytics.

How?

  • Comparing creative asset performance across all their media sources in a single view to understand which creatives work best for each channel
  • Using Creative Clustering to easily visualize the performance of a certain ad asset across different campaigns and media sources
  • Leveraging Automated Alerts to get notifications when there were meaningful shifts in performance, allowing the team to make quick optimizations
gaming marketers

Learn more about how Ilyon increased installs by 98%.

4. N3TWORK aligns their internal teams to do their jobs better

Using Singular as its marketing stack, as both an attribution and cost aggregation partner, N3TWORK solved the challenge of getting all of its internal teams on the same page.

Why is this important?

“Singular helped us a lot with aligning the Finance team with the User Acquisition team. And within the User Acquisition team, we have a media buying team, data analytics team and marketing creative [team]. All four teams, Finance and the three sub-teams of the marketing team are looking closely into the Singular data and trying to understand how to do their jobs better.” — Nebojsa Radovic, Director of Performance Marketing, N3TWORK

“Better” includes:

  • Finance estimating end-of-week and end-of month spend
  • At a high level, estimating the financial health of the company
  • The User Acquisition team making better ad buying decisions

To hear more from Nebojsa, watch our full, two-minute interview.

5. Zynga uses standardized schemas for clean, quickly accessible data aggregation

Standardized schemas means never having to worry about the process of extracting, transforming, and loading your data to your analytics tool or database of choice.

Zynga standardizes its data with Singular to power its campaign analytics, which helps them decide which marketing channels to use for acquiring customers.

Automated data pipeline management allows you to make faster decisions and achieve 100% data coverage. With gaming advertisers working with so many ad networks that are now on hyperdrive, it’s essential to gain a fast, complete view of performance—across offline, mobile, and desktop.

6. Nexon transforms marketing data into granular performance insights

Going even deeper, Nexon wanted to analyze ad creative performance, especially since it advertises multiple titles across its many ad partners.

The name of the game was “granularity.”

“With the number of titles that we’re buying for, we don’t have the time to go into every separate source, every separate title, and look at it all à la carte. So the ways that we can slice and dice, and stack rank what’s important to us to see what’s giving us the highest ROI” — Warren Woodward, Director of Acquisition, Nexon

Not only does Singular allow Nexon to get up and running fast with new ad partners, it offers deeper levels of insight across Nexon’s partner portfolio.

Listen to Warren explain the finer points of working with Singular to gain granular performance insights.

Going for the campaign optimization gold

In a time of future uncertainty and current, off-the-chart gaming, marketers can make certain adjustments to ensure continued—and ramped up—success.

To recap, you should:

  1. Quickly measure and react to shifts in consumer behavior and performance
  2. Combine a nimble strategy, people, and tools for data-driven growth
  3. Engage audiences with better creatives by identifying top performing assets
  4. Keep everyone on the same page by establishing a single source of truth
  5. Transform disparate data sets into a complete view of marketing performance

Singular’s here to help. To learn more, schedule a demo with us, and we’ll guide you through the steps needed to simplify your marketing data and get a complete view of performance.

The “Four Levers” of Retail Marketing Campaign Optimization

23x more likely to acquire customers. 6x as likely to retain customers. 19x more likely to be profitable.

That’s what McKinsey reports about data-driven organizations.

And, being “data-driven” is exactly what’s needed for eCommerce/mCommerce, direct to consumer, and subscription brands to improve digital sales. 

After all, the retail marketing landscape isn’t getting any easier. Between a highly saturated market, growing demands for laser-focused personalization, and a constantly evolving customer experience, you have to keep up with an industry moving at breakneck pace.

How should you use data to accomplish your team’s goals? Most likely, you’re trying to: 

  • Acquire more first-time buyers
  • Turn first-time buyers into loyalists
  • Drive incremental revenue via purchases or subscriptions
  • Re-engage high-value buyers and subscribers

Answer: Focus on four “levers” to make sure your ad campaigns are optimized for success. Here is just a preview of the great tips you’ll find in our Retailer’s Guide to Marketing Campaign Optimization. Download the full document for complete advice, pro tips, and creative examples. 

1. Build the right creative

Creatives are key to engaging buyers, particularly for the retail vertical. Being able to quickly grab people’s attention can make or break your campaigns.

To build the right creative….

  • Focus on quality over quantity: Make sure it’s viewable, has a clearly communicated USP, and a powerful headline.
  • Avoid ad fatigue: If people see your ads too often, they’ll respond to them less.
  • Get dynamic: Use dynamic ads and dynamic creative optimization to deliver personalized ads based on the interest people show on your website or app, allowing you to understand which assets work best. 
  • Get sequential: All of the major publishers offer some type of ad sequencing. With sequencing, you can arrange your ads so that they’re shown in order. Users don’t have to interact with an ad before the next one shows up.
retail marketing

2. Set the right bids

Bid optimization is all about monitoring performance and analyzing data. When it comes to optimization, most of the time less is more. Be mindful of how often you should adjust your bids and budgets throughout the day.

To set the right bids:

  • Determine your budget: figure out what’s doable and go from there
  • Give it time: Let your campaign run long enough to gather sufficient data 
  • Once you know what’s working (and what’s not), adjust as needed

Adjusting is part art, part science. Make sure your bids are high enough so that your ads are being shown and you stay competitive, but low enough to keep your CPC in check. Or, invest in a tool that automatically adjusts bids for you based on performance—just a few on the market include Kenshoo, Marin Software, and Smartly.io. 

3. Allocate the right budget

You’ve got the perfect creative and a stellar bidding strategy. How do you know how much to spend?

We recommend a holistic measurement approach in how you allocate budget:

  • Think cross-channel: See how you’ve spent historically across channels
  • Go full-funnel: Compare spend between top-of-funnel, mid-funnel, and bottom-funnel; a full-funnel view of performance ensures you’re allocating the right budget
  • Go high with ROI: Optimize based on your highest ROI; when these campaigns plateau, move budget to where it works better
  • Test, test, test: Which brings us to our next lever….

4. Test the right channels (in the right way)

In these data-rich times, marketers are constantly trying to expand their reach. Those who adopt a “create and learn” mentality to continually experiment have a huge advantage over their competitors.

But, the trick is knowing when, where, and what to test.

  • The when: To have the greatest impact, test at every stage of your ad campaigns. 
  • The where: To build a successful testing framework, first determine which channels to test. We’re all familiar with the tried and true “big publishers.” But, since new channels are cropping up all the time (TikTok, for example), constantly test to consider which channels to add to your retail advertising toolkit.
  • The what: social vs display, agencies, etc.; video ads, etc.

Don’t worry—if you don’t have dedicated resources or one month of internal work, you can automate this with a tool like Singular. 

The bottom line: use data to generate first-time buyers and create loyal customers

With hundreds of billions of measurement marketing events annually, Singular sees how the world’s best marketers win. 

We know there’s always more to learn. And, we know that you need the right tools for the never-ending job of growth and driving the next purchase. Contact us to schedule a demo to learn how we help top retail marketers optimize their ad campaigns. Also be sure to download your free copy of The Retailer’s Guide to Marketing Campaign Optimization.

What Advertisers Should Keep in Mind During COVID-19

In good times, I’m usually more cautious than most. I’m the person who takes shoes off before walking through the house, goes straight to wash my hands, opens windows while cooking, and uses “gentle” detergents and cleansers.

Needless to say—we’ve all been compelled to take things up many notches due to COVID-19.

As more teams and groups work remotely and gather screenshots and recordings of video conference galleries, one thing stands out—we’re coming together, like never before, to support each other through an unprecedented moment in modern history. 

As Singular data has shown, some industries are preparing for slowed business. Others are ramping up marketing activity as we all stay at home with new distractions and needs.

Thriving industries: bringing relief in a stressful time

As we previously reported, gaming has seen a 25% jump in ad spend since the outbreak of COVID-19. To quote Singular’s top executive in China, gaming companies “are reaching their revenue peak … because everybody is just playing games.”

And, with much of the country sheltered in place, food delivery has become the current norm, with some predicting the behaviors may stick. 

These are just a couple of the examples we’ve shared of how COVID-19 is upending industries. Here, we provide guidance for digital advertisers working hard to meet heightened demand, as well as those who must plan in terms of “long haul.”

Recommendation for Gaming: continuously test new ad networks

To stay competitive, gaming advertisers should make sure they’re constantly testing new ad networks to understand which ones are generating the best ROI. (Tip: read Singular’s 2020 ROI Index to see which ad networks are bringing in the best ROI for our customers.)

Also, based on research from VentureBeat, we know that successful mobile marketers use more media sources: 78% with average LTV use five or less media sources, but 65% of mobile marketers with high LTV use six or more.

In short: bump up your media sources!

Another thing gaming advertisers should do: continue to boost ad spend, and test what’s working to allocate budget in the right places and maximize impact. As the potential user base increases so does the opportunity to fine-tune ad campaigns.

Considering creative optimization? Now’s the time to get granular with your testing framework.

Guidance for Retail: rise to the moment and brand accordingly

Think creatively: videoconferencing as “the current normal”

As video conferencing platforms like Zoom hit record usage highs, other brands are quickly pivoting to keep their brands interesting and relevant. For example, West Elm just rolled out new Zoom backdrops to highlight their offerings. 

covid-19
Source: West Elm

Provide offers and discounts

Macy’s is offering deals usually reserved for its loyalty members. Inviting shoppers to “Relax, recharge, and WFH,” they’re featuring free shipping on purchases of $25 or more or $25 of beauty products. 

Featuring prominent links to gift cards is another way to shore up activity and entice people to stay connected to your brand.  

Guidance for On-demand & Marketplaces: hyper-localized strategies win

Order online, drop off at home

On-demand and marketplace brands can meet consumers where they’re at by offering discounts, communicating their enhanced sanitization and safety procedures, and making sure their inventories are kept up to date.

For example, San Francisco organic food distributor Good Eggs has provided customers with accurate estimates of food delivery and sends periodic text updates when drivers are en route. 

Like other mobile food delivery services, they’ve placed their offerings front and center on their website and tweaked their messaging for increased demand because of COVID-19.

covid-19
Source: Good Eggs

Use data to identify opportunities

To reach the right audiences in the right way, it’s important for on-demand advertisers to implement hyper-localized strategies and relevant creatives.  

During COVID-19, people are showing a heightened level of intent—they’re going online to find exactly what services and products they want. 

Use this information to optimize your creative, and deliver relevant content and experiences that match the behaviors of a changing online audience.

For example, Postmates—a Singular client that uses couriers to deliver local food, groceries, and alcohol—uses hyper-localization to test various creatives tailored to a location or food. You can deep dish anywhere, but where is it prominently known? Chicago! 

Postmates was able to significantly increase click-throughs, conversions, and first-time purchases by calling out “Chicago” and popular Chicago pizzerias. Use the same strategy to highlight products people are focusing on as they stay at home.

With our creative analytics capabilities, Singular allows you to see all your ad assets, including images and videos, side by side with their respective performance metrics. You can then use these insights to refine your hyper-targeting strategies.

Make use of robust channels and ad formats

Social media: the answer to social distancing

People are finding ways to connect with the ones they love and live near—whether it’s singing on balconies, doing across-the-street workouts, or organizing drive-by birthday celebrations.

If you’ve held off on boosting your social ad campaigns, try testing carousel ads versus static versus video. Or create a sense of community with your brand through a virtual event like a message from someone in the C-suite, or offering something from your brand to help people cope with the anxieties of the current moment.

Some are using Facebook Live for DJ sets. Others are doing things like looking out for parents now homeschooling their children.

For example, The Cincinnati Zoo has started a Facebook Live series with their local celebrity, Fiona the Hippo. We’ve most likely all seen examples of businesses, groups, and organizations welcoming users through their virtual doors with similar incentives.

Plan now for future spikes in performance

There’s no doubt that some sectors have been greatly affected by the coronavirus. The good news is that measures are being taken around the globe to slow the spread of the virus and achieve zero new domestic cases, as China has done. Scientists race to find a vaccine.

In short, life will eventually return to normal. We’ll be in gyms again and crank our investments back up.

Advertisers in spaces negatively impacted by COVID-19 need to stay aware of rapid shifts in the advertising landscape. It took two months for China to reign in the virus. Although other countries vary in their response, advertisers should plan for the future by keeping close track of what’s being done in their region to “flatten the curve.”

Use the latest data insights to inform your decision making

In this rapidly changing environment, a single source of truth for marketing performance is not a nice-to-have—it’s critical for fast, adaptive decision making. 

To keep pace with quickly shifting advertising tides and know the exact impact of their ad spend and ROI, marketers need centralized, easily accessible, actionable data.

Singular can help. Try us free for 30 days to learn how to use marketing data insights for maximum performance. No code required.

Our best days are ahead

“The future is uncertain… but this uncertainty is at the very heart of human creativity.”
— Ilya Prigogine

In these uncertain times, it helps to recall that some of humankind’s greatest work followed difficult events. We hope that everyone’s finding avenues of solace and relief as we await the next great work—finding effective ways to combat this global pandemic.  

We’ll continue to provide advice and information on how to ride the current tides of digital advertising. Stay safe and be well.