CEO insights: Why creative fatigue isn’t as simple as it sounds

CEO Insights is a new column by Singular CEO Gadi Eliashiv focusing on some of the most challenging issues in scientific marketing.

Most sophisticated growth organizations we’re working with are placing an enormous importance on creatives. These companies usually have in-house design teams dedicated for making creatives, plus processes and metrics around the production and launch process.

All of it is designed to ensure optimized results.

These companies understand the power of creative optimization, and distribute shared responsibility for amazing creative throughout the organization. Designers have been educated about performance metrics, and they’re savvy enough to combine their art with science in the form of cold, hard metrics.

These top brands also have periodic meetings (bi-weekly or more) where the design team sits down with the marketing team. Together they carefully examine the performance of various assets, and find a balance between introducing new winning concepts, sustaining proven concepts, and eliminating bad ones.

More advanced marketers also apply particular conventions to how assets are managed and tagged, so that tens of thousands of creative variations can be grouped by a handful of key concepts, which helps identify key trends.

All of these workflows and analysis capabilities are available out of the box for our customers through Singular’s creative optimization suite, and it gives our customers an enormous edge. Click here if you want to learn more about that, or email me if you’d like to see a demo.

So: what is the right process?

One area that was of interest to me was the pace at which companies swap out creative assets.

When asking various companies, I got a range of answers from: “we don’t have bandwidth for that at all” to “we have a constant refresh rate.” Some companies update on a fixed period of time (every two weeks or a month), while others update their creative “whenever design creates a new one.”

Obviously, not all creative costs the same to produce, and some creative is super expensive to produce in time and money like playables and videos. Other assets, however, can be produced quickly and efficiently, and when infused with time-specific context (such as a big concert, or a particular live event in a game) they can produce great results.

A common theme I’ve heard is the following way to run analysis on your creatives:

  • Cadence
    • Weekly or bi-weekly
  • Data input
    • Creative asset performance from all channels (Singular does that out of the box: check out our API)
    • Campaign targeting option data, particularly around the major self-attributing networks, to identify targeting methodology (value optimization, bid optimization, etc. …)
    • Channel, country, region, plus any other breakdowns that makes sense to you
    • Four weeks of data
      • Period A: first 2 weeks of data
      • Period B: second 2 weeks of data
  • Two simple data outputs
    • Check the trend of currently running creatives to detect big drops that might suggest these creatives should be cycled.
      • The drops could be in clicks, installs, eCPM, or any other metrics that make sense
      • For customers using Singular’s attribution, we enable ROI granularity all the way down to the creative level, so you can check for a drop in your main KPI (which is often what the ad engines optimize against)
    • Isolate the creatives that did not exist in Period A, but existed in Period B, and identify how they are trending. Learn from new concepts that are succeeding well, and some that are failing to ramp up.

One example:

Creative Period A Period B
  CTR     Conversions     eCPM     CTR     Conversions     eCPM  
Creative 1     3% 7,500 $9.50 1.5% 3,300 $11.75
Creative 2 n/a n/a n/a 3.5% 15,000 $11
Creative 3 n/a n/a n/a 1.5% 3,400 $9
Creative 4 1% 2,200 $3.40 2.3% 4,300 $4.23

Creative fatigue and time

As I look at all this data, the questions I keep asking myself are:

  • When is the right time to swap creatives?
  • Do companies know those times?
  • Can they even figure them out?

The answers to those questions, as I found out, are very complex. After dozens of talks with top tier marketers I got literally dozens of answers, and none of them was the silver bullet I was hoping for.

(Mostly likely, there isn’t any one single silver bullet. The techniques that work for one app are different than those that work for another brand.)

The one common thread in all these conversations was the favorite topic of creative fatigue detection. The formal definition of creative fatigue is that consumers/users/customers do not even see your ad anymore. They’ve become so used to it, that it is now just part of the default background for them.

Traditionally, the first thing people think about fatigue is that CTRs drop over time, because people have seen your ad again and again, and those who wanted to click have done that already.

But when I started researching some data, that naive assumption quickly surfaced as being incorrect.

When dealing with optimizing algorithms like Facebook’s and others, they will track the number of exposures each user had seen (frequency) and will cap that at a certain point, because their algorithm understands that it’ll be a waste of an impression, and also lead to a bad user experience.

So FB simply chooses another ad to show.

You can quickly see this phenomenon in the chart below.

In the first chart, CTR does not drop appreciably throughout the campaign. A campaign manager who looks only at this probably thinks that all is well with her ads.

CTR over time: no creative fatigue?

But there is actually a significant problem.

What’s actually happening behind the scenes is that Facebook knows that it has exhausted your chosen audience, and the number of people it is showing the ad to has dropped precipitously:

Creative fatigue … sometimes, Facebook is smarter than you

It’s important to say ads will not always behave that way. That’s why when analyzing fatigue you need to not only know what assets you’re using, but also what ad channels you’re running on, what bidding methodology is being used, and what their algorithms do.

(For example: due to saturation, the algorithm could also start increasing the CPM bid to generate more impressions, which will decrease your ROAS).

In general, even if these algorithms are smart enough to avoid audience fatigue, it is still the responsibility of the marketer to identify it and remedy the situation. You can find new audiences, add new creatives, and so on.

But there can be more going on

Sometimes when you’re looking for creative fatigue you’ll see data that doesn’t make sense at first. For instance, you might have a click-through rate chart like this one, which shows creative gaining strength over time:

Creative fatigue: can ads gain in CTR and conversions over time?

All looks well at first glance. But … if you check impressions, there’s clearly something else going on. The number of impressions is skyrocketing:

Creative fatigue: Oops, impressions are skyrocketing

Something very different is going on here.

Hint: this behavior can be related to changes in bids and budgets … another key thing to think about when testing for creative fatigue. Changing the bid (even if it’s a CPI/CPA bid) will directly impact the amount of money you’re willing to spend on a certain impression, therefore creating more impressions that were not accessible before at your previous bid.

In short: creative fatigue is one of those concepts that seems easy to understand and easy to diagnose … but actually isn’t. To find out if creative fatigue is actually happening, you need to dig deeper into the data than most can or will.

Fortunately, that’s where Singular can help

What’s next

That’s it for this post. In the next post, I’ll look more at how bids and budgets impact click-through rate, impressions, and conversions.

 

Singular CEO Gadi Eliashiv on chief growth officers and the rise of marketing intelligence [video]

Over the past decade we’ve seen the rise of the marketing technologist, who has one foot in the marketing department and another in engineering. And we’ve seen the data scientist role jump from almost nonexistent to being one of the fastest-growing jobs in just a decade.

Increasingly, as marketing is changing, technology is central to how marketers perform. Growth is now a key unifying function in brands and enterprise, and we’re also seeing the rise of the Chief Growth Officer.

We’re releasing a report on that in about a month.

But … our CEO Gadi Eliashiv gave a sneak peak at some of the results recently at Mobile Apps Unlocked in Las Vegas.

The rise of chief growth officers

Ultimately, the way chief growth officers lead their organizations is by using data-driven insights. Some of the most successful leaders drive those insights via marketing intelligence platforms like Singular.

The primary function of a marketing intelligence platform?

To provide insights for growth by connecting effort with outcome at granular and aggregate levels.

Ultimately, that’s how CGOs and other growth leaders get the score. Understand if they’re winning or losing. And know at both as high level and as granular as they want: how successful are our marketing, our campaigns, our ads, our creative.

Knowing that — and getting smart insights for optimization — powers breakthrough improvement in conversions and ROI. And that’s exactly what most brands, enterprises, and companies need.

Finished the video?

Click here to get a demo. See how Singular enables unprecedented growth for the most sophisticated marketers on the planet.

5 things to do when your mobile retail sales crash

This is a guest post by Ryan Gould, VP of strategy and marketing at Elevation Marketing

Mobile commerce sales are expected to reach approximately $420 Billion by 2021.

That’s massive, and it’s only going to grow. More importantly, people who use their mobile devices to make purchases usually spend twice as much as other customers.

It’s no surprise that mobile e-commerce is a very important channel for retailers to sell their products and services through. However, in the volatile economic environment, we live in, mobile retail sales can crash, for myriad reasons.

That’s why it’s smart to know what to do if your mobile retail sales collapse. In this article, we’ll give you five concrete things to take action when things go south with your mobile sales.

Let the action begin!

#1: Read the data to figure out why mobile retail sales are crashing

Before you start taking any action on improving your mobile retail sales, it’s best to investigate why your sales are falling in the first place. Never assume what the reason could be, until you’ve explored it.

Here’s a great list of questions you can use to get to the root of the problem:

  • When did mobile retail sales start crashing?
  • Was there any event that occurred before mobile retail sales started crashing?
  • What is the size of the sales drop, in dollar terms?
  • Which products have caused mobile sales to drop?
  • Is there any trend that’s being revealed by the sales numbers?
  • Are my site visits and app sessions down, flat, or growing?
  • Is the buyer’s journey ending on one particular screen?
  • Did my pricing change, or did currency fluctuations in foreign markets recently happen?
  • Is the number of abandoned shopping carts vastly growing?
  • Did a competitor release something attractive to my users and customers?
  • Is my store suddenly rejecting more credit cards?

Make sure you confirm that you know the reason, so your plan of action is relevant to the problem you’re wanting to address!

#2: Revamp your mobile site/app design

There are a bunch of things you can do to restyle your mobile e-commerce app and optimize it for conversions. Your e-commerce website or app should be easy to access on any mobile device, so people find it easy to transact with you.

Start by enlarging your mobile retail product images and text so people can see your products clearly. You should also enlarge your buttons so people with ‘fat fingers’ can click on your calls to action with ease.

Another way to make your mobile site or app user-friendly is by only including one call-to-action button per page. It makes the buying decision simpler for customers, by giving them lesser choice and making it super simple for them to transact.

Make the navigation experience super simple.

Your mobile website or app experience should be significantly different compared to your desktop version. Using ‘responsive design’ so that your website fits any mobile device, whether smartphones or tablets, is a great way to provide a universally consistent user experience.

But almost nothing beats a native mobile app for usability.

#3: Send great mobile emails (and maybe a push notification)

If you notice your mobile retail sales plummeting, it’s best to reconnect with your subscribers.

And the best way to reconnect with subscribers is to send them beautiful mobile emails. More than 67% of retail consumers check their email on their mobile device.

Sending mobile emails is an art. You can use them creatively, for various reasons such as finding out why your customers have stopped buying, what would interest them, and what you can do as a retailer for them. Nearly 20% of all mobile sales are initiated by email marketing, so it’s worth the time investment to utilize the channel as best as you can!

Some tips for sending great mobile emails are:

  • Keep them simple. It’s best to come to the point, as people have very short attention spans these days. So only send them the message they need to hear!
  • Use visually appealing images, with less text. Images get the message across in an interesting and engaging way, and consumers will love you for it.
  • Have a specific, clear and simple call to action. Emails should make it easy for customers to transact with you too.
  • Use catchy subject lines to grab the attention of your consumers. The better your subject lines are, the higher the chances are of your consumers clicking on them!

If you’ve got highly engaged users, and you have an offer that won’t cause them to uninstall your app, you can also send a smart push notification that’s tailored to who they are, what they want, and what they’ve been doing recently.

#4: Invest in search optimization (SEO and ASO)

Just like you need to invest time in optimizing your website for SEO for desktop searches, you also need to invest time in optimizing your mobile website for mobile searches. And for apps, you need to optimize your App Store and Google Play descriptions for search on those platforms so that you can rank well.

Organic channels (and paid channels) are complementary, so increased success in one often spills over to the other, so it makes sense to enhance these different channels together.

58% of all searches are on mobile. Inevitably, you need to put some effort into this.

Some steps you can take to enhance your mobile SEO are as follows:

  • Make sure your website is responsive: If your website doesn’t fit on a mobile device, the ones that are will outrank yours.
  • Optimize your content for mobile devices: This will help in loading content on your website faster and optimize your website for speed. By reducing the image sizes and placing meta tags in the right places you can enhance your search rankings.
  • You can use the Google Search Console for checking your website’s mobile usability issues so you can fix all the errors that are stopping it from being found by people. It’s a great way to determine how you can spend your time wisely on mobile SEO.

Mobile commerce now represents a third of all retail sales in the U.S. according to one report and is growing almost 15% year-over-year.

Some steps you can take to enhance your app ASO are as follows:

  • Pick the right category. Remember, Twitter switched from social, where it was always trailing massive competitors, to news, where it instantly became number one. A higher ranking means more installs.
  • Get more (and better ratings). Look, ratings are table stakes: all the top apps have lots of them. But continually adding new and updated ratings for your app is critical to even having the opportunity to get good placement.
  • Build your offline footprint. Most people who install an app have heard of it before and went searching for it. Without some brand identity and awareness, it’s hard to get drive-by installs. And, they’re much less likely to result in engaged long-term users/customers.

#5: Make sure you keep the checkout experience as simple as possible

The checkout experience is the make or break moment for mobile retail. That’s why it’s so important you avoid asking for unnecessary information from your users during checkout.

You can run a survey with your customers to understand what they like or dislike about your mobile checkout experience so you can add what’s necessary and eliminate what’s not needed. As a general guide though, implementing the below steps is great for mobile eCommerce:

  • Allow users to pay through multiple sources: Your checkout page should allow users to pay via credit card, paypal or bank transfer, whatever makes it easy for them to transact.
  • Simplify the UI elements of your app to entice your users to take action. Some colors are more appealing than others for shoppers to click on the ‘buy’ button. For instance, using shades of orange or green are better for enticing users to take action compared to red which puts the ‘halt’ signal in the human brain.
  • Remove all the content that’s unnecessary for checking out. You can include complimentary products for upselling them at checkout, but don’t annoy customers with any irrelevant promotional offers.

Wrapping it up

By implementing the above steps, you can minimize the temporary setback.

Mobile retail sales can be cyclical, abrupt, and vary depending on the nature of the industry your business is in. Reading the data and taking appropriate action is the best way to know which is the best cure for the problem.

Ryan Gould is Vice President of Strategy and Marketing Services at Elevation Marketing. From legacy Fortune 100 institutions to inventive start-ups, Ryan brings extensive experience with a wide range of B2B clients. He skillfully architects and manages the delivery of integrated marketing programs, and believes strongly in strategy, not just tactics, that effectively aligns sales and marketing teams within organizations.

3 critical things CGOs (and CMOs) absolutely need to drive growth campaigns

In the simplest possible terms, a chief marketing officer’s role is to implement strategy that ultimately increases sales. A chief growth officer’s role is even simpler and more explicit: grow the company.

But how?

And what tools do they need to achieve those goals?

Singular is privileged to work with growth marketers at companies like Lyft, LinkedIn, Rovio, Wish, AirBnB, DraftKings, StitchFix, plus many more. We’ve seen what the best growth marketers the planet do, and we know what technology they use.

We also know how much data they have.

In a recent survey, 200 CMOs told us that their biggest challenge isn’t marketing data. Quite the opposite, in fact — they have plenty of data. They have avalanches of data.

And that’s the core challenge.

data

Drowning in data

“Marketers are drowning in data,’ says Jo Ann Sanders, a VP at Optimizely.

That’s the problem.

“With the exponential growth of data over the past decade … it’s becoming harder daily to turn information into action,” says SurveyMonkey CMO Leela Srinivasan.

Marketers are drowning in data thanks to the unprecedented data exhaust of our digital lives.

We browse the web, we install apps, we watch four million videos on YouTube every minute, we search on Google 40,000 times a second. The world will soon have almost six billion mobile subscribers, and American adults now spend more than 3.5 hours a day on their phones in branded apps, sponsored media, and ad-supported sites.

At the same time, marketers are dealing with an exponential rise in tech tools, more digital channels than ever before, and more billion-user platforms every year.

Add in global competition, and 76% of CMOs say they can’t measure marketing performance accurately enough to make truly informed decisions.

marketing intelligence platform

Marketing intelligence platform

What marketers need most is actionable insights for growth. So CMOs’ (and CGOs’) biggest challenge is simply mining nuggets of gold from all that data. That requires real-time measurement and analysis at scale across potentially hundreds of platforms, partners, and channels.

That’s why Singular built what we call a Marketing Intelligence Platform.

The new marketers are different. They speak data and write code. They form hypotheses and run experiments; then measure results and optimize. These new marketers are marketing scientists, and they need tools of their trade.

With a Marketing Intelligence Platform, marketers achieve three critical things:

  1. Unprecedented visibility at scale
  2. On-demand flexible reporting
  3. Full customer journey insights

That’s seeing not just your data, but your ROI on every activity. It’s slicing and dicing not just by campaign, but getting CAC per creative asset. And it’s measuring not just conversions, but cross-device and cross-platform journeys that led to customer action.

This requires at least nine components, combined into a single platform, grouped in three sections. We’ll take a very brief look at each. For a full in-depth overview, however, check out our complete Marketing Intelligence Platform report.

The three things that CGOs and CMOs need to drive and accelerate growth are …

unify

One: Unified marketing data

You can’t get the golden nuggets of actionable insights without mining your data, and that starts by unifying it.

Unifying marketing data includes:

  • Data governance
  • Data ingestion
  • Data processing
  • Attribution
  • Dimensional data combining/synthesis

Data governance ensures clean data from every source, and enables processing, enriching, and combining later on.

Ingestion is getting all your relevant data from every source, and it’s not easy. Processing is essential to standardize and normalize it, at which point you can conversion outputs to marketing inputs. Combining and synthesizing top-funnel and low-funnel data reveals deeper trends and granular results.

growth insight

Two: Intelligent insights at scale

At a high level, marketers need to know the score: across all their campaigns, are they winning or losing? At more granular levels, they need to know if a specific campaign, partner, publisher, or creative is performing.

Generating intelligence insights includes:

  • Reporting and visualization
  • Actionable insights

Reporting and visualization shows marketers what’s happening, and actionable insights provide clues for future profitable growth. Some of those insights are pull, but some need to be push: alerts about out-of-scope campaigns, click-through rate drops, poorly performing ad partners, and so on.

Three: Automation

The volume of data flooding marketers’ dashboards, reports, and spreadsheets cannot be handled manually at scale. Automation is required, and it includes:

  • Data transport
  • Alerts, fraud, audiences
  • And much more

It is not useful to have a system that only ingests data. Marketing data needs to move from systems of deployment to systems of analysis to systems of engagement, and sometimes in multiple directions. So building in the ability to do that via API, exports, or S3 to internal BI systems and hundreds if not thousands of external partner systems is critical.

And while modern scientific marketing is not a set-it-and-forget-it activity, marketers increasingly need to be able to automate actions within set parameters.

That includes automated creation and distribution of audiences for retargeting, look-alike campaigns, or suppression lists. It also includes built-in on-by-default configurable mitigation of fraud, along with both whitelisting and blacklisting of sources and publishers in paid media campaigns.

And at higher levels, it includes automation of bids and buys for ad campaigns at scale.

Results: what a marketing intelligence platform delivers

What does a marketing intelligence platform deliver?

Find out soon in part two of this blog post, coming next week.

Or, click here to access Singular’s entire Marketing Intelligence Platform report right now.

Why Singular Is The Only MMP Integrated To Twitter’s Ads API

Intelligent data that drives insights for growth requires three key ingredients:

  1. Accuracy
  2. Granularity
  3. Actionability

In order to obtain all three ingredients, you need to ensure the reliability of API integrations with each of your marketing platforms. This is where you find the Singular difference. Singular is the only measurement partner to have two separate API integrations with Twitter, along with over 1,000 additional marketing platforms, providing you the most comprehensive solution for ROI down to the creative level.

This is what we call “dual integration.”

WTH is the Dual Integration approach?

Before you can understand the importance of API integrations (and dual integrations) you first should understand the type of data you need to collect in order to have anything meaningful for your campaign optimization efforts. Simply put, there are two key data sets you need to collect from your marketing platform, whether that is from Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, Facebook, Google, Vungle, Unity, Amazon: you name it.

First, you need your campaign analytics data (aka pre-install data) to answer questions like:

  • “How much did I spend on this campaign?”
  • “How many impressions did that creative get?”
  • “How many clicks came from each publisher?”

Second, you need your attribution data (aka post-install data) to answer questions like:

  • “How many installs did that campaign generate?”
  • “What was the revenue on this creative asset?”
  • “How many people went to level two as a result of this keyword?”

Only by combining these two datasets can you really know your ROI by campaign, by creative, by keyword, and by individual ad. This gives you the power to optimize at the most granular as well as aggregate levels, providing your best opportunity to maximize profitability.

dual integration singular

Singular’s dual integration visualized

To do this manually, you would need to standardize the hierarchies (some sources offer only campaign and ad level, while others go right down to the keyword) and the taxonomies (names and terms differ) across every source, and then calculate your ROI by each dimension … every single time you need it.

Sounds like a pain in the @$$?

Good thing Singular has already done it for you!

This is the dual integration approach

Singular has spent years building API integrations for both sides of the puzzle across over 1,000 additional marketing platforms, and automatically combines this data to show you ROI at the most granular levels.

Unlike other analytics platforms who are only accountable for your “pre-install data” or other attribution providers who are only accountable for your “post-install data,” Singular is accountable for both. Which is why we are the only Twitter measurement partner to have integrations that collect BOTH datasets, just as we do for hundreds of other marketing platforms: so we can do dual integration for you, out of the box.

Inherent flaws with tracking links

You might be asking: So why can’t I just use tracking links to collect this data? My attribution provider uses tracking links and says they can do campaign ROI.

Great question! While the tracking link is the easiest way to collect the necessary macros for a given network, this method has some inherent flaws.

  1. It is not retroactive
    You are only receiving data at the time of the click, therefore if the numbers reconcile after the time of the click, this will not be reflected in your reporting.
  2. Not all networks support passing all macros
    For example, you might be able to receive campaign cost and clicks, but you may not get site ID or publisher ID.
  3. No creative assets!
    Singular is the only solution on the market to provide you the most complete reporting of your creative asset ROI across the most visual networks. However, creative assets and their performance can only be reported by an API integration.
  4. Data loss and discrepancy is HIGH
    In a recent study, we compared a number of customers who were using Singular along with a third-party attribution provider. In observing their “campaign data” collected via our API integration against the same data set collected via the tracking link by the third-party attribution provider, we saw a 31% discrepancy … with the numbers reported from our API integration matching identically to the number on the final bill.

Of course, we too sometimes rely on the tracking link for those marketing platforms that do not offer an API to collect campaign analytics. However, in the rare case that we cannot collect data via an API, we will also rely on alternate integration methods to ensure accuracy of the data.

For example, a daily email report, or a CSV file upload to an S3 bucket.

We understand every marketer is different, and how you look at your data may be completely different from your competitors. We are flexible and here to ensure the data you see in Singular matches your internal systems.

Heck, we even have a bi-directional API to push and pull data to your source of truth.

To learn more about Singular’s “Dual Integration Approach” and the Singular difference, contact us to request a demo today.

Already a Singular customer and looking to take advantage of our dual integration with Twitter? Check out the help center for details on how to configure your Twitter integration.

Singular’s updated user permissions functionality: granular control for enterprise users

If you’re spending tens or hundreds of millions of dollars advertising your app, brand, or services annually, you’re not doing it alone. You’re doing it with a team of people.

More than that, you have a team of people looking over your shoulder.

And why not? You might be spending hundreds of thousands of dollars a day. It’s kind of a big deal.

That’s why Singular has extremely granular user permissions that you can tune exactly how you need to give stakeholders precisely the access to your data that they need — and no more. Without this kind of capability, you simply lack the ability to properly manage your team.

User permissions: three kinds of users

You can define three kinds of users for your Singular account:

  1. Admin users:
    User has stunning godlike powers (possible slight overstatement)
  2. Standard users:
    User can do everything but add and manage users
  3. Restricted users:
    User can only do what you allow them to do

You’ll probably have a couple of admins, a bunch of standard users for the user acquisition managers and marketing managers on your team, and a number of restricted users.

Maybe BI needs a window into spend and ROI. Maybe the CFO wants to see what’s going on. Maybe the creative team wants to be able to track clickthrough and ROI per image, or per ad or group of ads. Or maybe an engineer needs to set up a new integration, or data routing to Amazon or an on-prem database.

All of that is possible.

Restricted users: three kinds of restrictions

new user permissionsFor restricted users, you’ll be able to limit capabilities and access in any of three ways:

  1. Metrics permissions
    User can only view the metrics you allow, even in saved reports or the dashboard
  2. Data permissions
    Users can only see the data you want them to, such as for a particular app or data source
  3. Feature permissions
    Users can only see the screens you want them to see

Now you can create users who can only see data from one or several apps, but not all your apps. Or you can create users who can only see data from search media sources, or data from only one ad partner.

Of course, it’s not always about restriction.

Sometimes it’s just about simplicity.

If there’s someone who needs access to just a small slice of data, offering the entire world of possibilities might be overwhelming. It might be counterproductive. In other words, simplifying what they see might be the best way to streamlining their workflow.

You’re enterprise. Your software should be too

If you’re growing fast and spending tens of millions on paid and organic growth, you’re enterprise. And your tools should be too. That’s why we have fine-grained, granular control over user permissions built into Singular.

Any questions?

Feel free to contact us or request a demo.

5 massive factors changing the future of games: social, platforms, technology, monetization, and app stores

What is the future of games?

One thing we know: it’s going to be lucrative. The top 25 public game companies generated over $100 billion in revenue last year, according to a recent story on VentureBeat featuring data from Newzoo.

The largest, Tencent, had almost $20 billion in estimated game revenue. Sony, Microsoft, Apple, and Google are on the list. Activision hauled in almost $7 billion, and names like France’s Ubisoft, Korea’s Netmarble, and Japan’s Square Enix all generated more than a billion in 2018 revenue.

To state the obvious, games are a big deal.

But what’s changing in gaming?

At Singular we recently had a chance to review our business with a major gaming client. To prepare for that, a number of us internally including Elizabeth Lauer-Lopez, Victor Savath, and Ligita Kneitaite spent some time consulting our crystal balls (and data) on the future of gaming in general, and mobile gaming.

Here are the results:

Future of games: Social at scale

We’re seeing more and more games with social experiences at scale. HQ Triviashowed us that a year ago in a non-traditional category. Fortnite, which has hit an astonishing total player count of over 250 million people, has hit almost 11 million concurrent players.

That’s social, and that’s scale.

Future of games https://pixabay.com/photos/fortnite-workplace-video-game-pc-4077483/

A few weeks ago I chatted with Unity’s chief marketing officer Clive Downie. Unity powers half of the games on the planet, and it’s building tech to scale to 50 million concurrent users. In a few years, that’s likely to be hundreds of millions, and eventually, it will be planet scale.

The massive benefit of social at scale?


See how N3TWORK, makers of Legendary: Game of Heroes uses Singular as its marketing stack.


When a game succeeds, it becomes a social phenomenon. That has huge new user acquisition benefits, thanks to incessant coverage in the media and in social media conversations, but it also has huge player retention benefits: friends who game together, stay together, you might say.

And they often stick to the same game, too.

Future of games: Connected platforms

In Ready Player One, Wade Watts (AKA Parzival) didn’t need to enter different apps to join other gunters in a racing game, or dance in a club, or chat with his huge robotic friend Aech in a first-person shooter. He just entered different experiences in the Oasis, a global VR universe.

future of games

We’re not going to see the Oasis anytime soon.

But we might see some components of it.

Think: why do you have different identities in every game, even games by the same publisher? Why can’t you have a shared wallet, maybe transferable XP between games, and shared friend groups? To go a little crazier and cross game publisher boundaries, why can’t you take your friends from Fortnite to PUBG?

For players, there’s huge potential rewards: faster on boarding, richer experiences, more fun in more environments, and a more social gaming session.


Check out how Jam City uses Singular to optimize performance of its creatives.


For publishers, there’s easier cross-promotion, faster player onboarding, and potentially longer engagement via more owned platforms, leading to increased brand connection and better monetization opportunities.

Of course, there are caveats.

Game publishers still need to enable super-fast on-demand experiences for the minute-to-kill, I’m just waiting-in-a-line-at-the-coffee-store moment. Anything that increases login and set-up time is a risk.

But if publishers can find a find a way to mitigate that, they have the opportunity to build connected universes inside mobile apps, and with coming smartglasses and 5G, the possibilities are incredible to imagine.

Future of games: Technology driving everything, everywhere, in real-time

We’re seeing that hit games are increasingly multi-platform: mobile, console, desktop, even web.

That might be native versions like Minecraft or Fortnite, or it might be via emulated technology like Bluestacks, which showed up in Singular’s recent ROI Index. And they might even migrate from console to mobile, like Call of Duty.

Increasingly, we’re seeing noise around streaming too.

future of gaming is not a box

Thanks to Google Stadia, streaming console-level games is now possible with sub 25-millisecond lag even for titles like Assassin’s Creed. (Note: here’s the required grain of salt.) Competitors are legion and massive: Microsoft xCloud, Nvidia GeForce Now, Valve Link Anywhere, PlayStation Now, plus a rumored Amazon product.

In other words: there’s a lot of money and big-company corporate cred jumping into streaming, so something very interesting is likely to happen here.


Read how Singular “was key” to helping DGN Games become the fastest growing social casino.


Possible downsides include that the costs of computation for games might now fall much more heavily on the game publisher, since instead of the lion’s share of computational cost falling on a distributed network of millions of devices (gamer’s own phones, consoles, computers), it all falls on a server farm.

And someone has to keep those lights on.

On the upside, gaming experts have told me there’s a higher monetization opportunity because there are now lower risks of trying a game, thanks to there being no large upfront cost. That leads to a larger userbase, potentially. And of course streaming is custom-made for a subscription model, which means a longer payback period.

(Frankly, an ad-supported model makes a ton of sense here too.)

Future of games: Monetization evolution

Game monetization is changing quickly.

A few years ago, it was all in-app purchases. In 2016, for instance, 94% of the revenue generated on the U.S. iOS App Store came from the top 1% of publishers who had paid apps or IAPs … and IAPs generated 20 times more revenue than paid apps.

future of games monetization

More recently, in-app advertising has moved into the leadership position in terms of mobile app monetization.

But subscriptions are just starting to grow as well. GameMine is having success with this model, offering access to its entire portfolio for one price. And some streaming games will likely be subscription-based.

eSports is also also offering new monetization opportunities.

It’ll cost you a cool $25 million to buy a franchise in the new Call of Duty professional league, and then you’ll be able to sell tickets, viewing, ads against viewing, sponsorships, broadcast rights, and maybe even new models of joining, helping, or learning from your on-screen heroes.

Future of games: Decreasing power of app stores

App stores like Apple’s and Google’s are tremendously important and will continue to be so. At the same time, however, we’re seeing ways in which their power is being reduced.

The first visible crack in the wall might have been Fortnite moving off Google Play for Android.

Since Fortnite is a global phenomenon on consoles, mobile (including iOS), and desktop, Epic Games could do what most game publishers couldn’t. Clearly, massive games with their own marketing momentum can save the 15-30% store cut of in-app purchases and subscription revenue by moving off-platform. Just as clearly, that’s much harder for new, unknown games.

Also, this works on Android, where you can side-load apps. Not so much on iOS.

In addition, new technology such as streaming, which we’ve already talked about, also reduces our overall dependence on app stores.


Learn how Singular helps Zynga efficiently get more accurate, granular data


If I can just stream a game to my mobile or desktop browser, I don’t need a native app from a platform landlord. That opens up all kinds of possibilities — and dangers — because Google and particularly Apple closely police what games and apps are allowed on their platforms.

It also means marketing a game just changed significantly.

There are also regulatory challenges to the way that app stores operate as bouncers at the app nightclub. Apple, for instance, is facing three separate antitrust actions in Europe from Spotify, Kaspersky, and The Netherlands.

Whether those cases have merit or not is an open question, but we have seen the EU take a leading role in limiting the power that larger U.S.-based multinationals have. And any judgements might impact how Apple polices its App Store and what third-party game publishers can produce, offer, and monetize.

Summing up

Games are an increasingly large part of our lives, thanks largely to mobile. But how we making, distributing, and monetizing them is changing.

Smart publishers will continue to find ways to out-grow the competition. And Singular will be there to help them … on mobile, on web, on IoT, on streaming media, or wherever the industry moves.

Talk to us today about a demo.

Jam City optimizes campaign performance and creative strategy with Singular

We got to sit down with Jam City’s VP of User Acquisition Marketing, Brian Sapp, to discuss how his team is using Singular to optimize campaign performance and improve their creative strategy. Watch our discussion on Jam City’s use of campaign analytics below!

Video

Transcription

Introduction

My name is Brian Sapp. I’m the VP of UA (User Acquisition) Marketing at Jam CityJam City is one of the leading mobile casual gaming developers in the West. We have a fairly large portfolio of games. Some of our tentpole games are Cookie Jam and Panda Pop. But recently we launched Harry Potter Hogwarts Mystery, [and] that game has been a big success.

Connecting fragmented marketing data

Singular right now we use to ingest data from all of our ad networks and as you can imagine, when we spend with over 40 networks, that’s a lot of data. The manpower it would take to go into each network and pull in that API, do the work, or pull it in manually, would be extremely time-consuming.

Singular solves that for us, solves it in a much faster time, and more efficiently than we could do it ourselves. And then, 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. Having all of the data, especially creative data, plus images, plus the data behind the creative, in one dashboard is extremely valuable for us.

Aligning with Creative Product Marketing

So we actually have a team called Creative Product Marketing that focused on our creative roadmap/creative strategy and they’re using Singular to look at our performance by game, by channel, and right now it’s the fastest, easiest way we have to do that across all the different data sources.

Next-level Performance Analytics

Singular collects a lot of the ad network data for us and we’re using that to look at CPI by campaign, CPI by geo, paid performance, scale, spend, organics versus paid installs. And so we’re also ingesting data from our attribution partner which allows us to kind of marry the two, and so we get very granular on Singular’s reporting for whatever questions we have.

I use it for executive reports, building massive pivot charts, visuals that I want to see across the portfolio. The combination of our internal tools plus Singular really gives me everything I need.

Ready to take your growth marketing to the next level? Let’s connect!

How to scale user acquisition from $100 to $250,000/day

Have you ever scaled mobile user acquisition from $100/day to $250,000/day?

I’m guessing very, very, very few people can say yes to that question. Maybe fewer than 1,000 on the entire planet. So if you’re trying to grow — and grow aggressively — it makes a lot of sense to listen to someone who can answer with a yes.

Last week our CEO Gadi Eliashiv shared two articles by UserAcquisition.com’s Dave Riggs in one of Singular’s Slack channels. In them, Riggs talks from personal experience about the tech marketers need when they start scaling user acquisition for hyper-growth.

The most important point?

World-class measurement: something that our very best clients (and the best marketers in the world) whole-heartedly agree with.

The key differentiator between okay UA, good UA, and great UA comes down to data and measurement. Invest in it. The very best UA teams have sophisticated technology setups that allow them to slice and dice any data by any segment imaginable.

– Dave Riggs

That starts with an MMP, Riggs says: a mobile measurement platform. But it extends far beyond just an MMP. To do a world-class job of scaling user acquisition, you need five critical components in your marketing technology stack, he says.

  1. Attribution (an MMP)
  2. A cost data solution (could be same as #1)
  3. A database/data warehouse
  4. A BI platform
  5. A real-time visualization tool

Obviously, Singular plays in both slot #1 and slot #2. And Riggs has some high praise for Singular:

If you want a provider that offers both cost and attribution tracking, I recommend Singular. There’s nothing better.

– Dave Riggs

That’s pretty exciting for us to see here at Singular. But even more exciting are the reasons Riggs provides:

  1. Extreme accuracy
  2. “Far more network integrations than competitors”
  3. All your tracking in one place
  4. No gaps in reporting

Those are great reasons. Even greater, however, is how scaling user acquisition successfully at such extremes feels when you have the right tools: safe.

Let me repeat that: safe.

This is extremely important. After all, you’ve gone from $100/day, or $36,500/year to an almost unimaginable $250,000/day. If you kept your foot on the gas pedal all year at that rate — unlikely unless you’re achieving the most rarified heights of mobile success — that’s an astounding $91.25 million/year.

Some of Singular’s clients spend twice that. And more.

Feeling safe at such extremes of spending is almost more important than words can convey. (And actually being safe is even more critical.) Mistakes at this kind of spend velocity run into the millions of dollars very quickly.

So how do you scale your user acquisition spend 2,500 times? With the right technology … including Singular.

And how does that make you feel?

Picture it.

An expanse of open road appears before you. You accelerate and feel yourself pulled deeper into the plush leather. Your heart beats faster. Meanwhile, you appreciate the sweet complexity and design that holds you in perfect equilibrium, while the world around you flies past at breakneck speed. Thanks to world-class engineering, you know you’re perfectly safe, even as you accelerate. You’re blaring your horn and laughing like Cruella DeVil, as you ride up on the shoulder, leaving all the basic and intermediate fools in your dust.

– Dave Riggs

If you need that feeling today, let’s talk. Contact us, or request a demo. You deserve to feel safe. And if you need more info, here are the links to Dave’s articlesagain.

Growth marketing leaders: Why you need to be at UNIFY 2019 this June in Napa

What if you could go to a conference and actually learn something new? Wouldn’t that be different?

You’re a growth marketing pro. You run user acquisition, or growth marketing, or monetization. You spend millions monthly on paid customer/user acquisition with positive ROI, growing apps, businesses, brands, and revenue. Most conferences you go to, you either are on stage … or you should be.

Because you know more than most of the talking heads who get all the airtime.

That’s why UNIFY 2019 is the perfect event for you.

Because we don’t invite talking heads. We don’t invite big names with big logos who don’t really know what they’re talking about … although there are experts with big names and big logos speaking! And we don’t invite speakers who don’t live, eat, breathe, sleep, and dream growth marketing. We hunt experts for the UNIFY stage … professionals who actually accomplish what they’re talking about at an extremely high level.

And their knowledge combines with your knowledge to produce unique insights that will help you continue to drive growth.

But don’t take it from me. Here’s what growth pros from Playstudios, Yelp, Jam City, Nexon, Digital Turbine, Kongregate, N3twork, and Small Giant Games had to say.

UNIFY hosts Gadi Eliashiv and Susan Kuo

Other conferences are “repetitive.” UNIFY deals with “more complex issues” and “bigger business problems.” UNIFY is “intimate” and “removes the barriers,” enabling deep connections with “top notch UA talent.” Attendees are a “great combination of marketers” where “people are sharing information.”

It’s not just high-level nice-to-know information, UNIFY is “more tactical” and more “in the weeds” where speakers go deep into “how we’re seeing success.” People have “open and frank conversations about what is working,” and are “incredibly helpful.”

Add it all up, and where other conferences are “stuffy” and “repetitive,” UNIFY is “a breath of fresh air.”

What if you could go to a conference where you, as a growth marketing pro, could actually hear, learn from, and share with other people who experience the same challenges, problems, and opportunities you do? Like granularity. Like cross-channel and cross-platform marketing. Like the modern data explosion. Like aligning your execs, BI, finance, tech, and creative teams with marketing. Like mobile ad fraud.

That’s UNIFY. Those are all previous sessions from last year’s UNIFY that dug deep into real problems and highlighted real solutions. This year, we’re going to do more of the same … but even better.

For all the details, check the UNIFY site. You’ll find who’s speaking, where it is (hint: Napa), the dates (June 4), and how to get invited.

We’d love to learn with you. Join us!