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All different issues being equal, one of the best variety of advert companions you’ll be able to have is one.

One accomplice to handle, one dashboard to overview, one set of campaigns to handle, one ML mannequin in your advert funds to coach up into the very best attainable peaks of effectivity, one invoice to pay, one set of numbers to inject into your CAC and LTV calculations, and just one factor to occupy maybe probably the most valuable useful resource of all: your psychological desktop.


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However, after all … not all different issues are equal.

One advert community does video higher. One other gives influencers. One other captures high-intent clients close to the purpose of buy. One other shares your title, emblem, model, and story to the 95% of people who find themselves not actively on the lookout for what you supply, however will want it sooner or later. Yet one more hits a specific geo stronger, or a demographic which you could’t effectively entry elsewhere. One or two are apparent decisions, however create a single level of failure and make your small business fully depending on them.

So what’s the proper quantity?

And, is adtech consolidation good for you? Is the continuing flood of acquisition in cellular adtech good for entrepreneurs?

New titans of adtech: billion-dollar shopping for sprees

We laid out the small print not too long ago: the rising titans of adtech are on huge multi-billion shopping for sprees.

ironSource has collected Upopa, Supersonic Adverts, Soomla, Luna Labs, Tapjoy, Bidalgo, Supersonic Video games, and Aura. Liftoff and Vungle are being smushed collectively by their widespread proprietor, personal fairness agency Blackstone. Vungle had already acquired AlgoLift, GameRefinery, JetFuel, and TreSensa. AppLovin has maybe been probably the most vital Monopoly gameplayer of all, lining up Lion Studios, MAX, SafeDK, Machine Zone, Regulate (which beforehand purchased, and MoPub in its trophy case of capabilities. Digital Turbine purchased AdColony, Fyber, and Admire. Even Unity, whose advert enterprise, although rising, is a sideshow to its core enterprise of enabling digital creativity, has collected Applifier (GameAds), Playnomics, and DeltaDNA. And InMobi, which I didn’t profile in my preliminary Titans of Adtech publish, has acquired Appsumer, Pinsight Media, AerServ, plus Roposo, and — a bit of farther again — corporations like Metaflow Options and MMTG and Sprout.

This huge shopping for fest isn’t going to cease any time quickly.


Easy: the rising titans are nonetheless on the acquisition prepare. Liftoff CEO Mark Ellis instructed me not too long ago it’s about consolidating functionality:

“Clients actually are going to wish to have fewer, extra scaled companions that may do a spread of issues for them, from serving to to establish and construct their audiences; hold them engaged; monetize them relying on what that cellular expertise is; offering actual time analytical suggestions in order that they perceive methods to tune each campaigns and the cellular expertise itself. And so I believe there’s going to be a rising need to have extra options beneath one accomplice’s general platform providing.”

– Mark Ellis, CEO, Liftoff+Vungle

One other issue that your entire trade has been conscious of since iOS 14.5 dropped in mid-2021: aggregating an increasing number of first-party knowledge below one roof to construct viewers concentrating on functionality. And that’s solely going to speed up. InMobi CEO Abhay Singhal says we’re going to see extra change within the id, knowledge, and content material house over the subsequent interval than we’ve seen during the last one to 2 years, which is a giant assertion for these of us who’ve lived by this latest interval of huge upheaval.

A part of that change is continuous to hunt extra first-party knowledge to spice up advert yield, in line with what Zynga chief product officer Scott Koenigsberg instructed me in an as-yet-unpublished interview for my TechFirst podcast. Zynga, after all, purchased Chartboost for that very objective, amongst others.

“If we will mix that knowledge — our first-party knowledge and behavioral stuff and contextual stuff — with what Chartboost does on the monetization facet … we will theoretically get to raised advert yields and supply higher experiences for our gamers.”

– Scott Koenigsberg, CPO, Zynga

Advert yield is nice for all publishers that monetize through adverts: it’s basically the quantity of income you earn from advert placements.

However is that each one there may be to it?


Adtech consolidation: the positives and negatives

The underside line query is that this: what’s good (or unhealthy) about cellular adtech consolidation from the perspective of a marketer?

Right here’s a fast overview of my present pondering, which I’ll observe with some extra detailed ideas.

What’s good about adtech consolidation?

  • Fewer distributors, probably
    Once more, all different issues being equal, fewer is best.
  • Higher merchandise
    Theoretically fewer, bigger, and wealthier adtech distributors can make investments extra in top-notch merchandise. (For the draw back, see ‘Slower innovation’ )
  • Higher assist
    There’s a legislation of diminishing returns right here, clearly (telcos, I’m speaking to you) however scaled corporations can present higher assist for numerous shoppers than tiny startups.
  • Extra merchandise/performance below one roof
    In the event you want mediation and a DSP and inventive assist and possibly an alternate and also you get them multi functional place … there’s some worth in that. (Plus some risks: see ‘Coopetition’ )
  • Cleaner tech stack
    If you may get extra merchandise in a single place and if they’re well-integrated, you might need an easier, cleaner tech stack for development and monetization.
  • Fewer SDKs
    Fewer SDKs is de facto higher for sooner, slimmer, safer apps. (That safer half is more and more necessary within the age of privateness, leaks, and cybersecurity.) Once more, there’s an if right here about merchandise being nicely built-in and high-quality, however assuming that, fewer SDKs in your app is a possible profit.
  • Transparency as in comparison with SANs (though iOS 15 additionally supplies a few of that)
    Self-attributing networks don’t present plenty of transparency into what occurs dep inside their black packing containers of concentrating on, artistic optimization, and attribution. A number of the rising adtech titans present extra in sure areas — together with probabilistic monitoring applied sciences that Apple has but to essentially implement (at the very least so long as they solely sum as much as aggregated knowledge). One caveat on transparency: with iOS 15 and configurable postback locations, iOS attribution selections are getting extra daylight all over the place, together with SANs.

What’s unhealthy about adtech consolidation?

  • Slower innovation initially
    Extra sources for bigger corporations ought to imply extra alternative to develop nice merchandise. Nonetheless, the bane of all mergers and acquisitions is integration time and value. I do know for a indisputable fact that a number of the adtech M&A that has occurred three years in the past has actually resulted in side-by-side tech stacks operating for a number of years (and probably nonetheless to this present day). That’s inefficient, and time spent fixing that inefficiency is time not spent constructing higher product.
  • Much less competitors
    Much less competitors is far more of a possible downside than an actual downside proper now. Not solely do the rising titans nonetheless must take care of the prevailing titans (Google, Fb, and maybe we must always add Apple Search Adverts on iOS) additionally they must compete with one another. And there are nonetheless many, many extra adtech startups and contenders in nearly each class. However it’s a possible downside in particular areas and for the long run.
  • Much less innovation over time
    Once more: a possible reasonably than future downside, merely based mostly on integration tech debt and the truth that, usually talking, corporations sometimes get much less progressive as they develop bigger.
  • Larger corporations will be tougher to take care of
    Huge corporations often act huge. They’re not as versatile as small corporations. They’ve market clout and energy, they typically comprehend it, and so they typically use it. That may imply more durable negotiations, increased costs, or suboptimal product/want matches.
  • Coopetition, frenemies, and the home all the time wins
    A number of the rising titans of adtech personal households of apps that probably compete with you, or performance that provides inherent alternatives for profiteering based mostly on unequal entry to info. (This isn’t simply an rising titans of adtech downside: 16 U.S. states are currentlysuing Google, as an example, claiming that Google manipulates auctions, makes use of insider info reminiscent of most bids to affect alternate charges. All allegations are disputed by Google, and have but to be confirmed in a courtroom of legislation.) A number of the rising titans have a number of functionalities that must be walled off from one another, and theoretically are, however there’s all the time the suspicion that, as an example, mediation or measurement or another type of performance might probably, at the very least, be used to tilt the taking part in area considerably. I’m not suggesting that that is occurring — and in reality I believe that it’s not — however it stays a theoretical chance. (A number of the huge competing gamers are definitely utilizing that towards one another).


On steadiness: constructive?

On steadiness, evidently cellular person acquisition targeted adtech consolidation is a web constructive. A lot of the what’s-good-about-it are precise, identified advantages. A lot of the what’s-bad-about-it are theoretical, potential, and nebulous.

(Did I miss one thing? Ping me along with your ideas.)

The fact is that cellular entrepreneurs want a number of advert companions. Most want to make use of the default decisions: Fb, Google, and for iOS, more and more, Apple Search Adverts. However the trade wants robust counterpoints to these true giants of adtech, and that may’t occur with out vital trade consolidation.

As well as, one space the place I hope that adtech consolidation can actually assistance is by enhancing the effectivity of what’s at the moment an insanely difficult process of matching an advert with a human eyeball throughout the open advert shopping for ecosystem. You’d assume it’d be pretty simple, however in lots of instances, it’s the precise reverse, as advert fraud specialist Augustine Fou shared not too long ago on Twitter in a picture representing the auctions and transactions that happen earlier than a typical advert impression.

The variety of auctions, exchanges, bids, and steps an advert impression goes by earlier than it really will get bought and delivered is frankly stunning. It’s theoretically a lot easier on a platform or content material fortress like Fb or Google or Reddit, however there are complexities there as nicely.

(Typically I wonder if figuring out the price of the electrical energy that adtech as an ecosystem makes use of would induce the same outcry to the one we’ve seen in opposition to the price of operating cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and web3 purposes.)

My hope is that consolidation might remedy a few of this as nicely.

One of many perennial challenges of a fancy and fragmented advert ecosystem is the loss of life by a thousand cuts that every advertiser’s greenback faces when operating this gauntlet. Based on a 2020 examine by ISBA (the Integrated Society of British Advertisers), solely 51 cents out of each promoting greenback reaches the writer who reveals an advert to a human being (you hope!). The remaining is eaten by company charges, DSPs, SSPs, and a wide range of different adtech bits of flotsam and jetsam that we’ve determined are important to operating a contemporary advertising and marketing marketing campaign.

It’s very doubtless that each one these bits and items contribute worth. It’s additionally very essential that each advertiser’s greenback does the work it has been deployed to do.

One of many hopes I’ve for adtech consolidation is that fewer of these dimes, nickels, and pennies might be siphoned from advertisers’ budgets as bigger corporations construct extra efficiencies into merchandise and parts of the concentrating on, bidding, and placement processes. That may be a idiot’s dream: extra environment friendly titans of adtech would possibly merely select the better-for-them various eat up these additional pennies themselves, including to their revenue margins.

Nonetheless, hope springs everlasting.

And competitors will restrict this.

Lastly, whereas complexity exists and it impacts how development professionals drive outcomes, at the very least entrepreneurs can create simplicity the place none exists. Singular principally emerged from the necessity to create a consolidated view of all campaigns, all spend, all outcomes, multi functional place, from the huge complexity of the cellular advert stack. That’s a single pane of glass for efficiency knowledge and ROI throughout all of your channels, which does assist alleviate vital ache factors and complexity in managing development campaigns.

In the event you want some assist with that, e-book a while.