Strategies in flux: AppsFlyer's Paul Wright explores mobile advertising dynamics

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In this exclusive interview with Paul Wright, General Manager of Western Europe and MENAT at AppsFlyer, we delve into the intricacies of mobile advertising in the face of Google and Meta's dominance in Android non-gaming and remarketing. Wright advocates for diversifying ad campaigns beyond the top two giants, emphasizing the potential of other quality media sources. As we explore the role of Chinese media sources like Xiaomi, vivo, and oppo on a global scale, Wright highlights their strength in driving both volume and quality. Amid economic downturn challenges, changing media source rankings, and the evolving iOS ecosystem, Wright provides insights into building and maintaining strong client relationships through media diversification.

“For marketers, selecting the best media partners is particularly important on iOS because of its high-quality audience. However, privacy-driven fragmentation in measurement has only created more uncertainty, increasing the need for accurate performance rankings for the platform,” he says.

The conversation concludes by addressing the shifts in rankings for Android gaming and remarketing categories, emphasizing AppsFlyer's neutral stance in advising clients and the importance of actionable insights backed by data. Excerpts:

With the dominance of Google and Meta in Android non-gaming and remarketing, how would you recommend diversifying and optimizing ad campaigns to achieve better results for AppsFlyer clients?

While it's true that Google and Meta dominate the non-gaming and remarketing segments on Android, this shouldn’t mean marketers should rule out other quality media sources. As highlighted in our report, there are many others that can offer good ROI, so I would definitely recommend looking beyond just the top two. I would also advise expanding to other channels to drive mobile app growth. For example, this year we have seen Connected TV start to show promising results (although it should be noted that at this time, user acquisition and remarketing are not yet supported).

How do you see the role of Chinese media sources like Xiaomi, vivo, and oppo in the global market, and how should AppsFlyer position itself to leverage their scaling abilities?

At present, we can mainly see that their strength lies in driving scale (volume) as these devices are becoming increasingly popular worldwide, and especially in developing markets, thanks to their relative cost-effectiveness. This is evidenced in the fact that Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo are ranked 4th, 5th and 7th, respectively, globally in non-gaming. It is worth noting too that Xiaomi in particular shows great quality among life and culture apps in the Middle East as well, where it is ranked 3rd in the power ranking for this segment. So it isn’t just about volume, but also quality, as we see high power rankings for these media sources for life and culture apps in other regions like Southeast Asia and Latin America.

For marketers, it's important to recognise that these media sources have high preload installs potential as apps can be preinstalled on these devices by the manufacturer. These installs are given the highest priority in attribution. This means that if a user engages with other campaigns before opening the app for the first time, the preload campaign is still awarded the attribution. In line with this, other engagements are regarded as assisted installs.

Can you elaborate on the significance of Apple Search Ads functioning independently of SKAN and deterministically attributing users regardless of ATT consent? How might this impact the future landscape of mobile advertising attribution?

This means that for users attributed to ASA, you have the full range of features and measurements provided by the lifetime value (LTV) attribution model — just like in present day Android, or pre iOS 14.5 iPhones. This media source has full data granularity giving it a significant edge over its competitors.

How would you build and maintain strong relationships with key clients in light of the challenges posed by the economic downturn and changes in media source rankings?

My advice to marketers is to prioritise media diversification. As the world continues to bounce back following bouts of economic uncertainty, marketers and media owners cannot afford to make the wrong decisions — especially when it comes to media source budget allocation. Only four of the top 20 media source players saw budget increases this year; costs of media continue to fluctuate; and channels like CTV are leading ecosystem players to quickly adapt and think outside of the box to reach consumers.

For marketers, selecting the best media partners is particularly important on iOS because of its high-quality audience. However, privacy-driven fragmentation in measurement has only created more uncertainty, increasing the need for accurate performance rankings for the platform.

Given the shift in rankings for Android gaming and remarketing categories, how would you collaborate with clients to tailor strategies that align with their specific goals and market dynamics?

At AppsFlyer, we are agnostic to media sources and maintain a neutral stance when advising clients. Our expertise lies in empowering them to measure the impact of their campaigns and then backed by data, they are enabled to tailor their collateral and choice of network to maximise effectiveness and outcomes.

Ultimately, marketers must recognise that whilst the index provides the industry with valuable insights and direction, this is only half the equation. AppsFlyer’s products and solutions are what enables these Performance Index insights to become actionable.

Furthermore, as the players in the advertising landscape and ecosystem continue to shuffle and evolve, it highlights the need for advertisers to ensure they are working with mobile measurement partners (MMPs) who hold the broadest and most advanced integrations with these partners.

AppsFlyer has been releasing the Performance Index since 2015. How would you ensure that the company stays ahead of industry trends and continues to innovate in the rapidly evolving mobile advertising landscape?

We are committed to our customers and the industry which is why we expend significant efforts and resources in continuously monitoring the market and conducting and sharing highly informative research. This enables us to stay ahead of market dynamics. Combined with the fact that we are extremely receptive to customer feedback, this translates to a market-leading ability to evolve our solutions in line with the directions in which our industry is heading. We also collaborate with top media sources and industry leaders to maximize the value to our customers and help advance our industry as a whole.