How Many Media Partners Do App Marketers Use? | AppsFlyer
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How Many Media Partners Do App Marketers Actually Use?

Avatar Shani Rosenfelder Oct 31, 2017

You’ve probably all heard about the AppsFlyer Performance Index — the industry-standard report card on the performance of mobile media sources. Last week, we released Edition V and the pick up has been amazing.

The index is all about providing insights on specific media sources. To complement that, we’re launching a new blog series called Media Deep Dive, where we’ll be offering data-driven insights on the media side of the business, but from other angles.

Part I – How many media partners are used by different apps in different categories?
The mobile marketing ecosystem is vast. App marketers have thousands of options to choose from. How many do they end up using? Is there a right number? And how do the numbers differ when looking at different groups of apps (based on spend), across different verticals and different platforms?

To answer these questions, we looked at over 1,100 apps that partnered with about 900 media sources that delivered at least 1,000 paid installs for a single app throughout September 2017.

Here’s what we found.

What insights can we gather from these tables?

Spend and network usage are highly correlated. First thing that’s clear right off the bat – the greater the spend, the more media sources are used. It’s all about available resources – in actual ad spend budget and team size.

Dividing a small budget among many partners is not recommended because media buying engines may not be able to optimize properly with insufficient scale. There is also an operational cost that goes with every campaign, and media networks always seek to maximize their profit. Knowing this, networks usually set a minimum spend requirement.

But even if smaller apps were to partner with multiple media sources, an often single full or part time employee running campaigns would not be able to handle the oversight.

Last but not least, don’t forget that you get what you pay for as far as service is concerned. The reality is that if you put in a small budget, you will be treated accordingly. 

As a result of these limitations, smaller advertisers usually run with the relatively easy-to-use self-service media sources like Facebook, Google and Twitter. When they (hopefully!) scale up, more resources become available to them and they can begin testing more partners. In parallel, they would be able to gradually build a team that would be able to work with a larger pool of media sources, and help optimize the potential of each partner.

The value of media diversification. Beyond the availability of resources, savvy marketers understand that to succeed in a highly competitive space, every cent counts. And when one works with numerous media sources, there’s far more flexibility to work with. That opens up much more room for optimization while playing with different levers at different levels: increase/decrease spend, negotiate terms, drive more scale, change GEOs, etc. etc.

Also, marketers seek to target the same users multiple times but in different mindsets, across different platforms, displaying different ad types that offer different experiences. Sometimes a banner won’t do the trick, but a rewarded video would, and other times a social or search context is what’s needed to engage a user.

Even if some networks offer far more granular targeting, it’s nonetheless important to target the same users at different scenarios. So if a network offers a different experience, but perhaps its targeting is not as granular, it would still make sense to at least test that network. The more media sources you work with — particularly those that offer different experiences — the greater the ability to create meaningful interactions.

Android user base impacts network usage among high spenders. Overall, the data shows that there are minor differences among low and medium spenders across iOS and Android. However, when it comes to high spenders, the fact that the Android user base is much larger than the iOS base becomes significant, as the former runs with nearly 25% more media partners than the latter in order to drive the needed scale.

The only verticals where high spenders use more media sources on iOS are lifestyle and travel — categories with a larger relevant user base in iOS.

Next up in our Media Deep Dive blog series, we’ll answer the following question: What is the distribution of spend with media partners among different app groups? Stay tuned!