Advertising Disrupted: What User Privacy Means for Marketers | AppsFlyer


Advertising Disrupted: What User Privacy Means for Marketers

December 30, 2020



2020 was a year of massive change in the digital advertising ecosystem, with Apple in particular making headlines with its plans for iOS 14 to limit the use of IDFA. Earlier this year at TechCrunch Disrupt, AppFlyer’s US President, Brian Quinn and Sparrow Advisers’ Principal and Co-founder Ana Milicevic broke down the ramifications of Apple’s big announcement. Quinn is betting that advertisers will come to grips with relying on broader data sets, probabilistic models and much more sophisticated data science. This new privacy-centric reality should lead to a better experience for consumers – as long as, per Milicevic, the industry does a better job of communicating the value of consumers sharing some amount of data.


Mike Shields (19s):

Hey guys, this week we had a very special episode of Next in Marketing. We recorded this live at TechCrunch Disrupt 2020. My guests were Brian Quinn, President, General Manager of AppsFlyer and Ana Milicevic, Co-founder and Principal at Sparrow Advisers. We had a lively discussion about the potentially massive impact of Apple shifting policies regarding advertising. Let’s get started. Happy to be here guys. Let’s kind of just jump into it. Brian, I think a good place to start is, I think just maybe — let’s talk about what AppsFlyer is? You play an interesting role in this world and you’re being affected by a lot of these issues directly. So tell us a little bit about AppsFlyer here and who your customers are?

Brian Quinn (54s):

Sure. Well, thank you, Mike. Yeah, my name is Brian Quinn. I’m the President and General Manager for AppsFlyer North America. AppsFlyer is a business, we’re the global mobile attribution company. We help app businesses with a comprehensive suite of measurement, and analytics solutions. So we help perform attribution, on helping businesses understand where their mobile users are coming from? How they engage? We help them fight fraud and build first party audiences. We’re built with a privacy by design principles. So everything we do has a lot of user privacy and security embedded in it.

Brian Quinn (1m 36s):

We have 12,000 customers across the globe, and 7000 integrated partners. So we’re very woven into the mobile ecosystem. We’re about 1000 employees. We’ve raised $294 million to date. We did our Series D in January led by General Atlantic. We have about 65% market share and some of our top customers that I can name are Nike, Tinder, Calm, Activision Blizzard, King, Stitch Fix, Best Buy. So big in the gaming and e-commerce space, but also representing apps across every consumer category that you’d see in the app stores.

Mike Shields (2m 25s):

Okay, so let’s put aside what’s going on with Apple or isn’t going on. Let’s pretend that hasn’t, and none of that’s happened yet. But let’s talk about what is your customers Nike or your King, your part, you’re a gamer? What do you tell them? You help them figure out? What ads drove people to install their app? What ads helped them land high paying customers lifetime customer value? What kind of stuff do you tell them or help them with?

Brian Quinn (2m 51s):

Absolutely, yeah, that’s a piece of it. I mean, ultimately, mobile app is a very competitive ecosystem. And there are outside of China’s fragmented app store environment, you really have two app stores, you have, Apple and Google Play. And you have millions of consumer apps, and they’re all vying for our attention. They’re vying to be discovered. They need to be reengaged with. So it’s a very competitive ecosystem. And the stores themselves are pretty opaque, it’s hard to understand what’s working. So we provide mission critical technology that’s embedded in the tech stack of the apps themselves with SDKs, or integrations into their server environments. And what we do is we help them understand which marketing touchpoint drove an action.

Brian Quinn (3m 36s):

So which media campaign? Which marketing campaign drove an action? Like an install, or a purchase or the completion of a level? That connection is what attribution is. And that’s the basis of what we do. That’s important measurement for brands to understand what’s working. How to justify their return on investment? How do I identify cohorts of their best users? How do we re-engage those users? And that foundation allows us to then accurately decipher what’s a real person or from a bot so that marketers don’t end up purchasing fraudulent traffic or fraudulent installs. We help them to identify, which audiences are most valuable and then create audiences that they can push to networks to reengage with, and help them understand in measurement around retargeting with incrementality.

Brian Quinn (4m 32s):

These are the types of solutions that we offer primarily performance marketing teams, product, growth teams of consumer mobile app businesses.

Mike Shields (4m 41s):

Yeah, so that was going to kind of lead me to my next question. Are you are you primarily living in the mobile universe? Because, you know, most brands want to have — they will every brand where they would like to have exact measurement of — or as exact as they can get and what every dollar I spend and how it all connects together between TV at home, and mobile apps, that’s going to be very different from a game company that’s pure primarily mobile. But sorry, are you trying — I do aspire to be the connective tissue for everything in marketer tracks? Are you really a mobile company, first and foremost?

Brian Quinn (5m 15s):

So, you know, I think what we do is we have a mobile centric buyer and persona that we serve. So if you’re a mobile game, and your entire business resides in the app, we’re a critical part of the infrastructure. And that value is very, very clear to that gamer. Now, increasingly, we’re seeing a lot of large businesses, non-mobile first businesses, retailers, travel companies, grocery store companies, who are recognizing that mobile is the way that their consumers prefer to be engaged with. So there’s a real rush to build great user experiences on mobile.

Brian Quinn (5m 60s):

Have mobile become more core part of their assets and their properties? And we’re helping these businesses understand the mobile landscape. Who are all the players? What are the partners? How to effectively spend their dollars and measure their dollars? So effectively, we’re helping all businesses, and I think, you know, we do aspire to be that critical layer in a businesses stack to help them grow, provide them transparency, give them the security and the privacy that their consumers want, and navigate all of the changes in the landscape, which there are many right now.

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Meet our host, Mike Shields

Mike Shields is the founder of Shields Strategic Consulting. Shields covered the ad business for over 15 years at top publications including The Wall Street Journal, Business Insider, Adweek and Digiday.

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