Each year the top mobile measurement partners (MMPs) release at least one industry paper outlining the best traffic sources and other trends from the previous year. Using their aggregate data from advertisers across the globe they provide important insights for mobile first marketers. In this post, we will provide our view of key takeaways with our thoughts on each individual report.
We will touch on each of the below reports. Click the link to gain direct access to each full report.
It will come as no surprise that the Google and Facebook duopoly continue rule across industry reports.
The only exception being Kochava, who didn’t include either in their rankings. Kochava decided to remove them from the rankings because both “Google and Facebook don’t allow for neutral attribution” which means they “cannot make a fair comparison of their services against other ad networks and media partners.” In addition, since most advertisers utilize Google and Facebook providing them in the report provides no real actionable insights.
The short clip video platform has taken the world by storm. According to Adjust TikTok delivered 57% more paid installs than Twitter in December 2019. TikTok’s platform is well suited for non-gaming brands and Appsflyer’s report suggests this clearly as TikTok was dominant in their non-gaming rankings.
It will be interesting to see how TikTok develops their monetization efforts in 2020. Will they continue to rely on neutral unbiased attribution from a trusted mobile measurement partner? Or will they take attribution on their side following suit of Google, Facebook, Twitter and other walled garden networks?
As Singular rightly pointed out in their paper, Amazon is not listed in their index (nor any other index, that we could find) due to the fact that they aren’t focussed on app install or in app purchase products yet.
What is interesting about this is they have all the components in place to compete with Google and Facebook from Day 1. This may be due to the fact that the platform had enjoyed very high CPM’s from branding campaigns. The question remaining is, when will they launch a mobile app focussed solution to the market in order to get a slice of this business?
2020 could yet be the year of Amazon in the mobile marketing space.
We have noticed this industry trend for some time now and it was well explained in Adjust’s report. It’s becoming more difficult for new up and coming apps to compete with established brands in their niche. Most app categories have 1-3 incumbents and newcomers aren’t able to be discovered.
As the marketplace becomes more saturated it is vital for growing brands to focus on paid activities sooner in order to become competitive long term. This is another reason we liked Kochava’s move to not include SANs, newcomers need to find cheaper means to reach their target audience in order to become competitive.
There is no secret that Appsflyer has a significant market share compared to some of their competitors. Their performance index reflects this in a few different ways. First, they use the largest set of data from all the other partners (H2 only, 25B installs, 16K apps, 52B opens). Secondly, they go deep (but not the deepest!) with key insights in their report.
Lacking in the Appsflyer report is they don’t use clear methodology on their rankings. There is a dedicated section speaking about their methodology, but it lacks substance. Due to this it is hard to determine if there was a large difference between a network rated #1 vs #2. In other words, a network rated #1 might be 10 times better than #2, or they might only be fractionally better. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to know with this report.
Singular provided some unique insights in their report. Most notably including Bluestacks Gaming on Android. Bluestacks is a platform that allows users to play Android games on their desktop. They aren’t included in the rankings because they are not a true mobile network and providing these additional insights is a value add for their readers.
Their traffic index doesn’t provide any sort of ranking which makes it difficult to fully understand. Singular says, “this is because the difference between each partner is so minor that there is no justice done by ranking them in order”. This may be true in some instances but not always. Kochava does a nice job of providing a rank, along with a grade, to clearly communicate where each mobile network stands.
Likely due to the size of the partner they don’t provide as many deep insights as we see from the other reports.
Finally, the Singular methodology is not transparent. “Spend must be above a specified minimum” or “Fraud rate must be below a maximum” are both broad statements. This doesn’t instill confidence when you are reading their figures. Why not state what these thresholds are to be transparent to the audience?
Most surprising, this year, was Adjust’s Annual Trends Report. Adjust didn’t provide bespoke ratings of each network. They did however provide outstanding industry wide insights across the mobile app space.
Their report really takes a deep dive into different app verticals and how they are performing against different benchmarks like sessions, percentage of paid users, retargeting utilization and more.
Unique to the Adjust report is a view of ‘Growth Score’ across different verticals.
Growth Index = No. Installs per Month / Monthly Active Users (MAUs)
Gaming continues to be a staple in the growth space. Casual gaming has however seen a decreasing growth score in 2019 as this sub category becomes more saturated. Video streaming apps continue to grow at the end of 2020 (and exponentially in Q1 2020 with the wake of COVID-19).
If you’re not looking for a traffic index type report and rather deep insights into mobile trends for 2020 and beyond then this report is great.
As mentioned above Kochava decided to not include SANs networks in their index. They did this due to the fact that their attribution modelling isn’t fair to compare against independent media sources. Not included in the Kochava report are the following:
Regardless of the unfair attribution framework SANs networks typically have above average performance. As a result, providing advertisers with ratings regarding the walled gardens isn’t providing a ton of value. Instead Kochava focuses on providing recommendations for different media sources based on their four unique criteria:
By far the most detailed report Kochava grades and ranks each partner. This gives the reader a clearer understanding how one partner compares to another. They also provide a clear list of the Top 20 partners for each of the above categories. Other vendors provide either less or an inconsistent amount, which is confusing.
Each ranking criterion is explained clearly and Kochava provides clarity on their methodology. This differs from Singluar and Appsflyer who don’t provide a transparent methodology.
The 2020 Kochava Traffic Index is a must read for mobile marketers.
The MMP space continues to provide value for mobile advertisers with their products and industry white papers. Each partner provides their unique view of current market trends and top traffic sources. It is imperative to understand the nuances of potentially working with each partner in order to make informed decisions on not only their capacities and pricing, but the accuracy of their reporting.