This article is part of a Gaming Insights series paid for by Facebook.
We recently spoke with Katerina Dudinskaya, VP of Performance Marketing at Gismart, to discuss how the award-winning European publisher is adapting its approach to face new challenges brought about by upcoming iOS 14 changes, and how the team is closing the gap between acquisition and monetization with campaign-level Return On Ad Spend (ROAS).
Facebook: Let’s start off with a macro view of the industry: The pandemic is in full swing, and iOS 14 changes are coming up. How are these massive shifts impacting your business?
Dudinskaya: The pandemic has driven more traffic to almost all of our entertainment products and much of the 2020 uplift has continued through 2021, although we are seeing more competition.
And IDFA deprecation will force us to adapt our approach to marketing and business. For us, the best strategy is just to accept this new reality and try to be creative about how to adapt.
Facebook: As limitations on targeting are becoming top-of-mind for publishers and developers, we’re seeing an evolution in the ads ecosystem. Can you talk about some of the new challenges you’re facing this year?
Dudinskaya: At a high-level, our current challenges are firstly, how to deliver personalized ads and reach our most valuable customers and, secondly, how to provide our monetization partners with reliable user data to predict user-level value more accurately. Latency data and fraudulent data can affect our predictions, and using incorrect data can lead us to the wrong decisions.
We’re also developing updates for our user acquisition structure, analytics, and creative production to help us deal with these challenges.
Facebook: Let’s dive into what it means to build resilience in 2021. What approach are you taking when it comes to app monetization?
Dudinskaya: Like most other publishers, we will be using a combination of SKAdNetwork and our own analytics systems to track all possible marketing funnel events (downloads, click-throughs, etc). This data will become the base for the decisions and predictions we make.
We’re also working more closely with all our partners: publishers, traffic vendors, and monetization networks. In this new reality, more than ever, you need to work as a team.
Facebook: User acquisition has been a key challenge for publishers and developers. How will you ensure that Gismart will continue to reach and acquire high-value users?
Dudinskaya: We are using all open solutions that are currently available, including AppsFlyer’s proprietary user attribution solution and Unity’s machine learning solution. We also work closely with Facebook Audience Network and Facebook Instant Games teams who help us with user acquisition and monetization. We also continuously improve non-technical ways of personalization, such as growth activities on landing pages, creative production, and UA channel diversification.
Facebook: Many publishers are concerned with revenue loss and the impact of ad targeting limitations and fluctuating CPMs. How do you plan to sustain revenue in this environment?
Dudinskaya: We plan to apply a holistic approach, working on UA strategies and targeting creative production. We also use some CPM/bidding add-ons produced internally to be able to perform fast testing and to get a snapshot of user funnel metrics from the first impression to the deepest product metric. For games, this could be clickthrough rate, cost per install, cost per app event/acquisition, or average revenue per user.
Facebook: How are you currently measuring return on ad spend (ROAS) at a campaign level? How do you maintain oversight of what’s working on which channels?
Dudinskaya: Facebook Audience Network’s new campaign-level IAA ROAS has helped us to better understand our ROAS, offering accurate insights to make more profitable decisions.
It enables us to acquire quality users, understand the ideal user experience, and ensure long-term engagement and revenue. The synergy of data we receive from different analytics systems, mediation, and other tools give us deeper insights into the channel performance. The more data we can bring into day-to-day operations, the better results we see in our marketing channels.
Facebook: What advice would you share with other publishers and developers who are also preparing to face the headwinds of the upcoming industry changes?
Dudinskaya: It’s worth noting that each advertising platform is quite unique; some creative approaches that work well on one platform, might not perform that well on another. So publishers need to have individual marketing strategies for each platform, taking into consideration their audience and content consumption habits, and the platforms’ technical specifics.
Also, we’re always open to new solutions and we are constantly testing new Facebook features and tools available in an alpha/beta version. Testing new solutions is not only a great way to adapt your marketing strategy but also helps to identify errors and gaps in your current solution set.
Anastasia Petrova is Strategic Partner Manager at Facebook Audience Network.
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