Take off: Android could gain publicity as IDFA changes hurt iOS games and apps

Elevate your technology and enterprise data strategy to Transform 2021.


In 2021, Android could experience a big push thanks to Apple’s decision to focus on user privacy on targeted advertising for games and mobile applications, according to a report by the mobile application marketing optimization platform Lift-off.

Changes to Apple Identifier for advertisers (IDFA) will make it harder for mobile game developers and app makers to target users based on their past activity, which could lead to lower revenue on iOS. The survey also found a dramatic drop in conversion among video ads so far in 2021 compared to a significant peak in 2020.

For the second year in a row, the report highlights Android’s promise for mobile marketers and shows a surprising year-over-year variation in the value of the video advertising format. Additionally, after a year of dramatic changes in user engagement, the data showed notable declines in acquisition costs across major application categories.

The take-off has a fairly large range, which is why it recently raised nearly $ 400 million from investor Blackstone. The report analyzed nearly 400 billion impressions from 6.2 billion clicks, 275 million installs, and 7.7 million unpublished events in approximately 1,800 applications between January 1, 2020 and October 31, 2020.

2021 could be Android’s year for ad creatives

Above: Android vs. iOS. Android ad spending could increase in 2021.

Image Credit: Takeoff

With IDFA changes on the horizon, the data shows that the next year for ad creation could be Android, Liftoff said. This means Android ad spend could be higher in 2021.

Apple leads when it comes to overall app store revenue, while Android leads with number of downloads. Apple’s customers are based in wealthy countries like the United States, while Android dominates in regions with less wealthy users. This means that it is more expensive to advertise to Apple customers and less expensive to advertise to Android customers.

Liftoff said customer acquisition costs favor Android, with user acquisition costs three times higher on iOS. In 2020, the cost per action (CPA, or advertising costs in general) of traditional banner ads on iOS was $ 36.77, which is 3.5 times more expensive than Android’s $ 10.28 and the biggest difference. of all ad formats.

But conversions are the real tipping point, broken down by ad type 50/50. Interstitial ads and banner ads are 52% and 22% higher on Android devices, respectively. Native ads still convert more users on iOS, but with only a minor 10% lead. This is good news for those planning to spend more on Android in 2021 – which, according to Liftoff data, accounts for around a third of mobile marketers.

“In the short term, publishers who monetize through advertising on iOS could suffer, in part because marketers initially don’t know how to assess the non-IDFA offering, resulting in lower CPMs,” said Mark Ellis, CEO of Liftoff, in an email to GamesBeat. “But that will likely be fixed quickly and CPMs (costs per mil, or costs per 1,000 users) will stabilize at a rate similar to what we are seeing now. After all, the demand for more users on iOS is not going to go away. IOS users are simply too lucrative an audience to give up on Android.

Game companies that will lose revenue due to advertising changes are still up for debate. Facebook itself could take a 7% impacted on revenue, according to an assessment by user acquisition expert Eric Seufert of Mobile Dev Memo. Facebook opposes it to Apple’s IDFA changes, saying it believes it will hurt small advertisers, publishers and developers.

“I have no doubt that the upcoming change to iOS will disrupt some businesses while empowering others,” Ellis said. “Retargeting-only businesses will face real challenges. In the short term, I think they will put more emphasis on Android. In the long run, I think they will face some real headwinds.

Ellis said that demand side partners (DSP) that do not have a strong technology infrastructure and team will also struggle, as they will be competing with companies like Liftoff who have invested heavily in understanding how to effectively exploit non-signals. customized to continue to drive user acquisition performance to escalate.

He said the solution develops machine learning to recognize non-personalized signals (e.g. time of day, ad format) that are highly correlated with behavior in the app, knowing how to evaluate these signals when bidding on an impression to serve an ad, and serve an ad with the greatest likelihood of leading to an in-app download and conversion.

Video ads fade with dramatic drop in returns

Above: Installation-to-action costs per ad format.

Image Credit: Takeoff

Video ads have been a smart and strategic investment last year – resulting in 60% higher buy rates than banners for pennies more, Liftoff said. But this year, the video projectors are fading: in a dramatic year-over-year turnaround, video ads now offer the lowest return on ad spend (ROAS). Despite slightly lower costs year-over-year, the category remains the most expensive among ad types ($ 47) and, most notably, the only category whose conversion rates have declined year over year. ‘other (down 1.5%).

Video is by no means a lost cause, with COVID-19 leading to increased mobile use and generating a more captive audience for long-running video ads. Still, marketers looking for maximum ad engagement at moderate costs can consider a number of methods, Liftoff said. Interstitials, for example, generated the highest engagement at moderate costs. This form has already demonstrated substantial value among gaming apps, with the highest conversion rates among ad types (8.1%), Liftoff said.

When asked why the video ads were fading, Ellis said, “Our explanation comes down to stay-at-home orders. It would be wrong to say that people were watching less video in 2020, far from it. On the contrary, more advertisers want to capture the attention of their captive users. This sparked a bidding war for (compared to other creations) limited inventory. “

There are also different uses of advertising. Banners, interstitial ads, and native ads typically focus on direct user conversions. Video campaigns can also be used for branding campaigns, which don’t need direct conversions to be considered successful, Ellis said.

“So not only were marketers buying videos in a crowded market, but they were also competing with different types of ads,” he said. “Branding campaigns don’t try to push [the user] convert [to making a purchase or taking an action], which can depress the numbers.

Shopping and finance apps are booming

Above: Financial announcements are booming.

Image Credit: Takeoff

Apps that drive more value in the COVID-19 era, like shopping and finance apps, have had the highest retention rates over the past year, and data shows loyalty is on the rise. reflected in acquisition costs. Shopping apps saw cost reductions of between 75% and 85% year-over-year across all ad formats, with the highest being for interstitial ads.

In financial apps, banner and native ad costs both fell dramatically by almost 91%, with video and interstitial formats falling by 72% and 62%, respectively. User acquisition costs are at an all-time low, and with mobile usage higher than ever, now has never been a better time to become a mobile marketer.

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