UA Strategy: SANs, DSPs, SDK Networks, and The Optimal Mix
In the final part of our Bubbles of Wisdom interview with Tom Nguyen, Founder at Tucmedia, we cover a wide range of UA strategies and explore various monetization methods and approaches to UA. For this segment, Tom leaned on wisdom gained through his experiences working on different app genres & monetization strategies to discuss the ways in which UA can be enhanced. He will also reveal his ‘Holy Grail’ for user acquisition, how to get started with SDK networks and what to expect from a combination of DSPs, SANs & other platforms.
Strategizing the right blend of SANs, SDK Networks & DSPs
Within user acquisition we are all about performance, every dollar needs to be spent well to increase revenue and grow a valuable user base. However, looking at new channels it is extremely unlikely that you will be ROI positive from day 1. You will need to spend exploratively and monitor metrics outside of revenue in the initial weeks of any new campaigns in order to make this profitable further down the line.
As a product owner, you need to allocate your budget carefully and in a strategic way. Tom recommends having 90% of the budget being utilized on proven methods that you know will gain you users. The other 10% should be for exploration, which should be individual to each application, and you will need to test various sources to expand your understanding of where to attract the best users from.
Getting started with SDK Networks
You need to put a lot of effort into commencing advertising on SDK Networks, you should be patient to see results as it takes time to figure out the optimal ways to achieve consistent performance which is scalable. Cracking a new channel and soft-launching a product have similarities, you need time to figure out CPI per platform & see if this fits within the budget. This CPI might be higher than other networks but this may come with higher LTV, so you should examine the full funnel to quantify whether new channels can be beneficial for your app.
Within the R&D budget, you should diversify through a number of networks rather than betting on a single platform. This wider bucket gives you a higher opportunity to see success and learn from the exploration you are conducting.
A specific UA Approach to each Monetization Model
User Acquisition is hugely different from product to product. Looking at in-app purchase, whale-driven games, you are working with products with unlimited LTV and the main goal is to hit ROAS within a certain time frame. As a UA manager, you can experiment with various cost-per-engagement goals, which you may set by looking at historical user cohorts. However, high-value users may sometimes be anomalies, so the recipe for positive ROI requires constant focus and analysis. Something that a solid automation product could help with.
On a campaign level, you will sometimes need a higher CPI campaign to run in order to ascertain whether this is a viable area of exploration for you, and that is especially for whale-driven games. Investing in the upper funnel is a sensible strategy if this increases your chance of acquiring high-value users. With subscription models, you can reverse engineer to work on having a CPI/CPM which is attainable and rigid, then you will be able to factor this into your campaign goals and find a profitable method to reach valuable users and scale-up.
Tom’s Holy Grail for User Acquisition
Being 100% on creatives, putting more effort and team collaboration into the creative process. Involving the whole UA team through the full process within design, iteration & testing, working with the design team and the app development team can increase the scope of your ideas and testing capabilities to maximize consistency, scalability, and optimization. Having a fluid process in place to incorporate cross-departmental ideas and a platform to maximize virtuous exchange among domain specialists will lead to ads being personalized and optimized to specific audiences & networks.
Tom Nguyen is the Founder of Tucmedia, after previously managing UA at Zalando & Goodgame studios. If you would like to know more about Tom & Tucmedia, please visit his UA Wavemaker profile page.