Creative Is King, Adapt Or Go Extinct!

Apple has killed the IDFA, and Facebook and Google are pushing for fully automated media buying. These events have radically reshaped the mobile app advertising landscape. To survive and thrive in a post-IDFA / automated world, creative has become the primary driver of financial success for UA teams. Creative is king! If mobile app developers are not tearing down their marketing and product teams right now and rebuilding them to embrace a creative is king approach, they will quickly become dinosaurs. So learn how to adapt or go extinct.

Adapt Or Go Extinct!

Today, many mobile app developer’s businesses often succeed or fail based on how effectively they measure and improve retention, revenue, and LTV KPIs. Their primary focus is new games, new levels, new game content, and revenue optimization.  But this is only part of the equation for sustained growth and profitability from paid user acquisition.

What is stopping companies from adapting to a creative-first world? Why are the product and marketing teams kept in silos? How come there isn’t a robust pipeline to provide the marketing team with a steady stream of fresh creative and assets so they can stay ahead of creative fatigue? Why don’t app developers measure creative fatigue with the same intensity as retention? Shouldn’t creating content and assets be as important as developing new levels? Is your team ready for this change? Are they ready to adapt or go extinct?

Ready or not, here’s why creative is key to your financial success with advertising on Facebook, Google, TikTok, and Snap, in this post-IDFA world.

Why Is Creative King!

95% of new Facebook creative ideas fail to outperform the best video or image in your portfolio.  If you run the 2nd, 3rd, or 10th best creative, you profit. Now, here’s the kicker! Even if you’re fortunate enough to discover a new best-performing unicorn ad, it will only last 10 weeks.

To maintain advertising efficiency, you need a steady pipeline of new creative ideas and content to test. When successful, a new creative concept can lift performance by 200% or more. This performance increase is worth the cost, time, and risk that’s inherent with testing new concepts.

What is a Creative Journey and How Can it Help You to Adapt or Go Extinct?

A creative journey is the path performance advertisers can take to deliver sustainable and repeatable financial results over many months. This paradigm shift will enable long-term stability as opposed to “unicorn chasing.” The idea isn’t to catch lightning in a bottle﹘it’s to provide a quantitative process that results in fresh creative ideas with the goal of staying ahead of creative fatigue.

This process involves the following steps:

 

Creative Journey

The Challenges of A/B Testing on iOS

The loss of A/B Creative Testing will require a new strategy for creative optimization. Unfortunately, the trifecta of IDFA loss, account simplification required by SKAN, and media buying automation through Facebook’s AAA or Google UAC will have an immediate impact on creative testing and creative strategy. Most major platforms (Facebook, Google, Tik Tok, Snap) will have limited account configurations due to iOS14 SKAN tracking limitations. iOS14 accounts will be restricted to 9-11 campaigns with 5 ad sets per campaign, meaning you’ll have 45-60 permutations. It will be difficult to justify burning these ad sets on testing. Therefore, new concepts will be the most important lever for your UA team. Your creative journey that incorporates a custom learning agenda will be instrumental in your asset development.

Get Started to Adapt or Go Extinct

So, you’re ready to adapt to a creative-first world. Here’s how to start. First, focus on analyzing your internal performance data. The goal is to analyze what concepts work/fail and why. The goal is to not repeat the mistakes or wins. Rather, it’s to find new ideas and areas for creative exploration.

great artist steal

Then, study your competitors and genre ads to discover creative trends across your creative competitive set. Your competitors are failing at that same 95% rate. Unfortunately, we have yet to uncover any meaningful shortcuts in the process of creative discovery. However, a properly done competitive SWOT analysis can unlock an endless supply of tested creative ideas leveraging your competitor’s best ideas. Sometimes, innovation takes the form of tried-and-true tactics.

To highlight the importance of studying your competitors, Pablo Picasso said that good artists borrow but great artists steal. Then Steve Jobs ripped him off!

Fortunately, there are many sources where you can find millions of ads to study. Facebook Ad’s Library is a free resource to see every ad currently running on their ad network. Missing from that tool is duration and velocity of success. For implied success metrics, you can use Mobile Action, SensorTower, or AppAnnie’s competitor libraries. AdRules, our SaaS platform has 3.5 million videos. It’s also user-friendly and updated daily.

 

creative journey

A/B Testing

Next, we perform A/B testing. Here, we test and adjust our strategy based on performance data. Our current A/B testing best practices involve creative testing through qualification stages. The goal of our A/B testing is to provide rapid results while minimizing financial waste. The principle being, the more you test and smarter your testing process becomes, the sooner you can uncover a new winning concept and then iterate on what’s working.

 

We begin our creative testing in cost-effective economical geo like the Philippines or India. During Stage 1, we vet creative for higher install per impression (IPM). Next, Stage 2 requires we take the IPM winners from Stage 1 and create a separate campaign to monitor KPI targets like return on ad spend (ROAS). Finally, Stage 3 pits assets winnowed from the initial stages against historical winners (the control or Unicorn Ad).

This process on average yields a 15% win rate across many app market segments like gaming and eCommerce. And, app advertisers also waste less of their budget by not having to spend 85% on running ‘losing’ creative out to statistical significance.  Yes, this process can generate false winners and false losers, but you are likely to spend $200 to $2K on testing to discover ads that reach the standard successful creative rate vs $20K if you allow the platforms to self-optimize.

Here is our process for IAP (in-app purchases) vs IAA (in-app ads).

Creative Testing for IAP

adapt or go extinct

Creative Testing for IAA

adapt or go extinct

Finally, we review assets. We analyze the depth, limitations, and brand guidelines of the current assets.

Learning Agenda

Next, we recommend you create a learning agenda process that typically takes 3-4 months. Start by doing intensive research into your mobile app genre and leverage your marketing segmentation personas or user motivations. Based on personas, you can develop a bespoke creative strategy based on user motivations. User motivations allow you to expand into new categories based on user demographics and behaviors. The goal is to look outside of gaming or eCommerce to understand what other types of ads your users are best responding to.

Also, the creative learning agenda is critical to unlocking breakthrough ideas. It is important to craft original concepts and storytelling tailored to your unique target audience. To do this, you’ll need to think outside the box and have the freedom to explore new ideas broadly. To offer a more native experience, if you are advertising on Instagram, TikTok, and SnapAnd, we recommend experimenting with user-generated content (UGC).

Finally, the learning agenda should influence your asset expansion plan. Since you now understand your user’s motivations for using the app and what they read, watch and listen to, we can enhance existing assets to better speak to those target users. And, then produce new assets to enable multivariate creative testing. We recommend a robust production process that enables mondo shoots that deliver agile production of hundreds of assets vs one final video or commercial. Think of deliverables as a bucket of Legos the creative team and use, combine and recombine into hundreds of new tests.

The Learning Agenda Month-to-Month

The learning agenda is a process to provide a steady stream of fresh creative ideas and assets to stay ahead of creative fatigue. It doesn’t just happen overnight.  If done right, it provides long-term strategic value in maximizing net profit from your mobile app advertising campaigns.

Month 1: Review Performance Data & Analyze Competitors

In the first month, analyze internal data and competitors. This affords you a holistic view of your genre. Which previous concepts worked and what didn’t? What concepts are working for your competition? Remember, you have to assume that your competitors have tested their concepts too. So, their ads are top-performing ones. You can use these learnings to jumpstart your content pipeline and create ads that you know resonate with your target audience.

Month 2: A/B Testing Results & Iterations

Then, focus on A/B testing results and iteration ideas in the second month. Try the testing approach we mentioned above, we unlock winning creative concepts. These winners are iterated, so that sustained performance can be achieved for your mobile app marketing.

Month 3: Competitive Trends & Asset Needs

Now, deep dive into the competitive trends within your genre. Do testimonials move the needle for casino games? What about fail ads﹘ones that focus on a player losing in an epic fashion﹘for romance game apps? You need to make sure you go down the rabbit hole and do an exhaustive analysis of your competitors. If you only look at a handful of your apps, you’ll only get a glimpse of what’s happening in the genre. A deep dive will enable you to find some creative trends you may have otherwise overlooked.

Then, use this information to create a plan of action for what assets are needed to move forward. In fact, you can view our latest creative trends here:

adapt or go extinct

Month 4: Expand Creative Strategy With User Motivations

Next, get even more granular by analyzing user motivations. What drives someone to download and use your app? Do they enjoy the sense of accomplishment by reaching new levels? Do they like to relax or kill other players? We uncover these motivations by carefully combing through your game reviews, so we discover what users say about your app. Also, we couple user motivations with the target audience to create concepts that drive action.

adapt or go extinct

Month 5: Develop Breakthrough Creative Across Platforms

During the fifth month, take all these learnings to develop breakthrough creative. Bespoke assets are designed to use across all social media platforms like Facebook, TikTok, Google, Snap, and Apple. We don’t use templates because they don’t drive meaningful results the same way custom assets designed for your target audience do.

Month 6: Develop New Assets From Creative Learnings

Finally, develop new assets from all the creative learning you’ve done. The goal is to keep your asset pipeline regularly running, so you prevent creative fatigue. Also, this combats creative tunnel vision. Unfortunately, creative teams can get stuck on one concept or copying a small group of competitors and then all their ads look the same. The creative learning agenda allows for new learnings to constantly occur. These learnings are then incorporated into your marketing strategy to produce new concepts.  Again, this creative journey process is a key component of improving the profitability of advertising and allowing you to adapt or go extinct.

How We Can Help You Adapt or Go Extinct

Consumer Acquisition can help provide a steady stream of fresh creative ideas and assets to stay ahead of creative fatigue and maintain profitability from your mobile app advertising.  Through our Creative Studio CA+, we provide better, cheaper, faster asset production through our mondo shoots that enable agile production and creative testing. Founded in 2013, ConsumerAcquisition.com is a technology-enabled marketing services company that has managed over $3 billion in creative and social ad spend for the world’s largest mobile apps and web-based performance advertisers. We provide a creative studio and user acquisition services for Facebook, Google, TikTok, Snap, and Apple Search social advertisers.  Contact Sales@ConsumerAcquisition.com to begin your creative journey to improve the profitability of your mobile app advertising. Adapt or go extinct.

2021 Update: Facebook Creative Testing: Why Is The Control Video So Hard To Beat?

2021 Facebook Creative Testing is the new update to our wildly successful whitepaper, Facebook Creative Testing: Why Is The Control Video So Hard To Beat?

We have new best practices that increased our creative success rate by 300% with updated 2021 recommendations, including the following:

  • IAA vs IAP Creative Testing Differences Based on Monetization
  • Automation Impact: Facebook AAA vs Google UAC
  • How To Maximize Distribution and Minimize Creative Production Across Facebook, TikTok, Google App Campaigns, and Snap

In addition, you will also find detailed actionable tactics. Tactics that will help you immediately improve the financial results and success rates from creative testing, for example. So, download our free 2021 Creative Testing whitepaper today!

2021 Facebook Creative Testing

Section 1: Creative Testing

  • Our Unique Way
  • Statistical Significance vs Cost-Effective
    • Why so expensive?
    • What to do?
  • IPM Testing Is Cost-Effective

 

Section 2: How We Test Creative Now

  • First A/A test of video creative
  • Second A/A test of video creative
  • Third A/A test of video creative
  • Fourth A/A test of video creative
  • IMP Testing Summary

 

Section 3: 2021 Creative Testing Recommendations 2.0

  • Facebook’s Creative Recommendations for Game Marketers in 2021
  • What happens when those iOS 14 privacy filters go up?
  • Our 3-Step Creative Testing Process (In-App-Purchases)
    • IPM Test
    • Initial ROAS
    • ROAS Scale
    • Testing assumptions and non-standard practices
  • Our 3-Step Creative Testing Process for IAA (In-App-Advertising)
    • IPM Test
    • Initial RPM
    • LTV
  • Automation on Facebook AAA and Google UAC
    • Facebook’s AAA
    • Google UAC
  • Creative Sizes Best Practice

 

Section 4: Special Offers

  • Free Creative Inspiration
  • Free Mobile App Industry Benchmarks

 

Download our 2021 Facebook Creative Testing whitepaper free!

 

We have also managed over $3 billion in paid social spend for the world’s largest mobile apps. Please reach out to sales@ConsumerAcquisition.com if you need help with creative or media buying on Facebook, Google, TikTok, Snap, and Apple Search Ads.

Facebook’s Creative Recommendations for Game Marketers in 2021

Facebook Gaming recently published a new report “Games Marketing Insights for 2021” in which they detail the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year on mobile gaming audiences. Facebook discovered as we did from the very start of ‘shelter-in-place’ orders last spring, that an unprecedented surge in people was spending time at home playing games as a distraction from the pandemic and as a way to stay connected with others. More people were playing, watching, and streaming than ever before, bringing in new gamers as well as re-engaging lapsed players.

Facebook Gaming Recommendations

To understand these new and existing players turning to “gaming” en masse, Facebook commissioned a survey to more than 13,000 respondents across 9 countries (United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, and Brazil). Facebook then split their respondents into two cohorts:

  • New players: Did not play mobile games before the initial peak of the pandemic, and continued to play at least an hour a week
  • Existing players: People who played mobile games both before the initial peak of the pandemic and continued to play at least an hour a week

Here are the key findings:

Millions of New Mobile Players Entered the Gaming Market

Shelter-in-place orders led to a surge of new players as people sought distraction and entertainment. In specific territories, the growth included:

  • United States: 28 million new gamers, 28% mobile gaming audience growth
  • United Kingdom: 8.6 million new gamers, 50% mobile gaming audience growth
  • South Korea: 9.4 million new gamers, 34% mobile gaming audience growth
  • Germany: 6.5 million new gamers, 25% mobile gaming audience growth
Facebook Gaming Recommendations
Source: “Mobile Gaming Behavior Post COVID-19” by Interpret (Facebook IQ-commissioned online survey of 13,246 mobile gamers ages 18+ across BR, CA, DE, FR, JP, KR, UK, US, VN Jul/Oct 2020)

Key Comparisons Between New and Existing Players:

  • While the gender distribution of both cohorts is similar, new players in the US, UK, and Germany are significantly younger than existing players. But in South Korea on the other hand, new players are significantly older than existing players.
  • New players play more hours per week than existing players in all markets. For example, 13 hours versus 11 hours weekly in the US and 14 versus 11 hours weekly in the UK
  • Brand new players are more social and more open to cooperative, multiplayer experiences and chatting with others in-game compared to existing players.
  • New players were significantly more likely to report spending money on mobile games after the initial COVID-19 peak in all markets. For instance, 41% of new players versus 23% of existing players in the US spend monthly.
Facebook Gaming Recommendations
Source: Facebook internal data, January – August 2020

All Players Raised a Hand for Creative Storytelling and Gameplay Ads

When it comes to Facebook gaming ads, Facebook found that both cohorts of existing and new players have similar preferences. Which is that everyone prefers to see the main gameplay and story. Specifically, gamers want to see ads that showcase the game’s art style and characters. As well as, high scores that players can achieve.

With more than 350,000 mobile games available to download, getting your game discovered is no easy feat. Only 25% of players in the UK and Germany reported trying a game they had never heard of, and this figure continues to decline in the US (23%) and South Korea (11%). This all shows that while title familiarity is a key factor for console gaming, it’s just as important for mobile. Mobile game marketers would do well to adopt a creative approach focused on storytelling, taking into consideration that people like to see gameplay in ads. By telling rich stories through immersive experiences and new formats, you can create familiarity, which we know drives discovery.

Recently, we explored this topic of creative best practices and gameplay ads in an article: What Can App Commerce Marketers Learn From Fake Gameplay Ads? We discuss how commerce brands take a storytelling approach. Also, how mobile game marketers can apply this method in what’s known as “fake gameplay ads”. Which captivate players with engaging gameplay mechanics.

As we’ve observed over the past year, and as Facebook Gaming has highlighted in their research, mobile game marketing has entered a ‘Creative Renaissance’ where creative is entirely linked to performance, so creative concepting, testing and development is paramount to success.

Facebook Gaming Creative Development and Testing Best Practices

Consumer Acquisition developed a library of guides. Each detailing the best practices to drive creative concepting and development, auditing, and testing at scale. Check out our papers here:

Please reach out to sales@consumeracquisition.com if we can help with fresh creative or media buying on Facebook, Google & TikTok.

 

What’s up with CPMs on Facebook?

Way back in Q4 last year, we predicted that a “Q5” would come just like in previous years. A period between Christmas and New Year’s where CPMs dip as retail advertisers pull back. But Q5 never came. Instead, we witnessed CPMs on Facebook staying steady through the end of the year, if not actually rising slightly.

CPMs on Facebook, here’s what we thought would happen…

cpms on facebook

CMPs on Facebook behaved differently this holiday season (Dec 2020 to Jan 2021)…

  • Looking at CPMs on Facebook for 4 accounts from unrelated industries, CPMs did not drop after Christmas and overall have dropped less vs 2019-2020.
  • 30-40% reduction in CPMs is a normal year. This year, we have seen a 20% to 30% reduction in CPMs.

cpms on facebook

So, what happened?

There are likely many factors at play here, but here are two likely causes and how you can shift your strategy to mitigate the market changes accordingly:

Thoughts on Reason #1: Traditional Media Channels Were Less Effective Due to the Pandemic

In 2020, stay at home orders across the US and across the globe took effect for weeks that spanned into months. Those who were able to shift to remote working did, and as a result, the workweek commute dissipated. The impact was also less traditional media consumption in the form of radio and digital out of home (DOOH) advertising. Which includes billboards and screens in metro stations, bus stops, highways, and more.

People worked from home and did not commute. As a result, they were listening to less radio for entertainment and shifting instead to mobile gaming for entertainment. As a mobile acquisition industry, this has impacted where and how we advertise to consumers. And no doubt has driven an industry-wide shift to digital and mobile advertising vs non-digital channels.

With COVID cases remaining high and work from home still in place, we expect mobile user acquisition to remain fiercely competitive throughout 2021 as a result.

Thoughts Reason #2: Everyone is Trying to Front-Load Q1 before IDFA Hits in March

The rumor mill has it that Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) and Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) removal will happen with iOS 14.4 in March of this year. This will have a tremendous impact on performance marketers’ ability to identify and target audiences in social media and is estimated to reduce iOS ad spend between -30% to -40%. We believe that mobile app publishers are front-loading their Q1 spend to get ahead of the change and more quickly acquiring users between December through Q1.

CPMs on Facebook

Additionally, it is worth noting that brand marketers and web-based advertisers are much less likely to be affected by IDFA changes. And, with fewer people listening to the radio and seeing billboards, the shift to social platforms like Facebook, Google, TikTok, Snap, and others, where they can continue to gain reach and high-frequency engagement, is greatly appealing. Any hesitation that performance marketers may have about acquisition right now, brand marketers are taking full advantage of to reach audiences.

Here’s What to Do Next

In advance of the anticipated March ATT and IDFA changes, there are levers that marketers can pull now in both media buying and creative development.

Facebook has already shared the structural changes to campaigns. Including that web campaigns will be limited to 8 conversion events per domain attribution. In addition, they will now be governed by “Aggregated Event Measurement” as its mobile SKAdNetwork campaign-centric conversion value counts. Meaning, that events will only be counted at the level of campaign granularity. As with SKAdNetwork conversion events, these 8 conversion events will exist on a priority spectrum. Also, only the highest-priority event triggered by the user will be attributed to that campaign. Value Optimization (VO) campaigns will still be available to web advertisers. Although VO campaigns will only allow for 4 conversion events to be tracked. And 28-day click-through, 28-day view-through, and 7-day view-through attribution windows are being deprecated.

Facebook has noted that app advertisers will be limited to one ad account per app for iOS14 campaigns with up to five ad sets. But they will not need to create a new, dedicated account for iOS14 campaigns.

To prepare now and mitigate the impact of these tracking changes that are anticipated to take effect in March 2021, here’s what Facebook recommends you do now:

Media Buying and Measuring

If you plan to deliver ads for conversion events that occur in your business’s app:
  • Update to Facebook’s SDK for iOS 14 version 8.1 to help personalize ads delivered to devices on iOS 14, and continue to receive app conversion events reporting from iOS 14 devices. You can do this from the Events Manager. You will need to be an app admin to do so. Facebook’s SDK for iOS 14 version 8.1 currently supports Apple’s SKAdNetwork API and enables measurement for app install ads. If you do not have the SDK installed, you may want to install it.
If you plan to deliver ads for conversion events that occur on your business’s website:
  • You may need to verify your website’s domain to help avoid any future disruption of your website campaigns. Domain verification must be done for the effective top-level domain plus one (eTLD+1). For example, for www.books.jasper.co.uk, books.jasper.co.uk, and jasper.co.uk the eTLD+1 domain is jasper.co.uk. This can help ensure that your domain verification will encompass all variations.
  • Domain verification should be prioritized for domains with pixels used by multiple businesses or personal ad accounts. This will enable you to configure pixel conversion events when Aggregated Event Measurement becomes available.
If you plan to deliver ads for both web and app conversion events, take all the actions listed above.

 

Ad Creative

You can use your existing ad accounts to advertise to devices on iOS 14. But you will need to create separate iOS 14 app install campaigns due to reporting limitations from Apple’s SKAdNetwork API. The following are additional limitations that you will need to consider.

If you plan to deliver ads for conversion events that occur in your business’s app:
  • You can only associate your app with a single ad account. However, you can use the same ad account to advertise for multiple apps.
  • Each app is limited to 9 iOS 14 campaigns at once. Each campaign is limited to 5 ad sets of the same optimization type. You cannot vary your optimization choice across ad sets in the same campaign. There is a 72-hour reset period after you turn off or delete one of your 9 permitted iOS 14 campaigns before it will no longer count against your limit. This will help minimize the risk of incorrect campaign optimization and reporting due to the delayed reporting of conversion event data from Apple’s SKAdNetwork API.
  • Auction is the only available buying option when you create an ad for devices on iOS 14. Reach and Frequency is not available.
  • Once your campaign is published, you cannot turn on or turn off the iOS 14 campaign toggle. You will have to turn off or delete your campaign.
If you plan to deliver ads for conversion events that occur on your business’s website:
  • Your pixel may only optimize for a maximum of 8 conversion events for each domain. Facebook will initially configure the conversion events we believe are the most relevant to your business based on your activity. All other events will be made inactive for campaign optimization and reporting. You will be able to manage your preferences in Events Manager. When you create your ad set, you will choose only one of the 8 designated conversion events to optimize for.
  • Ad sets that are optimizing for a pixel conversion event that is no longer active, will be paused. In advance of this limitation, consider if changes will need to be made to your campaign or measurement strategy. You may need to consider if you will be required to optimize for upper-funnel objectives. For example, landing page views and link clicks.
You can also refer to an article we published in September, at the launch of iOS 14, on how IDFA may impact advertisers in 2021: https://www.consumeracquisition.com/game-over-ios-14-idfa-loss-drive-layoffs/

 

How Can We Help?

  • We produce Hollywood-level creative at a fraction of the cost of holding company creative shops. And we do this at a high velocity of production with proprietary testing methodology tied to business outcomes.
  • Check out our new Gaming Reel & Non-Gaming Reel.
  • We have sharpened our teeth in immersive digital storytelling for mobile apps. We have also brought that storytelling to new brands, verticals, and markets.
  • Our creative and platform are geared towards performance and business outcomes instead of awards.
  • Our capabilities lend themselves to emerging digital media such as OTT, DTC, Mobile Web, and DOOH. As established brands are forced to adapt to post-COVID digital transformation.

What Are Our 2021 Plans?

Media Buying:

  • We now support Facebook, Google UAC, TikTok, Snap, Apple Search Ads.
  • We just launched media buying to test creative we deliver for a flat $5K / month fee. Also, we support up to $50K /month in media managed on Facebook.
  • Late Q1 / Early Q2 we are adding media buying for Applovin, IronSource, Unity Ads, and Vungle networks.
  • For All Clients We Offer FREE:
    • Mobile App Industry Benchmarks: See how your mobile app KPIs perform vs industry benchmarks for the following genres. Including, gaming, entertainment, eCommerce.
    • Free access to AdRules for reporting, creative reporting, and creative uploading on Facebook, Google AC/YouTube, and TikTok.  Coming soon: Snap & Apple Search Ads.

Creative:

  • We’re generating creative for Facebook, Google AC, TikTok, Snap, Applovin, IronSource, Unity, Vungle, and OTT platforms.
  • Now Offering: ASO Creative Services (AppStore / Google Play): Logo Design, Screenshots (Portrait / Landscape), 0:30 Explainer Videos.
  • Free Ad Intelligence: Access to view over 1.75 million mobile app ads from competitive apps. Uncover which creatives drive performance for your competitors.

How Internal UA Teams Should Leverage a Consultancy

Your in-house team of user acquisition (UA) professionals is the best of the best. They are well-versed in all aspects of UA. Internal UA teams are equipped with all the best tools and technologies to make them successful. And they continue to deliver consistently.

But perhaps your performance is not where you want or need it to be for the growth of your business.

Why? When your team has the right stuff, it seems contradictory that your UA would be anything less than outstanding.

Here are some of the common reasons that your UA may be underperforming. Even with a stellar team, tools, and technologies:

Why Internal UA Teams Should Leverage a Consultancy

Reason 1: Tunnel Vision

Focusing on one product or title has the benefit of understanding all its nuances. But internal UA specialists tend to over-index their focus on the product.  And also lose context on the trends of the publisher medium. For example, your source of new users.

In today’s marketplace auctions, losing the high view understanding of the auction affects performance and optimization. By only seeing one product or title, you lose the ability to see cause and effect across a wider ecosystem.

It is the difference between understanding what challenges or opportunities are unique to a title. Versus what challenges and opportunities are market-level, affecting every title. It is important to have visibility into the largest data set possible to serve your overall UA needs.

Reason 2: Objectivity and the Risk of Obsolete Strategies and Tactics

In any profession, it is always difficult to look inward on areas to improve.

Much like what a coach or therapist may provide, objective feedback helps us change and grow. It is really no different to need this objectivity within UA teams in areas to improve.

Without objective feedback, skills may not keep up with the market. What made teams great a year ago, may lose their relevance tomorrow. UA auctions are an ever-changing landscape affected by global politics, technology changes, and the economy. Just take a look at our latest paper on Facebook UA Strategies for 2020, which are dramatically different than a year ago due to changes in Facebook’s algorithm and the release of new tools in just the last several months.

Reason 3: Resourcing

As most UA teams run lean, there is not a bench of underutilized resources sitting around, waiting for the call. With regular turnover and no means to solve the gaps, this can put a stranglehold on growth. Additionally, every time talent walks out of the building, context and knowledge leave with them. Which is very difficult to recreate.

For the reasons listed above, working with an external consultancy is highly effective. And will ensure your UA operations are running as efficiently as possible. It is imperative for even the best UA teams to have external support. In order to address the high stakes of paid UA and the constantly evolving market. At a minimum, an external consultancy that is worth their salt will provide you with:

  • Entry to trusted market data that you can benchmark your UA team’s performance against
  • Access to a rapid response team that can address the ups and downs of resourcing. Whether it is supplementing short-term turnover or long-term operating cost efficiencies
  • Entry to a framework that ensures success that includes process, best practices, data insights, and resources

As one of Consumer Acquisition’s UA consultants, I am going to share some insights on how we support in-house teams. Also, why we are great at it:

Insights to Supporting Internal UA Teams

Step 1: We start with the most robust audit possible

We run through a 4-point system comparing your previous programs to our best practices and benchmark data.

This starts with benchmarking your UA performance. First, we evaluate performance metrics and data integrity relative to the $150 million in monthly spend running through our platform. Next, we assess the following and then develop a hypothesis:

  • What is outperforming
  • What is underperforming

We then follow up with targeting that has been used (or not used) and the success of those efforts, including:

  • How you are using seed audiences for LAL’s and at what granularity
  • What interest targets have been tried and what has worked
    • Note: There should be a lot of experimentation with affinity interests outside of your core product. But should be aligned to the persona or motivations of the user. Because this could be a good source of low CPM’s if executed properly.
  • What optimization strategies have been tried and what were the results including:
    • Whether multiple optimization types are being employed and learnings being shared
    • Whether you are effectively hedged on optimizations that could be impacted by ATT when released by iOS 14
  • What geos are being targeted and how you are categorizing your geo targets to avoid unnecessary cannibalization
  • Whether you are effectively leveraging auto bidding to ensure scale

Most importantly, we then conduct an extensive creative audit to assess:

  • Creative performance and identifying trends across winning creative
  • Competitor creative performance and identifying themes or opportunities that can be applied
  • Creative size distribution and that every meaningful distribution opportunity has supporting creative

Step 2: We build the plan

After the extensive audit, we develop a 90-day sprint plan that encompasses:

  • Summary of findings and recommendation
  • Detailed action plan and the timeline for activating the recommendations
  • The buildout of the learning agenda and testing plan
  • New creative concept mini briefs based on the creative audit

Step 3: We become part of the team and lean in

  • Develop creative concepts that are aligned to the audit that will drive the learning agenda and testing.
  • Connect with your team weekly to chart progress and identify where we can lean in to help support the project.
  • Measure performance along the way and recommend new strategies and tactics as opportunities present themselves.

Step 4: After 90-days, the sea level will have risen, so there is more work to do

  • Conduct a detailed post-mortem including expected gains and efficiencies created.
  • Provide a go-forward plan for the next 90 days. This will ensure that the previous 90-days was a step-change to something even greater.

Time and time again, we have seen this approach up-level in-house UA teams. Consider taking us for a test drive.

Consumer Acquisition as Your Strategic Partner to Get the Most of Your Internal UA Team

Since 2013, we have supported internal UA teams and have aggregated more than $3 billion in media spend. So our expertise in supporting clients with specific challenges in UA is incredibly vast.

With more than $150 million in monthly spend, we have access to benchmark data and performance measures. Those that make our recommendations holistic and data-driven. And as a result, we see things that nobody else can see.

Creative is the tipping point of success going forward due to the industry shift of automation and improved algorithms on platforms like Facebook and Google. Our in-house Creative Studio provides a unique advantage in supporting our UA clients. By bringing Hollywood-level talent and strategy that is grounded by data and how ads drive financial performance.

Additionally, we are 100% focused on business outcomes and financial performance in service to our customers. We are also transparent in our strategies and communications to ensure all teams are aligned towards the same goals. We are here to partner with you and your internal UA teams as we head into 2021.

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Creative & UA Best Practices For Facebook, Google, TikTok & Snap ads.

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