In the movie Moneyball, Billy Beane’s smart take on baseball analytics helped his team, the Oakland A’s, beat much richer franchises. He challenged common assumptions and tested alternative options. This approach became a field of study called sabermetrics, the empirical analysis of baseball.
I didn’t grow up watching baseball, but Moneyball has had a major influence on many industries – and even has influenced the way I approach my own analytics process. What’s become clear to me is that mobile advertising needs a character like Beane to shake up the way media is bought today. Many media buyers are missing out on higher performance and better pricing because they are following common assumptions rather than testing alternative options. Some still fail to see the value of what science and big data could bring, in this case, the value of programmatic SSPs.
Moving Beyond Device ID
Dominating players like Google and Apple are limiting the use of device IDs for advertising purposes. This limitation has created a variety of trends that are working against media buyers. It’s time that they think more creatively. For example, in a sample from 2021, PubMatic found that CPMs for impressions where IDFA was present were 240 percent higher than other impressions. Meanwhile, there are a variety of other data points that advertisers can use to better understand non-IDFA impressions and take advantage of this price disparity.
Some media buyers are starting to think about using “Deterministic IDs,” such as email addresses, as an alternative. While brands have been collecting email addresses as part of their omnichannel and marketing strategies for some time, this ID is just entering the programmatic mobile advertising marketplace. The benefit of using a deterministic ID is that it opens up opportunities for cross-screen targeting, and, therefore, omnichannel marketing.
Recently, Comscore announced a product that connects deterministic audiences to contextual signals to increase the scale of this approach, and other data companies are likely to follow with offerings of their own. AppAnnie, for example, has pivoted their business into “Data.ai” to share contextual signals that can help mobile advertisers find their audiences. Now is the right time for brands to start testing alternate solutions to see what works, and where they need partners to help fill in the gaps.
In the fragmented mobile in-app space, leveraging contextual signals simply makes sense, especially with the rise of first-party and third-party data platforms and alternate ID solutions platforms built for mobile. These solutions now allow advertisers to bring a closer lens into mobile in-app audiences and reach out to them with greater granular targeting. At the same time, consumers get a better user experience because they see ads that are relevant.
Gaming for Brands
The valuable gaming audience is growing up and growing in appeal for more than just performance marketers.
Gamers are no longer just teenage boys. The gaming industry has successfully captured a good balance of users who have earning and spending power, who understand and don’t mind seeing ads in gaming environments. In fact, gamers respond well to ads that are built into game play, including rewarded video formats that unlock points, new levels and other in-game benefits.
New in-game formats such as “in-play” ad placements is a strong indicator showcasing the shift in relationship between gaming and brand. This format is the “virtual billboard” created in the in-game session, an eye-catcher for brand advertisers. With technology, brand advertisers are now better equipped to measure the “eye-balls/foot-falls” for their billboard ads.
However, there is still a gap between available audiences and the competition for those impressions. Primarily because the gaming industry has been mostly driven by performance campaigns for user acquisition, which results in inflated costs for the “all-star players.” Through the Moneyball lens, we should leverage technology to look at the metrics of these gaming audiences for what they could deliver for brand advertisers and offer the right price for the right reasons.
Finding Audiences In New Places
Today Billy Beane is in the news for a new strategy. He is paying for underpriced major league players, as many of the other teams in the league have adopted his original approach. His strategy is to “zig while everyone else zags.” For media buyers, how could they create their own “blue ocean”?
Programmatic mobile ad-serving is the answer, not only it offers a transparent environment, it provides greater efficiency with real-time granular control. This empowers media buyers to be able to reach a broader group of audience in a timely manner, with precision.
A clear opportunity that many buyers have been hesitant to adopt. An Advertiser Perceptions report shows that perceptions are changing, and in-game advertising has the highest optimism from brands thinking about increasing budget in different content categories.
This post originally appeared on ANA