Media Buying Challenges and Solutions

Maria Kofler

Media buying is a powerful way to reach the right audience, with the right message, at the right time. There are numerous challenges and solutions out there, and we’ll look at a few of these to ensure that your media buying leads directly to business success.

“You Can’t Manage What You Can’t Measure”

Management guru Peter Drucker is often quoted as saying that “you can’t manage what you can’t measure”. When it comes to media buying, this is certainly true. With pinpoint, accurate data available, there is no excuse for not being on top of your campaigns, constantly optimizing, and making sure that your marketing funnel is pumping out results like a well-oiled machine.

Some of the best-known measurement platforms include AppsFlyer, Tune, and Adjust. These platforms, each with their own advantages and disadvantages, allow a tremendous amount of insight into media buying and campaign performance.

All of these offer the basics – impressions, click-through rates, and so on – but each also offers unique benefits and metrics that can take your media buying to the next level.

AppsFlyer, for example, offers features such as Universal Uninstall Attribution (identifying which user acquisition campaigns have high uninstall rates), Omni-Channel LTV (lets you see the “bigger picture” including customer engagement and purchase activity for online, mobile and retail), and Ad Revenue Attribution (attribute in-app advertising revenues to specific marketing channels and campaigns).

It’s critical to look at the options out there, and assess what works best for your specific needs.

Be Aware

Fraud costs the industry billions of dollars, and will cost your company too, if you don’t look out for it.

There are many ways that fraudsters can take advantage of you. Some ways include:

Ghost sites: placing ads on fake websites or apps

Pixel stuffing: showing a tiny add (sometimes as small as 1px x 1px), which counts as an “impression”

Ad-Stacking: placing an ad on top of another ad

Masked URLs: showing ads on a different website than what is expected

Click Fraud: one example is sending users who tried to tap on the tiny X on the upper right of the ad to the App Store. This may not seem like a big deal, but may cause a lot of trouble when it’s done at scale. This type of clicking may “overtake” the organic traffic that you were supposed to get anyway – for free – and “tag” these users as clicks under that media source, so even though you won’t pay for the clicks, you will pay for the installs that come out of it, even if they came organically.

Preventing fraud should be an integral part of your media buying strategy. The good news is that ad platforms have improved significantly in this regard, and big players like Google are willing to investigate and rectify any fraudulent behavior. The bad news is that this fraud continues, and the bad guys are constantly innovating in order to take advantage of legitimate companies.

The solution to this issue is working with an agency that supports ad-fraud investigation – so there won’t be any payment for fraudulent sources. At Moburst, for example, we work with each one of the above measurement platforms (such as AppsFlyer). Within their systems, we can export reports and track fraud behavior, cutting these sources immediately and ensuring you don’t pay for any of the “bad” traffic.

Most of the fraud today in the performance world is around CPI. Bots are used to generate false downloads, which although not real, are still charged by the networks as a genuine install. When you have an agency that is aware of this, you can track smart metrics to ensure you pay only for actual installs. One of these metrics is the time from click to the install. If it’s less than 20 seconds, for example, this usually means it’s fraudulent. It takes more time for a real user to go over the app page, tap on the download button, download and open it for the first time. When this happens too fast, it’s a reliable sign that there is a bot involved.

Nail Your ROI By Thinking Differently

While it’s quite fine to pay for installs based on the CPI model – working out your cost per install – you need to optimize towards the next steps of the funnel. This includes prioritizing your budget towards lowest cost per registered user/loyal user/paying user, and not just for the lowest cost per install. It’s about being smarter about overall goals and not taking a short-term approach.

For example, you can buy a user in Network A for $2, and in Network B for $3 per download. Let’s say the average user from the first “cheaper” network was converting at 1/15. So you need to have 15 users to download your app in order to get 1 registration, and it means you’ll be paying $30 (15 users multiplied by $2 per user) to get it. On the second network, where a user costs $3, every 4th user is registering. This essentially means that a registered user costs only $12 (4 users multiplied by $3 per user).

Even though the cost per install is more, the overall ROI is significantly better with Network B. It just takes a slightly longer view, and a different way of looking at things, to ensure you’re getting the very best ROI.

Eyes On The Prize

Overcoming these challenges requires working smarter and thinking differently. It means optimizing at all parts of the funnel, and ensuring you have the right partner to help you get the most out of your campaign. As we discussed, measuring performance, being aware of fraud and maximizing your ROI are some of the key building blocks to any successful media buying strategy. If you’d like to know more about how you can take your media buying to the next level, get in touch!

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