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Is an advertising campaign for mobile applications and games using motivated traffic by new advertisers a good solution? Is it worth using the MMP platform when generating installations from the so-called incentivized traffic? What should you pay attention to in mobile acquisition campaigns with motivated traffic? Can you afford installing no anti-fraud tool in campaigns with incentivized traffic? What short-term and long-term indicators are worth monitoring during mobile user acquisition campaigns? You’ll find all about it in the text below.

When launching a new game or application on the market, most customers want to get the largest number of installations in the first two weeks (I am talking about thousands of installations) at the lowest possible cost in the CPI settlement (cost for installing the application or game) to reach the top Google Play and App Store position in the shortest possible time.

It’s best if you don’t need to implement CRM, analytics tools and MMP (Mobile Measurement Partner) to promote the mobile application. The goal is to get as many installations as possible, regardless of whether it’s an installation from a real user or simply a fraud. The most important thing is for App Store Connect and Google Play to grow bars, and our application was shot high in the ranking of the most popular application or game. Is this the right strategy?

Absolutely not. In 2019, the problem is not acquiring users to the application. The issue for every mobile developer is activation, user retention and monetization. However, many developers stick with the wrong strategy of obtaining a high volume of app installs in the shortest possible time, regardless of whether it’s a “real user” who will use our app or game.

The entity that plays an important role in generating installations (including a large number of frauds) are the so-called advertising networks with motivated traffic (so-called incentivized traffic). With motivated traffic as an advertiser, you pay the publisher and the advertising network for installing the application, passing a given level in the game, registering in the application, installing and leaving reviews on Google Play, etc.

In return for performing a given activity, the publisher may reward the user with points, virtual coins or coupons for use in the store.

By generating incentivized traffic installations as an advertiser, you pay the ad network that shares the revenue with the publisher.

Some advertising networks with motivated traffic act as so-called white-label with their own tracking system where you don’t have to implement the SDK of the advertising platform or the MMP platform. After making a payment, within 5 minutes, without any experience, on your advertising profile you will be able to run a campaign generating “installations”.

In some advertising networks, you have the option of connecting an external attribution system (Appsflyer, Adjust, Singular, Kochava, Branch), but without buying anti-fraud protection on the MMP platform that is active in campaigns, you won’t be able to block fraud installations if you don’t have experience in detecting anomalies in campaigns advertising. The motivated traffic itself is obviously not fraudulent, but it’s marked by a high percentage of frauds.

Should you use motivated traffic to acquire users for the app or mobile game? I’ll try to answer this question in five points.

1. Installation tracking

With limited advertising platforms, the so-called self-serve where the main goal is to generate app installs you may not be able to connect the MMP platform, which is a must-have tool for acquiring users. In this case, you will only rely on the results from the data analytics system, advertising platform and the results of downloads from Google Play or the App Store. The only advantage of such an advertising network of motivated traffic is the speed of building a promotional campaign for the mobile application. I could add that the low cost of obtaining the installation is a plus, but I can’t do it.

More extensive advertising platforms with incentivized traffic allow you to connect the MMP platform, where you will be able to monitor such campaign data as (CTIT – time from click to installation, version of the application being installed or even the user’s GAID – Google Advertising ID).

Frauds in mobile advertising campaign

Frauds in mobile advertising campaign

2. No transparency in publisher names and monile application name

By promoting mobile applications or mobile games in so-called incentivized traffic you may not have access to publisher names and app names. The name of the given application where your mobile game is promoted is usually a dozen or so numbers. Lack of transparency regarding application names is a huge problem for advertisers. As an advertiser, you should know where your app or mobile game ads are displayed.

3. Numerous frauds

In 2019, frauds are a huge problem for publishers. According to Interceptd data, the most fraudulent traffic concerns such categories: shopping (31.09% – iOS), mobile games (31.1% – iOS), finance (35% – Android), games (33.7 – Android).

Interceptd data regarding the percentage % of frauds for mobile apps

Interceptd data regarding the percentage % of frauds for mobile apps

In networks with motivated traffic you will often find fraudulent Device ID Reset. In some networks, 60% of your installations will be of this type. You can read more about it here.

For inexperienced advertisers, fraudulent Device ID Reset is a huge problem because they tend to pay for an artificially generated installation that will not even be counted in the store. The money is received by the network and the publisher. Additionally, the advertiser pays the MMP platform for each paid installation. Many advertisers can’t afford to protect against fraud on the MMP platform or use an external fraud detection solution.

Using an external anti-fraud solution will also not solve the problem because the MMP platform won’t accept the list of frauds when settling the bill due to the fact that they focus on internal solutions.

The costs of anti-fraud solutions on attribution platforms are not the cheapest, so if you are considering promoting an app using motivated traffic, think about it twice.

4. No possibility of settling anti-fraud solutions

When you promote mobile apps or mobile games with motivated traffic or, for example, affiliate networks, you must set an anti-fraud solution. The anti-fraud protection after installation is the period during which you can ask the ad network for a refund if the installations you detected are fraudulent. The anti-fraud protection should last up to 12 months. Before starting cooperation with a given advertising network with motivated traffic, you should ask how they detect frauds internally and what the financial settlement looks like if you detect frauds.

Fraudscore – fraud detection tool in campaigns

5. Random user and low quality of installed apps

There’s nothing worse for an advertiser than the generated application installation to a random user who doesn’t belong to our target group. It’s 99.99% that such a user will never open our application again, won’t register and won’t buy in it. Even worse is when as an advertiser he thinks he’s acquired a real user, and in fact the installation shown on the advertising platform is fraud and has nothing to do with the real user.

Advertising campaigns for motivated traffic should be monitored for short-term indicators such as registration, tutorial completion, level 1 achievement, day 1 retention and for long-term indicators like day 7 retention, day 28, LTV and day 7 ROI.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, the problem of 2019 is not app marketing & mobile user acquisition, but user activation, retaining one and monetising.

Prior to starting advertising campaigns for your application or mobile game with motivated traffic, you should answer a few questions such as:

Can I afford anti-fraudulent tools and pro-active protection of the platform?

Do I only care about the number of installs?

Do I have enough experience to run a campaign with motivated traffic?

Will the cost of acquiring the installation using motivated traffic be lower than e.g. acquiring the installation using the Facebook campaign.

Am I technically prepared for fraud detection?

In 2019, the cost of acquiring a user for a mobile application or game using motivated traffic may be much higher than you may think.

To sum up, if you are a beginner advertiser in mobile app marketing, motivated traffic may not necessarily be for you.

If you are able to attract real and active users cheaper than on an advertising network with motivated traffic, when acquiring users, you will also have to invest in proactive anti-fraud protection on the MMP platform or an external fraud detection tool. In this case, the cost of acquiring the installation will be much higher than getting the installation of the mobile application, e.g. from Facebook Ads campaigns, Google Universal campaigns (UAC), Applovin or Apple Search Ads.

Should I use motivated traffic if I don’t have a budget for anti-fraud tools (MMPs) or external solutions?

The advertising network is tempting me with low installation (CPI) rates. Am I able to generate a low installation cost using a different source?

I’ve decided to start promoting the application or game using motivated traffic? How can I verify the quality of the partner’s traffic?

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ARPU Brothers Founder, App marketing agency for mobile apps and games

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