Customers behaviour is changing extremely fast, and if just 15 years ago buying a jacket online was something extraordinary, today customers don’t want to buy via desktop version, they want to do it through mobile applications by making 5 clicks. Consequently, online shops, marketplaces, and other services have to adjust to the demands of modern buyers by creating applications.
Here are some real figures: during “Singles’ day 2017” (a huge sale in Chinese shops which takes place on 11.11 each year) around 90% of all purchases were made through mobile devices. So what does it mean for affiliate marketing? It means that it’s time for publishers to get some profit from mobile offers. Admitad Academy is examining what mobile offers are and how publishers can work with them.
Mobile offers. Definition and contents
First of all it is necessary to understand that “mobile offers” and “mobile traffic” aren’t the same thing.
Mobile traffic — when users use their mobile devices to search for the goods/services and to perform the actions on the Internet (purchase, subscribe, sign up, install or any other). Mobile users can proceed to the desktop or mobile version of the website or proceed automatically to the application of the advertiser. Whether the actions are tracked or not will depend on the quality of the advertiser’s integration. The majority of advertisers has already connected all their sites by cross tracking so the orders don’t get lost if users get redirected from some source to another. Nevertheless, it’s better to pay attention to the offer details and rules in order not to waste your time and money. The advertisers, who haven’t set up the integration yet, indicate that they don’t pay for such orders.
Mobile offer is a completely different thing. There are two categories: the first one is mobile applications (services, shops, games, restaurants and so on) for iOS and Android, the second one is mobile subscription when the payment for some service (usually for providing some content) is charged to the mobile phone bill. Mobile subscriptions aren’t popular, and this segment involves much fraud (usually, fraud is performed through wap billing when a user clicks on a banner or a link and subscribes unintentionally to paid content which isn’t interesting for him). Today we are going to look through the mobile application and how to promote them.
In order to find mobile offers in the catalog of programs, just choose “Mobile offers” in the advertiser category.
There are several categories of mobile offers in affiliate networks:
Games. Custom games which can be played both online and offline, with friends or alone. It’s the main traffic consumer for publishers.
Utility apps. Browsers, cleaners, antiviruses, cloud storages, launchers, and other applications which optimize the process of using smartphones, help to secure your phone from harming programs and other useful services.
Shopping applications. These are the applications of huge online shops which decided to provide users with all ways to make online purchases.
Taxi. Applications of taxi services and carsharing.
Food delivery services.
Others. Any other applications of advertisers: languages learning, VPN, books online, movies, music and so on.
The same as in e-commerce, advertisers pay for actions. The actions can be the following:
CPI (Cost per Install) — the advertiser will pay for application installations. This pricing model is the most common and convenient. This model is usually used by those advertisers who want to attract the target audience to their application and they are ready to expand their business.
Trial subscription — free subscription for a trial period to test the application. It’s most commonly used in the segment of education, sport & healthy lifestyle or sale of licensed content (movies, music, books). According to the terms of free subscription users typically have to add the credit card details into the application. When the trial period is over, the user is charged the full payment for using all features of the service. Anyway, the user can always unsubscribe and delete credit card details so that he won’t be charged.
Registration inside the application. This model works well for taxi or carsharing services, food delivery, games. The process is a little more sophisticated: not only the user should install the application but also fill in personal information for the full registration and sometimes also to verify account (for example, if it is carsharing services, users are asked to provide the driving license).
CPA (Cost per Sale) — advertisers pay for the sale, usually the payment is the percentage of the order amount. Many shopping applications work with this model — the publishers get the reward for the made + paid + delivered order (the same process as with e-commerce offers).
Why are mobile offers different?
Mobile offers are significantly different from other e-commerce offers, thus they require diverse approach.
KPI and fixed conversion for traffic optimization. The advertiser doesn’t want to pay for installations as it is easy to scam in this case. So in order to avoid fraud, the advertisers set parameters upon which they evaluate the quality of traffic. For example, if an advertiser pays for the mobile game installation: apart from installation the conversion can also include a certain action (KPI). This action can be spending some time playing the game or reaching the 5th level or opening the game in one day after installation — any action that can prove that the user is real. Therefore, if the KPI isn’t fulfilled, the action won’t be paid or will be paid in proportion to the KPI implementation. In the reports the publishers can see separately the installations and target conversions, so they can estimate which percentage of users don’t perform this action and how the process can be optimized.
Example: if a publisher attracted 100 installations and 40 of those users opened the game again, and the KPI of 30% openings had been set, it means that the publisher fulfills the KPI.
But advertisers shouldn’t be too harsh with KPI, if they set some unachievable actions, publishers will disconnect from the program.
Geography. Pay attention to the localization of the application: if you drive traffic from Egypt to a Japanese version of the game nothing will happen — users will close the app and you won’t get the reward. But it will be far worse if you attract dozens of installations and registrations of a taxi service in the city where this service doesn’t work. Or if you drive traffic from the country where the goods aren’t shipped. These two cases can lead to harm to the advertiser. The advertisers clearly determine the rules and it is better not to skip this point as it will ensure that you’ll get paid, otherwise if you don’t follow the rules, your ad space can be disconnected and all actions declined.
Versions of operating systems. Advertisers may be guided by technical matters (the application doesn’t work with Android 3.0 version and older), or there may be some other aspects like “we need the solvent audience, so it is iOS 11 and later” (interesting point of view, but can be very misleading). There is one more option — if we are talking about a new game with high-quality graphics, it can lag on smartphones with older versions. The advertisers set limits on the versions to avoid disappointment of the customers.
Limits and allowed traffic sources. Advertisers can set limits on the volume of traffic driven from different ad spaces and channels if they drive traffic from these sources by themselves. Or according to their experience, some traffic types are inefficient so they forbid them.
Creatives approval. Approval is necessary to prevent publishers from confusing the users: if an advertiser offers a simple strategy game, but a publisher makes a creative promising 3D graphics, super action and so on, then it is likely that users will get disappointed having installed the game, moreover they can leave negative comments and lower the game rating.
In order to approve creatives, publishers should send their them to the affiliate network through technical support or managers then the responsible parties send the creatives to advertisers who can make adjustment/comments and decide whether they allow using these creatives.
How do publishers drive traffic to mobile offers? First of all, through the sites and channels which are well displayed on mobile devices. As it is possible to guide a user from mobile to desktop but backwards is almost impossible.
Social networks — targeted advertising on Facebook, Instagram. Social networks usually have information about the OS version, age, gender, and other demographic data of their users so targeting there will be very accurate. Plus advertisers usually indicate the parameters and preferences of the target audience, so the publisher only needs to fill these parameters in the advertising account and start promotion.
Social networks — communities. It’s impossible to target a certain type of OS or required age through communities, but you can check the statistics of the group audience and decide whether its followers are relevant to the offer. Arbitrage works pretty well with this model (a publisher buys traffic in the community for a lower price and sell it to the advertiser for a higher one).
Mobile web-traffic from sites. The traffic is driven from publishers’ websites. Users come to their websites from search engines, social network communities or any other sources. Search engine traffic is the cheapest in comparison with others, that is why each new user will cost less, but in this case, some problems with marketing can occur. Publishers should be careful and make sure that there is a mobile version of the website as if a user visits a website using a smartphone but it is unreadable, most likely he will close the tab after some seconds.
Mobile web-traffic from ad networks. It includes the following types: banners, pop-ups, clickunders, fullscreen. It is possible to choose who will see the ads — only desktop or mobile users or both categories. Keep in mind that not all advertisers allow such traffic types as they annoy some users and can create negative associations with the brand. Check the offer rules before using such traffic.
Networks of mobile advertising inapp. It is an ad network which places banners and ad videos in mobile applications. For example, a banner can appear after completing a level or a user can get some coins in the game for watching a video. Networks provide good traffic because they can target the version of the device and all ads are adjusted to mobile devices.
Video blogs. Generally, it applies to Twitch and YouTube where publishers upload reviews of mobile games and applications. Both free and paid applications are promoted really well through videos as users can see what they will get if they install this application, this means that it will be easier for a publisher to achieve KPI. Video blogs are one of the most profitable forms of promoting gaming offers for both desktop and mobile. Don’t forget to put SubID tags.
Other. Publishers can also promote through widgets, push notifications, messengers, email marketing and through any other channel where potential target audience can see ads.
If you want to know which traffic sources are effective and popular in different countries, check out the statistics of Appsflyer. Here you will find information about gaming and non-gaming offers and about different ad spaces so if you are looking for some ideas which next traffic source to test, check this report.
It won’t be a surprise if we say that finding traffic is only the half of success. You need to attract attention of this traffic and that is why creatives are used. By creatives we mean advertising materials which are placed on social networks and on websites or in applications. But where do we get advertising materials?
In the affiliate network. Advertisers provide creatives in the section “Banners and links”. The advantage of provided materials is that they are already approved and usually you can find any size you need.
But if you have some designing skills (Paint, Gimp, Photoshop) you can try to make a creative by yourself. It will be an advantage and it will stand your creatives out of dozens of similar ones. Users get bored of seeing the same banners so a new one can attract their attention.
But if you can’t come up with something creative, you can visit spy services (admobispy.com, adplexity.com, publer.com) to get inspiration and to check which creatives for promoting the application already exist. We would like to emphasize that we are talking about getting inspiration from other creatives, not copying them as it may cause sanctions against your ad space.
But if you are not so good at designing, you can check freelance sites to find somebody who can make something creative according to your wishes and budget. Clarify what you want as detailed as possible, check portfolios of several designers who provide their services, check who they have worked with and keep in mind that it may be not the best idea to work with designers who have worked with large brands. These guys do their job really well and create banners of high quality but sometimes these cool banners have low conversion which isn’t worth it. Look for somebody who will create something effective, not a masterpiece.
Check the offer rules on the matter of placing creatives: some advertisers allow to use only their own banners, other let you use any creative but only upon their approval. If you place a banner without approval, the advertisers may decline the actions performed through them.
Compliance with the rules
Follow the following rules in order to avoid unnecessary issues:
Pay special attention to the allowed traffic sources. If you indicate one ad space while joining the offer but drive traffic from another, advertisers can decline the actions.
Follow the targeting indicated in the offer, it includes a required version of OS, geography, demographic aspects, and all other requirements. If you attract many installations but not from target audience, the actions can be declined.
Pay attention to KPI and its fulfillment as it may have an impact on your profit. If you don’t understand something, ask the technical support all necessary information.
Don’t be afraid to contact the affiliate network. Ask a question and you will get the answer or the network employees can share some insights with you in order to make mutual work more effective.