The Guide to Pivot Tables for App Advertisers

Martin Kilp Feb 15, 2019 3:05:53 PM

At Smartly.io, we believe that being a data-driven marketer shouldn’t come with hours of manual work. Too often, the time spent on exporting, transforming, and analyzing data ends up taking up a large chunk of a digital marketer’s day. That’s why we launched our Pivot Tables feature in 2018. It allows you to see, analyze, and manage your campaigns across ad accounts with a customizable user interface - all in one view.

With Pivot Tables, you can:

  1. Analyze your performance with various breakdowns and flexible columns

  2. Adjust bids, budgets, and statuses in bulk

  3. Integrate data from different sources for easy analysis

  4. Create, edit, save and share reporting views with your team

  5. Do effortless quality assurances

Although Pivot Tables is a powerful feature for every digital marketer (learn more here), in this blog post, we’ll explore how gaming and app advertisers can make the most of it.

Budget Pacing Wizardry to Ace Your Next App Launch

When it comes to the launch of an app or a game, orchestrating media buys across a large number of inventory channels can be challenging. Ensuring proper budget pacing across these channels is, however, crucial for a successful launch. The initial investment is vital in generating the necessary critical mass for organic virality, and for network effects to kick in. Social platforms are tricky to manage in this aspect, as the number of active users on the platform varies each day. After all, the total number of servable impressions is a direct function of the number of users that log in.

Fortunately, our budget pacing functionality comes to the rescue - the feature allows advertisers to track their actualized spend against their targets in real time. In addition, Pivot Tables enables you to keep tabs on your spend quickly and efficiently, even if it's split across many different ad accounts. Also, as the cherry on top, Pivot Tables allows you to take actions (adjust bids, budgets) in bulk.

Yield-Based Buying (Based on Cohorted MMP data)

Most app advertisers buy ad inventory across a large number of partners. Typically, the inventory is a mixture of display, search, social, video networks, and programmatic channels and the quality of traffic varies greatly.  Each of these networks also has its native attribution models. As the attribution models differ significantly from one another, comparing performances reliably across channels becomes increasingly arduous.

Third party attribution can help with these challenges (if you are curious to learn more about the secrets of attribution, make sure to read our eBook on the topic). Mobile measurement partners help you gain a better understanding of the real return on investment on your advertising dollars. They can also guide you in how and where to allocate your budgets. Smartly.io’s Pivot Tables helps surface deduplicated conversion data so that you can analyze performance from each of your traffic sources on a very granular level. In addition to assessing conversions and revenue, Pivot Tables enables cohort tracking and analysis that help interpret retention and monetization trends over time. The function helps you answer questions such as:

  1. How do newly acquired users compare to the users acquired three months ago?

  2. Do users log in more often or seldom?

  3. Are average purchase amounts larger or smaller?

  4. Are my first-time purchase rates trending up or down?

“Smartly.io’s MMP data integration and automated Cohort calculations reduce our repetitive manual work a lot and provide a basis for ROAS optimization using Smartly.io optimizing features. The flexible Pivot Tables allows us to easily get insights into each dimension and make it easy to analyze the advertising data.” - Billy Chan, Executive Director, Head of Publishing, 6Waves

Creative Insights

App advertising on Facebook comes with some perks, but advertisers can also face some industry-specific challenges. On the upside, apps are inherently attractive to prospective Facebook users, so the average cost-per metrics are relatively low compared to other types of ads (e.g., click-to-website link ads). The favorable cost metrics, in turn, translate to a quicker scaling ability and a higher number of total impressions served.

Unfortunately, the ability to scale quickly and deliver lots of impressions fast comes with a few setbacks. Creative fatigue is a very real concern that app advertisers need to systemically and relentlessly address to sustain their Facebook campaigns.

If most digital advertisers can get away with refreshing creative monthly, app advertisers need to update theirs every few weeks - or else they risk their click-through and conversion rates plummeting.

A Streamlined Creative Production Cycle

Having a constant stream of high-quality creatives at a cadence that works for you is a great start, but it's not enough. To truly leverage creative as a powerful performance lever, you need to close the feedback loop between creative performance and creative production. In other words, your design team needs to be periodically informed of which creatives are driving results. The question is, how do you provide them the information?

Pivot Tables allows you to visualize different metrics and enables you to gain a better understanding of, for example, your engagement, targets, and pacing. You can also group creatives according to objectives (branding, acquisition, etc.) and add goals to them, which allows you to compare goals with actual performance.  

Together with creative codes (creative tagging), Pivot Tables allows you to analyze the creatives along different attributes, which helps you make better-informed decisions, based on real data. You only need to agree on a fixed convention that they should follow and use that as a creative code. That creative code can be broken down into separate columns for analysis, hence functioning as tags. Below is an example from a customer.

Surfacing and Optimizing 3rd Party Metrics

The power of Pivot Tables is the most prominent when combining Smartly.io’s optimization tools with the ability to surface custom metrics. Remember that it’s not only about analyzing data but also about analyzing the right data and making the insights actionable.

Some of our largest advertisers have succeeded in implementing their findings and insights into their campaigns. As brand safety is crucial, they have used Smartly.io’s Pivot Tables together with BrandBastion’s PIM™ (Positive Interaction Metric) integration that not only tracks sentiment on branding campaigns in real time but also optimizes their ad spend to the ads receiving the most positive feedback. The insights allow advertisers to know which ads resonate with their audiences and make iterations accordingly. Read more about how sentiment is measured and what results we have seen here.  

Given that app advertisers typically work with a number of different media partners, each with its attribution windows and dashboards, analyzing performance can quickly become overwhelming. That's why most leading advertisers use mobile measurement partners (MMPs) to establish one single "source of truth" across all platforms. Each platform is treated equally and subject to the same set of guidelines and attribution definitions.

On Smartly.io, the advertiser can directly pull in the MMP data and see the verified conversions directly across our reporting suite. You can also use this data to inform our optimization features. There's no need to compare Facebook reported conversions to your internal numbers - we've completely automated that process, freeing up your time to focus on higher-impact creative and strategic tasks.

Using Pivots to Supercharge Bid Multipliers

While Facebook's New Bid Multipliers (read more here) product helps streamline campaign setups and right-price your campaign for each of your sub-demographics, it can be a little daunting to trade more granular control over budget and delivery in favor of centralized scale and efficiency. However, fear not! With the help of Pivot Tables, you'll still be able to access all your familiar Facebook breakdowns for age, gender, etc. Just because the campaigns have been aggregated doesn't mean you lose insight into how each segment is performing.

Pivot Tables is a powerful way to stay atop of your campaigns - if you aren’t using Pivot Tables yet, contact your account manager and we’ll make sure to get you onboard!

Author
Martin Kilp

Read Next