Even after 10 years, the mobile ad tech world remains an ever-evolving, often complicated and sometimes confusing place. Whether you’re an experienced pro or a complete newbie, you will have noticed that the industry is particularly fond of its acronyms, buzzwords and jargon – which can make life pretty difficult.

Start exploring this essential guide to see working examples from the industry and find out why these topics are important for the app world.  

User Acquisition

What is User Acquisition?

User Acquisition, or UA, is one of the fundamental components of any mobile app strategy. It’s the practice of getting people to download an app by using various marketing and advertising tactics.

How is it done?
There’s not a set formula for successful UA. Different apps require different strategies – and often have different KPIs as a result. To begin with, it’s crucial that developers know the purpose of the app, why it was created and what makes it unique. This is key to understanding who will use it, and therefore who to acquire.

Once those boxes are ticked, developers must partner with tech companies to work on the most effective UA strategy for their app – this ensures the right ad formats are placed in the right mobile channels and shown to the right audiences.

How is UA measured?
The number of app installs and install rates are essential to measuring UA. These metrics provide the insights that let developers know if an app is of value to users and worthy of storage space of on their phones.

When setting aside budget for UA campaigns, marketers consider many metrics related to cost. Some of these are:

  • The cost per every install (CPI)
  • The cost per action (CPA), which includes specific activities users do in-app after being exposed to an ad (e.g. a click)
  • The cost per 1000 times an ad is displayed, which is referred to an impression (CPM)
  • The return on investment (ROI). For instance, are acquired users becoming paying customers?

App developers must also figure out how to retain users once they have been acquired and turn them into valuable, long term customers (LTV). They must measure the how engaged users are with their products and services, and this is where retargeting strategies [link to retargeting content] come into play.

Why are UA strategies important?

Say a developer has put their heart, soul and money into building a kickass new app – it would be a shame if people didn’t get the chance to experience it, right?

It’s difficult to stand out the fiercely competitive mobile landscape.The sheer amount of apps out there is truly staggering and more are hitting the market every day. A good UA strategy helps find and convert people to download and start using an app, which improves its app store ranking and increases its user base. A truly effective strategy does all this, and keeps these consumers using the app time and time again.

Looking for a UA partner?

At Glispa, we have a full suite of tech products that make it simple for us to support all stages of the UA process, from buying and placing ads, to developing creative and building strategies to retain users. Get in touch with us.



What is retargeting?

Remember the time you were playing a gaming app and an advert for a t-shirt you looked at earlier popped up? Or what about that discount voucher you received for your favourite restaurant inside a food-delivery app? Well, that’s retargeting.

It’s the process of displaying personalized ads to specific users who have shown an interest in a product or service, but have yet to purchase or have lost interest.

Mobile retargeting strategies are used bring lapsed users back to an app they have previously downloaded or to increase engagement with those who are considered valuable users. They’re hugely effective at moving consumers further down the marketing funnel and towards monetization.

How is it done?

Retargeting campaigns start by buying ads at lightning quick speeds using technology instead of humans (programmatic). Once bought, advertisers track user behavior using a mobile measurement partner (MMP) and then share this data with their chosen retargeting partner. This partner creates groups of users based on their activity (e.g. when they last made a purchase or opened the app) and retargeting strategies are implemented based on the KPIs defined by the advertiser.

For the user, they are enticed to click on an ad, which can be either in-app or as a push notification. This takes them directly to an app via a “deep link” (a link that directs the user to a particular page within an app). If the user hasn’t already installed the app, they will be taken to the App Store to download it.

Tactics for retargeting

Retargeting is not a new concept. In fact, advertisers have been using it to great effect on websites for many years now. With mobile apps, there are lots of ways it can be done, across multiple verticals, and we’ve found that getting creative with approaches is what will keep users coming back for more.

Playables, discounts, seasonal promotions, bailing out stuck gamers – check out how segmented data can be used to attract users in new ways

Why is it important?

Every app owner wants to turn people into loyal, high-value customers for their brand. Acquiring a lot of users is awesome, but it doesn’t mean much if they go dormant or uninstall the app altogether.

Retargeting ensures advertising budget is spent on attracting relevant audiences, who are most likely to visit an app and commit to interacting with it on a regular basis. It ensures a brand is in the forefront of the user’s mind, meaning they are closer to the point of conversion. This works wonders for boosting ROI and reducing shopping cart abandonment rates.

Looking for a retargeting partner?

Glispa’s product suite not only helps scale and optimize user acquisition campaigns, it also ensures the long-term success of apps by employing retargeting strategies. If you’re looking to target the right users and engage them with customized, dynamic ads – get us in touch.  

Programmatic advertising

What is programmatic advertising?

As complicated and abstract as programmatic advertising might seem, starting with a common analogy is probably the best way to introduce the concept. Think of programmatic as a stock market, like the London Stock Exchange. But instead of trading stocks, media is bought and sold by tech.

In essence, programmatic advertising (or programmatic buying) is the buying and selling of digital ads automatically, with the help of machines and algorithms.

Mapping the programmatic ecosystem

During the past few years, programmatic has evolved into a fast-paced and complex ecosystem, which is continuously evolving and changing. To help break it down, here’s a broad overview of what it looks like now and who the key players trading mobile ads are:

So who does what in this example?

The SSP (Supply Side Platform) is used by online publishers to sell their ad space and is connected to an Ad Exchange – a digital marketplace which stores ad impressions (each time an ad is viewed by a user or displayed on a web page).

An SSP sends signals to an Ad Exchange: “Hey, we have a free ad space”. At this point, the SSP also provides information from a publisher’s app about the demographics of a particular user.

After receiving the information about a user from the SSP, the Ad exchange then talks to a DSP (Demand Side Platform). This is what advertisers use to buy impressions so their ads can be shown to specific users. The Ad Exchange tells the DSP: “Hi there, we have a particular ad space open for users with the user attributes you mentioned”.

Through an automated bidding process, the DSP sends a request to the Ad Exchange to fill this ad space. Within the exchange, the party with the highest bid wins the space. The ad, which can be anything from a banner to a video, is then shown to the user.

With programmatic direct, advertisers can bypass this bidding process and buy a guaranteed number of impressions from a specific publisher in advance. This can be useful for securing premium spots with major publishers.

Why is programmatic advertising important?

In the age of digital, this way of advertising has become a tremendously competitive field. Under these conditions, processes must be as efficient as possible, and the way to do it is via automation. Robots are improving the way ad buyers and sales people used to do their work, making the mobile advertising process quicker, more accurate and cheaper. Today, buying and selling an ad space takes a nanosecond.

Automation in that sense has long become the reality of digital advertising. The majority of digital ads are already bought programmatically. eMarketer suggests it will be 80% in 2018. By 2020, more than $65 billion will be spent on programmatic advertising.

Looking for a programmatic exchange / partner?

We give you all the tools you need to take advantage of our broad reach and specific targeting capabilities. That means more visibility, control and options for high-performing, brand-safe campaigns, all in one place.

App discovery

What is mobile app discovery?

It’s when an app is seen by, and marketed to, a user from the moment they switch on their new device.

Most people are aware that global mobile app downloads and ad spend are continuing to rise, but what isn’t so well-known is that this is opening doors for Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). By using the right tools, they can increase their digital inventory and generate new revenue streams.

From an advertiser perspective, MNOs and OEMs are publishers in that they serve as unique channels for apps by providing high-quality, clean traffic.

How does the process work?
MNOs have large amounts of data and versatile customer bases across different geographical locations and can now manage what apps appear on a device from the get go. This means advertisers have a great chance to get their app seen by the right consumers for their brand – at the right time.

First, an MNO asks an OEM to preload software from an ad tech partner onto their smartphones. After this, the phones with the software preloaded are sent from the OEM to the MNO, who then distributes the devices to selected stores.

As the consumer boots up their newly purchased device for the first time, the preloaded software communicates with the ad tech partner’s backend server. From here, the software pre installs selected apps, which can based on the geographical location and device model.

How does this work?

There’s a number of different user touchpoints available after the preloaded software kicks in:

Dynamic Preloads
This is where apps are pre installed when the user starts a device for the first time. What’s ideal is that the app installation does not disrupt the standard setup process and the user always has full control to delete unwanted apps at any time. Data from tracking links informs advertisers when users have started interacting with their app.

Smart folders
This format allows ads to be placed based on user behavior. Folders are created on a device’s home screen and include app recommendations which are specific to a user’s interests and what they have previously installed (e.g. gaming or puzzle apps). The conversion points is when someone downloads and opens one of the suggested apps.

Push notifications
This format displays short messages to users and encourages them to engage with an app that is based on their mobile activities, attributes and preferences. Push notifications can support any ad format format, from video to banner.

Glispa Discover

Why is this type of mobile marketing so important?
OEMs and MNOs offer many exciting opportunities and, as an advertising channel, should not be ignored.

The advanced targeting capabilities that are available help advertisers find the right users, which means they can significantly improve long term engagement by showing content that is actually relevant to users. By grabbing the attention of consumers at the beginning of their mobile app journey, advertisers have the chance to build strong relationships with their user bases and plan UA strategies that cover the entire life cycle of a device.

Looking for a partner?
Glispa’s Discover platform allows advertisers to connect with new users from MNOs and OEMs, worldwide. It enables them to expands their reach and acquire high value users directly from mobile devices.

To boost a brand’s presence, Glispa provides innovative tools to launch targeted, event-based push campaigns and customize client apps. Discover is part of a full suit of products offered by Glispa, which also includes creative and programmatic services. The synergies between these offerings and the data that is used is what makes the organization truly unique. Get in touch.

Playables and interactive ads

What are Playable Ads?

Like the name suggests, they are ads you can play. Playables often come in the form of rewarding mini-games which offer a snippet of what the final app is like. If promoting a mobile game, they allow users to interact with specific parts of the gameplay, without having to download anything. Looking passed gaming, advertisers can use playables across verticals to tease and show off stand out features of their apps – such as new ways to buy products or view content.

Let’s take a look:

How are they made?

Creating playables is a monumental task. Think about it, each element and function of the ad must be carefully handpicked and customized in an ad creation studio. For a playable to really become a hit, it must be professional in style and function and at the same time, simple and engaging, without being slow to load.

For years, the race has been on for the most intuitive and powerful ad creation studio. We’ve reached the highest of standards, with a drag and drop platform that provides features and games engines that playables as light as a feather.  

Where are they used?

Playables are at their best in situations where people are active and receptive. An obvious moment for this is the pause between upgrading to the next level of a mobile game. But that’s not all – companies shouldn’t shy away from reminding people that great stories and interactivity are fun in a non-gaming context. Playables are still a new format, which offers a chance for ads to stand out creatively.

Why are they important?

First of all, playables let advertisers know that users who download their app see value in it. This is huge as it makes it much easier to retain these users and build strategies to reduce uninstall rates. Playables also take brand experiences to a new level. They speak to the user’s emotional side when addressing their needs to explore, compete and progress in today’s wild world of mobile.

From a marketer’s perspective, playables are performance indicators as each ad interaction can be measured and continuously optimized. Looking at the numbers, for clients using match 3 or slot games, we’re seeing 75-130% increases in average revenue per install compared to non-playable ads.

By unifying these approaches and integrating playables into UA strategies, advertisers can maximize performance and bring more benefits to mobile campaigns like never before.

 Looking for a Playable ads partner?

We have powered hundreds of playable ad campaigns with leading gaming companies and brands all over the world. We believe that playable ads are the most effective way to do mobile advertising. They are a tough tech challenge but we provide the added value needed to make this sophistication simple. Get in touch with us.

Glispa Creative Factory Example
Glispa Protect Header

Mobile ad fraud

What is mobile ad fraud?

Mobile ad fraud is when people attempt to steal money from marketing budgets by scamming advertisers, publishers and supply partners.

These groups or individuals manipulate mobile technologies for activities like fake impressions, clicks and installs, which advertisers end up paying for. As a result, only one-quarter of their digital ad spend ever reaches real people, according to the Association of National Advertisers.

How does mobile ad fraud work?
Marketers are continuing to spend big on mobile, which means the threat posed by those who want to exploit that is becoming harder to handle. As mobile technology becomes more sophisticated, so do fraudsters – meaning mobile ad fraud now takes various forms.

Bots traffic is on the rise and is particularly tough to track because it mimics mobile user behavior really well:

  • Simple Bots [show heatmap of clicks on the same spot]
  • Sophisticated bots [show a pattern of clicks on a heatmap]
  • Botnets [show infected computers located around the world, loading and clicking ads]

But not all fraud comes from automated processes like this. There’s a human element that makes up a significant chunk of fraudulent activities, and these affect end users who are real. Some of the most common examples include:

  • Ad Stacking Publishers stacking multiple ads beneath one another, hiding ads in an invisible background or shrinking it to the size of a pixel
  • Install fraud Publishers, for example, using apps with malware to fake clicks and ensure the install is attributed to them. This inflates the value of their users and is also known as click injection
  • Targeting fraud Publishers secretly sending ads to third party networks and audiences they were not agreed upon. The aim to inflate campaigns.

What does this mean for advertisers?

Fraud costs advertisers dollars as the views or conversions being paid for are not real. On top of this, the ads do not reach the intended level of visibility when they only appear in hidden places and brand safety is massively at risk when ads appear on pages they’re not supposed to.

What does this mean for publishers?

It’s not easy being a publisher either. Those found with fraudulent traffic put their reputation at risk and jeopardize future business opportunities.Publishers must use caution when looking into their traffic sources as fraudsters are lining their pockets by receiving multiple ads impressions at once, servicing ads to the wrong channels and raising prices for their platforms due to high engagement.

How to combat mobile ad fraud?

Mobile ad fraud is diverse – but so are the solutions to fight it.

  • Measure ad performance: Mapp / filter / block bot activities

As a rule of thumb, ad tech players should look at the anomalies in the performance data of the given ad format. It’s all about detecting a pattern. Metrics that must be considered:

  • Click paths within in the ad repeated clicks on the same spot or along the same path
  • Behavior during certain time frames high traffic during night time is suspicious, same as long click-to-install times.  
  • Conversion rates – if very high or very low, this is red flag for potential suspicious activity and requires immediate attention.
  • In-app behavior after install  it’s crucial to analyze and flag abnormal activity for further investigation.
  1. Agree on a minimum degree of viewability of ads.
  1. Choose a quality exchange.

Glispa is analyzing the traffic and optimizing the campaigns constantly to ensure the best experience for both advertiser and publisher sides. You can learn more about our approach and methods to fight fraud here.