On September 6, 2016, Google hosted its annual event “Think Mobile with Google” in the Four Seasons in Beijing. Highlights of the event ranged from mobile sites, smart monetization, machine learning, big data marketing and mobile marketing performance management; all key factors to be considered as the industry moves forward.
Mobile marketing KPI management and performance tracking were spotlighted throughout the event. The panel of guest speakers included Xinghua, Head of Sales Engineers & Operations at Appcoach, a top agency partner with Google, alongside video game publisher Elex, and ‘China’s Airbnb’, Tujia, all of whom shared their insights on the advantages and limitations of mobile tracking in the near future.
When asked to compare different mobile marketing tracking solutions, Xinghua explained, “the market has changed drastically since five years ago when mobile marketing had just begun to thrive.” More advertisers have now accepted third party tracking solutions. In terms of attribution algorithms, the collection of device IDs through SDK or server-2-server is extremely important. Next is fingerprinting which is not device ID dependent, but which can remove all traffic limitations. Finally there is IP, which we can take as a basic fingerprint, but it is definitely not accurate. Appcoach stays on top of the latest technology trends to find the most suitable solution for each advertiser.
When it comes to SDK or server-2-server tracking methods, Xinghua explained that it is difficult to say which one is best. The decision relies highly on the demands of the business and the technical capability of the advertisers. “Frankly speaking, it’s not a one-day job to build an in-house tracking solution. It requires a lot of development effort and outstanding system stability.” When talking about the difficulties and time-spent on SDK integration, he explained how, as Google’s top agency, Appcoach has built up an experienced global team of sales engineers. They have complete understanding of each tracking solution from both a technical and a business perspective, and have worked with many advertisers on SDK integration. With such an experienced team, the difficulties of SDK integration become much smoother and “the marketing team receives their development efforts very quickly.” For some utility apps which have strict size requirements, server-2-server may be preferred, if the advertiser wants to track LTV.
On the subject of mobile marketing performance assessment, optimization cannot be overlooked either. The hot topic of “machine learning” can also be applied to advertising platforms. Xinghua shared his insights on the subject as an operation of the agency partner. “There is an old saying: One cannot make bricks without straw,” he said. “No matter how great the algorithm is, data is the first step.” Post-installation feedback and more in-app events are crucial to machine learning in ad networks. Aside from Google Adwords machine learning optimization, Appcoach has also been doing its homework on APIs. Based on machine learning and big data technology, Appcoach never ceases to evaluate its internal optimization systems, consulting with advertisers to execute more on-target mobile advertising solutions in order to increase their ROI.
At the end of the panel discussion, guest speakers talked about their predictions for the future of mobile marketing tracking solutions. Xinghua expressed his optimism for Google Firebase –a new generation product representative of mobile marketing tracking solutions. “For most companies, it is easy to start from nothing to develop a simple tracking solution offering. However, it is not easy to delve deeper into that tracking solution offering and provide a ‘juicier’ solution.” To better serve an advertiser’s marketing team, more data, such as cost and revenue in each media, could be shown on the dashboard. Moreover, to better serve the advertiser’s total business, even more product support could be added, such as real-time databases, file/image storage, remote configuration, testing, crash reports, notifications, and so on. This is what Firebase is already doing.
Xinghua also talked about the beauty of mobile ad performance traceability. Third party tracking solutions which balance campaign efficiency and fairness are the best choice for both advertisers and media. He was pleased to see Google launch the Firebase system which supports ad performance tracking, and hopes that with Firebase, Appcoach will be able to contribute more meaningful mobile marketing offerings, therefore providing more quality support and services to advertisers.