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GameLook report/After entering 2020, Apple has become a company that “provokes public anger” overnight, at least in the European and American mobile gaming circles. For example, Epic Games has initiated antitrust lawsuits in many countries around the world, and the IDFA New Deal, which restricts ad tracking, has also made many mobile marketers “dare to speak up”.
On the topic of IDFA, domestic developers are far less concerned than overseas developers, which may be related to the difference between domestic and overseas buying methods. But many people may not have a clearer concept of the impact of this policy. Recently, Brian Bowman, CEO of Marketing Company Consumer Acquisition, revealed that after the introduction of this policy, mobile game companies’ advertising monetization revenue has been reduced by an average of 15-20%, and some companies’ advertising revenue has even decreased by 40%!
In overseas markets, many two platforms and mobile game marketing companies are discussing how to deal with the challenges of the “post-IDFA era”, but Bowman said that the impact of IDFA is far from over, and the worst is yet to come.
Small and medium-sized companies are most affected: advertising revenue drops by up to 40%!
According to Consumer Acquisition’s analysis of $300 million in social advertising, IDFA has brought a very large negative impact, and has led to a large number of natural new additions that cannot be attributable.
Since April, Apple has been releasing iOS 14.5, allowing users to actively choose whether or not to be tracked by ads. Apple believes that this method respects and values user privacy, but Consumer Acquisition and many game advertisers are worried about this. Undermine the efficiency of targeted advertising.
For Apple’s App Tracking Transparency Option (ATT), only 20% of consumers chose to allow tracking, that is, only one-fifth of users who are willing to open up personal data and targeted advertising tracking functions to advertisers. Judging from the traffic data tracked by Bowman’s company, the efficiency of targeted advertising has declined significantly. On paid social platforms, downstream activity optimization and “similar user buying performance” have also been affected.
When talking about the topic of “post-IDFA era”, Bowman said, “In fact, the impact of IDFA has not passed. We are still undergoing transformation. This is also expected. Many advertisers have experienced varying degrees of decline in revenue. , But I think it’s impossible to estimate the full impact before the end of July. The penetration rate of version 14.6 has slowed down. Some customers’ (advertising) revenue has dropped by 30% to 40%, and other customers have suffered more or less Loss, in short, it’s terrible.”
The lack of IDFA data makes VO bids invalid, and the efficiency of accurately locating paying users declines. With the popularity of iOS 14.6, especially after it increases to 80%, the impact on advertising monetization will further expand.
Of course, the companies that are more affected are mainly companies that rely on positioning “big R” players. “This is very obvious. The big three advertising platforms (Facebook, Google and ByteDance) are all changing algorithms, so the performance of CPM fluctuates. Very large. For a small number of customers, CPM sometimes sees a 300-500% increase, and then drops sharply. These advertising platforms are testing the impact of algorithm changes on marketing.”
Bowman revealed that casual games with a wider range of user orientations are actually less affected. “From an algorithm perspective, casual games have a broad user base, so the monetization ability does not depend on a small number of users, so the impact of IDFA is At least. In fact, this part of the manufacturers may also benefit, because as the moderate to heavy games are affected, casual games will benefit.”
However, casual games do not include ultra-casual games whose main monetization method is advertising.
“The most obvious impact in the ultra-casual game field is that their revenue has been significantly reduced. Part of the reason is the shift from FAN to header bidding, and part of the reason is that the CPM has changed significantly, so they get a lower CPI. The predictability of users has decreased, which has led to an increase in market costs, so revenue has been affected.”
In his view, the most affected by IDFA is the small and medium-sized teams, because many companies are not good at monetizing in-app purchases, and the reduction in advertising revenue will directly lead to the shrinking of the profits of these companies. However, for large companies, IDFV (identifier of the same issuer) can be fully utilized through mergers and acquisitions to minimize the impact of IDFA policies.
“Large companies such as AppLovin or EA, which acquired Glu, are less affected because they can understand a large number of user behaviors and know who are paying players. At a higher level, companies with IDFV closed gardens will get better and better. , Small and medium-sized developers do not have the financial capacity to switch to the in-app purchase revenue model.”
Bowman believes that as CPM becomes more expensive, IDFA policies will have a negative impact on both Android and iOS platforms. Some people may think that Android is affected a bit illogical, but he said that many people are turning to the Android platform to improve the marketing efficiency lost in iOS, which will lead to market changes and may increase the cost of buying. But if users continue to spend on iOS and Android users pay no increase, then this change is meaningless.
He believes that many of the current practices of mobile game marketers are trying short-term alternatives. “We have also seen funds flow to TikTok and other platforms because people want to reduce marketing risks. Back to the topic of ultra-casual games, A large amount of money has flowed to platforms such as IronSource and AppLovin, because ultra-casual games perform well on these platforms and their users are widely distributed, so the impact is not much.”
Buying volume platforms have little impact on ultra-casual games, and improving the creative efficiency of advertising is the key
In fact, before the emergence of the IDFA policy, there was a phenomenon in the ultra-casual game field: many buying platforms began to acquire ultra-casual game publishers, such as Zynga and ChartBoost, and Vungle had acquired four companies. Many analysts believe that this behavior is “being both an athlete and a referee”, which will bring fierce competition and affect the profitability of ultra-leisure mobile game publishers.
But Bowman doesn’t think so. In his view, the acquisition of the volume platform is mainly to obtain a larger traffic pool, more data and a broader user perspective. It is to accumulate advantages in AI and machine learning. Then improve the creative ability in mainstream social networks. As long as it does not affect the publisher’s customer acquisition efficiency, the negative impact is actually very limited.
“From a market point of view, you can refer to the case of Adjust. You can assume that AppLovin has all the data, which will result in the disappearance of competitive advantage, but it does not seem to happen. Because where is the efficiency of buying volume? , Where will the marketing funds go? Of course, for the acquirer, the first-hand data will certainly bring competitive advantages, such as CPM, advertising positioning, IDFV, etc. Obviously people are not opposed to this kind of merger, mobile marketing It’s like a river, they always improve advertising efficiency in the direction of least resistance.”
Advertisers are not helpless with regard to the changes in IDFA. For example, many buying platforms such as Facebook recommend that game publishers focus on “personalized creativity” (marketing to specific types of users) and allow paid social algorithms to target users based on behavior and creative trends. Perform clustering to re-improve the efficiency of positioning advertising.
In response to the IDFA New Deal, some companies in the European and American markets try to predict potential users by using probabilistic methods that violate Apple’s rules. Bowman believes that peers can even do more, “Everyone should show their own magic, because I think the IDFA policy is absurd. For example, what I don’t understand is why no one has established an IDFV traffic pool outside of Apple, and everyone can exchange IDFV. Apple is not the only mobile traffic pool. If peers trust each other, it can quickly offset the IDFA brought by Impact. Should they do this? Of course, because I think Apple’s approach is suspected of being a monopoly.”
When it comes to the “protection of user privacy” mentioned by Apple, Bowman believes that this is a secret exchange of concepts, because many people don’t care about privacy issues.
“Apple is doing very well in PR. They don’t provide private data. They just centralize and manage data. You have to use their app store and payment method. They know your voice, fingerprints and health data, and they know how you spend. This is not privacy. The way Apple determines privacy is that they have obtained all the data so this should be privatized. This is an abuse of privacy.”
Contrary to Apple, Google has adopted a completely transparent personalized customization program. According to Bowman, Apple has moved towards human management, which will bring a worse user experience.
“What Apple does is only meaningful to itself. It does a terrible job in commercializing apps, and recommends apps are chaotic. Google does a good job, and Facebook is also very good at customized recommendations. Basically, they put the App Store Treat it as an unnecessary step to acquire users. But from Apple’s point of view, it makes sense. The definition of privacy is clever. Although the methods are clumsy, Apple has many loyal fans, so there are many supporters.”
However, in Bowman’s view, with regard to the IDFA policy, mobile game marketers can do very little. “In Apple’s sandbox, you are almost helpless with IDFA. This is their rule. No matter how you have an opinion, it won’t help. You can’t do anything about it, and this method will make big companies bigger and bigger, and small companies Keep getting smaller”.
But he warned that one month after the penetration rate of iOS 14.6 reaches 80%, the greatest negative effect of the IDFA policy will become apparent.
“Most of my colleagues are looking at the seven-day data, but they will slowly discover the problem and see that advertising consumption is decreasing. This is the reaction to the failure of targeted advertising. People will try other methods. At present, many people just They say that they can’t find an effective way, but not the entire industry can’t. Before effective marketing methods appear, advertising consumption will continue to shrink. Some things are controllable, but there are many things that you can’t control. Do your best What we can control, we can only make concessions on things we can’t control.”
For mobile game marketers, the thing that can be controlled is to improve the efficiency of advertising creativity. “From a commercial point of view, our creative customers have grown at an unprecedented rate. It is clear that the mobile marketing industry is changing in this direction. For example, before the IDFA policy, we did not care about Glu using our creativity anywhere, but on April 26 After that, we can get a certain percentage of income wherever we use our advertising creativity.”
In addition to precise purchases, brand marketing may also be a new idea
With the increasing cost of buying games, coupled with the restrictions of regulations and policies, the buying model has reached a point where changes must be made, and this has a significant impact on the domestic market. For game manufacturers, in addition to increasing the conversion rate of advertising ideas, perhaps a better choice is brand marketing.
For example, in the domestic market, after the success of “Glory of the King” and “Peace Elite”, more turned to brand marketing, and large-scale advertising is no longer needed.
In particular, the mobile game “Original God”, which was popular in the world last year, quickly became the phenomenon-level masterpiece that broke the $1 billion revenue fastest by virtue of branded marketing. However, Miha Tour failed to enter the Top 100 in the ranking of purchases. , Which shows the true power of brand marketing.
Of course, it is undeniable that brand marketing does not happen overnight, and it may take years of accumulation. However, in the mobile game market in the era of high-quality goods, such investment is worthwhile, and it is also an inevitable trend.
This Article is curated from Source and we only provide the English version of the Story.