In September 2020 Apple introduced its App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework with the release of iOS 14 and enforced after version 14.5 with the purpose to fix consumer privacy within iOS by consent and limit the amount of user data shared with apps and the broader app ecosystem. This change had significant implications for how app advertising platforms (e.g. ad networks, DSPs) tracked and measured app install campaigns. We are now starting to see the impact of Apple’s privacy changes in the earnings reports from top social networking platforms (calling out Facebook and Snap). With uncertainty (driven bylack of accuracy around measurement and attribution, and lack of device IDs to power machine learning, etc.) about how ad networks and DSPs would continue to deliver outcomes for app developers, app growth marketers have begun to explore other channels..
Companies have built their brands using traditional TV for decades and they understand the advertising economics of doing so. What has influenced marketers with smaller budgets to exclude TV from their media mix has been lead times, upfront fees, production costs and measurement. Now, Connected TV (CTV) is starting to disrupt the traditional TV ad buying model via programmatic advertising, and addressing the above barriers that have limited TV spend from small-to-medium companies. CTV enables app centric brands to start to invest in top-of-the-funnel awareness and use a channel made for story telling. The main MMPs (Mobile Measurement Platforms) such as Adjust and Appsflyer now support CTV-to-app download measurement via selected DSPs and ad networks. CTV also offers gaming developers (the dominant spenders in app advertising) a chance to tap into new hard-to-reach audiences that may not spend their time in other gaming apps. From a psychological point of view, the impact of audio, visual and image on larger screens that’s been trusted for decades may likely generate more value than ads on a phone.
Marketers have been collaborating with creators and influencers to grow sales for some years and now growth marketers are starting to use influencer marketing as a new channel to build awareness and drive app downloads. Influencers have large trusted followers; that’s attractive because people trust other people, more than ads. For the app growth marketer, the things to think about are identifying what influencers will be best in reaching the target audience and aligns with the brand, what social influencer platform to use (e.g. Influencer.com, Bee Influence and Find your influencer) and what social platforms (TikTok, Twitch, Twitter, Linkedin) work best for the app, brand and product.
Ad networks and DSPs continue to offer options for driving app downloads to achieve business outcomes and working within Apple’s latest SKAdNetwork releases. However, app growth marketers should start experimenting with other media to determine the optimal channel mix for top-of-the-funnel (awareness) and bottom-of-the-funnel (conversions) marketing. More importantly, in light of Apple’s consumer privacy moves, exploring what else exists beyond established ad networks and DSPs may be a good plan.