Expert Voice: Ad Revenue per User with Jan Pollack
In this first Expert Voice interview, Jan Pollack will share his view on the importance of ad revenue per user and the status of its precise calculation.
“Ad revenue per user” has been a hot topic lately. Is it something you are looking into at the moment from an ad monetization manager perspective?
Yes, if possible we’d like to know the exact ad revenues per user to understand which are our “ad VIP’s”. That knowledge would mainly be used for the UA side to acquire such users less expensively than IAP spender but on a bigger scale.
It may also be used in game design at some point if we find out that these players have a different style of playing our games. Since we are looking to personalize our games for different types of players, this may be one of these groups, which would get different kind of game-features, ad placements, rewards etc.
As your work experience covers both publisher side and ad network, how easy is it to get this data from the ad network? If hard, why? Which are the bottlenecks?
With most cases, it’s very hard or even not possible at all. There are various reasons, from legal concerns to business requirements to data limitations or missing tools/capacities.
There are tools on the market that claim to be able to be accurate on this info, do you have any direct experience with any of those tools?
Yes, we have been working with one of these companies for around a year now and while we know that some other publishers have success in using their data for UA, we have not entirely cracked the code yet. Especially over the last few months our Data Science team have got more and more involved in the cooperation with them to better understand on which educated estimations their data are based and how accurate they are.
Why have companies only recently started to look into this? Is it for the tech barriers or because just now ad monetization has become more mainstream? (even Candy Crush has rewarded videos now!)
I think game publishers have become a lot more sophisticated over the last 2 years or so in terms of how to do ad monetization well and which additional aspects can be tackled with it, rather than just integrating any network SDK and looking into eCPM & fillrate.
So more publishers working on better integrations lead to a general uptick in the share of ad revenue from overall and so the importance of the whole topic rises for the whole publisher organizations, including data science teams, marketing, UA teams etc.
It has become more and more obvious that there are still quite some gaps around ad monetization including the understanding of different users behavior and performance, which is already quite advanced for IAP spending, but more or less a black box for ad revenue.
Since barely any mobile ad network has been very helpful to fill this gap with their data, some existing companies and new companies have started to look into this problem and how to solve it.
Since most of the third-party companies don’t have direct access to the data directly, it’s a very complex and highly technical / mathematical problem to get the best estimation possible, which is why there are still very few companies being known in the market for it and even they don’t have 100% convincing solutions.
Do you think this data will eventually be available and precise at one point?
We don’t know for sure yet, but I have the feeling that the mobile “in-app header bidding” as well as the general need for more transparency and control on demand & supply side will help to drive this topic forward.
Header bidding, a trendy word during 2018 that seems to be the solution to finally reduce the dependency to a waterfall setup. Do you think this tech is sharing the same entry barriers with ad revenue by user calculation? (lacking of S2S integrations or in general ad networks being reluctant to share such a granular info) Or on the contrary, it would help to get this info correctly?
This trend was more or less a big marketing buzz last year, but should see a growing adoption and maturity during this year.
Getting more transparency on the user level ad revenues will rather be a side aspect, but I do think it’s gonna improve with it. The bidding part is built on RTB standards like OpenRTB, which includes the communication of bids & committed prices through API’s. This should make it a lot easier for the mediation platforms to get improved transparency into this area and provide these data also to the publishers.
Now it just comes down to have more and more ad networks providing a bidder to the mediation providers, so these ad networks can get included in the above mentioned solutions and, on the other hand, the mediation platforms providing access to these data for the publishers in a convenient way.
Jan is Senior Ad Monetization Manager at Wooga. With more than 8 years of experience in the games industry and a lifelong passion for games, his mission is to bring Wooga’s ad-monetization to the next level by focussing on the quality of ad-integrations and ad-content. Before joining Wooga in 2017 Jan worked with game-publishers around the world in his roles at ad-provider Fyber and german social network studiVZ.