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Chirag Gajjar

Omniata BlogChirag GajjarSeptember 15, 2015

User Acquisition Analytics

User acquisition efforts are spread across multiple sources, making it difficult and time consuming to get the complete picture of acquisition spend and LTV for your app. In this post, we will dive into these silos and figure out an approach to combine these silos and get a holistic view of all our user acquisition efforts

A difficult yet relevant task in today’s mobile industry, user acquisition helps in building an audience and a brand with a prime focus on gaining new customers. The majority of organizations will have a seasoned group of individuals that would be solely responsible for “driving up” user acquisition using several tools and methods at their disposal. What comes next is my favorite part about acquisition marketing – the analysis of it all!

Several tools in the industry can help measure KPIs and metrics to provide an insight on the performance of your user acquisition efforts. However, the ability to obtain the answers is not easy. It has been discussed in earlier blogs that breaking the data silos is the foundation and the stepping-stone for success; applying this principle to user acquisition analytics can yield impressive results for any marketing efforts.

So, let's look at these silos and figure out how can we get a holistic view of all our user acquisition labors.


Attribution

Attribution partners are third party vendors that provide credit for completing an action. In the mobile industry, attribution means the measurement of user events that are an outcome of marketing actions. These events help track app installs, app launches, in-app purchase, retention and lifetime value to name a few. The keyword here is “user events” as the information in most scenarios is provided “per event, per user”. Events sent by each attribution partner at a minimum provide the following parameters:

  • User ID
  • Publisher Name (Ad Network)
  • Timestamp (date/time of install or any other metrics being tracked)

Optional parameters such as campaign name, ad group, sub ad group and sub site can also be returned as parameters by the attribution partners provided this has been enabled for tracking by the marketing team.

Ad Networks

Organizations that focus on traffic generated through mobile web and apps by serving a wide spectrum of formats (ex: banners) and platforms (ex: video, display). Marketing teams will partner with ad networks to set up their campaigns based on their business strategies. Budgets will be set and adhered to while campaigns are being run and closely monitored. To reach out to a wider audience, marketers may choose a multitude of ad networks who in most cases operate as standalone entities – hence creating “data silos” that extends from naming conventions to reporting capabilities.

Another important point to stress is that ad network data is almost always aggregated. User level granularity is not always available, which creates challenges to view this data provided by ad networks in conjunction with your in-app and attribution events.

SOLVING THE PUZZLE

In order to mitigate the above-mentioned obstacles, several steps can be taken that will eventually help the marketers understand the foundation of their user base.

To begin with, select a data unification platform that is not only able to ingest the data from these sources but is also capable of forming synergistic alliances between the two. Omniata has taken a huge step forward in doing just that – following principles of a “merger” while maintaining data accuracy by providing full transparency. The approach to address this issue comes from its inherent need to solve a widespread, intricate issue.

Now let's look at each data source in the order it has been mentioned so far; and keep in mind some best practices to accomplish this setup.

Attribution

  1. Ensuring the data is accurate – knowing how each vendor assigns credit to conversion and having the ability to confirm the data quality is essential
  2. Check how granular can the event parameters get – each ad network provides varying tracking links that establish a successful install
  3. Select an attribution partner for the long-term – with a proven track record and excellent support as it is a significant investment of time and money

Ad Networks

  1. Ad Network integration – when using multiple ad networks for running campaigns, make sure that the ad networks have the ability to provide access to “your own” spend data via Reporting APIs. If not, emphasize on its importance – chances are they will work with you to develop this
  2. Campaign Structure – construct campaigns based on the reporting capabilities/limitations of the ad network. Several ad networks do not provide breakdown by country, hence parsing this information from your campaign name could be crucial
  3. Data Availability – Know when and how often is data available for extraction through the reporting APIs
  4. Taxonomy – Read through the documentation to understand what each of the returned parameters refers to. Assumptions will always lead to inaccurate reporting


Ensuring these checks will go a long way to ensure that integrating and mapping data from multiple sources is configured right. An additional benefit is that it helps in the data validation process to make sure the right value is being saved in the appropriate dimension or measure.


REPORTING & MUST HAVES

The efforts have now transformed into clean, accurate reports. Visualizing this data under one platform provides tremendous value for marketers to be ready or take the appropriate next steps to continue the life-cycle of user acquisition while making smart decisions.

Pay attention to some important KPIs to assess the success of your mobile app:

Sources

How users are finding the app, through organic search, paid ads or in-app referrals. Knowing this audience is beneficial as it goes a long way in “potentially” converting these users to either paid subscribers or simply more active and engaged users.

Usage

To make sure the app doesn’t get lost in the sea of installed apps on the device. Know who is using the app and how. What is or is not your demographic. Time when opened the app and how long have they been engaged, by device and platform breakdown.


Revenue

Acquiring users is half the battle as the other half is to drive revenue, the reason for creating the app for almost every business. ARPU and ARPPU indicate the true value of a user to the app. Calculating the Recoup (Cumulative Revenue per Install/Cumulative Spend per Install) and ROI on your spend across multiple ad networks provides the team a clear path for future targeting, video ads delivery and opportunities.


Retention

Apps have a shelf life but striving for longevity is the key. Retention is still a challenge and continues to be a metric traced regardless the purpose of the app. Pay attention to D1, D7 and D30 retention – as majority of the apps lose grip three months from install.


LTV

A must-have marketing initiative; given some previously known information to estimate the benefit of new users before they spend the first cent in order to adjust the monetization strategies and expenditure for marketing campaigns. To effectively inform user acquisition spending, calculate LTV at a minimum by acquisition source and location. If you can’t price a user with these inputs at a minimum with confidence, then you won’t be able to acquire them profitably.

User acquisition is measurable as you can turn to data to figure out what’s working and what’s not. The feedback loop is short so trying new things to acquire users can provide success quickly. Create methods and track the progress of key acquisition metrics. Feel free to experiment, as there is always something new to test or optimize.


To learn more on how Omniata can help you with user acquisition analytics, please feel free to contact us.

About Chirag Gajjar

Chirag Gajjar is a Senior Data Analyst at Omniata where he helps onboard new customers with an emphasis on user acquisition adoption and requirements. With prior experience in consulting, he is passionate about industry trends in data, meet up groups, and sports.

Chirag Gajjar