Scaling Your App Business Beyond Social Marketing
Social channels are a great way to connect with audiences and grow your app business—but if you’ve noticed a plateau in your social marketing results, what can you do to find new, high-quality users?
It’s time to expand your horizons. Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Reddit have their own mobile advertising platforms and typically have similar audience targeting abilities, including demographics, interests, and behaviors.
Outside of social networks, improving your revenue potential requires research and due diligence. Not every mobile network will make sense for your business goals. Let’s look at what to consider for two alternatives to social networks: Mobile ad networks and DSPs.
Mobile ad networks and DSPs
Ad networks and demand-side platforms, or DSPs, both provide access to mobile inventory and support the technical part of media buying—but they do so in different ways.
Mobile ad networks often act as a “broker” between advertisers and a supply of in-app ad inventory. Mobile ad networks:
- Help publishers of all sizes to monetize their impressions with in-app advertising, and help advertisers promote on publisher supply
- Provide access to a wide variety of publisher inventory
- Improve efficiency, as manual optimizations on these platforms can be very minimal
- Make onboarding quick and easy (although this depends on the specific network)
DSPs also connect advertiser demand to one or multiple sources of ad inventory. However, they access this supply through an ad network’s exchange. DSPs provide:
- A comprehensive and automated way to buy and sell media
- Access to hundreds of traffic sources
- Opportunities to reach your intended audience through millions of touchpoints at a time
What value do DSPs and ad networks provide?
DSPs give you access to a wide range of supply, while ad networks may provide more control. Ad networks allow publishers to manage their inventory with more opportunities to fill their available inventory. This lets advertisers bid for the most valuable impressions and maximize revenue for publishers.
Ad networks: self-serve vs. managed
DSPs and ad networks generally have both a self-serve and managed account option. Self-serve means you can go directly into your dashboard and make changes to your campaigns. Managed means an account manager is assigned to you and helps with onboarding, campaign optimization, and day-to-day management.
With DSPs, daily optimizations are mostly handled by the platform. With ad networks, you may get a dedicated account manager or media strategist to help you set up campaigns.
One important difference is that ad networks require software development kits, or SDKs. This is a set of tools that apps need if they’re going to run in-app ads. Ad networks also have direct relationships with the publishers within their networks. These relationships can be helpful for smaller or niche, hard-to-reach publishers who are trying to monetize their impressions.
DSPs, on the other hand, do not require SDK integrations. They also don’t have direct relationships with publishers but instead, have direct relationships with networks that have those publisher relationships.
What makes the most sense for your app business?
Work with a DSP if:
- You want a “set-it-and-forget it” approach
- You don’t want to hassle with SDK integration
Work with an ad network if:
- You want personalized guidance in reaching your audiences
- You have the expertise on your team needed for SDK integration
Reach your goals beyond social marketing
While social media networks may have worked for you so far, there is a whole universe beyond them and many more opportunities to reach audiences. Diversifying your mobile app marketing portfolio means understanding the benefits and limitations of each platform while using the data to set your campaign optimizations and business decisions.
Focus on what makes the most sense for your app, while keeping an eye on important metrics such as your ROAS goals.
Want to keep growing your app business? Learn more about ALX.