Talking Data, Ad Fraud and Attribution at the Kochava Mobile Summit

Image source: Kochava

We gathered with industry experts at this year’s edition of the Kochava Mobile Summit and had a great opportunity to connect with thought leaders from the industry, over some really insightful sessions and a scenic ski day!

After the event, Ben Stein, VP Marketing for Kochava, and Applift’s Cory Erstling and Jared Vandercook, U.S. Demand Leads, sat down to discuss their key learnings from this year’s conference, and how they expect the industry to evolve. Here’s a snippet from their conversation:

Was there an overarching theme or conversation points that seem to be top of mind for attendees?

Kochava: The theme of this year’s Summit was, “Take Control of Your Data.”

Data can be powerful but only if you have the right tools to wield it. Unfortunately, in today’s landscape, data is everywhere and it’s hard to bring it all together in one system to harness its full potential. Kochava is helping brands take control of their data for growth through a single pane of glass.

Marketers need a complete picture of their user’s identity to truly build the right audiences and target effectively. Uniting offline, first-party and third-party enrichment data with your core measurement intel gives marketers the ability to discern and discover new trends that will turn into meaningful audiences that can be intelligently activated upon.

Signal is critical in the battle against ad fraud, which of course, is not slowing down. Marketers can’t be asleep at the wheel and must demand signal clarity in the impressions and clicks sent from their media partners. Only when all points of data are available can fraud be addressed holistically. If your measurement provider can find fraud but doesn’t deal with it in real time, or if they can deal with it in real time but detect it unreliably, you’re not fully protected.

Applift: Each marketer knows that data is the key to both mitigating fraud and for maintaining profitable growth through their mobile ad spend. However, not everyone is always clear on the best way to manage, segment and utilize that data that’s been collected.

Another important link in this conversation is to understand how we attribute value to ad spend within walled gardens like Facebook. Asking how we address and look at incrementality and how we start to build better signals to help bridge the gap across all devices is key here.

And of course, ad fraud. The complexity in which fraudsters operate tends to grow in line with the tools we put in place to catch them. There are easy ways to mitigate the simple stuff, and everyone should be utilizing these tools provided to them by platforms such as Kochava. For the more complex issues, marketers need to use common sense around human behavior and interaction and work together with their data teams and marketing platforms to put other safeguards in place.

What does this mean for your clients?

Kochava: Where the majority of our customers started with our attribution solutions, it’s clear as they became more sophisticated marketers that it’s not just about attribution data but how they’re using that data together with other marketing tactics/solutions to continuously optimize their campaigns for greater success. In unifying these data solutions within a single platform, Kochava is giving clients the competitive edge required to drive successful growth strategies with confidence.

Applift: Partners that can effectively build trust on both sides will be the winner. That trust is not simply defined by having a good relationship, but one that is built through the sharing and leveraging of data to both scale profitably and to protect against ad fraud.

And, what does this mean for competition?

Kochava: Managing data operations across a scattered tech stack landscape is a huge problem for marketers today. Brands need a single pane of glass to help them reduce SDK bloat, improve return on investment (ROI), and lower total cost of ownership (TCO). The more capabilities we bring into the Unified Audience Platform, the more competitors we replace. Traditional mobile measurement partner (MMP) competitors try to push a message that these additional tools shift our focus away from measurement. Quite the opposite is true as our customers and prospects got to see at this year’s Kochava Mobile Summit. Our roadmap is full of recent and upcoming releases focused on innovation leadership in the measurement space. This is the foundation for what we build and will continue to drive the solutions that set us apart from our competitors.

Applift: More and more marketers are continuing to fulfill all of their ad spend needs through the social giants and one or two programmatic partners. Should the more traditional ad networks wish to continue to fight for ad dollars, they will need to prove their value by continuing to provide increased transparency across all media spend. And they will have to work with third-party data platforms to ensure they are able to not just convert and drive value for their advertisers, but do so while helping to identify who that user is, where did they come from, where are they going, and how can we continue to leverage the platform to touch that user at all the appropriate times and places that are relevant to the brand.

What was the most impactful takeaway for advertisers for this year?

Kochava: Take control of your data and measure everything! To get the most out of your data solutions you need to be in the driver’s seat. By having a 360-degree view of your users, you can streamline your personalization and targeting efforts and drastically improve your conversion rates.

Applift: There is a continued push toward fewer partners, less testing, more transparency, less campaign disruption, and more service. Like we mentioned earlier, the importance of data cannot be emphasized more: collect everything you can on your audience and leverage every piece of it to target more effectively with your ad buys.

How have you seen the key conversations changing at KMS, given the evolution of the industry?

Kochava: Mobile is still relatively young in the broader marketing picture. Year over year, we’ve seen the conversations shifting from an attribution 101 conversation where customers are trying to understand how they can track mobile users, to discussions and content around a more holistic marketing strategy—how can we better use our data to drive our overall strategy, how can my data help me identify net new users, etc. We don’t see this slowing down, marketers are constantly looking for an edge, the next technology that will help them increase revenue, and get more out of their ad spend.  

Applift: While the conversation has always been around data, protecting against ad fraud and buying more profitably at scale, I think the conversation has shifted in terms of the level of sophistication from tools like Kochava that now allow us to ask not just, “how do we use these tools to drive ROI,” but now to include “how are we able to leverage these tools” to buy across multiple touch points that were previously thought to be unmeasurable. This allows each brand to connect on a much more frequent and personal level with their customers, not just on mobile but across all of their devices.

Finally, where are we headed as we see the industry evolve?

Kochava: As we’ve discussed, consolidation will be a major factor in the industry’s evolution. In terms of where the industry is going, it’s blockchain. The importance of blockchain to marketers isn’t how it works but what it allows them to accomplish. Marketers will have direct access to targeting at scale and be able to demand that their network partners’ inventory be on blockchain. They will have more options to buy media and know they’re getting what they paid for through improved transparency.

Applift: Partner redundancy will lead to consolidation/acquisitions, with others disappearing. Much like we’ve seen with traditional DSPs. Same tech, same customers, slightly different technical flavor. The industry, in general, is moving away from a standardized place to buy media. The future continues to be dominated by the social giants, and it feels more and more like the rest of the industry will not only be stuck in the past but will go out of business if we don’t adapt.

What were your key moments at the Kochava Mobile Summit? Share your thoughts in the Comments section!

Applift is a leading mobile ad tech company that empowers businesses by creating the next-generation platform for advertisers to reach and convert their audiences on mobile.