What to look for in a Mobile Demand-Side Platform


How to Choose a DSP

Marketing your mobile app programmatically requires strong decision-making skills throughout the whole journey. You must define your strategy, budget, and your key performance indicators (KPIs). But without a doubt, the most important factor in succeeding in the programmatic channel is your choice of media partners. 

In this article, we will discuss the key considerations in choosing a Demand-Side Platform in this complex and crowded space.

   1. Reach and Scalability

A strong DSP partner should provide unmatched scale. When choosing a media partner, make sure that they are plugged into all major ad exchanges and cover all the different ad formats to reach your target audience. Choose a DSP partner with global reach and experience in targeting various geographic regions to ensure campaign scalability. 

   2. Algorithmic Approach (Machine Learning Models & Data)

Look for a media partner who is focused on building predictive models. They should offer custom machine learning algorithms trained on down-funnel KPIs that optimize for events such as registration, sale, and purchase. A strong media partner should be able to filter which data is valuable to train machine learning models. Choosing the right model and optimization point (install, purchase, CPA event, etc.) will help in scaling your campaign towards your goal. 

Sharing as much data as possible with your DSP partner will inform the model more quickly. Make sure that your partner has a safe way to interact with that data that will benefit you in the long run. 

   3. Creative Development and Optimization

Look for a DSP who can offer creative solutions: a creative suite that will generate personalized ad creatives, as well as the ability to test and iterate multiple creative variants, at high velocity. At Aarki, we provide 100% creative development through our managed Creative Studio at no extra charge. 

Creative optimization should be a focal point for your campaign planning. When you think of an A/B test, it’s not necessarily about changing a broad scope of elements. Sometimes, you should just test the color of the call to action (CTA), the background elements, or the copy. Our research shows that these little details matter. This will help you to identify the elements of the ad that drive the best performance. Moreover, you can test multiple variants of ad elements to determine the most effective combination for a single ad. 

Once the “champion” ad creative is determined, run it through your channels. Keep in mind that in mobile advertising, ad fatigue is a big issue so constantly changing the creative variants and testing new components is important. The aim is not to replicate the success but to beat the best performing creative.

Ad localization is another aspect of creative optimization that you need to consider if you aim to tap into new territories.

   4. Reporting

A good DSP should provide full transparency. For Android app advertisers and iOS app advertisers whose users share IDFA, the reporting should be at the impression level. Advertisers should be able to see the ad placements, the audiences they reached, and what they are getting back from their ad spend. The campaign data and the app events that are attributed to the campaign should be easily viewed on reporting dashboards and passed via APIs to reporting tools that enable the advertiser to have end-to-end performance visibility. There are several limitations in reporting after the release of iOS 14.5 and the launch of the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework for users who opt-out IDFA, however, a good DSP should be able to ensure the reporting transparency by integrating with all major MMPs to enrich and forward SKAN postbacks as received, and by providing new SKAN reporting experience with updates on their dashboards.

Work with a partner who has the right reporting tools to make sure that optimizations are guided by valuable performance data.

   5. Data Security/Fraud Filtering

Ad fraud and data protection are the main concerns in running programmatic advertising campaigns so make sure that your media partner has processes to filter fraud traffic and a secure system for storing your data. 

Your DSP should have the ability to value user impressions that correlate to active post-install behaviors and actively analyze campaign performance to identify anomalies to investigate. In addition, vetting the supply sources carefully by focusing on pure RTB enabled traffic can also be helpful to combat ad fraud. And lastly, your DSP should work with you and your attribution partners and proactively track and analyze campaigns against their fraud metrics. Combating fraud has always been a one-way review, but we recommend 360 review where the partners work together on a three-way investigation. 

Another important point to consider is data security. Try to find answers to questions such as: is data stored on local machines or in secure data centers, who has direct access to your data, how will your audience segments be used, etc. 

   6. Support

Obviously, performance is key, but also consider the team with who you will be working. Exceptional client relationships are vital to driving value for your ad dollars while generating high lifetime value (LTV) users for your app.

Creating a long-term relationship based on trust, transparency, and scalability should be one of your goals, so make sure the media team you work with is hands-on in managing your campaigns and knowledgeable enough to provide advice every step of the way.

   7. Credibility 

There are lots of potential partners out there. We recommend moving forward with ones that have a good reputation in the market and whom you trust. Answering questions like are they well known in this space, do they have experience with similar products, do they have global inventory, will be helpful for you.

How to Start? 

The first step in testing new partners can be challenging. We advise you to get through the exploration phase and see what kind of results it presents to you. Take your time to let the partner collect impressions that will feed and train their algorithms. Track the results in your own platforms and calculate the ROAS. 

Be strategic in looking for a new media partner. Consider the points discussed in this article and make sure your choice is advanced in terms of technology because programmatic is a fast paced industry. Look for partners that can adapt to new trends and challenges.

 

Topics: Marketplace Insights