Type to search

Achieving profitable returns in today’s complex advertising environment

Technology & Data

Achieving profitable returns in today’s complex advertising environment


Antony Wilcox shares five ways Australian businesses can accurately measure mobile ROI.

Mobile usage in Australia has grown from strength to strength. According to Statista, in 2017, the number of smartphone users in Australia was around 18.6 million. This number was forecasted to reach 21.5 million by 2025. A Deloitte study also predicts that by 2023, mobile will be worth $65 billion to the Australian economy.

According to data from AppsFlyer’s State of App Marketing Report in ANZ, mobile usage increased in the region due to the increase in digital and mobile adoption. The report examined 120 million app installs from January to June 2020. It found that Finance apps grew by 175 percent, Shopping apps by 125 percent and Health and Fitness apps by 86 percent in H1 2020 vs H1 2019 for non-organic installs.

The growing mobile app usage in Australia presents a great opportunity for businesses in the region to capitalise on by including mobile marketing opportunities into their marketing mix. It is one of the most powerful ways to reach the always-on-the-go consumer — but also know how to measure if their spend is paying off. A prime example, as highlighted in the report is the growth of finance apps, which tripled in comparison to H12019 as a result of paid marketing activity.

Below are five tips to accurately measure your mobile effort’s return on investment (ROI):

  1. Understand your costs and revenues  

Marketing comes at a cost, so having a full understanding of all the fees and outgoings is vital to determining ROI. For example, if your marketing efforts involve third-party agencies or tools, there are likely to be some fees that need to be factored into the overall numbers.

It is also necessary to have a full understanding of your revenue streams. The app ecosystem is freemium-driven and free-to-install apps make money through a range of methods.

In-app purchases (IAPs) allow users to purchase virtual or real-world items in the app, while in-app advertising (IAA) drives revenue from the vast majority of users who do not make an IAP. App subscriptions, such as streaming services or dating apps, generate revenue on a recurring basis. Finally, a section of the app market remains paid-for, with an up-front fee to download and use the app.

Finally, remember to weigh up the balance of cost vs quality. Targeting high-value markets and users comes at a cost, but can generate more revenue. On the other hand, running campaigns in low revenue markets can also be valuable in its own right if the cost of those campaigns is low.

  1. Recognise the risk with your data

ROI is a seemingly simple metric that can be surprisingly elusive if your ROI data is wrong or incomplete.

One of the worst outcomes for marketers is not realising that their data inputs are inaccurate. This is a genuine danger when it comes to mobile marketing; no matter how sophisticated your business intelligence team, they may be making poor decisions without realising it due to fraud or data misattribution.

If your input is flawed, your output will suffer. The lasting consequences of this can completely derail any marketing efforts, and with it, your app’s performance and your ability to make smart and informed decisions.

Recognising flaws in your data and whether it is inaccurate or incomplete, will help drive down wasted spend in your marketing, in turn amplifying ROI.

Mobile Measurement Partners (MMP) have deep integrations with the majority of media sources and marketing platforms, making it easy to attribute every install to its source. The robust nature of an MMP platform can greatly enhance data accuracy, giving you complete trust in your data inputs.

  1. Own the data management flow

Advertisers need to have complete control of all their cost data – and relying on an array of other networks, partners or channels to pass data regularly, quickly and securely is nearly impossible in today’s market.

Having the ability to receive data without a lag, and in a consistent format, is important. An Application Programming Interface that connects directly with a network is one method for ensuring data is accurate and constantly updated in near real-time. Another method is ingestion, which allows advertisers to upload ad spend data from any source before the attribution provider then standardises it.

When the data management flow is fully controlled by the advertiser, numbers will be accurate and instantly updated, and help give a true reflection of your ROI.

  1. Strive for data standardisation

The range of inputs and variables that form data from different cost sources is another challenge in getting accurate measurements. There is rarely a consistent level of granularity and frequency in the ways different sources report data, with each network having different metrics associated with costs. For example, Twitter reports on tweets, while Facebook has page likes. This leads to fragmented cost data which, at best, slows down business analytics.

This is where data standardisation has a huge role to play. Marketers must make sure that data sent by ad networks is aligned with their analytics needs. This can be achieved through a consistent, well-defined data structure in naming conventions and macro-parameter matches.

  1. Ensure accurate attribution data

Accurate attribution data is at the heart of mobile ROI measurement. A high-quality attribution platform brings together connections with thousands of partners, from media companies to analytics platforms. It also has the infrastructure to scale up and down as a marketer’s needs require, without any drop-off in the accuracy and efficiency of the attribution itself.

Though attribution platforms require technological expertise and experience to build – it provides immense value when it comes to accurately measuring ROI by giving you complete control of cost data, thereby empowering you to make fast, critical decisions while reducing the risk of mistakes.

Realising mobile marketing ROI

Measuring mobile ROI is a complex, ever-shifting challenge with a huge range of variables to track and optimise in near real-time. Marketers need to plan for what to measure, and also recognise limitations in their own data. Only then can they truly realise their mobile marketing ROI.


Antony Wilcox is the director of growth, ANZ, at AppsFlyer.

Image by Nattanan Kanchanaprat from Pixabay.


You Might also Like

Leave a Comment