Figuring out mobile games marketing post-IDFA

What are the impacts of IDFA changes and how to optimize them?
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Tenjin‘s Marketing Director Roman Garbar has shared his insights about finding the best way to market mobile games post-IDFA, exclusively for Mobidictum.

Tenjin is a comprehensive growth infrastructure for mobile app marketers. Based in San Francisco, Tenjin’s platform consolidates and normalizes user-level marketing data from more than 300 industry-leading ad networks and acquisition sources. By unifying spend, revenue, and performance data into a single centralized environment, Tenjin saves marketers time and resources while providing a rigorously maintained foundation for building unprecedentedly powerful business intelligence solutions.

Details of the interview

Q: How do you judge the impact of IDFA changes on games publishers in 2021? Has it affected big publishers least?

Roman Garbar: IDFA-based attribution is not the only way for advertisers to analyze their performance. The problem is that the majority of app publishers used to rely on IDFA attribution, and all of their tech stacks are built on that. Now, with somewhere between 10-25% of users opting to share their data, many don’t know what to do.

Those with the resources to run experiments in terms of analyzing their data have managed to gain big advantages in 2021. This mostly applies to big game publishers which have more resources to try as many things as possible.

Q: Does that mean small studios are more affected?

Roman Garbar: Yes, in terms of marketing analytics, at this moment there are not many options for small studios. – While there is a new, privacy-friendly attribution framework from Apple – the SKAdNetwork – I don’t know anyone who has fully mastered it. It will take more time for the industry to figure out.

And that’s just user attribution! Post-IDFA there are dozens of data sets that can be used, but if you’re a 20 person studio how do you find the time and expertise to get insight from them? Of course, you would rather focus on making a great game, but if you want to scale, you still need to think about how to do user acquisition. These latest changes have made it much more difficult.

Until we figure it out, some publishers will keep resorting to something called Fingerprinting which is a rehashed type of probabilistic user attribution. Apple does not allow you to use it if users don’t opt-in. It’s just a matter of time until Apple blocks it completely, or tightens the screws in order to minimize the adoption rate of this method.

Q: Are Turkish games affected by these issues?

Roman Garbar: Absolutely, if you advertise or monetize an app you have already seen the effects of it.

In the last few years, Turkey has really emerged as a powerhouse of mobile gaming, with dozens of success stories including 2021’s striking acquisition of Ruby Games by Rovio. These issues won’t stop the overall upwards momentum of Turkish games, but they will definitely separate those who use data well from those who don’t in terms of the levels of growth they achieve.

Q: Tenjin and GameAnalytics recently launched a platform called Growth FullStack. How does it work?

Roman Garbar: It’s basically a construction set for the world of mobile advertising. You have building blocks called “stacks” and you put them together to solve your business task. We also provide use cases for how those stacks can be combined together, such as “iOS 15: SKAdNetwork Metrics in Google Data Studio

iOS 15 allows advertisers to collect SKAdNetwork data directly from Apple. The problem is that developers need to manage to collect this data, find where to store it, unload it, connect a Business Intelligence (BI) system, and figure out what kind of report they should build with it. Another case on this issue is “Tableau Dashboard for Game Publishers“.

The most successful game publishers usually use a custom-made BI system where they run their analysis. Again, we will take care of everything, starting from set up and going to do the maintenance of it. You don’t need to have an internal BI department to do that.

With Growth FullStack we take care of the whole data management process and give you best practice use cases.

Q: Is it designed specifically for small businesses?

Roman Garbar: Yes, you don’t need to be a developer or data engineer to use Growth FullStack. You just tell us what’s included in your stack and we take care of the rest.

But I won’t be surprised if data analysts from bigger companies use it too, because sometimes it’s easier to use one of the available stacks that we have other than waiting for your internal team to integrate a new data set that they need.

Q: Large companies make consolidated reports using data visualization systems. Does Growth FullStack do the same?

Roman Garbar: Exactly, but that’s only one of the many use cases that we cover. To add to two examples from the question above: all sorts of tasks that require data ETL (Extract, Transfer, Load).

We also have a tier of free training that includes LTV prediction via Python, Cross-promotion guide and others. We update our stack and use case library every couple of weeks.

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