TV advertising can be a very expensive endeavour for publishers.
It's important, then, to track a commercial's reach as much as possible. It's a difficult challenge however, without being able to directly track traffic from a TV ad to an app install.
UK media agency The Specialist Works thinks it has the solution though.
We spoke with the company's global new business director for mobile Richard Downey about how its TV for Apps service is using big data to closely follow user behaviour after a big ad.
It's a technique Downey claims helped triple the number of downloads for Elex's Clash of Kings in the UK and get it into the top grossing charts.
PocketGamer.biz: What is your TV for Apps service and how does it work?
Richard Downey: TV for Apps is a groundbreaking and innovative marrying of two previously distinct marketing channels.
By analysing the data produced by in app attribution SDKs we are able to attribute organic app activity back to an offline trigger. In this case a TV ad. This information then informs our media buying strategy.
In knowing that more installs are generated by TV ads on MTV than by TV ads on Comedy Central, we can spend our client’s TV budget more effectively and produce greater return on investment.
How are you able to track consumers from watching a TV ad to downloading the app?
We work very closely with the attribution solutions to ensure that we are able to get hold of the information that tells us exactly when certain key events have taken place with the app.
If we know exactly when an app was downloaded then we can match that back to a particular TV spot. Once a user have been assigned to a particular TV ad then we are able to follow that user throughout the course of his or her app using life.
For the big games, often the usual mobile UA tactics have become saturated. For them, the move to TV is a logical, if somewhat scary one.
This means that not only are we able to judge a TV spot on how many downloads it drove but also how many in-app events such as monetisation have come as a direct consequence of the ad.
What data is available to developers and publishers once viewers have watched their ads?
Whatever their in-app attribution solution is set up to track is available to developers and publishers.
The leading attribution solutions, and the ones that we work most closely with here at The Specialist Works, are AppsFlyer, Adjust and TUNE.
What regions do you cover and what is your reach?
We are based in the UK and as a consequence this is where we do most of our work.
The analytics side of our Apps for TV service works in exactly the same way regardless of territory or location. The media buying side of the process is more difficult to do in countries where we do not have direct relationships with the TV sales houses.
Optimising our advertising strategy is time-consuming and involves a huge amount more work than the usual TV agency approach.
We call the traditional method ‘set and forget’. This is because the TV strategy is fixed and no attempt is made to change or alter the plans once set. Our approach is the opposite of that. Flexible, optimisable and profitable.
How do you work with games developers and publishers to get the most out of their user acquisition campaigns on TV?
We work very closely with the clients in order to get a feel for their game, their audience and their acquisition objectives.
We then use our team of TV planning experts to put together a strategy that will enable them to fulfil all of their objectives.
Then, once the activity is live we monitor the response data on a daily basis and make all the relevant campaign optimisations to ensure that the results improve as the campaign goes on.
Why are TV ad campaigns important for game developers and publishers?
For the bigger games - think Mobile Strike, Clash of Kings etcetera - often the usual mobile acquisition tactics have become saturated.
Clash of Kings’ download numbers trebled and the app secured itself at the top end of the highest grossing app chart.
CPIs are going up and new sources of responsive mobile inventory can be difficult to find. For them, the move to TV is a logical, if somewhat scary one. The scale and brand building value that TV has as an advertising channel is still enormous.
TV for Apps is a way of approaching this medium in a way that is familiar to mobile developers and publishers. It makes the whole process less scary to know that campaigns can be tracked and optimised.
What games industry clients have you worked with in the past?
Our most important partnership has been with Elex Tech’s Clash of Kings game.
Could you explain a bit more in-depth about how your partnership with Clash of Kings has worked and the results from that?
The Specialist Works were appointed as Elex’s agency partner.
As the client is based in Beijing it was vital that we obtained and maintained the client’s total trust at all times. We managed all of the media strategy and buying. That encompassed TV, cinema, digital, outdoor and events.
Where the strategy involved a channel or strategy that we don’t do here at The Specialist Works, our task was to find a suitable partner. Examples of areas in which we did this are PR, TV ad production and event management.
The large scale campaign ran over a number of months, but its premiere was particularly memorable. TSW was able to secure the first ad break for the new season of Game of Thrones on Sky Atlantic.
In terms of fit and suitability, it was perfect and got the campaign off to a flying start. From there, we expanded the campaign our to include some premium ad spots such as the Champions League Final.
However, our TV for Apps approach is not just about buying high impact spots. It’s about using a powerful combination of brand-building marquee spots with hard-working spots on more niche channels.
Then, through the interrogation of the data we were able to mold the shape of the campaign while it was live.
The end results were very strong. The app settled down roughly 300 places higher in both the iOS and Google Play app charts.
Daily download numbers trebled and the app secured itself at the top end of the highest grossing app chart.
The Specialist Works is a sponsor for the Pocket Gamer Mobile Mixer taking place at ChinaJoy in Shanghai on 28 July.
You can find out more details about the event here.