Throughout 2021, the mobile games industry has witnessed an incredible amount of mergers and acquisitions. This is only set to continue. In our Done Deal series, we speak with companies to explore the decision-making behind acquisitions, the impact on both parties, and the effects on the industry as a whole.
We spoke with AppLovin vice president of global business development Daniel Tchernahovsky about the $1 billion acquisition of MoPub from Twitter and how the firm has been integrated into AppLovin's exisiting platform.
Can you explain where the idea for the acquisition came from?
For the past decade, we’ve been building tools to help mobile app developers grow their businesses. Our in-app bidding based mediation tool, MAX, has helped fuel the growth of some of the fastest growing and most successful publishers in the market.
When the opportunity to acquire MoPub presented itself, we saw a clear path to create one of the largest and most robust in-app advertising ecosystems in the world that yields more revenue and growth for app developers.
What were the main goals of this acquisition and how long did the acquisition take to go through?
Our goals for integrating MoPub with MAX aligned with our business mission overall: providing a truly fair and unbiased monetisation solution that helps publishers grow, creates more engaged users for advertisers, and ultimately propels the market forward.
We announced in early October the intent to acquire MoPub from Twitter, and the transaction is scheduled to close on 1 January 2022. Many top publishers have already migrated to MAX and many more are in the process of doing so now.
How has this acquisition benefitted your company going forward?
A unified MAX and MoPub platform brings unparalleled scale for both supply and demand, the most comprehensive feature set, and a seasoned and trusted team. The integrated platform is expected to process more than $15 billion of annualised advertiser spend by 2023.
We believe that this will create efficiencies where advertisers and agencies will be very motivated to bid into the platform, which will create even higher yields for publishers and allow them to invest in more user acquisition. This will ultimately facilitate even more growth for their businesses and for the entire industry.
Did you encounter any major hurdles during the process and if so, how were they addressed?
We started the process by having discussions with major publishers.Daniel Tchernahovsky
We understood from the start that integrating a new monetisation solution is a big undertaking for publishers and we are totally focused on making this as seamless a transition as possible for MoPub customers.
We started the process by having discussions with major publishers. This helped give us a strong understanding of the MoPub features they valued most and wanted to see added to MAX and then we prioritised all those core features. Now that some features have been integrated or will soon roll out in as early as January, we are continuing to reach out to developers for their inputs on other features they would like added.
How has the company's strategy changed under new ownership?
Our strategy continues to be focused on growing the mobile app ecosystem by empowering developers. We believe that giving developers more and enhanced features, does just that. A significant enhancement to MAX is that MoPub Marketplace is now the AppLovin Exchange, which combines the programmatic demand from MoPub Marketplace with the existing in-app bidders and ad networks that are already on MAX.
AppLovin Exchange is an open marketplace for transactions in a brand-safe environment, which allows advertisers to reach more target audiences easily, efficiently, and effectively.
Was there anything that has happened since the acquisition that you would change?
We acknowledge it’s a big undertaking for publishers in this timeframe. Overall, this acquisition has been met with a level of excitement, transparency, and openness by MoPub publishers, DSPs, and agency partners. Given the timeline, we are to be heads down and focused on integrating all of the core features. It is our top priority to move fast and execute on all the features we have promised.
Even as we’ve grown, AppLovin has always maintained our speed of delivery and developer focus and when we align on a priority, it’s full steam ahead. Many new features have already been added to MAX’s robust platform, including the launch of AppLovin Exchange, Universal Creative Reporting, Ad Review Banner Support, Native Ad Format Support, Built-In GDPR Consent Flow, and many more are coming in January.
We have always been actively looking for ways to grow the overall mobile app industry.Daniel Tchernahovsky
Are mergers and acquisitions a good thing for the games industry as a whole?
Yes, at AppLovin, we have always been actively looking for ways to grow the overall mobile app industry. The MoPub deal as well as the purchase of Adjust in early 2021 are good proof points that we are constantly assessing the market and seizing opportunities that increase the tools we offer developers to help them scale their business.
We’ve also invested heavily in apps over the years and have one of the largest pools of mobile development talent with over 2,000 content developers across 18 global studios. We allow the studios to operate independently so they can leverage our financial backing and resources so they can do what they love - making great apps. More apps for the games industry overall is a good thing.
What advice would you give to companies that are either looking to make an acquisition or be acquired?
Strategic M&A has always been an important part of AppLovin’s growth. Keep focused on your business and your customers. Make great games, know your players and know the industry/market. When you have time to learn and network - do it. There’s a ton of talented and smart people in this industry - know them, learn from them, and partnership or acquisition opportunities will arise from that.