2020 will undoubtedly be a year to remember. It has brought with it unprecedented challenges to the status quo of how publishers and advertisers operate in the digital advertising ecosystem. The COVID-19 pandemic dealt a harsh blow to many brands across a variety of verticals. Then came Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in June, where Apple’s announcements related to iOS 14 and the IDFA becoming opt-in sent further shockwaves—casting doubts on the future of in-app ad spend on iOS.
Here Jason Hicks, EVP of Growth at Kochava walks us through the challenges and unveils the company’s latest product – Kochava for Publishers – part of the Marketers Operating SystemTM.
In the months since WWDC, Kochava has been at the table of unprecedented discussions with advertisers whom we have long served on a demand-side front as an omni-channel measurement and attribution platform. The biggest enterprise players within this roster at the same time also operate as major publishers in the space and are facing fresh uncertainty in how they will operate and rapidly adapt to new challenges.
In the spirit of the customer-driven innovation that has guided Kochava across the past decade, we’re unveiling new solutions to serve our customers in their capacity as publishers as much as we do in their capacity as advertisers.
The Marketers Operating SystemTM
What has never been clearer is how intrinsically tied together both the supply and demand sides of the digital advertising ecosystem really are. Identifiers like the IDFA for iOS and the third-party cookie on the web have long allowed a disconnect of sorts between these two ends of the ecosystem—as they transacted anonymously on these static identifiers while keeping their distance. Now as the IDFA and third-party cookie face their demise, these two sides must work more closely together than ever before.
At the end of the day, both are seeking to market to the same end-user—the customer at the heart of advertising. Advertisers on the demand side need publishers on the supply side, just as much as the publishers need the advertisers. One side cannot succeed without the other. If one side fails, all sides fail.
The Marketers Operating System™ (m/OS) from Kochava empowers advertisers and publishers with a platform that seamlessly integrates and manages customer identity, measurement and data controls. Unlike the complicated, siloed tech stacks employed today, the m/OS takes the next step: unifying all of your data and critical omni-channel solutions into a cohesive, operational system that goes beyond data aggregation and reporting.
The m/OS provides the foundation for limitless advertiser and publisher tools, including the option to build third-party solutions onto the platform. By design, m/OS facilitates success by making data accessible and actionable to maximize ROI.
Kochava for Publishers (K4P)
What to expect from Kochava for Publishers:
- Host first-party ad measurement to empower advertiser success on your publisher platform, while ensuring the ads served to your audience meet brand safety guidelines.
- Get out-of-the-box support for Apple’s SKAdNetwork to maximize monetization on iOS 14 post-enforcement of the AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) framework.
- Onboard audience insights with premium identity solutions that enable smarter targeting and higher bid values.
In the simplest terms, publishers seek to provide engaging digital experiences to their users and in turn monetize via ads served to those users. Ads served to those users can come from a publisher’s own cross-promo efforts for other apps in their portfolio, DSPs and SSPs bidding on their ad space, or direct deals via private marketplaces (PMPs).
In a time when availability of the IDFA is becoming scarce for audience discovery, targeting, and addressability, publishers must maximize the ability for advertisers to reach their first-party users and effectively measure and optimize those campaigns. First-party ad measurement, a core component of Kochava for Publishers, serves this vital function. By leveraging the backbone of Kochava infrastructure, publishers can avoid the major cost-burden of building out this technology in-house.
First-party ad measurement – Enabling advertiser success on publisher platforms
First-party ad measurement is vital for a publisher to understand their true reach, ensure brand safety, and to prove efficacy of ad spend to advertisers running campaigns on the publisher platform. With first-party ad measurement, publishers gain four key capabilities:
Publishers can manage all attribution waterfall settings and facilitate cross-device and cross-platform conversion claims. Integration support is provided for all major mobile measurement partners, including Adjust, AppsFlyer, Branch, Singular, and Tenjin. Kochava for Publishers operates on a completely distinct technological infrastructure from Kochava’s core measurement and attribution platform, meaning neither the publishers nor the advertisers they work with are required to use Kochava as a mobile measurement provider (MMP).
Turnkey SKAdNetwork Support – Handling the heavy lifting for publishers and ad networks
It’s no surprise that SKAdNetwork and the daunting task of adopting it has left many publishers scratching their heads. As a relatively untested Apple Store Kit capability, there are more questions than answers as to exactly how easy or difficult to use the SKAdNetwork will turn out to be. What’s clear is that it’s a major departure from the longstanding status quo of how in-app ad campaigns on iOS have been measured. Nonetheless, publishers must support the SKAdNetwork to remain relevant with advertisers.
Kochava for Publishers is a streamlined solution to support SKAdNetwork out of the box. It mitigates the challenges publishers and ad networks are facing with Apple’s expectation that they ingest, store, and syndicate SKAdNework postback data.
Publishers and ad networks can register under Kochava for Publishers (K4P) to get their own clear-labeled, adsmeasurement.com endpoint for SKAd postbacks. When registering with Apple for a SKAdNetwork ID, this endpoint is entered as the URL to send all postbacks to. For any conversions driven by the publisher, the postback data will be ingested and aggregated into a standardized and scalable reporting layer that publishers can access via reporting API. Further, the publisher can map the SKAd app IDs of advertisers to their corresponding MMP, thereby enabling any MMP to securely pull SKAdNetwork campaign data for their respective advertisers.
Again, use of Kochava as an MMP is not required. Unlike other solutions that proposed the use of re-directs and/or registration of multiple SKAdNetwork IDs for each publisher/ad network and MMP, Kochava for Publishers provides a simplified model that’s fully interoperable, and serves the best interests of both publishers and advertisers.
Identity Solutions – Know your audience. Know your value
A publisher is most effective when they truly know who their audience is. This empowers them to market themselves to advertisers who need their audience, and at the same time help those advertisers reach their users more effectively. While publishers may have the history of in-app activity on their own properties (apps and websites), ad activity and conversion history from prior campaigns, and installs and in-app engagement insights from the apps of advertisers they have worked with, it’s important to have more holistic insights beyond these data categories.
Audience enrichment from the Kochava Collective empowers publishers to overlay their first-party data with premium third-party data, including demographics, interest and behavior, app activity, device and carrier, points of interest visitation, household-level insights, and more. Building out stronger user profiles will grow overall revenue by:
- Raising the bidding floor on programmatic buys
- Improving interest-based targeting on advertiser campaigns
- Leading to better campaign performance, resulting in higher ad spend
Beyond enriching their understanding of their users, publishers can also benefit from audience extension. The Kochava Collective’s household and primary IP identity graph enables the discovery of other householded devices tied to existing users—leveraging over 575 million devices mapped to households.
Further, publishers can also leverage linkages between mobile ad IDs (MAIDs) and billions of hashed emails and first-party cookies. Effective identity resolution ensures publishers can address and reach their audience in a relevant and meaningful capacity.
Meeting challenges with opportunities
As an industry, it’s safe to say we’re all hoping 2021 will be more kind to us than 2020. Perhaps tectonic shifts will take a vacation for 12 months and let the industry catch up. Here at Kochava, we’re excited to serve our existing clients (and new ones) in a new capacity—staring challenges in the face and pursuing new opportunities.
If you haven’t settled on your game plan going into 2021, contact us and let’s talk. Communication and the exchange of ideas is a key ingredient to the future of our industry.
Jason Hicks, EVP of Growth, Kochava