Ad creative can be a bigger driver of performance for app advertisers than audience-based targeting or segmentation.
“We can make a huge difference, depending on the creative, in almost any game regardless of the target,” said Rick Grunewald, a digital marketing analyst at PerBlue, a Wisconsin-based mobile game studio with a license to develop games using Disney IP. Its flagship title is Disney Heroes: Battle Mode.
Over the past year, PerBlue has made a concerted effort to educate its creative team on the ins and outs of user acquisition and vice versa, and to open up lines of communication and data sharing between these historically separate groups.
To help spur this process along, PerBlue started working with Bidalgo, a UA and ad automation platform for app marketers that’s integrated with Facebook’s Audience Network, Google’s App Campaigns, Pinterest and, most recently, TikTok.
On Tuesday, Bidalgo released its creative center, a suite of tools that aggregates data across channels and applies it to ad creative so that advertisers can track the performance of creative concepts. The creative center also includes measurement and attribution capabilities, creative analytics, testing and creative production.
The analytics feature gives advertisers a predictive score on how well new creative will likely perform before it’s sent out into the wild, and to detect creative fatigue among specific audiences or placements. The creative center also serves pop-up recommendations to alert teams to which creatives are performing well and deserve a bigger push.
The predictive scoring function is particularly handy as a gut check, Grunewald said.
“We have our own internal metrics with different benchmarks and KPIs that we look at, but we’ve started to rely on the creative center rank to validate what we’re seeing on our end,” he said. “It’s a great guide, and if I see that I’m starting to lose some efficiency or our metrics are going down for a specific creative, we can immediately switch that out.”
On the flip side, the creative team can be confident that it’s milking high-performing creative for all it’s worth without the risk of swapping it out prematurely.
For a recent campaign, PerBlue saw a 78% lift in the click-through rate on its creative and a 17% uptick in conversion rate attributable to changes made based on recommendations from Bidalgo.
Creative optimization is becoming a more meaningful performance tool as the big platforms, primarily Google and Facebook, introduce increased automation into their app marketing tools.
“The more they invest in and build their black boxes, the less control there is for advertisers,” said Peli Beeri, Bidalgo’s CEO. “Creative has always been important, but now it’s turning into the No. 1 way advertisers have to control their media.”
With the pending changes to Apple’s app ecosystem, creative is also primed to become one of the main ways advertisers will be able to target campaigns, Grunewald said.
For example, rather than the look-alike audiences on which PerBlue relies heavily today, targeting in the future might be based on how desirable audiences react to certain creative elements rather than based on user attributes.
The same goes for campaign measurement, Beeri said.
“As user-level targeting dies, we’ll become more reliant on campaign-level signals,” he said. “Eventually, the most granular you’ll be able to get is to see how certain creative messaging is working with a certain audience.”