Blog Article

How to pick a mobile DSP - 6 considerations for gaming apps

, Moloco

October 21, 2020

Mobile game marketers need a demand-side platform that prioritizes high-value users. Here’s what you should look for.

The real-time bidding ecosystem is complex, and issues like quality, transparency, volatility, and fraud remain prevalent as a result. For UA managers new to the programmatic space, choosing a mobile demand-side platform is a daunting task. After narrowing the list to reputable partners, it can still be challenging to decide which DSP is the best fit.

Gaming app advertisers should look for partners with proven success reaching quality gamers using data processing and machine learning capabilities. But what does that look like in practical terms? Keep an eye out for DSPs that emphasize the following traits:


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Can your DSP target your audience?

Can your DSP zero in on LAT traffic?

Does your DSP support objective-based pricing models?

Does your DSP have a broad reach?

Does your DSP support all advertising formats?

Does your DSP have an anti-fraud solution?

Is your DSP transparent about campaign performance?

Can your DSP target your audience?

Mobile advertising is powerful because it can be personalized to reach users where they are — not just physically, but also in terms of individual behavior and interests. A DSP achieves this precision by segmenting users into specific groups, finding correlations with machine learning platforms, and targeting users with the most relevant advertisements.

When choosing a DSP, it’s essential to review the data points used to target users. Some common examples include:

  • Demographic: Segments based on age, gender, and other core demographic factors.
  • Contextual: Uses characteristics of host media to determine ad relevance. For example, users playing a hyper-casual game might receive other hyper-casual ads.
  • Device attributes: Includes a wide range of segments like device hardware, operating system, or even mobile carrier.

Can your DSP zero in on LAT traffic?

As user privacy continues to become a very real factor in the day-to-day operations of the mobile landscape, marketers need to segment, analyze, and budget their resources for LAT traffic appropriately. Blending LAT traffic in with targeted only serves to dilute the results and prevent marketers from making decisions based on sound, data-driven feedback. Before committing to a DSP, be sure that discrete LAT traffic targeting is possible at the campaign level.

How to Pick a Mobile DSP 1


Does your DSP support objective-based pricing models?

One key consideration for marketers is DSP pricing models. Each mobile advertising campaign will have its own goal, whether it’s driving installations or in-app storefront purchases. When choosing a DSP, make sure it supports pricing models that align with your objectives so you’re paying an optimal rate. Some of the most common pricing models include:

  • CPI: Cost per install campaigns that drive new app users.
  • CPM: Cost per mille (thousand) campaigns that drive new app users at scale.
  • dCPM: Dynamic cost per mille (thousand) campaigns are the same as CPM, though the cost of impressions changes in real-time depending on individual impression costs.
  • CPC: Cost per click campaigns drive user interest.
  • CPA: Cost per action campaigns drive post-install activity, such as IAPs.
  • CPV: Cost per view campaigns emphasize video views at a specific completion rate.

At Moloco, we work with our advertising partners on a dCPM or CPI basis for user acquisition campaigns, and a CPC basis for re-engagement. Moloco Cloud’s self-serve features also support campaign pricing on a dCPM basis. This is to ensure that our systems are flexible enough to identify, test, and dynamically invest in the most effective pockets of inventory for the unique needs of every campaign.

Does your DSP have a broad reach?

While it’s not the only factor to consider, reach helps ensure the highest number of users will be able to see your ads. It is typically measured in terms of overall impressions, which maximizes the level of exposure your ad will receive.

Another way to look at reach is in terms of its global scope. Today, people around the world carry smartphones with them, creating new opportunities for building international audiences. If your campaign focuses on a specific region, you’ll need to ensure that your DSP can deliver!

Does your DSP support all advertising formats?

Audiences do not engage with all ad formats equally. Your strategy players might enjoy a video of in-game footage, while hyper-casual fans prefer playable ads. To ensure that you will reach users with all creative formats, you need to be absolutely sure your DSP supports the format. A diverse inventory will give you more opportunities for A/B testing ads while engaging with a broader audience. Be on the lookout for formats like:

  • Full-screen interstitial images: The simple image advertisement can still be useful, but you should optimize it for in-app ecosystems. Interstitial will cover the full screen to present the relevant information and focus the user’s attention.
  • Native ads: Users are more likely to engage with ads that won’t disrupt the app experience. Native ads accomplish this by matching the form and function of the host app, blending into the surrounding user interface.
  • Video: A brief, well-constructed video ad can communicate many details about your app in a short timespan.
  • Playables: Mobile games feature gameplay, so why not the ads? Playable ads leverage the mobile touchscreen so users can experience a small slice of gameplay before offering to download the full app.

Does your DSP have an anti-fraud solution?

For better or worse, some degree of fraud is unavoidable when it comes to mobile advertising. It often posts the largest financial risk to your campaigns. Your DSP must be able to offer anti-fraud solutions that minimize that risk and ensure human beings are behind each ad impression. If a DSP candidate is transparent about their solution, all the better. If not, you should ask about their fraud practices and perhaps recommend anti-fraud incentives.

Using Moloco as an example, our anti-fraud engine rates app install quality while minimizing ad fraud. We accomplish this by:

  • Focusing on network-level fraud detection: Our anti-fraud score is based on the network level so you can quickly see where performance is highest or threatened.
  • Identifying fraud: We conduct automated fraud checks that look for traits like click injections, click spamming, bots, and SDK spoofing.
  • Conducting retention checks: We review every campaign for relative retention to organic installs to emphasize the quality and performance of your results.
  • Human-layer campaign monitoring: Finally, nothing beats a rigorous manual review. Our dedicated team of account managers regularly check campaign performance for any signs of fraud that may have slipped past.

Is your DSP transparent about campaign performance?

Trust is perhaps the most critical factor driving programmatic advertising, which is why transparency gives you more confidence when choosing a DSP. This transparency occurs when a DSP reveals the entire bidding process from top to bottom. Marketers should be able to view successful bids and clearing prices, the impression path, and relevant data points that prioritized users in the bidding process.

Each of these points are crucial because ad campaigns thrive or collapse on optimization. App marketers need a complete picture of ad performance so they can improve and iterate for future campaigns. With reporting tools that highlight the entire process, it’s far easier to see what a campaign needs and what works as intended. That’s why we offer all of our advertisers full transparency into impression level log data, so they can unearth their own insights and develop app-specific strategies to help fuel growth.

Choosing a DSP can be challenging, especially if you’re getting familiar with the programmatic ad space. That’s why Moloco makes every effort to support marketers while maximizing performance. With our platform, you’ll find a fully programmatic and transparent solution that supports all creative formats while reaching the highest quality users. What’s more, we offer advanced features like dynamic segmentation, retargeting, and comprehensive fraud detection at the network level. For more information on our services, contact our team today!

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