CTV, Industry News & Events

AppLovin’s Favorite MAU 2023 Moments, Part I

Doug Borghese
Jun 9, 2023

Another incredible MAU (Mobile Apps Unlocked) — one of the app industry’s most significant live events — just wrapped at the MGM Grand Conference Center on the Las Vegas strip. So many major players were in attendance this year, from Adjust and Appsflyer — who each helped co-host the event — to Google, Lyft, TikTok, DraftKings, and more. Attendees and panelists were also abuzz with conversation around some scorching topics in the app marketing space.

AppLovin was there for all of the action, attending so many incredible panels and chats and hosting such fun networking events as MAU Vegas 2023 popped off that we’re going to have to make this a 2-parter! 

Here is the first group of our favorite moments from this year’s MAU, with more than a few insightful moments about what to look out for in app marketing through 2023 and beyond.

*The panel highlights in this blog covering individuals or organizations outside of AppLovin are for informational purposes only. They do not represent the views, business goals, or strategies of AppLovin.

1. CTV: Unplugged – an unforgettable AppLovin networking party

As the first official day of MAU Vegas 2023 kicked off, AppLovin hosted a fantastic afternoon event themed around the hottest new incremental marketing channel in town: CTV.

It was an occasion where the luminaries of the mobile app advertising world gathered together to unwind, relax before the hustle and bustle of the conference began, and connect. This exclusive and fun event, fittingly called “CTV: Unplugged,” was hosted by AppLovin in collaboration with Adjust and M&C Saatchi Performance.

CTV: Unplugged at MAU 2023 was a brilliant spectacle of networking and knowledge sharing in a beautiful mid-century-modern space that elevated the atmosphere.

From the moment attendees stepped into the retro-modern MGM SkyLoft, they found themselves immersed in a CTV-centric ambiance, underscored by conversations that were as casual as they were insightful. AppLovin and co-hosts made sure the event was as palatable as it was informative: Attendees savored a delightful array of food and drinks while engaging in stimulating discussions about the future of CTV. The cherry on top? An exclusive VIP swag item that participants could take home, a memento of the extraordinary experience that was CTV: Unplugged.

2. Adjust discusses modern growth marketing

Adjust’s Chief Product Officer, Katie Madding, hosted an insightful discussion with Jam City’s Winnie Wen, VP of User Acquisition, about modern growth marketing strategies and measurement excellence for your app business.

Here were some of the key takeaways from the panel:

Encouragement to continually test

As the mobile app industry’s needs grow more intricate, only some measurement solutions will instantly work for your business. Madding stressed the importance of fine-tuning solutions to your needs and continuously testing, collecting, and analyzing data to maximize your app’s potential.

Building Success in Current Reality

In light of ongoing data privacy changes, Madding and Wen provided several recommendations for marketers to thrive in the current landscape:

  • Explore new channels like connected TV (CTV), influencer marketing, and partnerships.
  • Embrace and start testing with SKAdNetwork (SKAN) 4 rather than waiting for others to establish best practices. Adjust already has a SKAN-4-ready SDK for marketers to gather more data from their iOS user base.
  • Understand the actual cost of data and partnerships. Madding cited how Adjust helped a client, Random Logic Games, reduce operational measurement costs by 40% by replacing their internally built business intelligence tools.

Adoption of Next-Generation Measurement Solutions

Madding encouraged marketers to collaborate with forward-thinking measurement partners who can adapt to new frameworks like Apple’s SKAN and Google’s impending Privacy Sandbox on Android. For example, Adjust continues to evolve and lead — particularly in iOS solutions — and is an early tester of Privacy Sandbox on Android.

Adjust also hosted the popular Mobile Splash party to kick off MAU in true Vegas style, offering expansive views of the Las Vegas Strip, delicious drinks, and bites to celebrate the event. More on that later!

For now, read more about Adjust’s excellent panel here.

3. AppLovin and SmartNews chat about navigating CTV as a promising incremental marketing channel

In a lively and insightful conversation, Andrew Kim (Manager of UA, SmartNews) and Andrey Kazakov (VP of Demand, AppLovin) navigated the intricacies of CTV advertising during their shared panel, “Channeling Success: Navigating the CTV Marketing Landscape.” They provided valuable insight into how businesses can harness this growing marketing channel for maximum benefit. 

Throughout the discussion, they elaborated on crucial strategies to capitalize on CTV’s unique advantages, challenges in tracking performance, and ways to bridge these gaps effectively, such as:

  • Multi-channel attribution: Andrew emphasized that the appeal of CTV lies in its ability to target a broad range of demographics, making it a versatile tool in a marketer’s arsenal. He said, “For most, at least advertisers that we work with, from the MMP perspective, you see direct attribution, you can see touch points, when it’s available, depending on MMP setup, and how performance changes across all the channels with and without CTV. I would say like those three things that are out there to make those decisions.”
  • Optimization opportunities: CTV advertising allows marketers to flex their creativity and optimize for different targets, especially from the source level. Andrey noted that, unlike traditional TV buys, CTV advertising allows for CPI purchasing and tighter reins on cost, providing marketers with more flexibility and control. He said, “With CTV buys, you can achieve great impact at the source level. And we do optimizations out there for sure. I think it’s important to bring the new medium into an environment that is natural for the user acquisition professional; for instance, you still work with your MMP. If it’s AppLovin or AppDiscovery, we tried to make that experience as seamless and efficient as possible. And I think that performance advertising is going to expand the CTV landscape in general.”
  • Scale and Reach: Both speakers highlighted the enormous reach of CTV. It allows businesses to expand their consumer-facing reach, regardless of their business model, making it an invaluable asset in today’s digital age.

Overall, the engaging exchange paints a promising picture for CTV advertising. It underlines that while this marketing landscape may evolve, marketers equipped with the right tools, constant data evaluation, and effective communication can navigate it successfully, reaping substantial benefits for their businesses.

4. Eric Seufert describes the “Marketing Economist”

In his presentation, Eric Seufert, a well-known strategic consultant and author in the mobile app ecosystem and creator of the popular site Mobile Dev Memo, spoke about: 

  • The changing landscape of mobile performance marketing 
  • The idea of “flying blind” when it comes to measurement, attribution, and performance tracking (a trend that appears in multiple forms during MAU 2023)
  • A novel concept he’s been developing: the Marketing Economist

Throughout the conversation, Seufert emphasizes the challenges of mobile attribution, particularly in the wake of Apple’s changes around IDFA (Identifier for Advertisers). He mentions that the change, which enabled users to opt out of personalized ad tracking, has caused advertisers to lose their precise, deterministic inputs for measuring ad performance, effectively making them “fly blind.”

Join Eric’s engaged and informative Mobile Dev Memo Slack team!

However, he goes on to suggest that flying blind isn’t necessarily a bad thing if marketers can change their perspective. Seufert highlights that the inability to track users individually may seem daunting, but it doesn’t necessarily spell the end of performance marketing. Instead, he urges marketers to adapt to uncertainty, stating that this new environment opens up broader possibilities that can lead to better overall strategies.

Here is where the notion of the “Marketing Economist” comes in. In contrast to traditional performance marketers who rely on precise data and deterministic models, the Marketing Economist uses econometric models and leverages uncertainty as a strength. By doing so, they are not confined to narrow channels or measurement approaches. Instead, they have access to a much more comprehensive range of data sources, including market, product, and macroeconomic data, to help shape their understanding of the world and their marketing strategies.

Seufert stresses that implementing such an approach requires behavioral changes across the organization, including shifting conversion measurement and attribution towards probabilistic methods and adjusting the media-buying workflow to accommodate probabilistic measurement. Moreover, it requires a greater understanding and acceptance of probabilistic reporting within the organization, which may be challenging, mainly when dealing with finance teams accustomed to deterministic inputs.

Stay tuned for more MAU moments!

You can bet AppLovin will return to MAU next year, where we’ll all be seeing just how much the app industry has evolved since this incredible and insightful session. Until then, we encourage you to explore more about AppLovin, its solutions driving monetization and user acquisition for your app business, and the informative content you will find everywhere on our site.

Read Part II of this series here

Learn more about AppLovin today

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