Mobile Marketing Acronyms — What You Need to Know
Every industry has its share of jargon and abbreviations that are so casually used in articles, presentations, and more that you begin to wonder what you missed, because you simply have no idea what they mean. Mobile marketing is no exception and has its own mind-boggling alphabet soup of abbreviated references.
As such, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most commonly used abbreviations for mobile marketing.
(Many of these are also called KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators, and we include basic formulas for them where applicable.)
Like ROAS (Return on Ad Spend), but geared toward revenue derived from CPMs (see below).
ARPDAU –– Average Revenue Per Daily Active User
ARPDAU is a KPI (Key Performance Indicator) that measures how well your monetization strategies are working on a daily basis. It tells you how much revenue your active users generate for your app on a daily basis.
ARPDAU calculates revenue from multiple sources, including in-app purchases (IAPs), ads, and subscriptions. It helps you understand your app’s daily performance and monitor the impact of promotions and events.
ARPDAU formula = Revenue earned from your game in a given 24hr period / the number of active users that day.
ARPPU –– Average Revenue Per Paying User
ARPPU is a measurement used to determine the average of how much revenue is generated by paying users over a specific time period.
ARPPU formula = Total revenue generated in time period X / Total number of paying users in time period X.
(Note that looking at ARPPU as a daily value vs. a monthly value gives different results. This is because monthly ARPPU for a single user who makes multiple purchases throughout a month might not be included in the ARPPU for a single day.)
ASO — App Store Optimization
ASO is the process of making sure your app’s presence on any app store is optimized to attract and engage app store users. This is done in a number of ways:
- Striking visuals
- Interesting, keyword-dense descriptions
- Appropriate tags
ATT –– App Tracking Transparency
The (ATT) framework is Apple’s opt-in mechanism introduced with iOS 14.5 for IDFA (ID for Advertisers). This framework requires apps to ask for a user’s consent before sharing tracking or advertising related data with third parties, so IDFA is unavailable unless a user actively opts in.
CAC –– Customer Acquisition Cost
CAC is used to understand how much it costs to acquire a customer. It is the total cost of sales and marketing to gain a new customer over a specified time. Understanding CAC helps businesses make budgeting decisions for attracting new customers.
CPA –– Cost Per Action
CPA is an advertisement measurement and pricing model, primarily used in mobile user acquisition campaigns and other performance marketing. For these campaigns, advertisers measure a specific action performed within their app –– for example, when someone registers for a newsletter, reaches a new level in a game, etc. –– and only pay for users who engage in that action.
As a pricing model, CPA is important as advertisers can set a target price to acquire new users or take other actions profitably and then build and optimize their UA campaigns towards this.
CPA formula = advertising costs / actions
CPE — Cost Per Engagement
CPE is often used on social platforms as a measurement of a specific action a user took – like engaging, reposting, or interacting with an ad.
CPI –– Cost Per Install
CPI is the amount app advertisers pay every time a user installs their app from their served advertisement. CPI is important because it allows you to create targeted campaigns and only pay when your app is installed.
CPI formula = Ad spend for a time period / number of new installs in same time period.
Cost per install or CPI has many different dependencies, which can include geographic locations, device preferences (iOS or Android, for example), etc.
CPM & eCPM –– Cost Per Mille / Effective Cost Per Mille
CPM is the most commonly used online advertising payment model. It charges the buyer per mille (1000) impressions delivered within the publisher’s mobile app.
eCPM is a closely related metric that calculates how much revenue a publisher earns per 1000 impressions.
CPM is an important KPI for both game developers and advertisers because it provides a monetary value for ad inventory. This allows developers to identify how much revenue they’ll earn per 1000 impressions, and advertisers to determine what they will pay per 1000 impressions.
eCPM allows developers to identify whether the ads served within their app are effective and are generating installs, or at the very least, gives them the ability to estimate the perceived value of their inventory.
CPM formula = Cost / impressions *1000
eCPM formula = Total ad revenue / total ad impressions *1000
CPV — Cost Per View
Often used for video, refers to the cost of a user watching an ad.
CTA — Click-Through Attribution OR Call-to-Action
Click Through Attribution is a KPI based on a conversion that happens when a user clicks on an ad.
A call-to-action is a compelling short phrase — usually hyperlinked to a conversion point like a download — to compel user action, i.e. “Download now”, “Play Today.”
CTR — Click-Through Rate
The ratio of clicks on an ad to impressions of an ad.
CTV — Connected Television
A TV that streams entertainment via apps, like Smart TVs. Also a burgeoning way to advertise to users.
D0 / D7 / D30 — Day 0 , Day 7, Day 30
ROAS as determined by the time from install. This helps advertisers benchmark the efficacy of their campaigns within a certain time window.
DAU –– Daily Active Users
DAU is the number of unique users that log in and start a session in an app in a 24-hour period. This includes new users who just downloaded the app and existing users who logged in.
DAU determines how many people use an app in a day and it is used to calculate retention rate, LTV (Lifetime Value), and ARPDAU.
DSP –– Demand-Side Platform
A demand side platform (DSP) manages multiple ad exchanges where digital ad inventory can be bought and sold through a single interface. Unlike traditional ad networks, DSPs automate the mobile ad-buying process and often yield stronger results for advertisers. In the mobile marketing world, this inventory lives inside of apps and is a fixture in the world of programmatic ad buying.
DSPs use real time bidding (RTB) to buy ad space. App developers make their ad inventory available on ad exchanges through supply side platforms (SSPs).
Through the RTB process, DSPs set prices and bid on ad space as soon as it becomes available. In milliseconds, DSPs process requests for ad space, choose the best impression, bid on it, and then serve the ad in an app.
IDFA –– Identifier for Advertisers
IDFA is a unique ID assigned by Apple to a user’s device. IDFA enables advertisers to understand actions an iPhone user is taking, such as installing an app or clicking on an ad. In April 2021, Apple released iOS 14.5 and IDFA changed to user consent, meaning users need to opt-in through ATT.
IMPDAU –– Impressions Per Daily Active User
IMPDAU, is used to measure how effective a monetization strategy is in terms of daily impressions. It represents the average number of ads served to each of your active users on a given day. IMPDAU is often used to do things such as test new bidding app partners, analyze conversion rates and ARPDAU, and test new game features.
IMPDAU formula = Number of daily impressions / number of daily active users.
IAP –– In-App Purchases
An IAP occurs when an app user purchases an item in an app with real money. Common examples in mobile games include upgrades to speed up a task and cosmetic items for a character.
IPM –– Installs Per Mille
IPM is the number of times your app or game is installed per thousand ad impressions. IPM can be affected by many variables, including creatives, targeting strategy, supply source, and app store optimization. IPM can be a valuable tool for understanding how your user acquisition strategies are performing and whether or not they can scale for a specific app and at what price point.
IPM formula = Number of installs * 1000 / number of impressions
GAID –– Google Advertiser Identifier
GAID is a device identifier for advertisers that allows them to anonymously track user ad activity on Android devices while keeping user privacy secure. It’s Google’s equivalent to Apple’s IDFA.
LAT –– Limit Ad Tracking
Limit Ad Tracking, or LAT, has been around since 2016 with iOS 10. iOS users can enable LAT to prevent IDFA from sharing their data with advertisers. LAT is fundamentally the same as ATT in that it gives users the option to restrict the sharing of their IDFA with third parties.
In iOS 14.5 and later, ATT is replacing LAT and works differently. Instead of giving users the option to disable tracking (which is on by default), LAT gives users the ability to opt-in and enable tracking (which is off by default).
LTV –– Lifetime Value
Lifetime Value (LTV) is a prediction of the profit margin earned from an average user during the entire time they use the app. LTV data helps you estimate how much revenue users will generate over time, and identify how much you can spend on user acquisition while remaining profitable.
LTV formula = ARPDAU * Lifetime. BUT…
There are many ways to calculate LTV, and some are more complex than others and require more data. One relatively simple way to measure LTV is by using ARPDAU. If you have already calculated ARPDAU and it is relatively accurate, you need to calculate the average player’s lifetime, which means looking at your retention rate and incorporating that into your calculations.
MAU –– Monthly Active Users
MAU is a high-level metric KPI that measures how many unique users use your app in a month or 30-day timeframe. Users must be unique and no user will be counted more than once in a 30-day period, regardless of usage levels.
MMP –– Mobile Measurement Partner
An MMP is a partner that works with app and game developers to track campaign performance across multiple advertising channels. MMPs provide visibility for developers to optimize their campaigns and understand conversion data, maximize return on ad spend (ROAS), and provide sustainable growth.
ROAS –– Return on Ad Spend
ROAS is the amount of money a business earns back for each dollar spent on advertising. It is designed to measure how effective a business’ advertising efforts are. A higher ROAS is the goal.
ROAS formula = total conversion value / advertising costs.
RTB –– Real Time Bidding
RTB is a programmatic ad buying process where demand-side platforms (DSPs) on the advertiser side and supply-side platforms (SSPs) on the publisher side buy and sell ad inventory. In an RTB auction, DSPs bid in real-time on ad inventory supplied by SSPs.
The process happens in only a fraction of a second:
- SSPs go through an ad exchange to make ad space available on developers’ apps.
- SPs see these available impressions and bid on them based on the targeting criteria set by the advertisers.
- The impression goes to the advertiser with the highest bid, and their ad is served in the app.
SKAN — SKAdNetwork
SKAN is Apple’s way of determining attribution in mobile ad campaigns on iOS. SK stands for StoreKit, the framework developers use to interact with the app store and IAPs.
SSP –– Supply-Side Platform
SSPs are a platform for developers to manage their inventory to sell ad space. SSPs work similarly to demand-side platforms (DSPs), but on the developer (supply) side instead of the advertiser side. DSPs use real-time bidding (RTB) to find the best ad placements at the best prices based on anonymized data. In an RTB auction, SSPs are the auctioneer, and DSPs are the buyer.
SPO –– Supply Path Optimization
Supply Path Optimization, or SPO, is the process by which advertisers remove redundant intermediaries and streamline their access to supply. Agencies and advertisers closely monitor supply paths in order to:
- Reduce infrastructure costs
- Increase performance
- Maintain transparency for inventory quality
UA –– User Acquisition
UA describes the process of acquiring users for a mobile app through marketing efforts focused on generating installs. UA is usually carried out through mobile ad networks, which allows advertisers to advertise by serving in-app ads on apps from other companies, or by cross-promoting on their own apps and games.
VTA — View-Through Attribution
A KPI based on a conversion that happens when a user is shown an ad.
And there you have it. More than 20 commonly used abbreviations in the mobile marketing industry. If you’d like to learn more about these and other terms, check out the AppLovin Glossary for more, which we linked to several times throughout this page.