Developers

Part I: AppDiscovery Strategies for Scaling Ad ROAS Campaigns

by P. Bryan Edge-Salois on Oct 7, 2021

Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) is a relatively easy concept to understand but an elusive formula to dial in. As user behavior and our understanding of it continues evolving, optimizing a user acquisition campaign, managing it, and maintaining sustainable growth is tricky. It requires diligent analysis, testing, and iterating.  

In this article, we’ll describe how MAX users can use a specific type of ROAS campaign in AppDiscovery called Ad ROAS. An Ad ROAS campaign can help you tackle ROAS challenges using machine learning to automate and optimize a campaign and acquire new users with high LTV for any mobile app. 

MAX and AppDiscovery work together to make data-driven decisions, enabling developers to grow revenue using the most competitive auctions, increase ARPDAU, and then re-invest that into user acquisition (UA) campaigns. In other words, MAX fuels growth for your UA with the incremental revenue it drives through in-app bidding. This, in turn, allows you to set more aggressive goals and ROAS targets to help you scale your user base with automation.

It’s about targeting quality users 

AppDiscovery Ad ROAS campaigns are about acquiring higher quality users at the right price. It  optimizes bids based on the perceived value of the user based on your target KPIs. In addition, AppDiscovery automates the process, which means it scales better over time and requires less overall work and manual overhead. 

Typical CPI (Cost Per Install) campaigns bid at a fixed rate for users in a pool regardless of the value of the user. In other words, the bid is the same for every user in that pool, without any data to help determine the quality of the user, which means you’re more likely to overpay for lower-value users and miss out on high quality ones.

Ad ROAS begins with MAI

So why not just jump right into an Ad ROAS campaign? Because it requires prior data to learn and optimize towards your goals. You need to start an MAI (Mobile App Install) campaign. Think of this as the “training wheels” for the ROAS campaign. 

After the MAI phase, AppDiscovery goes through a calibration phase to make more accurate offers, setting the stage for machine learning to automate the process as you shift to ROAS bidder to achieve your goals.  

Starting and optimizing your Ad ROAS campaign

AppDiscovery ROAS campaign setup is relatively quick to establish and run, and it can begin optimizing results after just 24 hours.

Not sure what to bid? Start high—or at least with the highest bid you’re comfortable with—for the best chance at success. As the campaign ramps up and performance data matures, partners can adjust the target to continue growing and reach new heights and profitability without the hassles of making a lot of manual adjustments to their user acquisition campaigns.

Fine tune those creatives

While automated AppDiscovery ROAS campaigns work their magic through our machine learning based growth engine, don’t forget to create and fine tune your creatives. Here are some proven tips to help produce better creatives:

  • Use as many formats as possible. Video and playable ads are highly recommended, and they generally yield the best results for campaigns. Add videos in both orientations (portrait/landscape) for all campaigns. Talk to your account manager if you need help. 
  • Don’t use letterbox videos. Use full landscape/portrait videos so you don’t have to worry about screen sizes or display guidelines across different platforms and services.

AppDiscovery has inventory from many different ad types, so try to get as many formats live as possible.

  • Upload all ad types and creatives under a single campaign. Our system will automatically optimize delivery toward your best-performing ads.
  • Use translated ads. If you’re targeting non-English speaking countries for the best possible conversion rates. Localized ads are critical for the Japanese, Korean, and Chinese markets.
  • Have at least 2-3 ad concepts and refresh ads every 2-3 weeks. 

Reiterate, test, and repeat

As you transition to automated in-app bidding, AppDiscovery makes it easy to monitor campaign stats in real-time, evaluate ROAS, and zero in on specific metrics so you can efficiently manage, iterate, and improve overall campaign performance and maintain long-term, sustainable growth. 

Learn more about monetization with AppLovin MAX and user acquisition with AppLovin AppDiscovery

You can also read how SayGames increased portfolio installs by more than 25% through Ad ROAS.

Bryan Edge-Salois is Technical Content Manager for AppLovin.