I mean, seriously, who uses some of these things? Randomly hunting for cool apps is crazy. You could sink a weekend into that activity. Searching on and narrowing down a specific type of app -- say, healthy eating -- to the one best fitting your needs isn't much easier with the sheer volume available.
Getting creative efforts out of a long "try me/buy me" scroll down and on to a user's home screen challenges the biggest and the littlest mobile app developers. Naturally, app developers are doing what they can to get their goods noticed. As Brian Gilbert, director of monetization at Pinger, told me in a recent interview: "There's a lot of money going to promote the discovery of mobile apps." More specifically, "There are a lot of dollars in the ad ecosystem being spent on app discovery and promotion."
Gilbert knows what he's talking about; Pinger is part of that ad ecosystem. For the last four years, it has been serving up mobile ads to users of its free device-independent and carrier-independent text-and-talk network. Users view ads in exchange for that $0 bill and independence. (See: Pinger Taps Into Mobile Ad Optimization.)
But developers aren't pouring money into the mobile app ecosystem with abandon, Gilbert said. Whether developing a standalone mobile app, a social game, or an app aimed at amplifying a brand experience, developers want to know the payoff. How much are they spending for how many installs? "That's a fairly important aspect to be able to capture from a mobile perspective."
Pinger, which uses an ad-serving optimization platform from SAS (this site's sponsor), is deep in the midst of this rising need for mobile ad insight. In our interview, Gilbert shared a variety of other examples of the types of information mobile players want out of the ad ecosystem.
For example, many mobile advertisers want to know how socially engaged users are. That means Pinger has to deliver metrics on how many people went to Facebook or Twitter, for example, after being exposed to an ad. Equally important is the ability to deliver ads based on user location and time.
You can't just deliver an ad at a country level anymore; you have to target it to the nearest Starbucks. You might not want to advertise in the middle of the night but within the next three to four hours. The ability to do advanced targeting is something everybody is looking to leverage.
And given the here-and-now nature of many mobile campaigns, Pinger has to be able to deliver much of this data in real-time -- or pretty darn close to it.
Some of the ancillary, post-click engagement activity ends up with a 24-hour delay if it involves getting metrics from third parties back in through the data piping. But campaign targeting -- like click-throughs in last hour -- gets tracked in real-time, so advertisers can take action in real-time. They can change and adjust the settings, throttle, and target on the fly.
Gilbert credits the ad-serving optimization platform with allowing Pinger to keep up with advertiser demands. "There has to be a lot of communication between what we're seeing and hearing from our ad partners and the tools we're leveraging," he said. "It's a good thing the platform we're working with is fairly nimble."
Hopefully, that nimbleness will help Pinger tick off its next wish-list items quickly. A primary one is the ability to identify users as they cross the desktop and mobile environments. "The cross-platform user ID and targeting is an interesting challenge," he said. "It's a prime time for SAS to be exploring this and tackling it for the marketplace."
Do any of your mobile devices act as ad-serving platforms? If so -- or even not -- what sorts of data might advertisers glean from your mobile activity? Share below.