Advertisers Demand Transparency & Accountability for In-Mobile Ad Spend: Q&A with Catherine Mylinh, Vungle

Return on ad spend is always a top priority for any advertiser; and, as in-mobile advertising grows, performance metrics for the mobile vertical are just as important. ExchangeWire speak with Catherine Mylinh (pictured below), VP of marketing, Vungle, about how in-app video formats are reaching the right audiences to deliver ad experiences that achieve the marketer’s KPIs.

ExchangeWire: What do you find are the main driving factors to attribute your year-on-year revenue growth at Vungle?

Catherine Mylinh: In a world where more and more marketing data is becoming available for all verticals, hard results need to speak for themselves. We embraced performance marketing from the start because we believe in transparency, discipline, and KPIs that go well beyond a view.

These core values have resulted in our growth as a company. If you’re able to quantifiably show advertisers the ROI of every dollar spent on the platform, it’s easy for advertisers to increase spend with us month after month and use Vungle as a growth engine.

For example, if you spend $5 to acquire a consumer through the Vungle platform, and that consumer will spend $30 on in-app purchases with your brand over a certain period of time, that’s ROI-positive. However, if you spend $5 to acquire a consumer on another platform, and that consumer fails to engage or spend with your brand, that’s a loss. Naturally, you will turn off the under-performing channel, and funnel that spend to channels and platforms that can show you the ROI of your marketing budgets.

What are the biggest challenges performance marketers face in mobile advertising and how do you address those challenges?

Transparency into how and where ad dollars are being spent continues to be a challenge. It’s a complex and fragmented mobile advertising ecosystem. There are hundreds of vendors in this space, offering solutions that cover attribution, in-app engagement optimisation, A/B testing, mediation, retargeting – you name it.

Advertisers have to wade through all these providers to stitch together solutions that can analyse a mobile consumer’s journey with their brand, from first touchpoint, to first install, to first sale within the advertiser’s mobile app. It’s not a fluid way to analyse a consumer’s spend potential and lifetime value, unless you understand how the solutions work together.

Vungle is integrated with leading mobile partners to provide that transparency. We help our advertisers track their spend back to new consumers they reach and acquire. We also work with major advertisers on analysing their post-install data so they can see the return on ad spend over a period of time. Has that consumer made an in-app purchase, redeemed a coupon, booked a ride in x days, etc.? This model allows us to deliver on the business metrics that drive profits for our advertisers, as well as provide full transparency and accountability on the budgets they allocate.

As performance marketing is becoming more important to both advertisers and publishers, what are the most tracked KPIs and how have they changed over time?

It depends on the business, as ROI and KPIs mean different things to different businesses, especially when you’re measuring on a device that’s as personal as a mobile phone.

A great example is the work we did with Ibotta, on the advertiser side. Within three months of working with Vungle, Ibotta reduced their cost of acquiring new paying consumers by up to 50%. They also doubled the number of new consumers that made purchases within the first 30 days of installing the Ibotta app.

For publishers, it’s easy: the better an ad does, the more revenue they earn. It behooves everyone to develop the targeting and measurement tools to optimise conversions and downstream metrics.

How does the way consumers spend their time in mobile contribute to the development of new in-app video templates within your SDK?

We know that mobile is the most effective way to reach consumers today. Key buying demographics are most reachable on mobile, e.g., 18-34 year olds are twice as likely to give their undivided attention to mobile compared to TV, and half of all people choose mobile as the primary way they consume content.

Catherine Mylinh, VP of Marketing, Vungle

Our Dynamic Templates enable both advertisers and publishers to provide these captive audiences with more unique and tailored ad experiences, while also combating ad fatigue. Dynamic Templates take a data-driven approach to the way we develop, release, and test new in-app video ad templates, which publishers can access immediately without SDK updates.

When we add new ad units and formats, we analyse various data: internal user behavior, ad performance metrics, external consumer advertising, and psychology trends. Ad units need to be highly contextualised to accommodate different scenarios. It’s a process that requires Vungle’s Creative Labs and data science teams to apply years of learnings on what drives action.

What are the benefits for both advertisers and publishers using Vungle’s platform over your competitors?

We pride ourselves on the user experience from both the advertiser’s and publisher’s perspectives. We've built a platform and technology that optimises advertiser creatives to ensure the ad itself is engaging and high-performing, and then measures conversions, consumer engagement, and spend over time. This results in better value for our advertisers. At the same time, we're building new ad formats to enhance the ad experience for our publishers who open their inventory to our video ads, resulting in higher eCPMs and more ad revenue for their businesses.

Where do you see the highest areas of growth and value for advertisers using Vungle?

The costs to acquire new, valuable mobile consumers is skyrocketing. Mobile advertisers demand ROI, and they’re getting disciplined. They want to see long-term return on ad spend. If they don’t see ROI, they’ll cut their spend – and they should. Any marketer knows you should kill your low-performing channels and funnel that spend to channels and campaigns that generate more quality leads.

That’s why we’re obsessed with delivering the most valuable mobile audiences. Video is proven, when done right, to convert more high-value consumers. We work with advertisers to determine what a valuable consumer means to them. Then we leverage the platform to identify those segments and help our advertisers track the value of those audiences over time. We’re able to ensure every dollar the advertiser spends results in positive ROI. It makes spending on our performance marketing platform quantifiable and defensible. Moreover, it positions Vungle as a growth engine to help companies reach, acquire, and retain their target audiences and grow their businesses sustainably.