Let’s face it…. Mobile is the new “wild, wild, west” of the Internet. Traffic continues to explode daily around the globe leveraging the number of unique opportunities for performance marketers. In our office we still talk about how mobile is still a “baby” as many are just learning how to monetize their back-ends and make it work on a performance basis. I’ve said many times inside that I haven’t seen an opportunity this large since the late nineties. Where a lot of people new to mobile traffic go wrong when they’re looking to start a campaign is they’re still thinking it’s the same as desktop advertising.
There are many similarities between mobile and desktop but there are also a lot of differences. Nine out of ten new affiliates will simply go to a mobile traffic source, deposit funds, and begin creating campaigns. Without first talking to a representative at the source, they’ll begin launching campaigns in countries that they’re “hoping” will garner volume, and bid around the recommended amount. This works in most cases with desktop advertising because the traffic doesn’t vary that much from source-to-source. With mobile however geographic targeting is only one piece of the pie. You have to consider smartphone vs. feature phone penetration, Android OS vs. iOS, etc. Without knowing this information first – you’re setting your campaign up for failure from the very beginning.
When I get ready to launch a mobile campaign I first conduct what I call a “country report.” I take into consideration the country the offer accepts traffic from and then first determine the number of subscribers via carrier. You can find some of this data on Wikipedia. While it’s not going to be 100% accurate it will give you a much better idea then going in blind. Once you review all of these metrics you then need to look at the device penetration. For example, in Kenya it’s mainly dominated by feature phones. There are a variety of places you can find this information but one I find particularly helpful is Stat Counter.
When you have this information you can THEN approach the traffic source and ask them about their traffic in the particular country. What I like to do is request a breakdown of their daily impressions by country and then I ask what a competitive bid and CTR is. If the country I’m wanting to run in has a very low impression count comparable to other countries it’s possible they’re not strong in that particular region. For example, if the traffic source has 200 million daily impressions in the United States and only 10 million in Mexico you can quickly identify where they make the bulk of their revenue (meaning the available amount of traffic they have for your distribution). If the offer you’re going to run only accepted traffic for the Iusacell and Movistar operators then you also have to take that into consideration. After some quick research we can determine that Telcel owns 70% of the market in Mexico. So if the traffic source only has 10 million daily impressions in Mexico (comparing to the 200 million in the US) then what is the chance of them having a lot of Iusacell/Movistar volume? Most-of-the-time it’s slim to none.
Far to often I talk to our loyal publishers to learn they’ve already funded their traffic source account with $1,000 and are ready to run a particular offer but they’ve failed to do the proper research. Hence when the begin the campaign they quickly become frustrated that they have to bid really high, to get a low amount of volume. When I let them know that source probably isn’t going to work for that offer the next question I get is: where do you recommend I buy traffic? That’s another question that is almost impossible to answer. I can recommend sources until I’m blue in the face but until the proper research is conducted you’re swimming blind folded in a big ocean.
Before you start your next mobile campaign, first do you research on the country, examine the offer to see how it converts and what type of devices it accepts. Then go to your proposed traffic source and have them answer your questions related to how much traffic they have and the type of devices they have reach on. This will ease your frustration and make your mobile media buying career much more successful.
Ryan Gray is the founder and CEO of NameHero, one of the fastest growing independent web hosts in the United States. Ryan has been working online since 1998 and has over two-decades experience in Internet Entrepreneurship.