Category: Performance Marketing Blog

TikTok Ads - Targeting and Ad Formats Branding

How to promote your brand or app during the…

With the Coronavirus outbreak, big marketers are delaying campaigns, reviewing budgets, major spending decisions are delayed, and product or service launches are on hold. While they still need to think long-term and still need to build their brands, they also need to face significant changes in behavior among both consumers and business clients. In larger corporations, there is a certain budget allocated for event marketing, trade show sponsorships, traveling, conference attendance and so on. This budget must be redistributed now if business allows it – obviously many businesses are negatively impacted by the situation.

How to reallocate your budget during the crisis?

It’s a given fact that any kind of shorter-term performance marketing, sales promotions, outdoor communication, point of sales activations, attending and sponsoring large events would be a failure at this time when everyone is unsure of their future and locked at home.

Therefore, marketers might dedicate more budget and time to develop new or enhance their existing digital strategies. This means researching where your customers can be found online now, and how different approaches and tactics could impact your success. Starting from a website and social pages refresh, even to a more innovative approach. Content marketing can stay undisrupted, regardless of what the situation is outside these days, and communicating and staying engaged with the consumers has never been more important.

When one day the world is going back to normal, this part of the budget might return to live events and other outdoor activities, but if marketers realize the opportunity that they can indeed benefit from more innovative digital strategies, they might consider to include it into their long-term marketing plans which could potentially reshape the advertising landscape as we know it.

Stay engaged with your customers!

It is more important than ever for brands to communicate values and social responsibility. And this should go beyond all the “how we handle the virus”, e-mails. Your communication should be linked to brand identity, core values and of course your services. 

Make use of the dramatic growth of various app categories these days and invest in digital marketing & brand positioning in games and all related apps & websites around this topic, music platforms, podcasts, messaging services, live video apps & social networks. We all expected our first weeks of social distancing to feel isolated and distant. But practice shows that we are more connected than ever, thanks to all the digital tools we have in our hands. New kinds of socially distanced gatherings appeared, Skype lessons, cloud clubbing, virtual yoga-gym sessions, online church services, etc. Everyone is suddenly sharing timely information about the virus on social media, and trying to help struggling people and small businesses. The education system is also being reshaped now, online solutions are to be introduced challenging teachers, students, parents and developers from one day to another across many countries, and hopefully out of that we are able to benefit in the future too.

Video is a game-changer in advertising

According to a Cisco study, by 2022, 82% of all online content will be video content. This clearly shows how important it is to start utilizing video content to stay relevant in the social media domain. In the near future, videos will dominate social media. 

Modern audiences are more receptive to content that quickly communicates the message and grabs attention or, in other words, that which provides instant gratification. This has led to the evolution of video consumption trends – specifically a shift towards short-form video. Even now both long-form and short-form videos are among the most-shared content on social media. There will be an emphasis on creative, engaging storytelling that captures user attention in seconds.

Overview of mobile video viewing traffic

Now we need to talk about TikTok as a marketing tool

The emphasis on video means that video-driven platforms such as TikTok will continue to grow in popularity. TikTok marketing campaigns are relative newcomers to the marketing industry. Chinese owners ByteDance introduced the platform to the US back in 2017, before acquiring and then merging it with the popular app in August of 2018, creating a larger video community, with existing accounts and data consolidated into one app, keeping the title TikTok.

Currently, it is the leading destination for short-form mobile video and video-sharing social networking services. It is used to create short dance, lip-sync, comedy, and talent videos. The application allows users to create short music and lip-sync videos of 3 to 15 seconds and short looping videos of 3 to 60 seconds. There’s also a live-streaming option and a range of filters and tools to help improve your video presentation.

The fundamental draw of TikTok is that it is extremely real, bold, fun and lighthearted. TikTok’s young audience isn’t overly concerned about obtaining the perfect shot. Rather, be your authentic self and embrace your flaws while finding a community that does the same. A famous trend now is to post videos around “I used to be so beautiful, now look at me” topic, where people show how “beautiful” they actually look like when they hang out home alone, no makeup, no filters.

Although TikTok is social media’s newest kid on the block, the app has had an astronomical rise to the top. Reports in October 2019 indicated that TikTok has so far 450M monthly active users, making it one of the most popular platforms in the world.

Potential reach on TikTok for your brand or app

Now, with brands and influencers feeling more and more comfortable on the platform, it has truly begun to demonstrate its real potential as a marketing tool. Combined with a quickly growing base of young millennials and Gen Z, TikTok has found itself in the enviable position of being the hottest influencer marketing tool of the year 2020.

And before you think: the current TikTok audience doesn’t match your actual app audience, please have a look at the demographics split. It is a false belief that TikTok is a new thing for kids only! Your audience is active on TikTok – maybe not so much as content producers but definitely as consumers.

Demograhics on TikTok

Put your brand on Spotlight!

Here is a short description of all available ad products on TikTok which you can easily book with Admiral Media. Just contact us and we will guide you through all the opportunities.

In-Feed Video: Ads appear in the native news feed of TikTok on the ‘For You’ page. If you enjoy Instagram stories in full-screen mode and feel how good they help in advertising, then TikTok ‘In-feed native ads’ are just the tool for you. These have options for adding website links and order now buttons on the ad itself, which helps users to land on the page directly. These are skippable ads and have multiple options for designing the overall ad. The usage of the ad can be traced by click-through rates, impressions, total views, video viewing time, and the engagements received.    

Brand Takeover: Ad appears when TikTok users open the app and completely take over the screen for a few seconds before turning into an ‘In-Feed Video ad’.

Hashtag Challenge: Ad appears on the ‘Discovery’ page. It encourages users to participate in user content creation challenges. These can include a shoppable component for retailers. The most popular Twitter-inspired activity that gathers audiences and spreads the brand message organically. The hashtag challenge campaigns are mostly non-sponsored, and with the right content, they can make any marketing strategy popular amongst the users and consumers. Hashtag challenges by influencers are more achievable for their extensive reach, thus making it a far-flung accepted ad concept. Additionally, it garners a considerable number of organic engagements. In this type of advertising the user gets to see a specific banner ad that will take the user to the page of instructions and rules of the featuring challenge. The banner is put up on the ‘Discovery’ page and depends on user content. It can be measured with insights that include banner views, clicks, number of user-generated content, number of views, engagement, and trending slot.

Branded AR Content: Ad appears as branded lenses, stickers, and other 2D/3D/AR content for TikTok users to use in their videos. These are category exclusives, and hence only a single brand can take up a category per day. Reach can be measured by impressions, click rates, and unique reaches. The brand takeover ads are effective because TikTok marketing tools are simple, user-friendly techniques that have got great effects on branding a product or service.

Custom Influencer Package: Ad appears as part of sponsored content created by a TikTok user with influence in your market.

Your own branded account: Besides sponsored content, advertisers can also open a branded account to have a strong brand presence here. It is useful to reach out to millions of potential TikTok customers, manage day-to-day communication, nurture more leads & organic conversions and build brand loyalty. After making your brand debut on TikTok, developing an organic TikTok content strategy will help you achieve your goals with greater speed and efficiency. They developed a simple model that can be easily understood and quickly applied to your brand. Once set up, the content strategy model can be adjusted to your needs whenever needed. Besides the regular content function, advertisers can bring together all branded content while customizing the page with a purchase link and pin-to-top videos, while also being able to analyze follower distribution & monitor content performance on a data-management platform.

Ad Formats & targeting options on TikTok

Net-net, TikTok marketing strategy now has sets trends, has popularity, and reach capabilities which are increasing with each month passing by, and marketers must consider giving it a try this time if they haven’t yet done so. Now, since TikTok allows first advertisers to use their platform and promote products and apps, we at Admiral Media were one of the first performance marketing agencies to jump on that opportunity and run some campaigns for a few selected clients. If you are interested to start running UA on TikTok just get in touch. 

We, Admiral Media, are a highly specialized performance marketing agency for apps. For more than 10 years we consult mobile app publishers and help them to grow their user base. We successfully manage their global performance marketing campaigns across all digital marketing channels. Most of our clients are specialized in developing great apps but often they need fresh ideas and insights from other industries and apps that might be doing something different. We run app advertising campaigns on a global scale and have the ability to replicate such insights for your own business.

In order to get in touch, you can reach us here.



Data & Insights

Full Panel Discussion Online: how did Corona change the…

Corona: Win or Loss for the app industry? On the 17th of March, we organized a Facebook event for the Mobile Marketing Experts group, together with Tim Koschella from Kayzen, Cristina Constandache from Viber Rakuten, Erik Hegely from Pixel Federation and our Founder Andre Kempe.

The discussion was about Corona’s impact on the app business and how it is shaping the industry. 

Read the transcript of the entire Panel discussion below.



Andre Kempe: “Thanks for joining the stream. I think you can see our names, and who we are and what we work for. Before we introduce ourselves, let’s maybe quickly say something about the situation itself. Obviously, we do not hope that anyone is impacted in the bad way with what’s going on. But I mean, you all know the news. I am located in Spain and we are locked down. Certainly, a terrible situation for many-many families. But the show must go on. We are still doing our App marketing some way or at least some of us. That’s exactly what we want to talk about today. Who is still in and who is out? And what are the effects on the app industry itself. So, let’s maybe have a quick introduction around. Erik, do you want to start?”

Erik Hegeley: “Yeah, sure. Hey guys. First of all, thanks for having me. I am from Pixel Federation. I am head of growth marketing over there. Pixel Federation is a company based in Slovakia. We also are shut down over here, under quarantine, everybody is at home. We are developer of mobile games, probably the biggest titles, Seaport, Diggy’s Adventure or TrainStation 2. My day to day agenda at Pixel Federation for the past half year or so has been about around ASO (app store optimization). So, it’s moving towards new titles right now, and I’ve been in the industry for three years.

Andre: “What’s the typical data set that you look at on a day-to-day basis?”

Erik: “I mean, I look across data. So, I look at the main KPIs like how we performed in terms of performance marketing spent against the projected revenue, yesterday’s revenue for the company engagement across the board. I mean my regular routine usually starts on Monday when I check on everything, so I make sure I have the task list set up for the whole week what things need to be looked at.”

Andre: “So everything growth related app marketing use acquisition.”

Erik: “Yeah, pretty much.”

Andre: “Ok thanks, Tim?”

Tim Koschalla: “Yeah. Hey everyone. Thanks Andre for having me here. My name is Tim. I’m the co-founder and CEO of Kayzen. I’ve been in the app industry for about eight years now. So, I’ve really seen growth from where it started back in 2012 till today and I co-founded Kayzen with two partners back in the end of 2018. What we do is to provide software for sophisticated buyers to buy programmatically in-house, so they can buy users, we target users across all of the different problematic enabled inventories out there.”

Andre: “And what is the typical data set you look at on a day-to-day basis?”

Tim: “So we look at the ad requests that are available on the market. So, they are traded through about 25 in app exchangers. So, we look at how much inventory is there, how much inventory in each country, how much inventory on each ad format, how much inventory coming from which apps, what are the top publishers and so forth. So yeah, that’s basically what we look at. And then also, obviously we monitor like click-through rates and conversion rates. Our customers typically sent in app monetization events back to the system. So, we see that as well, but this will be less generalizable. I think because it’s more particular to each specific campaign and customer.”

Andre: “Okay, and yeah welcome Christina. Maybe you say a word about you.”

Cristina Constandache: “Thank you. So, I’m Cristina. I’m CRO at Viber. I’m in charge of all revenue that we are driving from monetization activities and not only. And I’ve been in the industry for eight years as well ever since apps showed up and we typically look at revenue but behind that of course you are going to have ECPMs and then you’re going to have other things like number of messages delivered, SMS and a lot of other things.”

Andre: “Okay, that’s super interesting actually because I can imagine that the messaging let’s say, usage should be growing in the current situation, isn’t it?”

Cristina: “It is. The messages are growing. The number of group messages are growing as well quite a lot and the number of calls are growing. So, we’ve seen activity even from countries that were not, say, that relevant for us or very big but we’ve seen the activity increased around five times.”

Andre: “Ok, five time! That is a lot. Is it something that we can say that’s easy to handle still like from a load perspective?”

Cristina: “In terms of platform capabilities this is not a problem because that’s what the platform was built to do and the founders of Viber built a product that can very easily function as a terrific service. So, it means that the capacity of messages and calls is not an issue.”

Andre: “Hmm. Ok. Erik, you work for a game publisher. So, all things related to people staying at home or being in an idle mode. But what is your current situation? Like do you see drastic increase or slow growth?”

Erik: “Not really. I’ve been looking into the data ever since we announced this call, a bit more diligently and actually found out nothing that would stand out. If I didn’t know about the situation that if I didn’t read the news there is nothing that the data would suggest so far that’s been happening. I mean, obviously there are some changes in CPMs and CTRs and CPIs, all these acronyms that we use so much, but I wouldn’t attribute it to the changes in the situation in the world.”

Cristina: “Because of woman’s day last week, it’s sure that the data is little bit skewed because the women’s day was huge especially for us and especially in CIS, CEE and in Asia, so it’s true that we don’t see an impact from coronavirus so far. But we are seeing activity in Italy for example, it’s Italy that exploded because it’s also the first country that went on lockdown. And it is clearly linked to this story today seeing the most obvious pattern and now we are monitoring France to see how the revenue reacts.”

Andre:  “So that indicates you are benefiting from the situation actually like more usage and more ad revenue probably. I don’t know.”

Cristina: “Yes, but I think it’s temporary.” 

Andre interjects: “Hopefully!”

Cristina: “No, all the benefit is temporary unfortunately, I think that ultimately this is going to be very negative for all of us.”

Andre: “Okay, Tim. Can you say a word about your business like you as a DSP, you certainly see two sides of things. Like maybe you can quickly explain for some folks here what a DSP does and how this works and what you actually can see from your business.”

Tim: “Sure. Yeah. Yeah when we say we’re exactly a DSP but an in-house software but it’s sort of a DSP. So we receive ad requests from all the different inventories on the market like publishers, for example, like Viber as well through the ad exchanges that are integrated with and hence we would see the volume of traffic available to buy so if usage of apps goes up and aggregate, for example, if like people staying at home means that people are using apps much more and hence creating much more ad inventory. And this is a pattern we would be able to see on our systems for example, and we could drill down into this by country and different dimensions to find out if it’s actually coronavirus related or supposedly related.”

Andre: “Okay, do you actually have maybe even something to share data wise? Like do you have some exact numbers that you see or something? “

Tim: “Yes, I was looking into patterns in Italy specifically and I did look into a couple of dating apps and then I looked into the number of game apps mostly casual game apps and I looked into data from the local soccer apps like apps that help you track the soccer league tables. So well, I have to say that the games similar to what Eric already said, I didn’t see any change that is significant enough to say that this is impacted by this. Yeah, that is rather significant enough. Neither did I see that on the dating apps. I did see a decline on the soccer apps, but since I’m not following soccer that closely, I’m not sure this is maybe seasonal related. I do know that in Italy the games were suspended. Already, I think two weeks ago or three weeks ago.”

Erik: “Yes, it has also been in Spain and the UK so there might be some correlation.”

Tim: “Yes. I think this is maybe one of the app categories where we can see an impact because people typically check these apps on a daily basis to see the scores of their teams and of the overall league table. So once the games are suspended, there is no reason to actually check in on scores and league tables. Yes, my assumption is it will be case-by-case really depending on the specific publishers whether there is an impact to be seen or not.”

Andre:  “Okay, but on the overall business, because you probably have the best perspective on the entire app business. You do not see a drastic decline or overall increase in any direction equalling out among the different industries. Is that what you are saying?”

Tim: “Yes yes. Actually, we mostly have performance customers and I do not think that they are very much impacted, those performance customers. So yeah in aggregate, I would say we don’t see an impact on our business from it so far. I do see an impact obviously on travel. I was actually supposed to be in San Francisco this week for the GBC games developer conference. Maybe you Erik as well. So, I had to cancel that trip obviously and then I was about to travel to Tel Aviv at the end of this month. It also won’t happen because everyone is quarantined there too so it’s more like this business travel has an impact.”

Andre:  “I just see a comment from Piaf, he is confirming that there is a change in usage on the dating site of things and Puron says “don’t forget guys every ad is booked by companies beyond the mobile market who also have to make money with something as more companies go down. The next weeks for example the travel industry, the ad revenue will drop extremely.” Actually, this is what I would expect as well. I mean the situation as I have as an agency, for example Ad Partners are calling me, the partners where I’m actually booking traffic and asking me if I will continue doing so because apparently they have a few clients pulling out of the advertising entirely. I mean, it’s not only it’s not only travel, right? and maybe.”

Cristina: “There are lots of advertisers that are scaling down. It’s just that it’s very early days, and we can’t see it yet because it’s starting this week. It’s gonna be a huge decline of course, and I don’t think performances are gonna out balance the brand ones and ultimately everything is going to go down.”

Andre:  “That’s a valid point. when you say the brands are pulling out, are you talking about something like Louis Vuitton or are you talking about common brands?

Cristina: “I’m talking about brands, anybody who’s doing branding campaigns rather than performance campaigns.”

Andre: “Because they are paying higher CPMs than us as performance marketers usually, right?”

Cristina: “Because they are paying on CPM to increase brand awareness and reach in a world that is, you know, closing upon itself. So, given that they are not with us, not linked to a sales KPIs. It’s linked to brand awareness, but the numbers are different there.”

Andre:  “Good point do you from…”

Cristina: “It’s going to be the same on performance as well. It’s just that it’s not going to be as drastic, but performance is going to suffer as well for a lot of retailers running out of stock obviously. For travel or it goes without saying but a lot of sectors that are doing pure performance that are going to suffer. I would expect entertainment to go up or to at least be stable because our people need to do something when they are at home but for the rest I don’t see how.”

Tim: “I can also confirm from what Christina said, I did talk to two large casual game developers today. I would be curious to hear your opinion as well, Erik on this. So, they said their CPMs were going down. But as a result of less brand buyers in the mix of the overall ad inventory purchase.”

Erik: “So I guess that really depends where these casual advertisers are buying traffic from. Whether they are buying it from either of the inventories, more about you know gaming…”

Tim: “Sorry. I mean public publishers monetizing their inventory with both demand from performance and brands and they said the brandy demand was coming down already.

Erik: “There’s so I mean like from our point of view what we are seeing the data or ECPMs that we are getting are pretty much stable. But as Christina said these are early days, so it’s hard to say whether it’s because of that or whether something is going to be changing in the near future. But yeah, I would not expect it to be changing that drastically for entertainment or specifically gaming industry in terms of engagement, I mean users playing games. What I would expect and what I would be really aware of is the LTV curves that we have because of the monetization side of the data that we have on the monetization about the players they might not reflect the reality going forward because we might be seeing some behavior in the early days, but eventually those users might not be paying that much might not be spending that much money in the game. So it might be changing. So that’s something that needs to get a lot of attention going forward and that’s what we are definitely going to do.”

Andre:  “That’s exactly something I would expect, I mean we are here in Spain in a lockdown for two weeks. But obviously we can expect another two weeks to be locked in. Question is how many people would actually lose their jobs. What impact does it have on the economy overall? And what does that mean for our subscription for in-app purchase businesses? So, this is certainly something we cannot predict yet, but for example right now the clients that I’m handling from the purchase and subscribe behaviour, actually see an increase probably because people are at home and in a kind of idle mode. So that’s certainly something we need to wait to happen. But discussing the…”

Cristina: “I think for casual games, even if you apply the worst-case scenario of people losing jobs and all given the addictive nature of games. You know, it’s like cigarettes. You know, even when they don’t have money, they are still buying them. So, I don’t think the impact is going to be so high. I would expect that first they’re not going to be the most valuable players, but they’re gonna provide some revenue along.”

Erik: “Well, my take on this is that obviously people who are staying at home right now, they are going to look for entertainment services. Not only Netflix and streaming providers that are going to benefit from these. Obviously, entertainment as a whole will benefit out of this and most likely mobile games are going to get even more awareness right now, like hyper visual games digits for the industry last year or last three years. I would say it’s a broad topic. Many people play mobile games thanks to them. I think this is going to happen right now as well. And yeah, most likely some of the users might stick to it and you know, like get used to playing games. But whether the data that we have collected over the years about the paying users, are they going to behave the same way that we expect them to? That’s yet to be seen. So definitely a lot of attention has to be paid on this area and our models need to be refreshed on a regular basis.”

Andre: “That’s a really good point because so many advertisers jumped on all the more sophisticated prediction models and tried to assess the situation. How do we deal with this data? Do you take it out of your models or what do the data scientists say? Have you talked to your colleagues about this?”

Erik: “Myself? Hmm. No, not really. I mean this is definitely not my main area of expertise. What I do know is that this is going to happen in a different way. I mean, there’s some analytical knowledge that helps but not a data scientist. What we are doing already, and we were really doing it prior to the situation; we are refreshing our models on a regular basis. There’s a schedule for that because obviously it’s changing, it’s ever-changing industry and going forward. We are definitely going to have to stick with his routine and whether we are going to, you know, calculating the data from different boards or what you suggested. I don’t know. I really don’t think so, but perhaps that might be one of the ways we are definitely going to be looking into this.”

Andre:  “Exciting time for the data scientists.”

Cristina: “One of the things Is that even if they want to model, they have nothing similar to model it against? So, you know a lot of these assumptions even if they are based on statistical models are not going to be accurate because this is not something that people have experienced before.”

Erik: “Okay. So that’s the only certain thing, the uncertainty is going to increase over the next coming months.”

Andre:  “Absolutely. Let me just quickly have a look at the questions that are rolling in here. Wait, let me scroll up. There’s another one. Which mouse? This mouse. So, Luis Guzman was asking in a scenario where the situation is improving your CAC, what do you think about the future LTV of this sort? I think we discussed this just recently like it’s unpredictable. But do you want to add something to this?

Erik: “The only thing to add is that obviously we have to work with predictable LTV models which have to be refreshed on a regular basis and leave it to your data scientists, talk to them often. But what I would do on UA side of things is that I would definitely set some, from-to, what can be the acquisition cost that we can move in between because the LTV is going to change to some range. So, you also need to know things like reset the cost for the last seven percent for example, so make sure that you know, focus on this set KPIs more than before.”

Andre:  “Maty is asking “shouldn’t the supply of ad space also increase due to people spending more time online. This would lead to further price drops.” I’d say yes.”

Cristina: “Yes, it is happening.”

Andre: “It is definitely happening.” 

Cristina:“Yes, but then there is no advertising because the budgets are cut. Whoops.”

Andre: “Absolutely. I think that’s exactly the reason why the ad partners are calling advertisers and saying like, do you want to continue spending. Actually, it’s probably a good time to negotiate some bonuses or something. I should take a note.  (laughs)”

Cristina: “But you can, is just you know, we all know that all this is very volatile.”

Andre:  “It is true.”

Cristina: “Ultimately. We’re all heading in the same direction, which is down, so.”

Andre:  “Absolutely.”

Cristina: “So The bonus out of 0 is still 0. I am very positive, my boy.”

Andre:  “Lucas is asking. Do you think this may be the moment for services like Google Stadia to shine? Google Stadia is dead. (laughs) Any other comments on this? (laughs again)”

Erik: “Much more dramatic, (Erik and Andre laugh) but curiously apple arcade released a hundred new games or whatever. Maybe they offered the trial or if you haven’t tried out your trial yet, this might be a good time for that.

Andre:  “A different discussion, but I’d say yes. Bjorn, my former Lovoo colleague, the founder Lovoo was also saying that’s the time for live streaming now, so probably not only live streaming services like Netflix and the look-alikes of it, but certainly person-to-person, peer-to-peer live streaming services are certainly shining. It’s something I can imagine music and lots of other apps are probably.”

Cristina: “Books.”

Andre:  “Books. Absolutely.”

Cristina: “Anything with content. Yeah, anything with content.”

Erik: “Entertainment overall.”

Andre: “Self-education. Yeah, so actually we should see stress has increased everywhere…”

Tim: “Actually talking about which tool we are using here for this conference; Zoom right?”

Andre: “Hmm. Yeah”

Tim: “Zoom stock. There’ve also massively increased after the whole Crisis because so many people are moving to video calls and all people are working from home now. So more and more people are using these services and they will be getting used to it. So even beyond the crisis, I think they will see a heavy increase of usage.”

Andre: “I think that the zoom stock is just increasing because of the cool virtual background feature. (laughs)”

Cristina: “We see the same thing. So that’s what I said. All the number of calls, a number of group messages, a number of group calls; all of this has increased a lot in a week and it’s just the beginning. I mean for Italy to increase five times and we never looked at Italy to be honest. It was not one of the countries that we ever focused on and is not the only country. So we see usage of anything related to messaging and communication in general, of course is increasing.”

Andre:  “Absolutely.”

Tim: “I also identified one other winner that you might be aware of this company or this app. It’s actually a game around a pandemic, the case called, Plague here. I’m looking at the ad request data right now. It’s a game published by Miniclip in London. And they’ve seen a massive up take in usage starting from mid-January onwards.”

Erik: “Yeah, they started climbing up the charts, I think already in December. But they’ve been banned in China. I’m not sure if last month or was it January, I am not sure. But yeah that that app ranked up through the charts.”

Tim: “Yeah. And I see ad requests per day before January 21st, they had about eight seven two two eight nine million a day ad requests and now they are at about 50 to 70 million.”

 Andre: “Do you have to have this data ready to share on a screen or something?”

Tim: “Yeah.”

Andre: “Let’s see some graphs.”

Tim: “Here you go. Can you see my screen?”

Andre:  “I do. I hope it works in a stream.”

Erik: “Yeah, I can see it.”

Cristina: “Yeah.”

Tim: “Yeah, so I think this is pretty clear. So here you see the 20th 21st and this is probably where they rose to the ranks on downloads and consequently the number of ad requests. They are sending shut up. Up to a hundred million a day here.”

Andre:  “Wait, hold on.”

Erik: “That is probably a ban in China, mid February.”

Tim: “We are actually not processing ad requests from China. So this should not be showing in the data.”

Andre:  “But hold on. This is from the game Plague, the monetization art.”

Tim: “Yeah. This is just a number of ad requests they are sending which is a proxy of how many users are playing it and how long they are playing.”

Andre:  “So they jumped from like 15 million per day or 10 million a day.”

Tim: “Yeah.”

Andre:  “Ten times.”

Tim: “Yeah.”

Andre:  “This is insane.”

Tim: “Yeah, yeah.”

Andre:  “Jesus Christ, this is a good time for them now.”

Tim: “Absolutely. Sadly so.”

Andre:  “Thanks for sharing. So okay, then when we see a drastic increase in supply and at the same time a drastic decrease in demand, I’m just saying Coca-Cola, but the brand budgets are pulling out but, it’s actually clear that CPMs for many many of us will go down. And therefore, CPIs should decrease dramatically if publishers do not pull the different lever. I was writing an article on LinkedIn about this topic and I think Tobias, also from Lovoo was commenting that as a publisher you still can level out the supply and therefore keep your CPMs up. Can you comment on this? Do you have an idea of how this actually works as a publisher?”

Cristina: “No, I would love to know how it works because I don’t see it work.”

Andre:  “So for example, suddenly you see this increase like 10 times then you are not providing this 10 times inventory and because the number of advertisers stays the same. They are still asking or bidding on your inventory, but you’re not giving them the full inventory so you can keep your CPMs up.”

Cristina: “I see what you mean. Yes, but when you are at the mercy of let’s say performance advertisers versus branding, it is not the same thing because the KPIs are different. It’s not they’re not going to be just to get increased visibility. They are gonna see some posters or KPIs. I’m assuming that are matching expectations. So, I don’t think that the performance advertisers work like that. I mean, I’ve never seen them more like this. They test, retest with very small volumes in the beginning so yes. Then we see a demand level of sort of CPMs if I’m staying strong. But otherwise no. Performance will never replace branding, not a hundred percent anyway.”

Tim: “One assumption that I read into this statement might be that I mean if you artificially keep the supply lower and you do have a bunch of people who are used to buying your inventory, the price will inevitably go up but that does also mean you’re leaving a lot of revenue on the table. Your CPMs might stay the same and maybe even increase but at the cost of maybe only selling half of the number of ads or even less than that”

Andre:  “That makes total sense, having the opportunity to find the right level, but at least you could like artificially limit the supply side. I mean that’s happening with, `how do you say it in English?”

Tim: “natural resources.”

Andre:  “Yeah, natural resources with diamonds. They do the same thing with gold, right though. They are holding this somewhere and just limit the supply to keep the prices up.”

Cristina: “The thing is as a publisher when you’re running on CPM, you have very little visibility on what is going on the advertiser’s side, so it’s not so easy to optimize even if you wanted to.”

Andre:  “Good Point.”

Cristina: “This is not the same thing as if we were having access to all the stats and you could see you know, which ad placement, which portion of a traffic, which type of users are more valuable to the advertiser. You are just blind. So how do you limit the supply? Do you just put the finger in the air and say, oh, I’m going to limit the supply? You can’t because you don’t have the data. We don’t have abilities; we are blind to this.”

Andre:  “Time for a good prediction model. (laughs) What does it say under use acquisition side? Are you doing user acquisition paid to use acquisition Cristina?

Cristina: “No, for a messaging app even in normal times it’s a very bad idea given that you are inviting people to download an app where if they don’t have friends, why exactly they use it. So, no. This has never been our strategy.“

Andre:  “Makes sense. From your side, Eric? Have you kept your growth initiatives on the same level, or do you see potential to up your spend?”

Erik: “No, no, as I said earlier, I mean we don’t don’t see much change in the behavior of pairs or for that matter that ECPM would somehow provide better quality or not for. It’s business as usual. We always operate this based on efficiency. So that’s why we use the LTE models. So that’s that’s why it’s so crucial. And more than ever it’s always been important for us, the smart and effective cash flow management now is going to be even more important in order to be wise, to stick to the KPIs, to stick to the ultimate model, the predictions and make sure to refresh it. That’s the only way I can do to keep the show, as you call it, going.”

Andre:  “That’s true. I was just wondering when I saw this drastic increase in the Plague app. “


Erik: “Well the Plague app is organic so that there’s a difference between us or like…”

Andre:  “Yeah, sure. but you as an advertiser could jump on that additional inventory that’s available there to try to tap into that player market. Let’s say.”

Erik: “It doesn’t necessarily have to be quality players. So like we use, we tap into these players as well through ad networks or even Facebook and Google because they have audience Network and access. So yeah. Reach up into the inventory as well. If there are users you’re looking for cheap KPIs.”

Andre:  “It’s probably a lot of players that just tried any app that they find on the App Store at that moment like lots of exploration is going on certainly. I mean plague is just an example, but because the topic is very related, other apps are probably having this topic.”

Erik: “Yeah. So I have been looking into this prior to this call or whether I can get some data, but there’s nothing I can show yet because it’s so early and I cannot see this data. But yeah, I would expect that perhaps exploring traffic or browsing traffic, organic might be increasingly going forward. But still there is just one part of the equation. If it is organic, it doesn’t matter but with preview it matters. Like what’s our LTV? Can we actually afford? Is the CPI lower than the LTV? That is always the ultimate equation.”

Andre:  “That makes sense. I think we have covered a lot of angles of that outbreak here. I don’t know if the audience still has questions. Otherwise Tim, do you have any more comments or remarks?”

Tim: “It just came to my mind that there is another winner of the crisis that I have seen. It’s a small thing though. From what I’ve seen ads, e-commerce apps for breathing masks around so I suppose there’s some people who have stocked them and are selling them at exaggerated prices. I don’t know if you’ve seen that as well.”

Andre:  “It’s true. I mean one network was telling me that lots of advertisers are pulling out our advertisers that I never thought about actually. It’s for example like these who “make your teeth shine” sellers. I don’t know there are tools that make your teeth shine. So they are pulling out entirely because all the doctors are closed and you can’t go there to actually get those things. So that’s also a massive budget lying around from all the local stores everywhere that is not being used anymore and gives us cheaper buying opportunities. Let’s switch over. Hector, my former colleague from Trade Mob. Hey, Hector. He is asking about the post Corona scenario, travel apps, hotel apps, airlines and other related apps and verticals will have massive budgets. Yes, they are probably parking a lot of budget but they’re actually losing a lot of money, I think in the current situation.”

Cristina: “Yeah. That’s a lot of wishful thinking and everybody thinks like that’s after corona the activity is going to pick up to make up for the lost time. But the fact that a lot of companies are losing a lot of money in the meantime, means that this however is going to drag on for some time.”

Andre:  “Yeah.”

Cristina: “Yeah, I would say it’s not gonna happen. Maybe retailers? There will probably be some sectors that will increase funds, but definitely not not the typical big advertisers that we see. I don’t think that travel after they fire 90 % of a company will all of a sudden start advertising to bring back the fired ones. That would be weird.”

Andre:  “That would be difficult. Certainly. I mean, I see all the restaurants closing down and there are certainly firing lots of people everywhere. If they are rehiring them immediately, who knows?”  

Cristina: “How? With what money?

Andre:  “Yeah. with what money? Money is gone. It’s gone. So, I don’t know how long we are not earning any money in many industries. So as it’s said, wishful thinking is probably the right term here.”

Cristina: “I am trying to remember to compare this crisis to the other crisis in 2008, but it’s not the same thing because of the health aspect of it. Because in 2008, I remember I was in performance back then. And actually the performance increased and especially when cash being sent back, people were looking to buy a lot of things, but to buy cheaper, but now is not the same thing because then, nobody was on lockdown. So, I don’t think we can compare it. It is going to be a lot worse than we have seen twelve years ago.”

Andre:  “It’s a very unique situation. That’s true. Mary is asking do you have any insights about China? That’s a good question actually because China is actually improving with their situation. I do not have a clue about the Chinese market to be honest. So what about you guys?”

Erik: “Me neither. I mean, we don’t advertise in China. All I know is from the news, like Apple closed all their stores and only kept them open in China. So that might mean that life is giving back normal in China.”

Cristina: “Cuz they reopened them in China.”

Andre:  “Traffic-wise is Viber active in China?”

Cristina: “No. No, we have nothing to do with China. I mean, if you look on Amazon, I see that you can still buy a lot of products coming out of China, especially the hand sanitizers and things like this, the masks; whatever you want to buy it’s coming out of China, so apparently they are coming back but they took a hit as well. I was watching the news and the economy, It’s Whuan. It has never been lower, it has been like fourteen percent or something. I think they’re going to come back faster than the rest of us. That’s for sure”

Andre:  “Huge Julius is asking, any data on meditation apps etc. I guess psycho hygiene and mental health will be more important as well during lockdowns. I would say yeah, they should have a lot of activity right now I would say. Especially when you have kids you probably need some meditation. (chuckles)”

Cristina (laughs): “For them or for you?”

Andre:  “Both maybe (laugh). What do you say?”

Cristina: “Actually we haven’t seen any of these advertisements. That’s a good point. I mean, there’s still a lot of tabula and doubt brains out there with content, but we haven’t seen anything from this sector. A lot of them are quite small I think but there are a couple of big players but a lot of the other ones are very niche and I am not sure that they can afford to advertise. Maybe now with ECPMs going down, they will have access to more traffic, but they need to have a solid monetization behind and if they do, would they even, really put money in? Any way. I don’t know. We haven’t seen any on Viber.”

Andre:  “Is there a meditation app that is monetizing through ads? I mean Calm and Headspaces and Relax Medities? Are all these using subscription services, right? They’re not doing ad monetization. Do they?”

Cristina: “Why, it would make sense. You imagine a meditation app, which is the purpose to begin with but who knows. Maybe they sell data. They don’t need to monetize with ads. They can just sell the data. It’s probably what they should do.”

Andre:  “True. Yeah, I don’t have any more questions. I don’t see any more comments from the audience. So if you want to say a last sentence or a recommendation to the audience.”

Erik: “Sure, So I guess summing up what I said earlier is that only a certain thing is, uncertainty. Going forward. So we are over here definitely going to pay a lot of attention to LTV models and make sure that we watch closely how they change and responsible cash flow management. That’s that’s going to be crucial for performance marketers.”

Andre:  “Everyone is nervous. This is also something that I see like clients are calling me basically every day to ask what the situation is. The clients who do usually not ask this every day. So uncertainty is everywhere but at the moment I do not see a drastic impact definitely “

Cristina: “I think it is going to hit. In addition to what Eric said we should just be cautious and not give in to the panic. Already, there is a lot of panic around. There’s no point to have a rash reaction just because you are in panic mode. So we need to review literally. I think we need to take it one day at a time. And then from there look at the midterm because long-term nobody knows.”

Andre:  “Okay. Let’s do this one last question from, I always pronounce it wrong. Maciej is actually asking Cristina what would you say about the opposing view that the 12 years ago crisis was caused by realization that there is no money where people thought there were, he is probably talking about the mortgage crisis in the US. This time Crisis is caused by the fact that people are post working, so they can’t go to work anymore. This would make it easier for the economy to bounce back as lockdown will stop at some point and people will get back to work. But there’s no real question, Maciej.”

Cristina: “No, this is just the opposing view. I mean we know where the first crisis was started. It’s just that last time we did not have the entire sectors that completely stopped. So I think even if people were losing money, let’s say bars restaurants, I don’t know if the travel industry had less clients. They had less clients. They did not have the zero clients because they could not do that activity. So, it’s very difficult to compare because complete lockdown even if it’s temporary and temporary doesn’t mean two weeks. Like what happened in Spain and Italy we already seen and in France we know already that is going to be longer than that. So, how long can you stay alive like this? You can last for a month or two if you have cash reserves and okay, but big companies do have cash reserves but beyond that complete shutdown, I don’t see how you can bounce back and say ‘oh now we’re back.’ It’s not start as easy as if nothing happened. I mean the German government and the U.S, included. they don’t have pay for the people who are out of work. So what will happen to these people? So, no it’s not the same thing as 12 years ago.”

Andre:  “I would agree. But okay. Let’s say a bigger discussion about the macroeconomy and the actual impacts on it. I believe we run into a recession if this persists for a longer time, the stock markets are showing this and if people lose jobs, especially in countries that don’t have a social system to care for these kinds of things. They will run into massive issues. Nevertheless, I thank you for joining the stream and being so open to discuss the topics. I’m still trying to update the article that I had on LinkedIn about the effects on the app industry. So, if anyone has data and wants to share it, please send it to me. It would be fantastic. I would add it to the article and keep the community updated with latest insights. And yeah, thanks for having us. Thanks for your questions. I hope to see you soon with further information or more cool live streams. Thank you very much guys. It was a pleasure talking to you.”

Erik: “Thank you. Have a great day.”

Cristina: “Bye, bye.”

 Tim: “Bye.”





Data & Insights

Corona’s impact on the mobile app industry part II

Update 03/19/2020

Following up our Covid-19 special – you can read the first article here – and after our live event on the 17th of March on Facebook Corona: Win or Loss for your app business” we gathered further information and fresh data from some of our industry friends on the impact of the Corona virus on their very own business – and you can imagine, for some of them it is dramatic, in both directions.

Below an example from the education sector. The data is clearly following the real-life situation. In Spain on the 12th of March Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced that all educational centres would close for two weeks and effectively they are from 16th of March. While in the US as well from 16th of March public and private schools are closed currently across 26 states.

DSP ad request data

More data that we received from Tim Koschalla, the founder of Kayzen, a fast growing DSP based in Berlin, specifically shows some changes for ad auctions on Mopub and Google Adx. The pattern of ad auctions shows a clear trend now, particularly over the last few days we can recognize a dramatic spike in ad auctions. Google Adx looks more stable but it’s just because the intra-day data points make it look volatile, which is essentially just normal day / night fluctuation.

Mopub Ad Auctions during Corona


Google Adx Ad requests

Games are the biggest winners

Another interesting and probably the most impressive example which we received from Kayzen is from the famous Plague Inc. Game which shows daily ad requests (a proxy for daily in app ad impressions) from January 2020 till 15th of March on their Android app, globally. The data shows high fluctuation during the last week (7-15th of March) but what’s most important is the ten fold growth from 10 Million daily ad requests to 100M daily ad requests. These guys must be printing money right now.


Massive ad requests increase for Plague Inc Game

Thanks to our friends from Dynamo Partners we were also able to obtain some further data, eg. about the public transportation sector. The metrics show weekly sessions for one major city. Two updates lead to an increase in usage, which dropped back to normal average in the week of 24th of February. Then in the week starting from 2nd of March, sessions start to drop and in the week starting from 16th March, since when people are urged to work from home, usage drops even further due to less work and school related commuting. Expected impact is that the usage will be around 20% of normal average during the crisis. 




Another interesting example from Italy, from the classifieds platform category. The data we see is in line with the real life situation, during the week starting 1st of March, some regions were declared „red zones“ in Italy, schools and universities were shut down and ultimately as of 9th of March, the whole country was on lockdown. The expected impact: usage will drop even further, if lockdown continues.


And last but not least data from Austria, as well from the classifieds platform category. In Austria the nationwide lockdown was introduced on the 16th of March. The expected impact is that the usage will drop even further, if lockdown continues.  

New team member Performance Marketing Blog

Admiral Media hires former Regional Account Director of Grey…

AAnna Czuczor - new hire at Admiral Mediahoi Anna! Welcome on board of our ship! The Admiral is proud to announce that Anna Czuczor has joined the crew and will be responsible for all marketing activities!

As the former Regional Group Account Director at Grey Group Poland, Anna is an advertising and communication professional with more than 13 years of experience. She worked on literally any topic, from FMCG, beauty products, haircare, sweets, automotive to pharma & mobile communication sectors. With multinational work-experience: 6 years in Hungary, 7 years in Poland, 1 year in the UK, and just starting now in Spain she is specialized in marketing communication, & advertising project management from A to Z, full-up productions, communication planning and conceptual thinking on every communication channel.

Anna will navigate all our GrowBoat activities but also build up the marketing strategy for Admiral Media itself. We are happy that we hired one of the leading minds from the traditional advertising industry. She will add a lot of value to the team with her experience from other areas and bring fresh wind for our sails.

TikTok Ads - How to set up campaigns Data & Insights

How to set up TikTok Ads for Apps –…


A new star is born: TikTok, the hyper-viral video app that drives the Fortnite generation crazy, is being downloaded more often than Facebook, Instagram or Whatsapp. Its growth is stunning, content creators, celebrities, fun blogs, comedians and many more are joining the platform to benefit from its early success and build a massive followership overnight. 

Now, since TikTok allows first advertisers to use their platform and promote products and apps, we at Admiral Media were one of the first performance marketing agencies to jump on that opportunity and run some campaigns for few selected clients.

This article will show you how to set up your first campaigns, what to expect from the platform and how our current results compare to Facebooks Ad platform.

Prepare video ads

First of all it is important to understand that TikTok’s audience is way different from any other platform. The content and the way you consume the content is entirely different: 100% vertical video format, clear focus on funny short clips, we see more and more educational or political content happening, but we can assume the majority is still just fun content created by teens.

This has an impact on your video ads that you plan to run – obviously you can explore the channel and its performance with existing vertical video creatives & images that you used on other platforms but it is predictable that tailored video content will be more successful than your standard video ad that you run on Instagram. The style of the videos and mood that it creates among its users are entirely different from the usual Instagram content. Also the navigation is slightly different – liking, sharing, visiting a profile: this all happens on the right hand side of a video which takes the entire screen.

General Overview

Now let me share some real Insights & Screenshots from the platform. We have an agency account and manage different clients. It might be that a regular advertiser account looks a bit different. It is also important to highlight that it wasn’t easy to get an account – we needed several approvals from different departments in TikTok & every client we onboard needs another approval process – also depending on the target countries that you want to promote your apps in. Apparently some different teams are approving our clients to get access to different countries & some other countries are available from the start. Many countries are still not possible to target, eg. South Africa or Germany (03/13/2020).

TikTok Advertiser Dashboard

The screenshot above shows the front page after we logged into a clients account that we manage. You can see that it gives quite a nice overview and when scrolling down even shares some insights about demographics or dayparting. See Screenshot below.


TikTok demographics & day parting


Event Setup / Tracking

First thing you have to set up is creating “Events” in the Library which you can find in the top nav bar. Here you basically create an app and just enter the Google PlayStore or iTunes Link to your app and tell the platform if you are using any 3rd party MMP for tracking. You would need to set them up on your MMP dashboard as well and provide a tracking URL that will be used across all campaigns. I cannot share screenshots about the setup process here to protect our clients information. Once this is done and you linked the events from your MMP with TikTok events it will collect conversion data automatically. Pretty straight forward.

As you won’t have much data to use yet, it wouldn’t make sense to play a lot with TikTok’s audience feature – but in case you want to upload some offline data like IDFAs from users who made a purchase in the last 60 days you can easily do that and use the data to create lookalikes. It’s pretty much the same as Facebook except – and this is a downside on TikToks platform still – the audiences seem to be static. They do not refresh automatically & you will need to delete and re-create an audience every now and then which means you need to change your audiences on Adgroup level.


Campaign Setup

And this leads me to the campaign setup. As the Screenshot below shows you can chose between web traffic & conversions or mobile app install campaigns. As Admiral Media is specialised on App INstalls our choice is easy here. You will also name your campaign according to your typical naming conventions and allocate some budget to the campaign or leave it with “no limit” and simply choose daily adgoup budgets later on.

How to run TikTok Ads for Apps

See below a short video of the detailed Adgroup Level Setup and all the options you have. Looks very familiar for most of you I guess.



In the video above you saw that we entered a CPC but this option changes as soon as you select an app in the setup – we didn’t do that to protect our clients information but see a screenshot below how the actual bid strategy option looks like. So far we have used “Optimize Conversion at learning phase” only and went pretty good with it.

Bid strategy for performance Ads on TikTok

On the bottom the tracking URLs will appear – you remember you entered them in the “Event” setup when you connected your MMP with TikTik’s platform. This is pre-filled automatically now.

On the right hand side you can see an estimate of your audience size – it is recommended to hit the middle ground


Creative Setup 

Once you have entered all the information that your Campaign and Adgroup needs you will be directed to the ad level where you upload or choose all your creatives that you want to use. 

TikTok Ads - Creatives

As you can see below you are allowed to use images & videos. A total of 10 images and videos can be uploaded per Adgroup and thumbnails can be customized. You can exchange creatives at any time.

TikTok will now display random combinations of the material you provided and in case you toggled the “Ad Optimization” on (Adgroup Level) it will automatically pause the bad performing creatives.And that’s it. Straightforward and easy. Maybe worth to highlight that videos need to have background music and that you should double check how your videos are displayed as TiKTok as a unique navigation bar on the right where users like, share or comment on videos that they see. You want to avoid overlap of your assets with this navigation bar.


Comment moderation on ads

Some of you advertisers pay a lot of attention to users comments on ads. Well, this is still kinda difficult to monitor on TikTok because you would need to send a preview of the running ad to your own TikTok feed. For that you need to find out your TikTok user ID and scroll to the 4th video in your feed once you sent it to you. Kinda complex way to keep track of comments. IN case you want to be sure nobody is writing bad comments I would suggest you simply deactivate the comment function on your ads which you can do on AdGroup level.



So far we did run campaigns in US, UK, AU, CA & FR and spent around 50K EUR on it. Which is not a lot but gives us a first idea of the data – and it looks extremely promising for now. The channel is still under rated among advertisers or many didn’t get a chance to get an advertiser account. As far as we know TikTok still limits access to agencies or very selected direct advertisers. This means the available inventory is still relatively cheap compared to other channels and users are not saturated with ads yet and click quite a lot.

See some numbers from some of our campaigns of one of our clients below. Of course we still spend significantly more on Facebook for them but this is about to change very quickly if those numbers continue to be the same and reach is big enough which we still try to explore.

TikTik vs Facebook Ads - CPM, CPI

You will easily recognize the difference between the main channel everybody is on and a channel that is relatively new. You buy into new audiences for extremely cheap and our data shows that the conversion rates post install are absolutely on par with any other digital user acquisition channel that we manage. So there is no reason why not to scale hard on that channel as long as the inventory is cheap.

If you are interested to start running UA on TikTok just get in touch. We are experts in rapid scaling environments and have helped many apps with super fast growth & experiments. If you want to get more information from past clients, just have a look at our Clutch profile or reach out to some of our clients. We are happy to make you an intro.


Andre Kempe, Founder of Admiral Media