Marketing has become ever more dependent on data and analytics, and as a consequence companies that can provide tools to gather and analyze data effectively are doing quite well.

One such company is AppsFlyer, the leading mobile attribution and marketing data analytics company, which recently announced it has raised an additional $56 million in Series C financing. The company will invest this funding in the enhancement of its products to help even more marketers measure engagement with their target audiences.

AppsFlyer is growing strongly as the market for mobile advertising and marketing continues to expand. The company has grown revenues by 500 percent in the last two years, and expanded headcount from 40 to 240 people across a dozen global offices in that same period. Building on this growth phase is AppsFlyer’s new investment round.

“A lot of good things are happening at AppsFlyer at the moment,” said Jasper Radeke, AppsFlyer’s director of marketing for North America, speaking exclusively to [a]listdaily. “This funding of $56 million brings our total investment since our founding to $84 million. For us it’s a testimony to the expectation of continued growth of the mobile industry this company in particular. If you look at the growth trajectory of AppsFlyer and the products we’ve developed over the last couple of years, it’s a very strong indicator of us being on the right track when it comes to delivering on the needs of publishers for mobile measurement.”

Jasper Redeke
Jasper Radeke, AppsFlyer’s director of marketing for North America

Marketing analytics is becoming increasingly important, and Radeke explains why. “The state of marketing analytics and mobile attribution in general is that we’re now at a stage where it’s a must have,” Radeke said. “Over 80 percent of the top 500 apps in the App Store have some sort of mobile attribution SDK integrated. Publishers and app advertisers understand that they need to have a holistic view of their user funnel from the acquisition part, from the advertising part, up to engagement and retention. At the heart of this, giving publishers and app advertisers this perspective of the entire user funnel is what we’re doing. There’s a lot of talk about marketers becoming more and more data driven, and mobile is at the forefront and we’re supporting app developers with the tools to do that.”

While all kinds of app publishers are using mobile analytics, gaming is a key vertical. “A lot of this has been driven by gaming companies,” Radeke said. “We work with Activision, Bethesda, Konami, Sega, Playtika, Microsoft and others. This speaks to a larger movement of mobile companies becoming really interested in these types of products.”

AppsFlyer’s efforts have been very successful for gaming companies, according to Radeke. “If you look at the list of the products we’ve released, nearly all of them are about closing existing gaps in the funnel. We released uninstall tracking, which helps you better understand churn, and ties that back to the media sources that you use for acquisition. Especially for the gaming side, very relevant is the ad revenue attribution. Looking at how app publishers, especially gaming publishers, make money advertising plays a large role. We released a product that gives you a more holistic view of all your sources of revenue, including advertising. We released the most advanced anti-fraud suite in the market, it’s a combination of traditional anti-fraud measures but it’s also powered by the largest database worldwide on fraudulent devices.

“Our SDK is integrated, through one app or another, on 98 percent of the world’s mobile devices,” Radeke continued. “We use this information to identify potential fraudulent devices and really help publishers stop that traffic before it even occurs. We are thinking about the entire user funnel at all stages of engagement and how we can help marketers become more data-driven and gain actionable insights from the data we are providing.”

AppsFlyer dashboard

As mobile phone growth slows and the market matures, the role of marketing analytics is changing.

“Definitely, the days of the Wild West are over, and mobile app publishers and advertisers are becoming much more aware that you have to go beyond a pure install,” Radeke noted. “You have to really look at user quality, you have to look at engagement, and you have to find what that actually means. You have to think about meaningful events and data points that you can use to quantify that.”

Radeke has some advice about what app marketers are doing to make their apps successful in the current market. “One of the key success criteria that we see is being very smart about how you spend your user acquisition budget,” Radeke said. “This is what we ultimately help marketers with. For a long time there was this notion of trying to touch as many people as possible through your app, and hoping that somehow they will stick, and a couple of them will monetize. That was true for a while, but looking into data points that help you identify the most valuable audiences, help you to find engagement, and trying to acquire similar audiences based on these data points, that is one of the strategies that works really well.”

The future looks like an interesting one for mobile app marketing, from AppsFlyer’s broad perspective. “I think there are a couple of areas that are going to be crucial,” Radeke said. “What we’re seeing already is a convergence of performance and brand marketing. Performance marketing is becoming more than just metrics, it’s becoming sophisticated in terms of ad units. We’re looking at native ads, at different ways of how to build a brand on mobile. At the same time the brand marketers are looking more at the data. We’re going to see a convergence of these two approaches, which used to be portrayed as being at odds.”

AppsFlyer stats

Gaming and travel were the leading app categories, but that is changing.

“More traditional verticals are catching up and starting to develop their own very sophisticated ways of creating mobile-first marketing strategies,” Radeke said. “For example, AppsFlyer is integrated with four of the top five shopping apps in the United States. Mobile-second marketers are looking at how we integrate mobile experiences and tie them back into experiences in brick-and-mortar stores, and to online presence on desktop and web. A coming together of these different funnels to a true omni-channel marketing strategy that is driven by mobile but reaches into these different channels and makes it measurable is going to be very interesting to watch, and one of those areas where I see AppsFlyer putting a stake in the ground and saying this is one of the things we can own.”