Home streaming AppLovin Is Embracing Cost Per Install With Its New CTV Product

AppLovin Is Embracing Cost Per Install With Its New CTV Product

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Hot: Performance-based marketing on connected TV.

Not: CPM-based pricing for CTV campaigns.

On Wednesday, app marketing platform AppLovin added CTV supply from streaming video distribution platform Wurl, which it acquired last March, to its mobile user acquisition platform, AppDiscovery.

AppLovin’s marketer clients can now buy CTV inventory across more than 3,000 channels and hundreds of FAST apps on a cost-per-install (CPI) basis.

Audiences and advertisers alike are shifting their attention to CTV. Eighty percent of CTV viewers watch ad-supported CTV, according to LG Ad Solutions, and Insider Intelligence forecasts that CTV ad spend will exceed $43 billion by 2026.

Delivering downloads

CTV advertisers typically buy based on impressions. But performance-minded mobile app advertisers are looking to drive downloads.

Pricing CTV campaigns on a CPI basis helps give “full visibility into down-the-funnel metrics,” said Andrey Kazakov, AppLovin’s VP of demand.

Most mobile measurement partners, or MMPs, support CTV measurement, he said, and can attribute streaming ad exposures to subsequent installs. AppLovin’s decision to charge based on CPI allows app advertisers to treat connected TV as a performance channel.

The offering is relevant to “anyone who is engaged in performance advertising and has a mobile app,” Kazakov said, including verticals such as finance, food delivery, insurance, dating, wellness and fitness.

CTV? Certainly

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In January, online lender Kikoff started testing AppDiscovery to run mobile and CTV campaigns – both of which were new channels for the company.

“We’ve always been very web-first,” said Kikoff growth marketing manager Max Wang, “which left a huge market for us to explore.”

Kikoff’s primary measures of success were the cost per install as well as whether users went on to open Kikoff accounts.

“Impressions are a little finicky,” Wang said. “If you go to installs, you know they’re on your app.”

After running CTV campaigns through AppDiscovery, Kikoff’s install rates tripled, and it was able to scale its CTV budget by more than six times what it had been.

Based on the strong results, Wang said, CTV “is definitely becoming a larger part of our overall marketing budget.”

Test and learn

But the testing process opened Kikoff’s eyes to other insights, too.

For instance, for paid social ads on platforms such as Meta and TikTok, Kikoff typically runs “a lot of organic, influencer, UGC-style creative,” Wang said. But the company found that, on CTV, “higher-fidelity, more brand-esque creatives” in landscape format perform really well, relative to its usual approach.

“You can’t just slot one creative for all channels,” Wang said. “It’s [about] making sure you have the right creative for each channel.”

Furthermore, consumers who came to Kikoff through CTV ads had a much higher install-to-sign-up rate than its customers in general. Yet customers acquired via CTV also displayed “a lot more volatility in terms of making the payments for our credit accounts,” Wang said.

Why would customers who downloaded Kikoff after seeing an online ad look different from customers who installed Kikoff after seeing an ad on CTV?

It comes down to intent, according to Wang. People searching on Google for fin tech apps or “how to build credit” have a much higher level of interest in Kikoff – and are closer to conversion – than a typical CTV viewer.

But not all CTV is created equal. Broader targeting leads to more app downloads than reaching people through niche content.

Viewers watching Pluto TV, for example, have stronger intent to convert than those watching nature channels, say, or pet-friendly channels.

The only way to get an insight like that is to be willing to run tests and learn from experience.

Experimentation is critical, Wang said, especially in light of the effect Apple’s ATT has had on attribution and the overall rise in CACs and CPMs.

“As growth marketers, our ideal should always be pushing the boundaries of our conventional knowledge,” he said, “and, from there, making that the convention.”

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