Joe Paratore

Digital advertising, which reached $178B worldwide this year, is king of the advertising world. By 2020,  Magna predicts digital ad sales will represent 50% of the market, reaching $299B globally. A large portion of these digital ad sales will come from mobile. This rapid shift means marketers will have to choose from hundreds of different mobile advertising partners for performance campaigns. Yet, many are wary of testing.  If you are responsible for choosing an advertising partner, it’s important understand the value of testing performance campaigns, how to prep, and how to measure the success of a test before scaling.


Performance advertising 101

Unlike television, brand, and traditional out-of-home advertising, digital provides advertisers with a highly efficient and measurable way to drive early user actions, usage, and transactions. With performance-based campaigns, the advertiser only pays for measureable results, which makes it especially effective for companies on a budget. Whether you're advertising in the U.S. or India, performance advertising operates the same. Due diligence is necessary before a company is ready to invest in performance, including establishing their measures of success and determining a realistic budget. Test campaigns are a great way for advertisers to do this, but there are some things to consider when preparing the “recipe” for testing.

You can’t measure success until you know what success looks like

The first step is understanding what success looks like for your company. Some common key performance indicators (KPIs) include:

  • Sales revenue: Also known as average revenue per user (ARPU), sales revenue is defined as the total revenue divided by the number of users

  • ROI: Financial return on an investment relative to the investment's cost

  • Cost per acquisition: Acquisition is a broad term and could be defined in various ways, including cost per install, cost per registration, cost per lead, cost per transaction, cost per subscription, etc. Each cost action depends on the type of performance campaign you run.

  • Engagement: This is different for every company, but in user acquisition campaigns this could be tied to user retention and usage

KPIs vary significantly for each company depending on a number of factors, so it’s crucial to look critically at your product and your needs to determine the best KPI metrics for your current stage and desired future growth.  

Review advertising partners

Once you have identified what success will look like for you, you can begin to research  digital advertising partners. Depending on your goals, there are different classifications of partners to choose from, specifically:


Mobile Luma Scape 2017

Click to view the full size image [Source]

There is no special formula to finding a partner. If you are a larger organization, you may find yourself getting a number of inbound requests from potential advertising partners a week. I recommend vetting each of them and asking around your own network to hear others’ war stories—hearing both the good and the bad is helpful. The only true way to understand the best fit for your offering is by actually testing the inventory.  Some things to ask a prospective partner before agreeing to a test are:

  1. Buy Type: Do they offer CPC buys? CPI? etc.

  2. Rates: What rates does the partner offer?

  3. Projections: What volume of new users can you expect?

  4. Targeting: Are they able to target ads to different placements on the site or app? Can they target different audiences based on location or specific demographics?

  5. Reporting: What level of reporting do they provide: Impressions? Clicks? Installs?

  6. Attribution: What attribution solutions are they integrated with?

Test, then iterate

Once you have identified the channel(s) you want to invest in, it’s time to test the traffic. Hold the partner accountable and ask them to explain what the optimization strategy is to make sure they’re spending your money efficiently. It's their job to give you a sense of the results they have achieved with other clients in order to build confidence. You may also need to allocate your funds to various channels in order to get the results you want.


One concern I often hear from clients is the price of a test campaign—many clients are sensitive to spending money on a test that may not yield the results they want. Generally, it’s going to require more of a financial investment to identify and connect with quality users. By investing more, platforms are able to deliver quality performance by leveraging fraud prevention measures, targeting capabilities, and engagement features.


Based on the results of the test, you may have to pivot. That’s okay—your learnings will help you make your next calculated decision. It’s also hard to not nitpick during the initial testing phase, but you chose this partner for a reason—trust them. They know their product the best and are going to be focusing on providing the best results possible. It’s not the end result to get excited about, it’s the journey to success. While it sounds cliché, it’s why you want to solve a B2C or B2B challenge in the first place.

Jana is your mobile performance advertising partner

Jana works with advertisers to develop strategic mobile advertising campaigns to engage consumers in emerging markets. We connect brands, agencies, and app developers to our proprietary audience through mCent and mCent Browser. Jana ensures reliable mobile user acquisition, brand awareness, and measureable performance. Interested in learning what a test campaign would look like for you?