At Mobile Spree 2017, Adjust’s CTO and Co-founder Paul H. Müller announced that Audience Builder, our new segmentation and retargeting tool, will be free to all of our clients from June 15th until the end of September of this year. “Now we can give out the homework and grade it”, Müller told the crowd on June 1st. We sat down to chat about how our clients have already been using the Audience Builder, what it means for the mobile marketing community, and how this will affect what data might look like in the future.
When we started to plan for the tool, did you envision how people would use it?
The audience builder was born out of some challenges our clients had around retargeting - many had an ability gap. They wanted to be able to create a list of advertising IDs to retarget, but they didn’t have the tech to do it. Awareness was growing enough that our clients knew they should be able to do it, but they couldn’t figure out how to get there. That’s what sparked us to create the Audience Builder.
How has Audience Builder been used so far?
The creativity we’ve seen so far exceeds what we originally envisioned. We’re excited about clients discovering new possibilities. People are creating lookalike audiences based on revenue data, and they’re also using audience builder for cross-app campaigns where you say, ‘okay, these users worked well for this app, how can we get them interested in this new app?’. They’re also using Audience Builder for exclusion targeting - one problem for advertisers is that if you have a campaign that’s paid not just on installs, but on impressions or clicks, your most loyal users are also the people most likely to click your ads. You don’t want that - you don’t want to spend any money ‘acquiring’ users you already have. You want to be able to exclude them from your campaigns. We’ve also seen clients play around with retargeting who haven’t before. One bigger trend we’ve noticed across the industry is that a lot people don’t want to share all of their revenue data - they see it as a necessary evil, as something they do because they have to.
What is data sharing going to look like in the future?
In the future, clients will share much more of their data on a need-to-know basis with their networks. But, on the other hand, they’ll also share more relevant data - not just reduced data. This will reduce the over-processing in our ecosystem. Right now, every data point gets touched and handled ten times. This is so inefficient. For our clients, the Audience Builder helps them understand the ins and outs of this problem. Audience builder gives them new abilities that make their lives easier. At the same time, we’re helping them take care of their data, so it’s a win-win.
At Mobile Spree 2017, you pointed out that 'on average, a mobile marketer shares all of their app data with ten different partners'. Why do you want to help clients not give away their data?
Having developed apps in the past, I come from an app developer background. Adjust is the only attribution company with an app publisher background, so we see the world through different eyes. We believe that data is inherently valuable, so our clients, even if they’re not aware of it, should be able to protect it. A good analogy is fraud protection - we built it and pushed it out, even when clients weren’t aware of the levels of fraud in their data.
We could’ve chilled out and not done the hard thing, but we did it because it was the right thing to do. For them, data protection or the not-oversharing of their data might be a collateral that they don’t care so much about, but we had the tech to do it and it was definitely in the interest of our clients.
What kinds of updates can users expect to the Audience Builder in the future?
We want to level the playing field for the entire ecosystem. The current generation of Audience Builder lets anyone do pretty sophisticated retargeting, and pretty much any network can run with it. The next generation of the tool will give everyone the tech to do really sophisticated individualized campaigns. Right now that’s something that only the biggest networks can do. We want to give everyone the power to do those types of campaigns.
What is your response to clients who don't prioritize data protection?
You have to accept that people will behave how they’re incentivized. Unless you change how the system works, you can’t rage at it. So we need to change how stuff works, and that’s a process. That takes doing. I don’t get mad about it. It’s our job to educate our clients and approach those who have overall financial responsibility for their product, not just the people who are working to hit certain targets. We need to get them to change how they define KPIs. As long as people are paying their UA managers to do things that are arguably terrible, you can’t blame them for doing something that would be opposed to their company’s long-term health and well-being. That’s what we’re working on.