Bending Spoons is an Italian tech company focused on building the best marketing mobile applications, and one of Italy’s major home-grown app successes.
Begun in 2013 as a collaboration between five friends, the company has since gone on from strength to strength. Their apps have now received a combined total of over 122m downloads, with 13m concurrent monthly active users.
We often find that developers with the largest portfolios of apps tend to uncover some intriguing ways to leverage our platform, so we went to Italy to find out just how Bending Spoons makes the most of Adjust. We were met by one of the co-founders of Bending Spoons, Francesco Patarnello, who explained just what Bending Spoons do, and how they work with us to make the most of their users. You can read the entire interview below.
Your commercial products are exclusively apps: When did you start to consider mobile tracking?
At the point when we started paid user acquisition, we began to make use of an attribution provider.
In the beginning, we found an alternative solution which was very cheap but created a lot of implementation problems that we had to spend too much time resolving, instead of using the tool as intended.
Then we started testing Adjust, a great product that completely fulfilled our expectations.
How important is app measurement for Bending Spoons?
For us, the most important thing about tracking is that it gives worth to a user, in the sense that it allows us to spend on a user according to their value.
In our case, tracking is particularly useful when it reaches the level of sophistication that allows us to estimate the Lifetime Value (LTV) or the average revenue of the downloads of our users.
For example, to evaluate installs that come about from a specific campaign, I need to be able to estimate the LTV of the users that are coming from that campaign. If I can't do that, it’s not very useful for me to know which users come from which campaign, because I don't know what they're worth.
In fact, we rely on multiple platforms to calculate LTV and ROI, but the most-used performance report is formed by Adjust raw data at the user level, which are then joined with cost data pulled directly from the AdNetwork or Facebook dashboards via API.
This gives us a perfect idea of how much we spent to acquire our users, and what returns in terms of revenue from the activity of each user.
We also use the Adjust report API to download aggregate data from multiple applications at once without having to access the dashboard.
How do you leverage Adjust now?
Adjust has allowed us to track all the acquisition campaigns that we've undertaken since we started working with you.
At the moment our biggest acquisition channels are Facebook, Snapchat, Google, Pinterest, and Apple Search. For AdNetworks we have used UnityAds and Applovin.
Our mobile marketing team has grown around Adjust and these acquisition channels. For us, it was very important to keep high margins, and the price of Adjust has allowed us to do so.
Bending Spoons, as an app publisher, has an average revenue for downloads which is much lower that an average game publisher. This means it is important that we are able to maintain a low download cost.
What type of reporting system do you use in the mobile marketing team?
The main way we report is with a tool that unites all the data points of a user, from beginning to end. It principally works with Adjust's raw data.
So for every micro unit (asset) our system creates a condition that is the long-term ROI and the LTV of every user. This tool is our primary guide and allows us to make very specific decisions based on the assets used in each acquisition channel.
When we need to perform a fast analysis of the performance we use the aggregated data on the Adjust dashboard.
Adjust raw data are the data source around which your tech team builds solutions. How do you collect the data?
We use raw data callbacks on all our applications. To receive data from Adjust, we used to use the S3 bucket, but now we use servers offered by Google.
What does the Italian market make of mobile tracking?
I think that from this point of view, the market is fairly immature. In Italy, there are really very few big game publishers. The big agencies working for advertisers are not very sensitive in this area and tracking becomes an inconvenient expense for them. Concentrating on tracking is a big investment, because it uses raw data, and requires a lot of resources.
But for us, making this investment, and using the majority of our data science to estimate the LTV of a user has been a very important step.
It seems that the industry is going crazy for multi-touch attribution. What are your thoughts on it?
If multitouch were precise across the line, on all touch points and avoided fraudulent traffic, it could be great to work with.
But, I think there is so much margin for error that creating such a precise thing is risky. You can collect a lot of information which doesn't tell you all that much.
We need to invest to identify the things that really do increase quality, and this needs to be done fast. If you realize that there's not a lot of value in multi-touch, then, in my view, it's better to concentrate on something else.