May 03, 2017

Measure ad campaigns in China with Adjust

As the first international measurement platform, Adjust now supports native measurement in China.

This means that you can use the Adjust SDK and tracking URLs directly for campaigns inside China – no special Chinese app builds, no mandatory server-to-server integrations, just the entire Adjust platform measuring your Chinese campaigns.

The whole thing is enabled by a groundbreaking infrastructure setup that we’ve accomplished together with a local partner. Web traffic targeted at our domains from China will be routed through an intermediary which has a fixed and reliable connection directly to our main datacenters in Western Europe.

A huge market – that international marketers aren’t going for

It’s an understatement to say that China is a huge market. There are 600 million smartphone users in China, and the market’s projected to grow by almost 50 million people annually!

This is also nowhere near saturated. At 600 million, barely 45 % of the Chinese population use a smartphone. So these rapid growth rates could go on for 30 years before running out of Chinese people. I’m simplifying, but you get the idea.

But marketers from the rest of the world aren’t there.

Just look at our App Store analysis tools, apptrace, to get the idea. Among the top 300 iOS apps in the Chinese App Store, only 20 % also feature on US top lists – whereas most other markets display a high interdependence, with a large number of titles that take up positions in multiple markets across the world.

Why not?

To get a closer picture, we asked over 1,500 mobile marketers around the world a simple question: “Are you running User Acquisition in China?”

About half of the respondents got back to us and said it wasn’t an interesting market – impracticable to do business in, as for many ecommerce players that are tied to one or two “home markets”, utility apps that don’t port well, or otherwise mobile teams for whom the call to launch the new market is a bigger business question. Fair enough: I’d expect a similar result no matter which market I’d ask about.

But for those teams that could bring their mobile business to China, a staggering 80 % said they were held back from scaling their business in China as far as they wanted. Almost all of our respondents agreed on three main challenges: localization (quelle surprise), improving engagement among Chinese users (always a mobile marketers’ main challenge), and problems with porting their technology stack to China.

What’s the holdup?

Basically, web traffic going in and out of China is often associated with significant network delay, time-outs, and congestion. The Great Firewall means that tracker URLs could take many seconds to redirect, and packages from the SDK would be dropped – resulting in low accuracy as well as poor user experience (UX).

So we conducted a benchmark to see how long you’d have to wait after clicking an ad to be redirected to the App Store or a landing page. This showed that users clicking on ads would have to wait almost 3 seconds on average before reaching app stores, and around 15 % of users would never reach the app store at all.

As we know, users are impatient. A 3-second wait for an ad to redirect will result in exponentially lower conversion rates.

This hobbles the international measurement platforms in China. The Firewall could be worked around using server-to-server integrations, but these are associated with a different kind of bias and accuracy issues. Until now, we’ve had to tell clients not to use Adjust in China for the sake of accuracy and UX.

What’s worse, for many marketers, the measurement platform is the central place of data collection for their app. Most marketers we work with give their measurement platform the task of syncing data across to various partners, BI platforms, internal servers and so on. So if the measurement platform can operate in China, the rest of your stack will, too.

So what did we do?

We’ve made it possible to connect to Adjust’s servers internationally through a local intermediary inside China – without having to make any modifications or use any special integration.

The data from the Chinese uplink will be received and analyzed in the same way as data from other countries. I don’t like using the word “magic” to describe our technology – that makes it seem opaque and mysterious – but this one sort of is.

What does it mean for marketers?

If you’re using Adjust today, you can start marketing toward Chinese smartphone users today. Our numerous integrations with Chinese media partners allow you to connect seamlessly to YeahMobi, Tencent, or any of the other great partners with inventory in the great big country beyond. And your existing app build – with no modification – will work seamlessly inside China.

Check out our infographic for more on the difficulties of attribution in China.