Smaato’s Partner Spotlight is a blog series focusing on discussions with industry leaders in the programmatic advertising world. We discuss some of the top ad tech trends, best practices, and insights with publishers, demand-side platforms (DSPs), agencies, and technology partners.
In the first post of the series, we spoke to Dr. Christian Liesegang, Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder of Remerge.
Tell us a little about Remerge.
Dr. Christian Liesegang: Founded in 2014 and headquartered in Berlin, Remerge is one of the first in-app retargeting partners built from scratch. Remerge focuses on helping app marketers re-engage with their existing users by enticing those users back into their mobile app(s) — this means providing these users with the right ad, at the right time, in the right place. We now operate across all markets with offices around the world, which helps us provide timely support for all of our clients.
To provide optimal results, we’re integrated with various supply partners — some focus on local markets, while others provide us with global supply like Smaato. In order to define fine-grained target audiences for our campaigns, we are integrated with all the major mobile measurement and customer data partners. As experts in in-app retargeting, we also place a strong emphasis on transparency and measurement of incremental uplift results for our retargeting campaigns.
How does Remerge differentiate itself from other demand-side partners in the mobile advertising industry?
Dr. Christian Liesegang: We offer the combination of our incrementality measurement tool and our scalable DSP. Our goal is to be aligned with our customers’ needs and business model, which is why we consult with every customer to find a robust, customized setup. Enterprise customers, for example, need a long-term and trusted partner, so we offer a consultative approach in scientific measurement. It’s not only about explaining why incrementality measurement makes sense, but also how to interpret the results and use the learnings to achieve the customer’s goals. This is why Remerge offers app marketers continuous incrementality measurement with access to all the related raw data and retro-analysis of group behavior.
In addition, due to new and more restrictive privacy regulations around the world, Remerge has put a focus on adopting these regulations quickly to guarantee our clients compliant and consensual ad placement and tracking. The GDPR and the CCPA are just the beginning of this ongoing regulation of the mobile advertising industry, and we will continue to take adequate measures to provide the highest level of data protection and privacy for our clients and their customers.
What insights can you share that would be helpful for app publishers looking to run retargeting campaigns?
Dr. Christian Liesegang: First of all, it’s critical for app publishers to fully understand their user base. There are two typical examples of app user bases: (1) people who installed an app but never used it, and (2) people who regularly use an app but never buy anything. Like in traditional marketing, app publishers must understand what the pain points are in each of those user groups and what kind of expectations they have for running a retargeting campaign.
These insights help us address different user groups with the correct messaging, visualization, and calls-to-action. In other words, once we identify which users to target actively, we can shape the creative design so it resonates with users in such a way that they click on the ads.
What do you look for in a digital advertising technology platform like Smaato?
Dr. Christian Liesegang: When it comes to working with other advertising technology platforms, we’re looking to optimize our supply. Optimization is not new, but nevertheless it’s still a topic these days. To achieve this, we need a good relationship with suppliers from both a technical and business aspect. Without a technical point-of-contact, it’s really difficult to troubleshoot specific topics. A good business relationship is essential, especially when it comes to how traffic and bidding can be optimized. Quality is also a must; we’re not interested in any resold inventory.
Another important aspect for Remerge when working with a company like Smaato is the capability to properly execute and redirect deep links, as well as universal links in the case of iOS. A seamless app opening and redirecting of a user to their desired conversion point directly impacts the overall campaign performance of our clients.
Lastly, we’re looking for transparency. Remerge prides itself as a transparent company, sharing as much information as needed to our clients. We expect the same level of transparency from our supply partners. We need to be able to verify discrepancies in a timely manner, so they don’t affect campaign performance and our client relationships.
What are the most important requirements for you to ensure your clients are satisfied with campaign results?
Dr. Christian Liesegang: Effective advertising is all about personalization, so we need to find the right users wherever they are and serve them the right ad at the right time. But we also need to reach as many app users as possible at scale. When we look at working with supply partners, one of the most crucial aspects is scalable supply (i.e., providing us with as much user traffic as possible and allowing us to find the users we need).
Generally speaking, the overall term of “performance” typically refers to low cost-per-action on a large scale. This means that when we show an ad on a publisher’s app, we want the users to click and convert regardless of what the conversion event may be (e.g., app open, product view, purchase, etc.). Clients may have strict expectations about the segments they want to target and how to address them. But based on our experience, campaign results typically exceed expectations when Remerge can leverage its incremental measurement and flexible real-time segmentation to dynamically learn which kind of users resonate best and how to address them.
What do you consider the main challenges facing programmatic advertising today? And how is Remerge creating solutions to those challenges?
Dr. Christian Liesegang: The programmatic industry is in a constant battle with fraud, lack of transparency, and privacy concerns. Being a retargeting-only partner means that Remerge is not as heavily exposed to click fraud as other players that focus on user acquisition, who have to struggle with fake app installs. Nevertheless, combating fraud is a key topic for Remerge, and we provide transparency on impression-level and click-level log data when requested by our clients. We also partner with mobile measurement partners to support impression and click validation techniques, and we participate in initiatives like the Coalition Against Ad Fraud (CAAF).
In the name of transparency, Remerge’s incremental results give insights into the performance of our actively targeted test users compared with a holdback group, which is not influenced by our retargeting activities. This helps decision-makers decide where their budget is spent best.
The ongoing discussions about privacy require the ecosystem to change their way of thinking — and put privacy first. As a retargeting-only partner, we rely on first-party data typically shared directly by our clients. The GDPR regulates the processing of this data, and we established working processes with our clients and partners to adhere to the legal requirements when it comes to the deletion of personal data.
Similarly, the CCPA is of importance for Remerge as well. We are CCPA-compliant. Remerge doesn’t store any information from our supply partners that is used for profiling of users. We only utilize the data for determining the correct ad asset, but the targeting is based on first-party in-app data provided by the app developer.
Which industry trends are you most excited to see unfold in 2020 and beyond?
Dr. Christian Liesegang: Privacy will continue to be the key topic in the mobile advertisement industry over the next one or two years. With the GDPR and the CCPA in place, we’re expecting more changes to come into play, especially when it comes to the utilization of private data and consent. With the near end of third-party cookies, cross-device and cross-channel ads will be less important for retargeting — and budgets will shift to in-app. That said, as part of improving user privacy and preventing private data leakage, we also anticipate that mobile device identifiers, like Apple’s IDFA and Google’s GAID, will likely be deprecated in the near future too. Therefore, future retargeting technologies that do not rely on personal data and identifiers will become the new standard.
Do you have any industry predictions of your own?
Dr. Christian Liesegang: Due to the uncertainties in the post-cookie era, we’re predicting a massive move of advertising activities to in-app. With the uptake in legal and privacy regulations, there is more emphasis on control and transparency. We need to be more specific on which audiences to target while staying transparent on which data we use and collect.
The discussions around the effectiveness of advertising, and retargeting in particular, will take on a more central role. At the same time, new models and methodologies will arise to show incremental results anytime and anywhere. Ultimately, real-time transparency on incremental results and automated optimization based on incremental insights will unlock additional retargeting budgets by our clients due to increased trust, performance, and control.
Can you share a recent success story from your partnership with Smaato?
Dr. Christian Liesegang: Smaato has been one of our global supply partners from the start. Our partnerships team works closely with Smaato to regularly optimize the individual traffic for our needs. As a retargeting partner, we only bid on users that have, or have had, apps of our clients installed. Smaato also helps us filter out irrelevant traffic upfront and open up traffic volume where it’s needed most for our clients. By doing this, infrastructure costs are kept at a minimum and we get the most out of our processing capacities.
Smaato has also proven to be a reliable partner with an advanced SDK that properly supports deep links and universal links. Smaato is ranked highly at Remerge when it comes to delivering optimal performance for our client’s advertising campaigns, and we look forward to continuing our strong partnership in the years to come.