It's important for an advertiser and DSP to have strong partnership.

How to Make the Most of your DSP Partnership

As an app marketer, there’s only so much time in the day to keep track of all your growth campaigns and DSP partnerships. Odds are, you’re working with multiple DSPs for your needs. How can you get the most out of each relationship (and get enough sleep in the process)?

In our previous blog, we looked at what performance marketers need to consider in a potential mobile DSP partner. In the second installment of our mobile DSP best practices series, we talked to two team members from LifeStreet’s Customer Success team. Jessica Ionni, Vice President, Business Operations, and Christy Labrador, Director of Customer Success; help us understand how app marketers can get the most out of their relationship with their DSP partner.

The best practices to make the most of your DSP partnership

Determine your KPIs

First thing’s first, in order to reach your goals, you have to determine what they are. To get the most out of your relationship with any growth partner, determining your KPIs is key.

For games, KPIs that track ad spend like ROAS (return on ad spend) are standard, even if your app offers in-game purchases.  Players usually make more purchases the longer they spend in-app. Therefore, a ROAS goal can also help evaluate the overall relative value of a player more precisely than tracking one-off purchases via a CPA goal might.

Once you determine your KPIs, you can set up your partnership with a DSP for maximum success; providing them with the goals you care most about. This helps align expectations between you and your DSP. Additionally, it enables them to build off your goals and find additional opportunities to scale up your campaign.

“Throughout a campaign’s lifecycle, we also manage and optimize all of your campaign activity, clearly communicating any opportunities and strategies, so that we can be of use to our partners, especially if they are looking to scale their campaigns.”

— Christy Labrador, Director of Customer Success at LifeStreet

Bonus best practice: give your partner KPI benchmarks

An extra best practice step for setting up your campaign for KPI success is giving your growth partner KPI benchmarks. This means outlining key indicators or trends of success. For example, if your KPI is 100% ROAS by Day 30 of your campaign, then a key benchmark could be reaching 25% ROAS by Day 7 of the campaign. Giving benchmarks helps support your DSP partner in tracking whether they’re on the path to reaching your goals. It also gives them an opportunity to reconfigure your campaign if they’re not inline to hit your goals.

Let campaign data actualize

Depending on economic shifts and industry trends, campaign performance can see a lot of ups and downs. Rather than getting caught up in an unexpected drop in performance, remember that data actualization takes a few days. Most importantly, trust your DSP partner. If you’ve been clear about your goals and provided benchmarks, then trust they’re doing everything they can to reach them.

“There will always be periods of softness for any number of external reasons: economic difficulties, the time of the year, game fatigue, among others. Knowing how to work around these obstacles is a challenge we have to continue to overcome. Another challenge we encounter in this industry is simply that it is always changing, which means we need to be able to adapt quickly to stay ahead of the curve.”

— Jessica Ionni, Vice President, Business Operations at LifeStreet

If you react to campaign “softness” by limiting budget, you run the risk of unnecessarily cutting down volume and scale in the long-term. Taking our example above: if your goal is to hit 100% of ROAS by Day 30 then don’t cut spend and scale after only a week of your campaign not hitting the mark. Take heart that industry changes can cause dips and give your campaign its full potential to scale up over time.

Test for incremental lift

Meeting your app’s KPIs is always the goal but how can you be sure you’ve met them? This is where evaluation methods like A/B testing and incrementality are key to understanding what’s driving your campaign’s success.

Not too long ago, LifeStreet was approached by an advertiser to take part in a growth project: acquire a significant volume of reward-seekers through in-app games and hit 100% ROAS by the end of Day 1 of the campaign. 

How did LifeStreet approach this project?

“We were … able to leverage our two key differentiators at LifeStreet: our bidding and creative strategies. In the former, we lowered our bids across the campaign, increasing the volume … by 160% and conversions by 200%. For the latter, we A/B tested our creatives iteratively to drive peak performance.”

— Jessica Ionni, Vice President, Business Operations at LifeStreet

Through incremental testing, our team was able to identify our actions had resulted in a 50-100% lift in yield compared to the advertiser’s third-party assets. Furthermore:

“This multifaceted strategy led to us exceeding our KPIs across the board, as we secured a 230% increase in registrations, a 23% increase in ROAS, and a 10% increase in impression-to-registration rate. These results were hugely satisfying, and really topped off a hugely successful campaign.”

— Christy Labrador, Director of Customer Success at LifeStreet

How to undertake an incremental test

Incrementality testing helps measure the true impact of your marketing campaigns. At its core, it’s a simple A/B test designed to evaluate whether your optimizations have an incremental lift on your goals. For example, if you have ROAS goals, then you should test the incremental lift of overall revenue as a result of your campaigns.

Work with values-driven DSP partners

Our final best practice is obvious, but we’ll name it anyways: you should only be working with values-driven growth partners. As noted above, trust is a critical element of a successful UA campaign. As such, work with DSPs with values you can trust.

At LifeStreet, collaboration, growth, and transparency are key values.

We strive to create an environment where everyone feels comfortable to ask questions and collaborate, no matter their role. We encourage our employees to adopt a growth mindset, and try to be as transparent about company targets and goals as possible.

— Jessica Ionni, Vice President, Business Operations at LifeStreet

Looking for a DSP partner you can trust to hit your growth goals?

For support growing your game app’s reach and revenue, contact us to work with our team of CSM growth experts.

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