App Stores Think Bacon and Bank Robbery Are the Same Thing

What a gory third-person shooter about bank robbery at gunpoint has in common with a hyper-casual game of flipping a slice of cartoon bacon a frying pan to try and land it on random objects?

The answer: Not much, but both are classified as “action” games, according to Apple and Google in their respective app stores.

(“Bacon: the gameis a real thing, by the way, and it’s oddly satisfying.)

Privacy changes on iOS and Android, namely Apple’s AppTrackingTransparency framework and the SDK Runtime API coming soon to Android 13 (part of the Android Privacy Sandbox), mean contextual targeting is becoming more important in apps. app stores.

But context may not be as effective for targeting or monetization if publisher apps are categorized too broadly, said Puneet Gupta, co-founder and chief product officer of Kayzen, a Berlin-based startup that helps developers integrate their mobile programmatic purchases. lodge.

In broad strokes

Most game advertisers are also developers, and the purpose of advertising in other games is to generate downloads for themselves. User Acquisition Managers are deeply analytical, data-driven people who always have performance in mind.

But the categories offered in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store haven’t changed much since the two stores launched nearly 15 years ago.

And the players of “Armed robbery“, the third-person shooter mentioned above, it’s very unlikely that it’s the same people playing this very casual game of bacon. Yet, these audiences are grouped together because the games they play are broadly categorized.

To be fair, app stores also offer additional tags based on subgenre, but that’s not consistent across iOS and Android.

“They just don’t go deep enough,” Gupta said. “They are limited and the real context is not there.”

Smooth out the details

Earlier this year, Kayzen launched a new tool that uses a mix of manual tagging and machine learning to categorize apps more accurately and with a greater level of nuance.

The feature, called Smart App Categorization, categorizes publisher apps based on a three-level hierarchy: category, genre, and subgenre.

Take “Armed Heist”. Rather than opting for “action” as the main category and calling it a day, Kayzen could label it as “action” or “core”. (Basic games are games that generally require a certain level of skill and practice and are often monetized through in-app purchases.)

In this case, the genre could be “shooter” and the subgenre could be “third person shooter”, in order to differentiate it from first person shooters.

By comparison, a possible hierarchical categorization for bacon game might be “hypercasual” as a category (because, really, bacon flipping isn’t an action game, but you want to slice it), “arcade ” for the genre and maybe ” dexterity ” for the subgenre.

After manually tagging a large handful of apps, Kayzen uses them [specify what them is here] as seed data in combination with data from third-party partners, including Sensor Tower, to feed a machine learning model to automatically score other apps.

The apps that Kayzen was able to categorize represent between 70 billion and 75 billion programmatic ad requests per day. Kayzen is also working to increase the number of categories, genres, and subgenres it offers.

on a roll

JustDice, an award-winning German mobile game app developer, has been working with Kayzen for just over two years.

Since starting to target campaigns based on smart app categories this year, justDice has seen its volume of installs increase by 2.5 times and the number of apps installed per thousand impressions increase by 6 times.

All of justDice’s apps are rewards-based, which means discount hunters are one of its most active and lucrative audiences. But to find that particular kind of user in the past, you had to scour app stores for titles similar to your own and create whitelists, a process that wasn’t automated at all.

Now justDice can target apps that have “rewarded offers” listed as a subgenre.

It “really provides better targeting context,” said Miika Kenttämies, chief executive of justDice.

While programmatic isn’t its biggest media investment, justDice runs everything it does internally, which is why it started working with Kayzen as an “extension of our internal team,” Kenttämies said.

“With DSPs, we require 100% transparency as opposed to a managed black box,” he said. “We see it being managed internally as a significant added value to our other media buys due to the transparency and ability to hyper-target exchange campaigns.”

It’s a way to bring home the bacon.

About Cedric Lloyd

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