If you are conducting or planning user acquisition activities aimed at increasing the number of downloads of your mobile application beware of incent traffic. It lowers the cost of user acquisition but is associated with a lower quality of the acquired action. Read on and check whether you consciously accept incent traffic in your campaign.
What is incent traffic?
Incent traffic, or in other words motivated traffic, is the action of getting a specific action from a user in exchange for a reward. In the case of app promotions, the rewards are usually virtual and involve, for example, unlocking content or gaining virtual currency to use in a specific game. A user who installed your app as a result of an incent campaign might not be interested in your offer, promotion or communication. He did it to get some virtual coins, and your app in this process was a tool, not a goal.
It’s easy to guess that users acquired through an incent campaign will be of much lower quality than those acquired through a standard campaign. Incentivised installations will have low loyalty, conversion and retention rates. Regardless of the app’s business model, the LTV of such a user is extremely low and rarely exceeds the cost of acquisition.
Lots, cheap, fast
Installations from incentive campaigns are cheaper and allow for large scale. These two features make the use of incentivised traffic make sense in some situations.
Incent traffic can be used as a booster to raise an app’s position in the rankings. We generate a large number of installations in a short period of time, with relatively little investment. These installations have no value in themselves, but high ranking guarantees an increase in organic users, i.e. the most desired ones.
Incent traffic in mobile is a potentially effective tool for cheap database building, an alternative to the not so long ago popular “win an iPhone” method. If you do not mind that in such a database there will be only people ready to give up their data in exchange for virtual coins or gifts, this type of acquisition is worth considering.
If the target audience of your application is in some part people who intensively consume virtual goods, it is worth testing user acquisition with the use of motivated traffic. Regardless of the initial motivation to install, your application has a chance to interest the user and perhaps defend itself. Check if the low price compensates for poorer performance, and if so, use this channel.
Incent traffic used in a conscious manner, as a part of user acquisition strategy, can be effective and should not be crossed out at the start. Unfortunately, it appears much more often in campaigns as abuse. The awareness of commonness of this type of actions is still very low and both in briefs and in offers a distinction between incent and non-incentive installations is rarely made.
Some providers take advantage of this and artificially lower CPI by increasing the share of incent traffic in the media plan, while marketers, guided by price, choose offers that do not offer any chance of ROAS. This leads to a situation where rates get lower and lower, and quality dips with them.
The solution to this problem is simple. Simply differentiate between incentivised and standard installations in your briefs, strategies and contracts. Failure to make this distinction leaves you vulnerable to fraud and removes the arguments for asserting your rights.
To incent or not to incent
There is no point in demonising incentivised traffic. It is very possible that there is a place for it in your application promotion strategy. The important thing is to know the pros and cons of such a solution, to buy consciously, and not to limit yourself to basic media data in assessing quality.