Predictive marketing revolutionises the way advertisers utilise user data

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In a world where everyone is now, more than ever, relying on their mobile devices, app marketers are being provided with vast opportunities to tap into and reach their customers. Yet, this increased accessibility has also led to more people questioning the privacy of their profiles online. 

Though user privacy isn’t a new concept, it’s one not many of us have carefully paid attention to. Hardly anyone reads the privacy policy that pops up before clicking “accept”, and no one has really paid attention to cookies mapping our interactions across websites. For a long time, the mobile ecosystem has benefited and enabled this largely harmless status quo which has helped send targeted and hyper-personalised ads to users. 

That is, until Apple pushed privacy front and centre by killing the Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) – raising valid concerns from advertisers about their existential place in the whole marketing technology mix. 

With the marketplace largely moving towards becoming more privacy-centric, advertisers find themselves tasked with finding ways to break through the status quo of marketing measurement. Thankfully, they have help. There are ardent ecosystem players that have been intersecting innovation and privacy in their products and solutions from the get-go. 

This makes it an exciting time to be an app marketer; being on the cusp of an industry-wide paradigm shift means we have the ability to shape the future of mobile advertising.

Getting a slice of the SEA app economy pie

As digital adoption and the internet economy are growing at a staggering rate, marketers have tremendous opportunities to leverage today's high-value, high-impact mobile commerce market. According to eMarketer, Southeast Asian economies are on track to earn US$45.07 billion in eCommerce sales, with app instal ad spend increasing to US$61.1 billion in 2022. 

Our own research found that app downloads increased 33% in 2020 in the initial wave of the pandemic, which was up a massive 25% compared with 2019 – creating an opportunity for app marketers to capitalise on previously untapped segments (Tier two and Tier three cities, for example).

Yet, is it still possible to delight these end-users while protecting their privacy? The short answer is yes. We don’t see privacy as a limit, but rather a starting point for new opportunities that lie ahead.

Even with an Apple-lens, no crystal balls required

The light still remains at the end of the tunnel. Soon after IDFA fizzled out, Apple introduced its SKAdNetwork infrastructure – a solution that operates without advertising IDs and measures the first 24 hours of app interaction from the moment a user first opens their app – to fill in the gap. 

The new infrastructure provides marketers opportunities to make sense of new data, so they aren’t flying completely blind and are not left with daunting and complex tools, while also having the ability to predict future campaign success and optimising strategies.

Making sense of this complex environment is exactly where predictive marketing solutions come in. 

Predictive marketing is primarily based on predictive analytics – which isn’t new. Predictive analysis utilises available data sets to make educated forecasts on future events and has been used in industries such as banking to spot illegal customer behaviour; and healthcare to determine the likely results of treatments for people with certain conditions.

Marketers can leverage early signals of engagement to predict long-term campaign performance and make timely optimisation decisions. 

Solutions such as AppsFlyer’s first-to-market PredictSK for instance, uses a predictive AI engine to continuously structure, analyse and validate 100% of the historical and current data in real-time. Predictive marketing clusters behavioural characteristics based on interactions within the available 24-hour measurement window to determine future potential customers.

Built on big data, machine learning and deep analysis capabilities of each app’s unique usage patterns, there is no guesswork in predictive marketing. The result is an exceptionally accurate prediction model based on each app’s specific insights for each app.

Another way predictive marketing protects user privacy is through its reliance on aggregated data. Security experts have widely agreed aggregated data is preferable and can be as effective in marketing campaigns, meaning extensive, individual user-level profiles no longer need to be built to ensure the right ad goes to the right target audience.

Privacy is not a zero sum game

In the age of privacy, brands need to have a measurement partner with solutions built on preserving privacy and user experience.

Privacy and security have always been and will always be the core principle of AppsFlyer; as a trusted, unbiased and independent market leader in mobile measurement and analytics, we believe it is our responsibility to ensure we’re constantly doing the right thing for our customers, app developers, ecosystem – and, most importantly, the end users.

After all, there’s no going back – the industry’s shift to greater privacy measures will only accelerate from here on. And we firmly believe that user privacy is a fundamental human right.

This article is written by Ronen Mense, president and managing director, APAC, AppsFlyer.