5 Questions for HasOffers CEO Peter Hamilton

As I’ve mentioned before, every game developer I know buys ads on Facebook to drive games installs and uses HasOffers to track them.  So it was a bit of a shock when Facebook dropped HasOffers as a mobile measurement partner a few weeks back.

We virtually sat down with HasOffers CEO Peter Hamilton to ask him:  What happened with the Facebook relationship?  Who else is out there to advertise with aside from Facebook? What gives HasOffers the edge over their competition? What to do if you have the aspirations of King.com but not $350 million to spend?  And what’s going down at the Mobile World Conference that he’s currently attending in Spain?  All in 5 questions and in a less than 5 minute read.


HasOffers leadership team; Peter Hamilton in center

1.  Let’s get this question out of the way.  On February 12, 2014, Facebook dropped HasOffers (and Kontagent) as a mobile measurement partner.  What happened?

We helped to start and create the MMP program with Facebook, invested tremendous resources, and worked closely with Facebook teams throughout the process. We have always been a fan of the mobile app ad unit and Facebook’s ability to provide targeting to advertisers. In September we revealed to Facebook’s auditors every nuance of our technology infrastructure and data storage policies along with questions about how to best comply. We collaborated with them and worked very hard to receive clarification on compliance issues like the storage of information beyond 180 days while also providing various options and solutions for Facebook to choose from. We were always completely open and honest with Facebook on all of these things and swift to make changes upon clarification.

At 11AM on February 11th, I hopped on what I thought was a check-in call to see how things were going on compliance. Instead I was told that Facebook had decided to remove us from their MMP program. The call was very professional, and they asked us not to contact our clients until after 4pm that day. After I got off the call, Facebook’s account managers began emailing our clients worldwide.

I do want to reiterate that this was not related to privacy regulations or data leakage, and Facebook will confirm this. Though Facebook campaigns account for less than 1% of our total company revenue, they are an important part of our client’s marketing mix and a major contributor to total installs. We remain very willing to resolve this and take whatever steps necessary to mend the relationship.

2.  You just released a report on the top 25 mobile advertising partners aside from Facebook, which make up 75% of the total $13 billion market.  What was your methodology?  Who were the top 3 and why do you think they stood out?

We decided to take a completely agnostic approach to making this top 25 list. We ranked advertising partners based on the three equally weighted criteria (revenue per install, install volume, and client adoption). You’ll notice that this is a very diverse list from video to banner to programmatic and incentivized.

The top three were Google, InMobi, and AdColony (in that order), and this is mainly because the they each have the combination of being able to provide highly engaged and revenue positive users along with real scale. This top 25 was measured across over 375 different advertising partners, so all of these companies have pretty tremendous scale and we see all of them growing very quickly. We definitely expect to see fluctuation over time.

3.  Let’s take a step back.  As I’ve mentioned before on Gamezebo, every game developer I know at one time or the other has used HasOffers to track app installs, though you have a lot of competition.  How does HasOffers work, and what is your secret sauce that differentiates you from your competitors?

The secret is really in the partnerships. We are performance marketers ourselves, not just analytics providers. We’ve been measuring and reconciling advertising since 2009. We provide a completely transparent technology which give both advertisers and publishers complete flexibility in how they would like to work with each other. From the industries most robust and reliable API to the most efficient, consistent, and customizable postback system, we strive to be technology that makes it easier for advertisers and publishers to do business together. You will find that we are the most recommended and trusted platform by the partners we’re integrated with.

Re-engagement is a hot topic these days, and we provide the leading solution for not only attributing installs to advertising partners but also in app events such as registrations, subscriptions, purchases and more. This is great for companies like TapCommerce who are working hard to help apps engage their existing users over time.

Multi-touch attribution is relatively new to the scene, and we are the only platform that provides it for mobile app advertising. We not only show attribution for the last ad that was clicked before a user engaged, but also previous clicks on ads to reveal others that may have impacted the buyers’ decision. This will go a long way toward providing the full view of which advertising partners provide brand awareness far beyond the last click.

We also remain completely unbiased by not taking a cut of ad spend and remaining completely agnostic to which partners our clients would like to work with. We do not have a data play for retargeting or our own bidder or media buying. We focus on only providing the best possible software as a service.

Lastly, we are a 150 person profitable, and scalable company. We have fantastic support from Accel Partners and we’re growing extremely fast. We are the most utilized platform for mobile attribution worldwide.

4.  If I’m King and I am spending $350 million a year on advertising for installs, marketing is easy.  I have an unlimited budget and can outbid pretty much everyone for installs.  Let’s say I am not King, I’m releasing a new game, and I want to successfully launch the title.  What advice would you give?  

Good question. First of all, spending $350 million in app advertising is extremely difficult. Finding that kind of scale and making sure it provides return is a major task.

If you have a smaller budget or you’re just getting started, it really depends on how much time and/or resources you have. This really impacts your strategy massively. If you do not have someone focused on user acquisition, I would recommend starting with some of the larger platforms that have simple self-service models. You might even consider working with folks that can do some of that optimization for you like Fiksu or Grow Mobile or working with an agency like Fetch or Somo.

You need to start testing out the user acquisition path and make sure that you can get people to convert before you scale your campaigns. Once you are confident you can run successful campaigns, you can start to test more advertising partners to see which ones have the best performance and ultimately drive the most life-time value. We watched Kabam in our early days go from only working with a few partners to working with over a hundred. They did an amazing job of this and ultimately had the highest grossing app in the App Store in 2012. There is no substitute for good old fashioned elbow grease. A great user acquisition marketer can drive prices down and find new partners with just hard work. They need to have the right mix of business development skills with an understanding of analytics.


5.  You are in Barcelona right now for the Mobile World Conference.  Aside from Gaudi and paella, what’s the coolest things you’ve seen?

Are you following my Facebook feed? Ha! This is my third MWC, and I have to say that this one has been the most exciting. Perhaps for us it has to do with all of the news and motion in the industry, but the coolest thing I’ve seen is the support we are getting from partners and clients from all sides. As I said at a client and partner dinner that we co-hosted last night with Fetch agency, I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and love for our product which has really confirmed for me that we’ve created a standard. We’re going to keep building technology to support this very special industry, and I can’t wait to see where it all takes us.

As a shameless plug, we’re hiring on all levels worldwide right now 😉 We’d love to hear from any talented folks that might be reading this.

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