Investments

AppsFlyer Unifies Mobile Marketing Attribution, Sees $56M Series C

Investment activity for the week that ended March 4 roughly doubled from previous levels, as the fund flow hit about $1.7 billion dollars.

The bulk of that tally came from the banking space, where Iberia Bank bought Sabadell United Bank for $1 billion. The second largest transaction came in the cybersecurity and fraud space, where Palo Alto Networks bought LightCyber, which aids in attack detection, for $105 million. As part of that deal, Palo Alto will integrate the latter’s security technology, which uses machine learning to detect hacker attacks and other malfeasance, by year’s end.

The remaining triple-digit deal in the period came as Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria invested in Atom Bank with as much as $101 million, part of continued capital raising since the latter months of the last year.

Looking at the regional breakdown, the U.S. held sway with 83 percent of the investments for the week. Other regions notched only single-digit percentage rates.

AppsFlyer Unifies Mobile Marketing Attribution, Sees $56M Series C

The mobile marketing and ad tech space are hotter investment opportunities than ever as the number of smart devices worldwide continues to grow year on year. There was a time, however, before mobile apps were everywhere.

AppsFlyer, founded in Tel Aviv, Israel back in 2011, began with a goal to enable companies looking to break into the burgeoning mobile application space to effectively measure return on investment and marketing attribution, said Vice President of Sales Sunil Bhagwan.

At the time, traditional companies and native endeavors both faced some challenges when it came time to bring mobile applications to market.

Companies could choose from over 2,000 different ad networks to tap into, Bhagwan said. Each marketing partner required companies to install an SDK inside the app to track performance and user behavior. Since sophisticated mobile marketers used 28 or more different marketing sources to acquire new users, proper attribution could get a bit complicated.

“There was a problem of data duplication,” Bhagwan said. “Companies were potentially crediting multiple sources for an install, a transaction or whatever it may be.”

Additionally, the volume of SDKs required to effectively attribute mobile app marketing efforts occasionally caused slowdowns in user experiences.

AppsFlyer worked to solve these problems in the mobile marketing space by providing a mobile attribution and marketing analytics platform that required only one, universal SDK to sit within apps.

“Because we’re that central source of data collection,” Bhagwan said, “we’re able to see which campaigns drive the users to install, which ones are driving the users to perform specific in-app actions, and to credit the appropriate source.”

Fast-forward to today, the company has tens of thousands of customers, along with thousands of integrated partners — including Facebook, Google and Twitter — covering all of the primary channels where a mobile marketer would look to find users.

AppsFlyer’s SDK is present in tens ofthousands of mobile apps, which means, Bhagwan noted, that they’re currently present in some 98 percent of active smartphones worldwide.

This past January, AppsFlyer announced a $56 million Series C venture funding round led by Qumra Capital, with participation from Goldman Sachs Private Capital Investing, Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners, Pitango Growth, along with existing investors. To date, the company has raised some $84 million to date in four funding rounds.

“For us, it was a testament to excitement in mobile analytics and attribution space as a whole. It validated that the investment community wants to participate in this particular market,” Bhagwan said.

AppsFlyer plans to put the funds toward a few different areas — the first of which is to continue its expansion into key and emerging mobile markets.

The company currently has operations in New York and San Francisco and plans to re-up investments in the North American market and to hire new talent to fuel expansion across AppsFlyer’s core functions and to augment its features. Likewise, AppsFlyer will focus attention on retaining and growing its footprint in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as to investigate Latin American mobile markets.

The company plans to continue investing heavily in its security and fraud capabilities. Given the startup’s presence vast majority of active mobile devices, the startup recently leveraged its position to innovate in the realm of fraud detection.

“The biggest challenge for most companies now is that fraud is a kind of postmortem analysis,” Bhagwan said. “You run the campaigns, and you look at the data to see what percentage appears fraudulent.”

Last November, AppsFlyer rolled out DeviceRank, a global mobile device database that allows the company to dynamically score active mobile devices. Device Rank enables AppsFlyer to detect fraud trends and security anomalies at a macro level and to relay that information to advertisers in real time so that they can work to mitigate risks.

Baghwan also indicated that AppsFlyer has been eyeing upstream motion toward desktop web functionality, part of a larger omnichannel push.

“We started on this track with mobile apps, then expanded into mobile web,” he said. “The next step is looking at how we can continue to expand and help our customers get a true multichannel, cross-device view of user activity.”

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