How TextNow Free Phone Service App Converted To Alternate Identifiers After ATT

With mobile IDs falling by the wayside, it is more difficult than ever to monetize your in-app ad inventory.

The TextNow app-based phone service, which offers free calls and ad-supported text messages, is particularly vulnerable to the ongoing shutdown of mobile device identifiers. The company monetizes its offerings on any device connected to the Internet through the use of in-app advertising, which represents the “vast majority” of the company’s $103 million in revenue in 2021, according to Evan Thor, director of ad monetization and operations. .

Following the Apple AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) initiative, more iOS users are choosing not to allow their device ID – known on Apple platforms as IDFA – to be used for ad targeting. The impending Privacy Sandbox changes for Android will eliminate Google’s advertising ID entirely by 2024.

Prior to ATT, about 30% of TextNow users chose not to provide their IDFA, which the company deemed below normal. After Apple launched the tracking claim, Thor said, TextNow felt a “significant impact” accelerating withdrawal rates.

“As users are given more choices, and as data policies and privacy laws become more stringent, we need to invest in solutions that allow us to monetize our users in privacy-safe ways and mitigate the impact of addressability concerns caused by disappearances,” said Thor.

ATT تأثير Effect

The post-ATT results weren’t disastrous for TextNow’s advertising business, but its iOS app has entered “a sustained period of [ad revenue] “As a result of the ATT changes in the iOS 14 update,” Thor said.

So TextNow started testing alternative identifiers, and moved on to InMobi’s UnifID, LiveRamp’s Authenticated Traffic Solution (ATS), and RampID. The solution works on authorized traffic, increasing the processability for users who have chosen to allow their device ID to be used for tracking.

TextNow measured the base performance of its approved user base on iOS, and then implemented an alternate identifier solution to see how it would affect fill rates and CPMs for ads targeting approved users. UnifID allows publishers to integrate ID solutions from multiple partners into their technology suites, but for the purposes of this test case, TextNow used only LiveRamp’s ATS and RampID.

TextNow chose LiveRamp ATS because it was “one of the first companies to delve deeply into the app and outside of the web context,” Thor said. To use the identity solution, TextNow installed the SDK for InMobi, a legacy partner, which it hadn’t done before.

The integration of LiveRamp’s ATS into InMobi’s SDK connects TextNow’s ad inventory to more than 400 marketers who use ATS, said Krishnamurthy, InMobi’s Vice President of Customer Success, Ram “TK” Krishnamurthy. They see RampID in stock when using a DSP (such as Trade Desk, Xandr, or MediaMath) and bid accordingly.

CPM rises when addressability is restored: “If [I’m a credit card company and] I know you are a valuable rewards member to me and I want to sell you a gold credit card, I will pay a much higher cost for that impression. It’s the same thing that Walled Gardens did, LiveRamp SVP said to addressability and ecosystem Travis Klinger.

TextNow compares the results for placements sold with RampID with ads sold without RampID.

Testing found that eCPM increased by 146% for native ads and 35% for banner ads. The fill rate for banner ads using RampID was 73% higher.

“The results reconfirmed a lot of the things we understand to be true about no-id traffic – lower fill rates and lower CPMs. It shows that there is still a lot of work to do as we move forward toward unidentified traffic,” Thor said. approved.

Prepare for the future

Thor said TextNow is optimistic that this experiment with alternate identifiers will prepare them for additional perturbations of hardware identifiers rather than being reactive to those changes.

“When new developments come in, we will be ready to move forward with them,” he said. “With the iOS changes, we’ve been riding the wave as it has. But Google’s longer horizon gives us the ability to predict, plan, and make sure we’ve included sustainability in our model.”

Now that ATS has been tested, Thor said, TextNow plans to add LiveRamp’s Bloom filter, an on-device method for targeting cohorts, to make the uncertified user base more routable.

TextNow is also back to basics, with plans to expand the direct sales team. It also enhances first-party internal data processes in order to further protect its ad revenue from changes to the processability of its automated business.