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MoPub acquired by AppLovin: What next?

Yesterday I attended a Singular webinar entitled “the endless evolution of app marketing,” the title made me smile: the one constant of mobile advertising is change and anyone in the industry can give a dozen examples in way of example.

However later in the day, the title proved less facetious and more foresight when the news broke that MoPub was being acquired by AppLovin. And while there are currently more questions than answers we sent out a note to our MoPub Reporting and Optimization customers to give initial thoughts & recommendations.

I’ve expounded upon them here:

 

Analysis:

In hindsight the transaction shouldn’t come as a surprise. Applovin is heavily investing in the space, having purchased Adjust earlier in the year and in last quarter’s shareholder letter headlined “Software Platform” growth (of which their mediation product MAX is a component), more specifically calling out the number of “Enterprise Clients” in the very first page.

It’s no secret Applovin’s MAX mediation platform has traditionally focused on gaming clients and word on the street has been the company’s focus has been to expand the offering to a more mainstream set of publishers and advertisers (read: not gaming focused). This buy will be a huge step in the direction of bringing Applovin a non-gaming clientele to both app developers and advertisers.

Conversely the 7-paragraph Twitter press release states (and re-states) no less than 3-times this transaction underlines the company’s commitment to “focus” indicating they’ve viewed — or want the market to view — the MoPub product as a distraction from the main messaging platform. 

In a market increasingly focused on user privacy, data ownership and building fortresses around first-party data a likely significant value proposition for Applovin will be accessing the huge trove of data generated by MoPub advertisers and publishers, both to help their advertising effectiveness as well as helping build increasingly stable signals for their content strategies. This will likely cause concern among both client advertisers and content publishers — both of whom may view Applovin as a competitor.

And as a final point when mobile advertising transactions are trading at 10X revenues, the $1B sticker price Applovin paid for MoPub seems like a bargain when considering the $188MM in revenues.

What will likely happen to MoPub Customers:

Applovin’s blogpost wording indicates they intend to migrate MoPub customers into the AppLovin/MAX mediation platform. While there isn’t a date set for this move, it’s very unlikely an SDK migration will be forced in Q4.

Considerations for MoPub Customers:

Pros:

  • The MAX platform has tested well for full screen and reward video performance. While their strength has traditionally been from game/performance advertisers, there will likely be little impact to this ad unit business for most customers following a migration.
  • MAX has a solid reporting product – like ironSource– their integrated 3rd party reporting, and available impression-level reporting makes a single source of truth at a very granular level more straight-forward than MoPub.

Cons:

  • Banner demand has been weak on MAX
  • MREC and Native ads are not supported (at this time)
  • MAX doesn’t (currently) offer support for the same demand partners as MoPub, especially for those running un-supported and custom networks.

What to do:

At this stage, we’re recommending to our customers to wait for more information. We’re advising to not make decisions prematurely as there is a high likelihood multiple iterations of changes– both from a technology and platform perspective.

We are keeping our customers apprised with information, findings, and alternatives. If you have questions, schedule some time with the AdLibertas team, and we’d be happy to share more individual recommendations.

 

This market continues to surprise,

Adam Landis,

CEO, AdLibertas