CPMs Decreased 62.67% When IMVU Ran Non-Personalized Ad Campaign with Liftoff

By James Haslam | September 10, 2020

With Non-Personalized Traffic, IMVU Experienced Day 7 ROAS Increase of 6%

IMVU is the world’s largest avatar-based social networking app that connects people in a fun, creative, and meaningful way. Each month 7+ million people visit IMVU, where they spend an astonishing average of 55 minutes per day customizing their avatars, chatting with friends, shopping, hanging out at cool parties, sharing experiences, and earning real money creating virtual products.

Executive Summary

Apple’s upcoming changes to IDFA permissions is having a cascading effect on the industry. IMVU, a popular avatar-based social experience app, quickly understood the need to react to minimize any impact on their user acquisition campaigns. Liftoff’s newly released solution of bidding on non-personalized traffic proved to be precisely the tool IMVU needed. Following tests, IMVU’s CPIs were 17% lower on non-personalized traffic, while ROAS improved by 6%.

The Challenge

A massive amount of the mobile ad industry is built on access to Apple’s IDFA — an identifier that, in simple terms, allows marketers to target users on iOS and deliver personalized advertising on the user level. So any changes to the IDFA were likely to prompt a severe recalibration of mobile advertising itself.

And, in June, that was precisely what happened. Apple established a way to give users more control over whether an app could access and share their IDFA through an interstitial message. By giving consumers a choice on whether their activity could be tracked, many predicted that users would decide to turn tracking off en masse. This issue poses a bump in the road for an app marketing ecosystem that has become honed on granular targeted advertising.

IMVU, a leader in developing online communities, has a thriving iOS community and wants to continue expanding its user base. As a social app based on 3D avatars, monetization mostly comes in the form of in-app purchases. Targeted advertising is IMVUs primary method of finding high-quality users and prompting them to spend. 

As soon as IMVU learned the news from Apple, they started assessing their options. For help, they turned to their various marketing partners to see what they had to offer. And Liftoff was already hard at work on a solution: buying non-personalized Limited Ad Tracking traffic.

Our Solution

Liftoff began bidding on non-personalized traffic (known as LAT traffic) at the beginning of Q3, and tuning the Liftoff ML engine for performance. This traffic does not utilize the IDFA on bid requests by targeting users who have switched their ‘Limit ad tracking’ setting on. By bidding broadly across this set of users (estimated to be 30% of total iOS traffic), Liftoff is able to find users who are both inexpensive to acquire and receptive to better-quality advertising.

The Results

The results have been really positive,” says Lomit Patel, IMVU’s VP of Growth. “CPMs are significantly lower—about 62.67%—and CPIs are down 20%

But what surprised Lomit was ROAS performance: “ROAS is our most important KPI. And that’s where we were stunned, because ROAS for non-personalized traffic is comparable—in fact, a little bit better on non-personalized traffic.” In fact, Day 7 ROAS performance is more than comparable, with non-personalized traffic beating personalized traffic by 6%.

Lomit is hopeful for the future of non-personalized traffic: “We will continue to scale up these campaigns and see what kinds of results we can get.”

These results indicate the potential of this new source of traffic. As we continue to bid on increasing amounts of non-personalized traffic, Liftoff’s machine learning improves. Over time, this will translate into even better results for our customers.

IMVU isn’t the only company bidding on non-personalized traffic. We recently released a case study with Playrix, analyzing the performance of recently tested campaigns. If you want a broader view, read our recently published blog on non-personalized traffic to understand how it works and how we can help you. Finally, feel free to contact us if you’d like to discuss our approach.