AppsFlyer, an Israeli marketing technology platform for apps, announced it had raised $56 million in Series C funding led by Qumra Capital, with Goldman Sachs Private Capital Investing, Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners, Pitango Growth, and existing investors participating.
Zirra, a company that has developed AI and machine learning technology to analyze the private tech market effectively, has also produced interesting data on Appsflyer following their giant financial round. According to Zirra’s valuation process, based on 85 different data sources, Zirra estimated Appsflyer’s current valuation at $250-$300 million. The chance that Appsflyer will choose to go public or be acquired after the latest round is rather low, with a probability of 30%-40%, but if it chooses to do so, it could ask for a minimum price tag of $700 million.
So, what is AppsFlyer?
AppsFlyer provides app developers, brands, and agencies with a real-time dashboard that monitors the result of their mobile advertising campaigns. The technology has the same function of the desktop’s cookie, a piece of software that tracks users behavior and attributes engagement to campaigns. But as the cookie hasn’t yet crossed the river into mobile devices, app developers had to find another tech to measure the effectiveness of campaigns and manage them accordingly. Among channels measured are organic Facebook posts, email marketing, QR codes, and user invites. Appsflyer’s product is used today by over 5000 advertisers, and measures $1 billion in annual mobile advertising spending, and tracks more than 300 million installs each month.
According to Zirra’s report on Appsflyer, which is based on raw data, interviews with experts, and market surveys, the company is successful and growing quickly with recognized superiority, specifically regarding product and technology. AppsFlyer is executing extremely well, and has already achieved profitability. The data, experts, and survey demonstrate that AppsFlyer is generating a high level of satisfaction among its user base. But, while leading the market regarding growth (243% in the last two years), it faces large-scale competition from companies such as Kochava and Adjust. Former market leader, TUNE, is in an overall decline.
“Facebook and Google Don’t Give You The Full Picture”
AppsFlyer has a foot in the door of marketing analytics, where they developed a reputation for stable tracking of marketing attributions. This not only gives them a relative advantage over close competitors, as well Google and Facebook, but it also provides an option for further growth into the space of marketing analytics where they can cannibalize fast growing companies that provide marketing analytics as a stand alone service.
Oren Kaniel, co-founder and CEO of Appsflyer, told Fortune that Facebook and Google cannot rule the relevant market as they cannot provide advertisers with unbiased measurement data because they don’t have the full picture of the data. “The average marketer uses 50 different sources. [Facebook and Google] don’t know if [the customer] saw something on other platforms,” he told Fortune. But Kaniel also agreed other ad-tech providers are facing a stark realization. “Some of these companies got used to getting paid for nothing,” he said.
AppsFlyer’s strength relies on their technology, with a third of their workforce dedicated to R&D, while direct competitors such as Adjust and Kochava put more emphasis on both B2B and online sales. The end of former market leader TUNE’s partnership with Facebook triggered a chain reaction that led to AppsFlyer’s occupying the leading position. The super large Israeli media and adtech networks such as Playtika and IronSource also helped Appsflyer to grow fast, both of them also are also proved to be very strong in China, working with Chinese mobile distributors.
Besides TUNE’s demise, experts believe the company’s foresight on the importance of the Chinese market and their ability to adapt their offering to its unique conditions played a major role on AppsFlyer’s growth and their ascension to the global market leading position.
AppsFlyer Raised $56 Million, But Now What?
Having an effective attribution and management platform for mobile advertising is not enough. Advertisers and brands would like to manage their campaigns with holistic systems that are offering a full suite of capabilities. According to experts Zirra consulted with, the next logical step in AppsFlyer’s growth is moving into Marketing Analytics, a space with increasing demand that could be integrated into the company’s current offerings in order to provide a more complete solution. Accurate analysis of data is perceived as the biggest challenge for mobile attribution and analytics solutions, closely followed by the integration of all data and analysis into a single framework.
In addition, AppsFlyer will need to invest in increasing their presence in the Asian and European markets to compete with native and international competitors. Maintaining and expanding their strong partnership network will play a major role in the company’s trajectory.
The company will also need to improve their marketing strategies and online presence in order to notably increase their web traffic, which decreased almost 50% in the last year. The AppsFlyer website is currently seeing only a tenth of the visits the company’s direct competitors receive.
A potential risk that should be mentioned is the fact that the founders have little or no experience in entrepreneurship and/or management prior to the establishment of the company. The company will have to broaden its management strata with experienced managers from around the world very soon. The new round will help the founders Kaniel and Mann achieve that.
Another mission is aligning with the right industry players in order to ensure a position in the top three when making a strategic exit. The new funds will allow AppsFlyer to buy small companies, although the funds foil the chance of AppsFlyer to be acquired in the near future by companies such as IronSource.