As you start diving into performance marketing you will notice a lot of acronyms and jargon. Here's a quick primer on the most common terms that you will need to be familiar with as well as formulas where appropriate.

Attribution

A process to determine which campaigns (ads) lead to game sales. This is the core process that enables performance based marketing. High quality attribution will let you answer questions like "how many users came in from my Facebook ad?", "which targeting group had better player retention?", and ultimately "did I get a positive return from my ad spend?"

Goal

Goals are specific actions or combinations of actions that you are trying to drive users to complete. This is also sometimes referred to as a conversion. This may include game install, tutorial completion, in-game purchases, having churned users return to your game, or any other combination of events.

CPI/CPA/CPS

Cost-per-install or cost-per-acquisition or cost-per-sale. All different ways of calculating how much a marketer spent to bring a new player to their game. The formula is pretty simple,

CPI = marketing spend / number of installs

Example: You run a $10,000 Facebook campaign and bring in 2,000 players for your $10 Steam game. Your CPI for that campaign was $5

Lifetime Value (LTV)

Lifetime value is the $ value each customer is worth over the lifetime of their relationship with the game. For single purchase premium games (ex. $60 XBOX single player console game) the LTV may always = $60. If however the game offers a $20 DLC any player that buys the DLC will have an LTV of $80.

Return on investment (ROI)

Often called the "bottom line", ROI measures total return on your advertising investment by looking at profit generated by players who can be attributed to marketing actions.

ROI = net profit / net spend

Return on Ad Spend (ROAS)

The cousin to ROI, ROAS only looks at "hard media" costs relative to the revenue brought in by that media. For example, ROI may take into account agency costs, where ROAS would typically only look at the cost of the ads run by the agency.

ROAS = revenue attributed to ads / advertising spend * 100

Attribution Window

An attribution window sets how many days after a click or impression occurs that the attribution engine will still consider it attributable. For example, if a user clicks on your ad with a 7-day attribution window they would need to convert within the next 7 days or they would be counted as an "unattributed" user.

Postbacks

Postback tracking is a process for synchronizing attributed conversions, generally from your attribution provider to advertising platforms. For example, if you are running a user acquisition campaign on Facebook you may want to configure a postback to alert Facebook time every time they are attributed to a new install.

Postbacks are core to the data flow for performance marketing. They enable advertising platforms to programmatically optimize campaigns towards high-performing placements and power many audience creation strategies.

Lookalike Audience

Creating lookalike audiences is a common approach to optimizing campaign targeting. A lookalike audience is made by taking your existing players and finding other users that have similar interests and behaviors. Lookalike audience creation is a common feature on ad platforms such as Facebook and Google.

Audience Suppression

Audience suppression, also called audience exclusion, is the process of removing existing customers from your targeting audiences. This reduces wasted ad spend and gives your players a better experience since they stop receiving ads after installing your game.

Demand-Side Platform (DSP)

DSPs provide programmatic purchasing of digital ads. DPSs aggregate large quantities of ad networks and allow advertisers to place ads across any of those networks based on sets of rules. For example, a game may tell a DSP "I'm willing to pay up to $0.50 to show an ad to any viewer on any of the following 100 websites." The DSP will then take that bid and automatically bid against other advertisers for those views.

Supply-Side Platform (SSP)

SSPs provide the publisher-facing equivalent of a DSP. The SSP aggregates demand from various demand-side sources to provide the publisher with a single place to manage all of the advertisements shown on their site.

Mobile Measurement Partner (MMP)

MMP is actually a term coined by Facebook to qualify the attribution companies authorized to work directly with Facebook. The term is now more generally used to refer to products that provide attribution for mobile apps.


About us

At Gamesight, we help PC and console marketers implement performance marketing techniques for their games. If you are seeking help setting up and measuring your campaigns, working with influencers, or would like to simply talk with us about this article, please reach out on our website!