Pay Per Install Networks: The Differences Between Programmatic And Affiliate

Beatrice Bursese
February 9, 2023
Pay Per Install Networks: The Differences Between Programmatic And Affiliate

Pay per install campaigns play an important role in the promotion of mobile apps, especially mobile games, as they involve paying a publisher a fixed amount for each installation of an app as a result of the ad shown. This new procedure has helped many developers with the acquisition of new users and the growth of their apps.

The role of the publisher in an app install campaign is very important: it can be an app, a site, an influencer, or any other traffic source that gets paid for promoting an app. Since advertisers generally pay extremely competitive rates for legitimate installs, the pay per install networks model works very well for publishers.


1.      How does a pay per install campaign work?

Pay per install networks can be relatively cost-effective compared to other forms of app advertising. The app developer only pays for a successful installation, hence they can avoid paying for unnecessary clicks and impressions which do not lead to any valuable result. On the other hand, if you want to create a more effective strategy, your model must be based on an action produced by the user after the install.

Pay per install is the preferred payment model of every advertiser, and there are two main payment models for PPI campaigns: Cost per Install (CPI) and Cost per Action (CPA). The first method sets the fixed price the advertiser must pay to the publisher every time a user installs and opens the app, as a result of an app install campaign. On the other hand, CPA campaigns only pay the publisher when a user takes a specific action within the app, such as purchases, subscriptions or any other post-install event.    

Whatever the payment model is, traffic is the most important element of every pay per install campaign. In this respect, programmatic and affiliate networks are the two main traffic channels. After choosing the goals and markets to be targeted, the campaign model and payout (affiliate and programmatic) need creatives and a specific budget to be able to launch the campaigns.   


2.      Programmatic networks vs Affiliate networks

Programmatic networks are platforms used to buy and sell real-time ad spaces using automated systems. These networks are specially used for CPI campaigns in mobile apps since they allow highly targeted and efficient ad buying. These platforms are highly effective at targeting audiences: advertisers can collect specific data such as browsing history, location, and demographic of the users. The ultimate benefit experienced by the programmatic network is the enhancement of contextual targeting which ensures that the ads will only be shown to interested users, thus producing higher conversion rates.

Programming advertising is operated by software and operating systems such as Demand Side Platforms (DSPs). In this respect, data insights and machine learning algorithms play an important role in the optimization of app install campaigns. The process of buying and selling digital ad inventory is performed within ad exchanges. The first main players are the DSPs, which buy ad spaces at the impression level for advertisers. Supply Side Platforms are, on the other side of the auction, selling ad inventory of publishers.

The only risk of programmatic traffic for pay per install networks is the buying model, as the traffic is not sold on a fixed basis. However, programmatic traffic usually offers a bigger quality in terms of ROI and targeting.

In some cases, pay per install networks might include an affiliate network, based on the decrease in prices rather than quality. In an affiliate market, the advertiser gives the publisher a budget to acquire new users. In this case, the most common payout model is CPA, since this advertising activity is aimed at the acquisition of users for companies' products or services.  

Going affiliate is the best solution in the game industry, thus gaming influencers can promote the app by receiving in-app purchasing for their promotion. The effectiveness of affiliate pay per install networks lies in the capacity of reaching a large and engaged audience with influencers and bloggers who have already built their relationship with their followers through the creation of influencer marketing.   

Overall, affiliate marketing reduces the costs of advertising activities by slowing advertisers not to pay for all the traffic generated. However, affiliate marketing can also bring some drawbacks such as the low level of transparency provided by affiliate networks to advertisers. When working with affiliate networks, advertisers do not always know on which apps their ads are shown. 


3.      Conclusions

To sum up, pay per install campaigns involve paying a publisher a fixed price for each installation of an app and they are particularly popular in the gaming industry. The two main models for PPI campaigns are CPI and CPA, while programmatic advertising and affiliate campaigns are the two main traffic channels, which produce an efficient and cost-effective result.