Open Letter to Tune/TMC Customers

On the day after the news that Branch acquired Tune’s mobile attribution business, I wanted to take this opportunity to share insights and history on one of the more peculiar business relationships we have had at Kochava and to highlight ways we have spent the last year to serve select Tune customers.

While Tune has historically been a competitor, the last year has brought interesting opportunities to mutually support the needs of Tune customers. As a bit of history, after Facebook removed Tune from the Facebook MMP Program in February, 2014, Tune did an impressive job to minimize churn and convinced many of their customers that they’d be invited back into the program. During that time, Kochava (and other MMP’s) experienced tremendous growth — but there were many customers who remained with Tune along the way. At that same time, we observed further market maturation as advanced measurement providers separated themselves from commodity providers.

At Kochava, we quickly gained a reputation as the company who provided advanced tools for advanced configurable attribution, fractional attribution, fraud abatement and platform-wide feature-rich tools that link all aspects of understanding audience for advertisers.

Our competitors, on the other hand, began a race to be the cheapest solution with the hope that advertisers wouldn’t know the difference. Have you heard the phrase: “Clicks don’t matter, just worry about conversions”? This is an industry misnomer that quality of ‘signal’ (the stream of data being measured about your advertising) doesn’t matter.

Instead of prioritizing value and efficiency of media spend, the rush to gain market-share drove commodity competitors to focus only about being the cheapest MMP in the market. CPI pricing became their primary focus, to the exclusion of almost all other models. Evidently the competition had little concern for quality of signal or steering their customers away from fraud-prone pricing models.

On the contrary, we believe signal does matter. It’s important to distinguish an impression from a click. It’s important to qualify if a conversion happens as a result of a view or a click. It’s important to know if your click-to-conversion ratio is 1000:1 (or more) from the same device ID (a seemingly extreme example that is shockingly frequently in our industry — to highlight my point).

You shouldn’t trust the kind of thinking that commodity measurement vendors have perpetuated. A signal filled with junk and fraud can’t and won’t help you optimize your ad spend.

A year ago it seemed most of you reached the conclusion that Tune was not going to be invited back into the Facebook MMP program after all. I began thinking: if Kochava and Tune clients were to work together to bridge the FB attribution gap, everyone would win.

As a result, many Tune clients now receive Kochava’s FB attribution, complete with a thoughtfully built and properly architected integration.

Working with Tune clients to bridge the FB gap is consistent with Kochava’s “service first” ethos.

We exist to serve customers. To make the point clear: we don’t exist to raise another round of financing; we don’t exist to pander to fraudulent activities of certain media sources or ad networks; we don’t exist to have vanity metrics about what success means. Our success is a function of customers being delighted in what we deliver to them. This means making them efficient, helping them achieve greater reach, orchestrating the right frequency of touch points for their targeted audiences, and helping them win.

Several months ago, I approached Peter Hamilton (CEO of Tune) to propose that if Tune wanted to sell the TMC business, I’d be interested in discussing it. Tune has a thriving business in HasOffers and the lack of Facebook support with TMC was an ongoing challenge in market for them.

After many discussions, we started to frame an approach to buy the customer contracts from Tune (not the TMC Product) and seamlessly transition those customers over to Kochava with the same ethos in mind:

  • “Zero-Downtime Conversion” with the below capabilities available at time of announcement
  • Equal or greater feature support in Kochava from Tune
  • API masquerading to enable existing report queries from Tune customers to call Kochava with replicated API signatures and reporting output
  • Drag-and-drop SDK replacement. SDK that mirrors ALL Tune SDK API’s to enable a drag/drop migration of SDK.
  • Proxied S2S interfaces enabling replicated S2S behaviors to Tune
  • Record-level historical data brought into Kochava from Tune (conversion data and post-install events)
  • Programmatic conversion of tracking links

Again, we didn’t seek to buy the TMC product stack, simply transition customers over seamlessly with a limited window of transition to give customers time to be comfortable with the move. While we could provide comparable features to Tune, such a transaction with Kochava would also give Tune customers more features than they’ve come to enjoy (tracker level overrides, integrated churn-modeling, automated what-if back testing of attribution settings, audience insights against an independent database of first-party licensed data about 3B mobile devices, to name a few).

This approach was received well by Tune as they wanted to leverage the TMC IP for their own initiatives with HasOffers. Selling the IP would limit their ability to leverage it.

It is now public information because of the recent article in AdAge: Branch got the winning bid for the deal.

What may not be totally understood by Tune customers is, based on reliable sources, the same framework of customer migration still applies. For example, instead of migrating to a solution with equal or greater features (Kochava), Tune customers will be driven to migrate off of TMC to the Branch product stack. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. Also, instead of having the acquiring company migrating customers over with tools carefully considered and built in advance, the migration work is just now starting by Branch and will, understandably, take a long time to complete. Finally, unique to Tune and Kochava enterprise clients, your data remains private and owned by you.

When contemplating the reality that a move to Branch is eminent, one must only look at the Kochava Difference to see the gaps in capabilities.

I share this history for the following reason:

Kochava has pre-built the tech for migration. Over the last few months our team completed the development work mentioned above — for a seamless migration with low impact to advertisers. We now stand ready to support migration at scale — with or without a winning bid to buy portfolio of customer contracts.

Kochava is a bootstrapped, profitable company. We serve leading advertisers worldwide and have set the standard in advanced configurable attribution for media buyers. Our culture is fundamentally different from that of most of our competitors. Our customers are our directing voice and when there’s an opportunity to serve more customers at scale — we jump at the opportunity.

Despite our good relationship with Tune and the preemptive development work we did to ensure a smooth transition — an acquisition deal wasn’t able to happen. We didn’t buy Tune’s customer contracts, but we would like to earn your business.

The Branch/Tune transaction dictates that a migration of Tune customers off of TMC is inevitable — don’t miss the opportunity to evaluate and choose the best solution rather than accept an inferior toolset without question.

In summary:

  • We have tools built and ready to support migration — today,
  • We have a platform that prioritizes on feature richness and ongoing innovation,
  • We have the most effective ad fraud monitoring and abatement technology in the industry,
  • We have a team and customer service record that is second to none, and
  • We offer simple pricing that is flexible enough for any budget. We welcome the opportunity to custom frame a deal structure that fits your needs.

Independent measurement is the most important weapon when buying media, and having a toolset that has fidelity to signal is the difference maker for those who are eager to win.

I invite you to take a look and Make the Move.