I had the pleasure of interviewing Andrey Kazakov, founder and CEO of Acquired.io. Andrey is a adtech vet who sold his last company to App Annie. He and his co-founder are now on their second company together, where they’re helping remove the grunt work in user acquisition.
Chris: Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory” of how you become involved in the adtech or digital media space?
I first entered the space when I founded an adtech company, called AppScotch, in 2013. It was focused on playable ads because we had developed the technology that enabled it, which was very new at the time. The company then pivoted to competitive intelligence. It would show a company which ads were being run on different channels by a variety of advertisers. AppScotch was later acquired by App Annie in 2016. After briefly working at AppAnnie, my co-founder and I decided to stay in the mobile adtech space as we knew a lot about the problems user acquisition teams face thanks to our time at AppScotch and App Annie. We founded our second company together, Acquired.io, which helps take the grunt work out of user acquisition and operate a variety of app focused acquisition channels via one dashboard.
Chris: What do you think is the most interesting thing that has happened to the industry thus far?
This industry is a melting pot – in a good way. Something material happens about every six months. Header bidding and wider adoption of playable ads are among today’s key trends. Also, there are more and more channels to deal with, so it gets more fragmented even with a definitive duopoly in place. It’s getting more complex every day, but also more exciting.
Chris: What are your “5 things you think will change or should change over the next 5 years in adtech and digital publishing” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
I live in the world of mobile app marketing, and I’m seeing the following:
1) A wider adoption of playable ads. Many gaming advertisers are turning towards the use of playable ads, so we see an increased share of installs generated by playables. There are new market entrants like ApponBoard which are penetrating the market with great tech. Google is also making serious moves in playable ads by making app previews available. Plus, other independent channels like Unity Ads are also adopting the format.
2) More and more channels are popping up with their own ad units, making it difficult for advertisers to stay up to date on new opportunities. We see an increased number of channels that our advertisers use via Acquired.io, and that includes bigger platforms like Snap or influencer marketing platforms.
3) Advertisers are becoming increasingly quantitative about their ad buying. They’re producing forecasts on their returns at the most granular levels to get the best return possible.
4) Anti-fraud products will be the new norm but the fraud will also evolve, meaning protection will continuously need to keep up.
5) More automation is coming our way. User acquisition will be more of a product role focused on growth vs classical ad buyer role as it is today. This is driven by the growing number of channels, meaning advertisers have to either automate or miss out, so a powerful ad tech stack is a competitive advantage that makes a big difference.
Chris: Tell us something you or your company is doing to stay up to date in adtech (maybe making changes to comply with Better Ads Standards or GDPR, working on your header bidding stack or testing new types of ads)
There is an evergreen cycle of figuring out new channels and supporting them here at Acquired.io. That’s the core of our product, so we focus a lot of energy on staying on top of everything modern advertisers need and do to make sure we cover every key channel in our platform.
Jeff Bezos or Kevin Plank, for escaping competition and being competitive as it respectfully applies to Amazon and Under Armour.