2016 was a year of building for the future of marketing technology. TUNE climbed to more than 350 people, launched new products, integrated several more, and designed a future database, leading us further down the path of providing the first complete marketing stack — with mobile squarely at the center. We started the year by laying out a new mission statement that guides our strategic decisions and keeps us focused on our long-term vision, with the chief goal of making marketing better for everyone. As the year comes to a close, I want to share some of the major decisions, learning moments, and accomplishments we’ve made toward that vision.
TUNE’s mission and purpose in 2016
So what are we building at TUNE? This is the most important question to answer to make the most strategic decisions with the best long term impact on marketers and the industry. For that, we look to our mission. Our mission statement might be a little different than you typically see, such as “we’re going to save the world through marketing technology,” ha. The below is our mission because we have every faith that we will accomplish it and we believe it would be the best thing for marketers.
Overcoming the chaos of point solutions
The rise of mobile marketing gave birth to an explosion of new needs from marketers and an even faster emergence of new marketing technologies. There is another attribution product in the news every quarter and a marketing automation company announcing funding every time you blink, but the cross-platform, cross-function solution has not become any easier for marketers. Marketers have the complicated task of piecing together their marketing tech stack, but they’re being forced to do so with systems that don’t talk to each other, and data that is in conflict with other sets of data.
In the mobile world, marketers are met with the additional challenge of needing to implement a new SDK for advertising, messaging, analytics, and more. This proves to not only put a tax on engineering teams, but also impacts performance for customers.
These are some of the reasons why we set out to build a marketing console that brings together attribution, analytics, segmentation, automation, in-app messaging, a/b testing, deep query reports, and more. Marketers need technology that connects the top of the funnel to the bottom. We need more systems in our industry that work toward completing the marketing tech stack. To do that, these systems must be both flexible and wall-less to make integration painless for the marketer.
Integrating powerful new products with TUNE Marketing Console
Acquiring three companies and integrating them with our original mobile platform was no easy task. We felt the direct pain marketers feel as they try to glue together point solutions, with the added onus of wanting to combine teams and technologies in a way that would enable future innovation in our company and industry. At times our progress was slow and frustrating; at others we made huge leaps together. Each step in our journey to connect the TUNE Marketing Console was a lesson on how marketers really want their tech stack to look and work. I am extremely proud of the state of the console today, which now consolidates attribution, audiences, messaging, testing, and deep query reporting. We can now provide technology from the top to the bottom of the funnel for mobile marketers.
Designing a database around the concept of a user
Perhaps the most core piece of every marketer’s tech stack is the database that shows the entire journey of an individual customer — from the ads they experience, to their first engagement, and every behavior from their first purchase to their last. That customer experience occurs through various devices and platforms across the web and/or native apps, and there must be a way to pull it all together. Every major marketing organization we spoke to over the last two years is chasing that Holy Grail of CRM zen, where every engagement point of a customer is collected in one place for marketers to easily glean actionable insights. This year for TUNE was a journey to reach that lofty place. As I write this we are testing mountains of data on a new database, built on the single concept of a user. I can’t spill all the news just yet, but this is the only technology stack of its kind that is mobile first, connects every marketing event from attribution to engagement, and fully integrates marketing with advertising channels.
Offering a better alternative to the confusion of fraud
In 2016, we saw a growing frustration from marketers on the issue of fraud, and we saw equal frustration from partners who have no way to defend their claims or who have frustration watching other partners running fraud and still getting advertising budgets. This is not our first experience with fraud in digital advertising, but things are different with mobile, and especially for apps. We saw point-solution competitors offer half-baked solutions that scrub conversions and installs from partners, but offer little — if any — transparency into the reasons why. These kinds of workarounds create massive confusion and discrepancy in our industry, and TUNE chose to take a different path that supports transparency first. You will see TUNE’s technologies emerge as the most complete and powerful solution in dealing with fraud. Our Marketing Intelligence product already offers the most granular and comprehensive reporting on fraud and traffic quality than any other solution, but there is so much more to do. In the coming year you will see advancements in new fraud insights, increased controls on postbacks and flagging, as well as an increase in our already deterministic methods for blocking fraud. What you will not see from TUNE is a black box that scrubs or oversimplifies the issue. To this, we commit a high level of integrity.
Unveiling Multiverse as the paid acquisition cockpit
One of the most exciting new product announcements of this year was the release of Multiverse. Designed to import aggregated data from advertising channels and combine attribution and analytics data, this fresh new product is built for the user acquisition specialist. As the TUNE Marketing Console takes on a broader and more central role for marketers, we wanted to create a place that paid acquisition experts can make the quick and powerful decisions they need to make to improve the effectiveness of their advertising spend. Multiverse does that, and these last six months of improvements now bring us to the point of broad release. I’m so excited to see the ways that paid acquisition marketers use Multiverse this year.
Connecting supply and demand
Something that many people don’t realize about TUNE is that we also build platform technologies for ad networks and partners to build their businesses. This puts TUNE in a unique position to understand how partners need to improve and operate to better serve marketers, and also provides a path to help streamline the workflow between marketers and their partners. Over the past year we launched a certified partner program with an increased level of scrutiny, and we’ve provided tools to ad networks that help bring transparency and reduce discrepancy. In the coming year you’ll see even more innovation on the way we help connect our industry’s supply partners with the demand of marketers. If you manage your own publishers and supply partners today, you will also see an enormous upgrade and change to our HasOffers and TUNE Partner Center products. These will continue to be unrivaled in the industry, but the advancements we will provide will help our entire ecosystem evolve to new levels.
One of the greatest challenges for supply and demand in 2017 will be the saturation of smartphones and the limited number of apps per user. This means there is increased consolidation of ad partners for marketers to choose from. As a result, there will be a rise of mobile web advertising in the coming year, require a marketing tech stack that supports both open web and native platforms, combining the analytics and attribution to one view and central database.
Bringing the best in the industry together through Postback
If you attended Postback — TUNE’s annual mobile marketing conference in Seattle — you saw something incredible happen this year. You saw the breadth of companies involved in the mobile conversation dramatically increase. You saw relationships that were only born a few years ago forge into powerful partnerships. You even saw us set the stage in our own dorky way with a Hamilton production, ha. Most importantly, you saw an industry of people that love to work with each other, exploring new ways to reach audiences and make marketing so much better. Marketers have made this their conference, and we feel very lucky to help host. The memories we’re creating together will long outlast everything that happens over the next five years, which is why I really can’t wait to see what happen at Postback this year!
Becoming the solution for the future of marketing technology
As we cross over into 2017, it is time to start making these solutions known. Some of you reading this don’t even know that TUNE has a product that supports audiences and segmentation or push and messaging. Perhaps you only know TUNE as the first trusted mobile attribution provider, and if that’s the extent of it, I invite you to explore the deep and thoughtful advancements we’re making to invent the future of marketing technology. I can’t wait to wow you with our progress and ultimately make a real impact on the day to day success and satisfaction of marketers. As you explore these new developments, keep your expressive feedback coming. We’re going to need all the voices of this industry if we’re going to progress together, and I couldn’t be happier than to be going through this evolution with such a fine group of people. Thank you to all of you that have contributed to, and helped write this vision.
As I sign off every staff email at TUNE,
Be excellent to each other,
A digital marketer by background, Peter is the former CEO of TUNE, the enterprise platform for partner marketing. In 2018, he sold TUNE’s mobile measurement product to Branch, unifying measurement and user experience. He led TUNE’s efforts to bring better management technology and automation to marketing partnerships, across affiliates, influencers, networks, and business development relationships. Follow @peterhamilton