Measurement Platforms Full Review

Kochava

www.kochava.com

  • Type: Mobile Measurement Platform
  • Platforms: Mobile
  • Core Offering:
    • Mobile attribution, integration with over 4,500 ad networks, anti-attribution-fraud
kochava website

Kochava was founded in 2011 as one of the first mobile attribution solutions. Kochava offered various solutions over the years – affiliate tracking platform, a DSP, a creative library product, free-app-analytics, Kochava “XCHANG”, Subscription tool, Data marketplace.

Out of all attribution software, Kochava is the only one that is also offering services – the Kochava Foundry for example is a premium service solutions team working with advertisers to help make strategic decisions around media allocation and incrementality.

Kochava was the first attribution solution to point out attribution fraud and do something about it.

As a private company with no big investors (like Appsflyer, Adjust, Branch) kochava seems to remain the most vigilant about making the products they build very strong, even if it’s an expensive solution.

Kochava works with the largest brands in the USA: Hilton, Mcdonalds, Capcom, CBS, Dunkin Donuts, Coca Cola, Nike, Microsoft.

kochava skadnetwork

Integration / Development Needed

Kochava has a ton of documentation supporting the SDK integration. It’s cute that their documents shows “estimated time to complete” as 1 minute for iOS and 5 minutes for Android – but what is not mentioned is that your engineers will need to spend hours reading through documents and running various tests in order to get the SDK to work.

We would say – integrating kochava is as you would expect it. 

kochava integration

Onboarding

Kochava offers decent support for onboarding. The trouble with the Kochava platform is that it offers so much options, that getting familiar with how to use it takes some time.

There are dozens of onboarding documents, and some of them have up to 20 steps to do something as simple as “setup a campaign with a partner”.

To get the most out of Kochava’s platform, you’ll need to master the following:

  • 10 minute guide to your 1st campaign – 14 steps
  • Creating an install campaign – 29 steps
  • Creating a kochava-certified postback – 13 steps
  • Testing your campaign – 14 steps
  • Traffic verifier – ca. 20 steps

So all and all – to setup one campaign, utilizing traffic verifier (reducing attribution fraud) on one ad network will take you ninety steps

Kochava does have a great platform – no doubt about it. They have unique features that no one else has (for example, the ability to set a lookback window as short as 1 minute) – but they could have created setup templates, or suggest many of the settings, allowing one to change whatever is needed to be changed.

Kochava is like a 747 Jumbo Jet. But all I want to do is get To France

kochava onboarding

Support

Kochava offers two tiers of support – online support (extensive documentation section or via email (support@kochava.com) or through a customer success manager.

We felt that the Kochava team is knowledgeable and professional. The only challenge is that if you are not an enterprise customer in the US – you’re always in delay. Correspondence over any issue that wasn’t resolved on spot took days to resolve. Not days to handle the case – just days of emails with a night delay in between due to time differences.

Kochava would have been smart to invest in more support agents around the world, or at least a customer community section with FAQs, weird bug requests and so on.

We did note that when two of us found the same bug,  kochava acted as if it was the first time anyone alerted them about the bug’s existence (they were not aware that we were all working together for the sake of reviewing the measurement platform.

And no – it wasn’t “by accident” – we faced the same bug, and spoke about it with the same people at kochava.

kochava support

Useful insights

Kochava scored reasonably well on this point – but the trick was: you want to get on calls with specific people at Kochava and then you’ll get the best insights.

The product itself is good, but there is just so much reports and various charts that it’s really hard to understand what am I looking at?

Basically – you want to get to Kevin King and Grant Simmons. Everyone at Kochava are extremely knowledgeable and insightful – but Grant and Kevin are masters in their domain (Grant in anything analytics related, Kevin in monetization, subscription packages, UA).

The dashboard itself is nice looking , but it’s a report. It doesn’t teach you anything that you can’t get through Excel – and it does have a major error in it (showing “ROI” where what they mean is ROAS!)

kochava insights

We did like Kochava’s cohort reporting (Retention). It was well built, very fast to operate and easy to understand

kochava cohort report

The fraud dashboards are also very well designed – but rather than design fancy graphs – why not just create insights so that we know what we should do ?

kochava fraud

Accuracy

Good news on the accuracy front – Kochava had the least amount of discrepancy amongst attribution providers. Kochava scored 4th as the ”most accurate” – but as the comparison was to solutions that use a different approach – we would actually give a nice thumbs up to Kochava for being so careful about how they attribute that it’s very much worth mentioning.

Kochava put up an article to explain why discrepancies happen, and unlike adjust – Kochava was very transparent and more accurate even about their explanations:

  • Downloads vs. Launch – Kochava was the only MMP that actually uses the term “launch” rather than “install”. We really appreciate the transparency on this point!
  • Users vs. Devices
  • Facebook “Claims” – Kochava was also the only MMP that explained the term “claim”. INCRMNTAL also has a few articles on the topic;
  • Lookback windows
kochava accuracy

Secure

Kochava has anti-attribution fraud as part of their pricing, and their dashboards and anti-fraud works pretty well – but still, we found found several cases of attribution fraud.

Kochava was very useful in helping us mitigate fraud cases, and their “traffic verifier” was pretty strong in blocking fraud – but the traffic verifier also creates a lot of problems with ad networks and publishers, as it creates a delay in processing time causing a reduction of conversion rate.

kochava traffic verifier

Privacy compliant

Kochava has been on the side of identification in the past, with their Identity link – a solution that was meant to identify users deterministically across any device and activity – down to the house hold.

Kochava also had “the collective” – a data marketplace using user level data acquired through their limited free attribution service (FreeAppAnalytics).

kochava privacy

The solution Kochava came up with once Apple announced the deprecation of IDFA that kochava will continue identifying users whenever they can, and use skadnetwork whenever they can’t.

kochava skadnetwork

Update: Kochava is continuing to use Fingerprinting across users with iOS14.5 and iOS14.6 in violation of Apple’s announcement. This approach places any apps with the Kochava SDK at risk of getting banned from the app store.

Unbiased vs. Biased

While Kochava has some bias (as reviewed in their pricing model), out of the mobile attribution providers, Kochava is the least biased.  Maybe that’s because Kochava doesn’t have any major investors to answer to and are able to make their own decisions.

Kochava has premium pricing, and for this, they are less dependent on pushing advertisers to spend more with ad networks that are likely providing nothing other than fraudulent results.

kochava unbiased

Pricing Model

Kochava is the “premium” attribution provider. Their pricing is based on clicks – yes clicks.

The attribution includes anti-fraud, performance reporting, deep links, audience management, app store receipt tracking.

Additional products that are paid are subscription management, and the premium services offered by the ”Kochava Foundry” team.

The only positive thing about Kochava’s expensive pricing model is that they have no pressure on you wasting your dollars on ad networks that will add no value for you.

But with that – Kochava is suitable for corporations that can afford a large premium.

So if you are Coca Cola, Dunkin Donuts, Microsoft – Kochava is right for you.

But if you are an apparently tiny app developer, with a spend of $100M – Kochava will be too expensive for you….

kochava pricing model

Price

Kochava’s pricing is not for the faint of heart. In average, we paid $43,000 !

This represented almost 1% of our companies’ revenues. That’s a LOT for a tracking solution.

But again – Kochava caters to a segment of the market which spends a lot more across TV and billboards than they do on digital and specifically – mobile.

kochava pricing

Review Summary:

Kochava is an independent mobile attribution company based out of Idaho. Kochava offers various solutions and services around tracking and attribution: Free App Analytics – a free product (in return to using your data), premium analytics, fraud audit, ”the foundry” – premium services by an expert team, XCHANGE – a blockchain for advertising).

Kochava has always been the black sheep in the attribution provider game. They have strong opinions and are very direct and honest about which ad networks are good and which are bad.

On the other hand, Kochava is a premium solution, and is very expensive.

If you are based in the US – their support is pretty good, but if you are anywhere else, the waiting time for any support tickets can be frustrating.

Pros and Cons:

  • Kochava was the first MMP to offer configurable attribution (the ability to setup different attribution rules for different ad networks)
  • The pricing is based on Impressions and Clicks. The average costs for each of us was just over $43,000. Kochava was by far the most expensive measurement platform we tested.
  • While Kochava offers anti-fraud as part of their solution – we all experienced large discrepancies.

Measurement Platforms Review for Kochava:

Support★★★★★★★☆☆Onboarding★★★★★★★☆☆
No Dev Needed★★★★★★★☆☆Privacy Compliant★★★★★★★☆☆
Accuracy★★★★★★★☆☆Pricing Model★★★★☆☆☆☆☆
Useful Insights★★★★★★☆☆☆Price★★★★★☆☆☆☆
Unbiased★★★★★★★★☆Secure★★★★★★☆☆☆