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THE PUBLISHING FUNNEL: What you need to know

As advanced analytics shapes the world on how people engage in products today, or the flip side? Either or, many product managers and Business Intelligence teams look into the data to see how the general public interact with everything.

Whether you're driving a car, or watching a movie, everything click / view / like is being tracked to provide the developer insight on how users are interacting with their website to make for experience possible.

Product managers fundamentally chase 2 things in every product:

  • High Retention

  • High Conversion

These 2 metrics are the lifeline of the product and if you’re not trying to maximize these 2 vectors all the time, you’re probably doing it wrong.

As the market maturizes, optimization strategies change and keeping up with the new trends is ever more important for the success of your product. But it doesn’t just stop their, as a product manager, get a better understanding on how publishers approach branding, product positioning and User Acquisition is a subset all product managers need to know, to make for a successful product.

Let's take a look at a Publishing Funnel that publishers look to maximize their marketing efforts.

Publishing Funnel

The publishing funnel is a template publishers use to maximize their potential revenue. The funnel is a representation of the rate of churn from the users as they go through the various stages of the publishing funnel.

Let’s take a look at what these stages are:

Ad View -> Content Creation, Ad Platform

Ad Click -> Click Through Rate

Download -> Conversion

Retain / Referral -> Retention

Purchase -> Customer Creation

Loyalty -> Membership / Re-Purchase

The 6 step App publishing funnel is what publishers measure to see if ‘your’ product can become ROI positive with performance marketing.

Let’s go through each step 1 by 1

1) Ad view:

Ad view is a process the marketing team makes where the create creatives and posts these creatives on many different ad platforms, to see the effectiveness of the Creative.

Creative medians can be anywhere from

  • Static Banners

  • Gif Banners

  • Video Creatives

  • HTML5 Interactive Banners

And there are many different sources of Ad platforms from:

  • Facebook

  • Linkedin

  • Instagram

  • Twitter

  • Snapchat

2) Ad Click

Ad Clicks are most notably identified as a CTR (Click through rate). CTR is usually based on how effective your Creatives are. There are several different strategies about increasing CTR

Ill discuss in a different post about the Download funnel and the impact it has if you try deceptive tactics to increase a metric like CTR.

3) Downloads

Downloads is perceived as Conversion in the app world where you monitor the conversion rate of a particular add creative.

4) Retention / Referral

This part of the funnel is heavy on the onboarding experience and gages how long the players are sticking around playing the game or referring the game to their circle of friends.

5) Purchase

Purchase is also know in the gaming industry as Customers and these days a lot of publishers are focused on the Customer Creation Business as they are the ones that can pay back your ROAS as fast as possible. Having high quality users is expensive and purchasing these users will require the game to have enough hooks and merchandising options to potentially increase your Customer Pool from the start of the funnel.

6) Loyalty

As the mobile app market matures, loyalty or as i like to call it “End Game” becomes the holy grail as the overall objective here is to create as many loyal customers in the game as possible.

End Game essentially is the game after the user has potentially maxed everything out and is looking to play the game for ‘this’ reason. Whatever that may be.

You loyalty system is required to be an evergreen system where you can anticipate repeat purchases from these users on a regular.


The point of this post is for Game Developers and Producers to understand the framework that Publishers work in to maximize their efforts to bring users into your game. Taking into consideration the 6 steps in the publishing funnel will help guide your product to a more successful path.

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