In 2012, Tinybeans launched as a private photo-sharing app designed to help families share moments with each other. Within about a year, the app had reached more than one million memories uploaded, and in 2016 Tinybeans saw their first million registered users. "To help achieve that scale, Tinybeans uses a freemium model," explains Chief Content & Revenue Officer Nina Lawrence. "We offer a free, ad-supported service which makes up about 85% of our revenue, and the rest is from our premium subscription service."
How Tinybeans got started
How ad revenue helps Tinybeans make an impact
Over time, as consumer privacy preferences around relevant advertising changed, Tinybeans knew they needed to figure out a way to earn revenue from advertising while making sure consumers feel safe using their app. "Our free tier is an important component of the business, because it's a really inclusive way to serve parents," Nina highlights. "And without ad revenue, we wouldn't be able to offer free services on the app or website. Simultaneously, we want to make sure all of our users know their family data is safe and secure when they're on our app. To balance these two, we decided to pivot to serving ads on our app with first-party data -- and we turned to Ad Manager to help us do that."
Tinybeans' first-party data strategy allows the company to use information securely provided by registered users to serve those visitors relevant, high-quality ads while maintaining their privacy. "As a parenting app, user trust is really important to us; we want everyone to know their memories are safe," says Marshall Massey, Senior Director Revenue Operations at Tinybeans. "To enable our first-party data strategy, we chose to work with Ad Manager and use the Audience Solutions tool because we wanted to centralize our ad serving across all platforms and devices. We're integrating a new DMP with the ability to pass audience segments into Ad Manager to layer on targeting across web and app, and across display, video and native."
Tinybeans also uses data from Google Analytics to help improve their product offerings. "Google Analytics helps us understand our consumer base," Marshall says. "We can figure out which screens have the most time spent or are most popular, which gives us insights that help us develop and improve in-app products like photo sharing and milestones."
Their new first-party data strategy allows the Tinybeans team to confidently continue growing their business, improving their product, and helping families stay connected. The new strategy, says Nina, "is a win for consumers, who can share memories with their families; a win for advertisers, who see return on their marketing and can reach their intended audience; and a win for Tinybeans -- we can still earn sustainable ad revenue to support our free tier and keep the app inclusive for parents of all economic backgrounds."