Moloco: Helping mobile app developers thrive in a challenging market

Moloco is an ad tech company based in Palo Alto, California, that utilizes a mobile audience platform for user acquisition, engagement and monetization. Developers have a difficult time monetizing their apps, and Moloco runs very large ad campaigns for them to increase their revenue. Moloco achieves this by programmatically bidding on half-a-dozen ad exchanges, including Google AdX and Twitter Mopub, providing access to a combined 30 billion daily impressions on the most popular apps. To generate superior performance for app developers, Moloco needed to dynamically price purchase of ad space on these exchanges within just 100 milliseconds.

Moloco needed infrastructure and analytics tools to combine state-of-the-art advances in machine learning technology with infrastructure capable of handling hundreds of thousands of queries per second, on order to deliver better analytics to its customers. It wasn’t satisfied with its current cloud provider because its storage costs were expensive and its querying capabilities inadequate. Moloco replaced it with Google Cloud Platform.

“When we started Moloco, we had smaller customers, and our cloud-based solution was adequate. But as we grew, we needed an infrastructure that could handle more queries, more data, more storage, and give us sophisticated analytics tools. That’s why we chose Google Cloud Platform.”

— Ikkjin Ahn, founder, Moloco

Data mining 30 billion page views a day

App developers have trouble acquiring and engaging their users because users often view ads as unnecessary clutter. App developers struggle with marketing channels that provide installations that fail to convert. Additionally, many acquired users demonstrate low engagement and retention rates. Over 90% of apps, even popular apps, fail to ever monetize to the point of profitability.

Moloco VAN helps partner app developers bring in revenue by targeting relevant ads to their users when they are using other apps. To do this, Moloco works with app developers to analyze their user behavior and extract the key signals which can be used in mobile advertising. Moloco then uses these signals to big on ad inventory to serve highly relevant ads to these users when they are using the popular mobile apps.

To accomplish that, Moloco turned to Google Cloud Platform's data suite. Moloco reads tens of terabytes of data a day from Google Cloud Storage and creates and updates its prediction model for real-time ad bidding using Google Cloud Dataflow. Google Container Engine orchestrates Moloco’s bidding servers and handles more than 200,000 queries per second of incoming bid requests. The servers are powered by SSD-based, low-latency Google Cloud Bigtable that performs more than 10,000 queries per second. Google Cloud BigQuery provides analytics and dashboards for Moloco and its customers.

“With Google Cloud Platform, we’re able to scale almost overnight to work with 30 billion page views a day. We’ve built enormous ad campaigns because Google Cloud Platform gives us the best analytical and storage tools possible,” Ahn says.

Faster queries, satisfied customers

Speed is of the essence when building ad campaigns and bidding in real time in ad exchanges. With GCP, Moloco has cut querying time and produced more accurate results for Moloco VAN. Queries that used to take several minutes now take 10 seconds with BigQuery. Powered by Bigtable, Moloco VAN now does 200,000 queries per second. As a result, Moloco VAN delivers more effective ad campaigns for app developers. The company is poised for even greater growth.

“Google Cloud Platform has been key to Moloco’s continuing success. Our customers’ ad campaigns are more effective, increasing their revenue. We’re a startup, and with Google Cloud Platform we’re able to scale quickly and deliver great results,” Ahn says.

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