In early February, Applovin, the mobile ad network, acquired Adjust, a mobile attribution company. Beyond financial engineering (given that Applovin is approaching an IPO), there’s no strategic justification for this acquisition other than that Applovin is building a self-sufficient advertising ecosystem to connect its first-party properties. Apple is fairly explicit about the fact that “tracking” requires data to be shared between companies. If Applovin’s first-party games sit atop the combined, wholly-owned Applovin / Adjust infrastructure, Applovin essentially becomes a walled garden with multiple access points.
Meanwhile, Zynga, in its Q4 earnings call last week, mentioned two new initiatives that signal its desire to construct walls around its first-party properties in an attempt to build an autonomous ecosystem: cross-platform play, and building an advertising network.