13 Experts Share Their Mobile Success Secrets
Exactly how does one make it in today’s competitive and ever-changing business landscape?
The world is more connected, accessible and idea-saturated than ever before. Possibilities seem infinite, yet there is barely a place untouched by innovation. In 1945, 2 percent of England went to university, today it is standard for any entry-level resume and a ticket to a 50/50 shot at employment. Consumers are yawning at the 4000-10,000 advertisements they’re exposed to daily, whilst businesses are competing for a chance to be seen. The world has never been full of so much accessible data and information. Nearly every waking minute can be optimized. You can listen to your favorite book whilst on your morning jog. Do your most analytical work in the morning, whilst you’re at peak mental performance. You can engage your core whilst you pen some notes and by midday, you take your NASA recommended 10-20 minute power nap during lunch break.
Like a ray of light, peeking through a blanketed sky, we offer you real advice from professionals, who have ‘been there’ and probably ‘done that’. They have hustled and bustled through the minefield of increasing competition, data and endless possibilities and emerged victorious in the mobile and app industry. Enjoy their success secrets.
Create Unique Features to Increase Loyalty
From my experiences working various companies – mobile app is the best way to create loyalty with users. Statistics show that on average, a user has 60 – 90 installed apps in her/his device but they all are not in use. Only twenty-five of them are used in a month and the user spends 77% of her/his time with his/her top three apps. Therefore, we need to have unique features regularly triggering users to visit our apps. In my former company, which is one of the biggest publishers around Europe we created an offline app experience for our users. We have enabled that the daily articles of columnists can be pushed via user’s permission and consumed by users even if they are not connected to the internet. This innovative idea helped us to increase the lifetime value of our users around 70% percent and differentiate our app among our competitors.
Sinan Icer, Director of Growth and User Acquisition @ Mynet Publishing & Gaming
Use Holistic Marketing Data to Optimize Your Strategy for Driving Traffic to Your App.
Mobile marketing offers unparalleled access to data on traffic, conversions, downloads, cost per acquisition and return on investment. Reaching and engaging consumers on mobile is critical for marketers, and organic and paid user acquisition strategies need to work together. App Annie data showed that paid advertising on mobile directly drove 4 of every 10 downloads among the top 100 apps and games in the US in 2018 — 10% growth year over year. We’ve also seen the number of ad platforms used by the top apps and games in the US increased by 25% and 35%, respectively, year over year in 2018 — indicating increasing sophistication in mobile ad strategies and maturation in the market. App Store Optimization (ASO) is critical as 65% of app store downloads come from organic search. Paid search ads are a place where paid and organic UA work together. Having visibility into paid search ads is incredibly important — providing a window into if your competitor is driving up keyword prices or garnering significant traffic from your branded keyword, which could dramatically affect your app store visibility and download conversion rates. At App Annie, we’ve found that the average user spends nearly 3 hours per day on mobile, with 90% of this time being spent in apps versus 10% in mobile web. This speaks to the inherent benefits of each: web is great for research, whereas mobile apps tend to see much stronger engagement and conversions. It’s important to understand how mobile web and app work together in your mobile marketing strategy, particularly to understand your truly unique active user base across both. Ultimately, it’s vital to view this data — mobile web and app paid and organic UA — together as a holistic story in order to have a complete view of your mobile marketing strategies.
Lexi Sydow, Senior Market Insights Manager @ App Annie
Optimize Your Mobile UX to be Device-Inclusive
The number one mistake I see companies make with their mobile website is forgetting that there are different sized mobile devices. It is easy to think everybody has a larger phone these days but only a third of smartphone users have a screen wider than 400 pixels, according to StatCounter’s October 2019 data. There are still about 8% of people with devices under 360 pixels wide, with the majority of users on a screen between 360 and 380 pixels wide. Remember, those stats are across the US but depending on your website’s specific demographics, this can change -I’ve seen upwards of 50% of visitors still using small screens! What works on a screen over 400 pixels isn’t going to work on a smaller device – the design will be cramped, buttons or links will be harder to click, reading content might require awkward horizontal scrolling and more. Until everybody upgrades their phone, those visitors might continue to have a bad user experience. You can usually spot these problems in your analytics tool by segmenting conversion or engagement rates by browser size. When I do this for clients, I often find a great conversion rate for larger size devices and an abysmal rate for devices that are only 360 pixels wide (or even smaller). But by taking the time to improve the user experience for each screen size, those conversion and engagement rates can and will improve.
Matthew Edgar, Partner, and Consultant @ Elementive
Know How to Ask for Reviews
It is no secret that great reviews are essential to rank in, both, Google and Apple app stores. However, many apps often struggle to get just a few. The most effective method I found to get real quality reviews is to strategically place the “ask for reviews” notification in the user experience of the app. For example: if your app is a game, ask for a review after a user unlocks an achievement. Understanding where your app delivers the maximum value and emotional satisfaction is how I have seen apps go from less than 100 to a thousand reviews.
Daniel Elias, Marketing @ Jibrel
Look Beyond Walled Gardens
Using paid media channels to promote an app is vital to scale installs, events and ultimately long term users. Walled gardens and self attributing networks (Facebook, Google, Apple, Snap, etc) are typically a UA starting point. Thereafter, UA managers seek additional reach at a cheaper cost and look to open ad networks and affiliates. I have witnessed a reluctance amongst some marketers to venture beyond the walled gardens citing (legitimate) fears over traffic quality specifically fraudulent traffic which can see ad spend wasted and cause marketing and campaign data to be corrupted. My advice is to capitalize on open ad networks and affiliates, whilst using the appropriate safeguards such as: (1) Having an internal data analytics or business intelligence tool to check for unusual data patterns (2) Use a Mobile Measurement Platform or (MMP) to handle and report on attribution and (3) License specialist fraud prevention software. Having a real-time fraud prevention platform such as Interceptd within the campaign redirection path will enable you to identify and block both fraudulent traffic in real-time.
Additionally, I argue that there is more accountability with open networks (ever tried to negotiate a deduction with Google on a fraudulent install? Yes fraud exists on walled garden traffic too). What we also see is a “deterrent” effect whereby on seeing an ‘Interceptd tag’ in live campaign trackers, a network will be deterred from supplying low-quality traffic and are accountable. So, don’t fear ad networks. They can add value to your campaigns but of course be mindful and employ the appropriate safeguards.
Richard Metcalf, Business Development Director @ Interceptd
Push Your Creatives to the Limits
Never settle for average creatives, or messaging, getting the user to take an action (eg. install an app, and deposit money) is about appealing to their emotions, and rousing them to follow the cookie crumbs of your funnel until they convert, and buy. Get funky with words, text, colors, images, and gifs — the more variations, and the more you can push the boundaries of your creatives, the more success you will have in getting users to take actions — both outside, and inside your app.
Casey Grooms & Garrett Gan, Partners @ Userbase
Ask Questions and Analyze Everything
We ask questions and analyze the reasons, mainly when everything is going bad. We try to understand what we are doing wrong. However, from my 13+ years experience working in various companies across different verticals, some of the best questions are asked when everything is going perfectly.
- What has changed? Day-seven retention increased this month, what caused this increase? Does this hypothesis make sense?
- Ask questions why? Why can I get qualified installs at lower CPI from this channel?
- What if? What if I would stop all my user acquisition activities?
- Cross-check? Is the total revenue generated from the mobile app consistent with the total revenue calculated in any BI tools or other third-party tools?
- Can it be better? Complacency is the key to successfully failing.
You do not need to have sophisticated analytics tools and/or skills. You do not need to be an expert, or even apt at spinning spreadsheets. Even without knowing what you are looking at, analyze all the data you have. Definitely, you will find some correlations, whether they be beneficial or detrimental.
Selin Ezer, Co-founder and CAO @ App Samurai
Identify the Best Markets for Your App
As a marketing veteran with over 10 years at NetEase Games, I have experienced the full stages of exploring markets outside China within the gaming industry. As we already know, localization is critical for the app’s success in particular countries. But an essential step at the very beginning of development is to identify the best markets for your app which is the biggest competitor in the field? Which countries are its best markets in terms of revenue and downloads? Which market and country has the best chance of success for your app according to the current marketing and competitor landscape? All these strategic decisions are based on the developer’s resources and a lot of app store figures. Take two of the biggest battle royal games as examples, Tencent’s PUBG MOBILE has the US and India as its top-grossing market and biggest user-base market respectively. On the other hand, NetEase’s Knives Out is highly focused in Japan, due to understanding their app’s best potential markets. Sensor Tower provides such data and insights to help develop a solid strategy for your app.
Nan Lu, Mobile Insights Strategist @ Sensor Tower
Perseverance is the Sole Key to be Ahead of the Game
No-one knows what’s the next big trend in marketing until someone cracks it. Everyone is dreaming about decreasing the cost while increasing scale, but only the ones who apply a well-planned structure persistently can make it happen. These are my top three steps to assisting you on this journey: (1) Create a secure environment so that every team-member doesn’t hesitate to speak loudly, even about the weirdest ideas. (2) Have a foolproof “test and iterate” process. (3) Don’t give up until you reach Valhalla
Dogan Akdag, Founder & CEO @ GG Studio + King and Peak Games Alumni.
Educate Your Team For Success When Deploying Internal Apps
When professionals think of mobile, or app success, they often imagine the B2C public environment. Actually, there is a significant market dedicated to internal-only apps. These are company apps, that aim to improving their worker’s experience, effectiveness or efficiency. We’ve found, that educating your team prior to implementing these new apps is critical for success. The employees need to understand that without their participation, the project won’t succeed. So giving staff the background of the project, reasons for the change, and then the right tools to make it happen (updated mobile devices, etc.) will make the project successful. This tip was gained from decades-long experience delivering a mobile app development platform to industry, focusing on the frontline worker – staff in the food and beverage, consumer packaged goods, power/energy, metals/mining, oil/gas and transportation industries that responsible for converting raw materials into finished goods. Each industry has numerous steps, checkpoints, and infrastructure to ensure good manufacturing practices. The majority of these frontline workers are not tethered to a specific area, but rather out in the field or on the production line, so a mobile-based app fits the way they work. Workers need to understand why these apps were built for them, and how they can effectively use them to gain more productivity and efficiency in their jobs in order to make the app deployment successful for them and the business. What many marketing professionals can take away from this tip, is that education is key to the success across multiple sectors in both the B2B, B2C, internal and external market. Whether it is a function-based tutorial for your hyper-casual game, or educating your internal stakeholders on the new mobile application, apps all benefit from a robust and strategic onboarding experience aimed at their core target market.
Maryanne Steidinger, Head of Marketing @ Webalo Inc.
Influencer Marketing is the New Trusted Source
Internet users, no longer trust advertisements that brands share on their own. Consumers receive too much information and content; thus their brains have ceased noticing ads. Here influencer marketing served our growing advertising needs, amidst the lessening consumer attention span. As a 6+ years experienced digital marketer in the cosmetics & retail industry, specializing in influencer marketing, I can say that influencer collaboration is the best way to reach new generation consumers. A successfully placed product or sponsored post shared by a trusted influencer does not feel like an advertisement and can be perceived as genuine social content. Here are my top 2 tips for a successful influencer strategy: (1) Find the right influencer. This can be the most important tip in order to fulfill your KPI’s. No one would believe that the influencer uses your $20 bag, if she is using Louis Vuitton in her daily life. credibility is important. Find an influencer that aligns with your brand identity and target audience. (2) Keep in touch with influencers. Since influencers are now the most trusted and reliable source of consumers, you should keep stable and positive relationships with them. If the influencer doesn’t like you, then they will not like your brand either. Good communication skills are key.
Muge Erkent, Social Media Manager & Consultant.
Be Open, You Never Know
Mobile Marketing Tip: Over my time in digital marketing, it never ceases to amaze me on the success of a test when it is something I am normally hesitant to try. An example of this is when I didn’t want to run Incent traffic the CEO of my last company was pushing me to work on a ranking strategy to get organics up. After doing this I ended up finding a source ID that was giving us positive ROAS results. After hunting it down, it turned into one of our largest and most profitable sources. So from then on, I try almost anything as long as I can de-risk it through a deal structure.
Trevor Laehy, Founder @ Upshot Labs
Whether it be unique insights, or tried-and-true advice, sometimes, simply hearing tips from trusted sources makes all the difference. We hope you can find some morsels of insight, to help illuminate potential areas of growth, relevant to your unique professional position.
Thank you to everyone who participated, including Daniel Elias, Casey Grooms, Garrett Gan, Matthew Edgar, Dogan Akdag, Lexi Sydow, Sinan Icer, Muge Erkent, Maryanne Steidinger, Nan Lu, Selin Ezer, Trevor Laehy and Richard Metcalf.