Mobile Ecosystem

Acquiring the Love of a Lifetime

Becky Doles

With over one million available apps across the App Store and Google Play, the struggle to attract and grow viable mobile app audiences is intensifying. Fail to crack the discovery code, and your app will go unnoticed. Overspend aggressively and you will quickly blow your budget, or worse, put your company out of business. Today at Postback, Billy Shipp of Iddiction, Adam Grenier of HotelTonight, Erlend Christoffersen of Supercell and Bill Kang of Scopely sat down to share what works and does not work in the competitive world of user acquisition. They discussed what they focus on when they sit in the UA “cockpit,” what services they depend on and what opportunities and challenges they anticipate facing over the next 18 months.

The panelists all agreed that looking at the lifetime value of users is incredibly important when considering user acquisition. Erlend explained that day-to-day his team looks more at lifetime value than cost per install. Additionally, both Bill and Billy have found that it is important to build products that perform well and create brand awareness as quickly as possible. By leveraging virality, Billy explains this can drastically reduce the cost of acquisition while still quickly acquiring new users. Adam cautioned though that it is important not to look at the lifetime value of users too quickly. As he said, “At Hotel Tonight we don’t make revenue until someone books a room. You’re in the weeds from day one when you’re looking down the funnel, so the key to success is finding which traffic sources will produce the highest quality users.” To do that he has been following the value of their users for the past two years to understand how they have evolved over time. He said many new users may not book a hotel right away, or even if they do, they may not book another room for several months.

The panelists also discussed what is currently working for them to help acquire new users. They all unanimously agreed that Facebook has been a huge factor in their success. However, Bill said that “what is working now won’t necessarily work in the future.” Billy added that “all of us can say we’re spending half of our budgets on platforms we weren’t spending on a year ago,” which has helped these panelists acquire new users. Erlend noted that working with networks that provide transparency, and leveraging targeting, has been incredibly helpful in acquiring new users.

Mobile advertising is still young, however, and the panelists agreed that there is much to be improved upon to help drive engagement. He explained that many current ad formats on mobile were brought over from desktop, and “a lot of these formats suck.” He pointed to two companies – Google and Twitter – that still need to provide more transparency around install rates and focus more on performance. Adam added that there is still a huge gap in how seamless the market can be for advertisers compared to where it is now. The panelists disagreed, though, on how interactive mobile ads should ultimately become. Bill asked “why can’t ads be more interactive?”, whereas Billy is afraid that increasingly interactive ads will negatively impact the user experience.

By assessing lifetime value and leveraging the right platform, app developers can optimize user acquisition without sacrificing user experience.

Watch the full “Postback 2013: User Acquisition Power Players” session below:

Becky Doles

Becky is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at TUNE. Before TUNE, she led a variety of marketing and communications projects at San Francisco startups. Becky received her bachelor's degree in English from Wake Forest University. After living nearly a decade in San Francisco and Seattle, she has returned to her home of Charleston, SC, where you can find her enjoying the sun and salt water with her family.

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