Acquisition & Engagement

Spotlight on: AppLift’s VP of Advertising and User Acquisition

Becky Doles

This is an exclusive Q&A with Andrew Birnbryer, VP, Advertising & Acquisition at AppLift. Andrew is scheduled to be a panelist at

Q: How has mobile marketing evolved over the past year? Did anything surprise you?

The push for transparency is now a key pillar of the industry. What was once talk of native, turned into talk of LTV optimization, now it’s about combining those with a clear view on where and how it’s being done. In the early days, so many were worried to share information for fear of losing market edge, but I’ve always believed that a partnership built on data, trust and high level service will retain your clients. In a market where so many claim to do the same thing, only better, it’s about being the trusted partner. That’s where transparency becomes so crucial and I’m happy to be a part of that movement. Tech will come and go, but clear relationships last.

Q: How can the industry strike a balance between personalization and respecting user privacy?

It’s important to remember that no matter what we may believe, the data ultimately belongs to the user, not to the App/Game/Marketing company that compiles it. Allow your customers to decide what they want in a user experience by showing them how using their data will enrich their experience. News apps, dating apps, shopping apps are all perfect examples. Show me content that is pertinent to me and I will opt-in. Most people will readily trade data for a user experience that is specifically catered to them. Make this abundantly clear and you’ve found the balance.

Q: How should user acquisition and retention complement each other?

These two are hand in hand. In the immortal words of Forrest Gump, “…like Peas and Carrots.” Innovative ad units and hyper targeting create a relevant user experience that if done effectively will match your UA efforts with the right user. This is the ultimate goal. Most companies can go and find you thousands of users, but if they never actively engage with your product, it’s a waste.

You should have clear retention and engagement goals in mind before starting any UA campaign, then craft a unique media plan around this. Together with your advertising partner, you should every day test and reassess your KPI goals so you are staying ROI positive while also reaching your growth goals. Once the users are acquired, sustained in-app marketing is paramount. There are some great third-party services out there that will help you communicate efficiently with your users, such as through push notification or in-app pop-up messages.

Q: Is mobile marketing an art or a science?

It’s like Alchemy, rooted in science but performed with magic and a splash of art. Essentially every company is asking, how can I turn my code into gold? The fact that creative optimization is so important to a successful campaign tells us there is a clear layer of art involved. How do you catch someone’s attention in the split second you have their gaze? Beyond the actual art creation, the timing of campaigns, mixed with external marketing, the channels to use, etc. will always be a balance between data driven forecasts and experiential data. This is the art. Combining your algorithms with your gut. And every so often, you need to try something completely out of the ordinary, something that has no science, no performance metrics to support it. Those left field decisions sometimes turn into industry standards, re: TV for mobile games as a prime example.

Q: What are you most looking forward to at #Postback15?

All the familiar faces and great conversations. It’s a rare mix of hyper productivity, surprise DJs and way too much fun along the way. And of course, McDonald’s breakfast on the last day.

Register for #Postback15

Postback 2015

This year’s Postback event will be held July 23 & 24 in Seattle, WA. Featuring a lead keynote address from Malcolm Gladwell, nine panel sessions with discussion from 30+ industry experts, and training for TUNE products, Postback is a can’t miss event for all serious marketers. The event also includes an outdoor happy hour, private boat cruise around Lake Union, and a concert with a secret artist, giving you plenty of opportunities to connect with other industry professionals. To register or learn more, visit the Postback website.

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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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