This week, Apsalar was a sponsor for the Mobile Growth Summit in SF – the first time we were a major participant in this event series. And I am really glad that we were a part of it. The quality of content, attendees, and informal discussions was outstanding, and I’d like to summarize some of my key takeaways from this major event.
Games, Plus a Whole Lot More
As is typical with mobile app events, game developers and publishers appeared to be the largest segment of event attendees. Games continue to play a huge role in the app business. And indeed in its growing sophistication.
Gaming companies have been extremely aggressive in building consumer insights and business insights infrastructures within their organizations – a reflection of their tremendous marketing sophistication and interest in cultivating profitable relationships with customers. I am always impressed when we speak with a new gaming company and learn about how advanced their approaches to cultivating the richest possible customer understanding.
Gaming companies have also been among the most advanced users of the Apsalar Attribution platform. They aggressively pursue innovations in both UA and re-engagement, as their business goals get higher and higher. When we review the logs of our customers, gaming companies consistently spend more time in the platform, use more measures, and adopt new features more quickly than average customers in other verticals.
But gaming is only part of the app phenomenon. Based solely on my own observations, five other verticals seemed very well represented in the show audience:
- Retail: The number of pure play and multichannel retailers who are aggressively pursuing the app space continues to grow.
- Travel: Booking, content and companion apps were all at the show in strength. As we all know, travel has been the industry arguably most affected by the growth of digital, and the ascendency of apps is driving even more largely positive change. Apps are rapidly becoming an important sales and engagement channel, as well as an innovative means of cultivating longer and richer relationships with travelers.
- Financial Services: The growth in app usage for financial activities is well documented here, here, here and in dozens of other industry studies.
- On-Demand Services: No secret that services like Uber, Ola, Spot Hero, and a host of others are growing very rapidly and boast outstanding valuations.
- Media: Apps from media companies enjoy tremendous footprints and adoption. While often less aggressive than, say, games in UA, these businesses are often among the most popular apps.
Gaming is and will remain the biggest deal in apps for some time. But what’s plain here is that if you think gaming is the only game in this town, you are missing out on a big part of what makes this business so dynamic and strong.
User Quality is a Big Deal to App Marketers
Gone are the days when app marketers were focused exclusively on cranking up the install counts. These days, as marketers are more likely to face strict ROI goals, attracting quality users is on a lot of people’s minds. That got expressed in a number of ways:
- Interest in uninstall attribution. We previewed what we are seeing in the first weeks of data from our uninstall attribution offering – specifically that three key tactics appear to be very effective at mitigating uninstalls.
In addition, there were signs that a number of our competitors are developing their own uninstall solutions.
- Interest in fraud prevention. Apsalar anticipated these concerns many months ago when we began quarterly tracking of click and IAP fraud. Expect to hear more about UA fraud detection and prevention in the months ahead.
- Lots of buzz about early engagement. Growing evidence suggests that when you get a user to engage multiple times in the first hours, days, and weeks of their life cycle, retention rates are much higher, for long periods of time.
Remarketing is Set to Explode in 2016
UA still garners the vast majority of industry media dollars, but the level of interest in remarketing and re-engagement is also very high. And it continues to grow with every passing week. Our own data show that remarketing grew more than 900% in 2015, and represents three times the amount of total category activity that it did just a few months ago.
We launched a remarketing audiences segmentation product in 2015, with the expectation that the most common use cases would be:
- Basic mobile retargeting, or identifying a group of users that have not engaged or purchased in n days and delivering customized messaging to them.
- Cross-device retargeting, which operates under the same principles, but uses data from mobile and PC, linked by a leading device graph.
- Activation of users that abandon shopping carts, delivering triggered messages to get them to come back and close the deal.
- App cross-marketing, or encouraging the user base of one app to try another.
- Powering engagement vehicles for a variety of purposes, meaning using data from Apsalar to power customized push and other messages using your partner of choice.
Based on the conversations I had with leading marketers, the biggest opportunity in the short term appears to be driving those critical early engagements and purchases which are shown to lead to long-term brand relationships.
Passion for Learning and Invention
This is a category full of marketers who thrive on change. People who are ahead of the curve as regards new strategies, marketing tactics, and uses of data. That spirit, of course, is one of the things that makes this industry so exciting and rewarding. Not to mention fast-growing.
With every conversation, I felt as though I was walking away with a new insight – and a new idea for how to help our clients drive outstanding growth in 2016.
Mobile Growth Summit was a fantastic opportunity to go deep with the bug ideas and big thinking that power this amazing industry. Thanks to the great teams at Mobile Growth Summit and Mobile Growth Fellowship. You throw a great event! And special thanks to the speakers, and the fantastic group of attendees. The folks who made this event so valuable and memorable.