by Dayton Keane
VP – Sales and Marketing
I love attending Grow.co’s signature annual event, MAU, held every year in Las Vegas. This app-centric event has grown into one of the most important mobile events in the world. I thought I’d take a few moments to bullet out some of the most salient themes from the event. This community of more than 1,000 marketers represents a big chunk of the cream of marketing talent in our industry. What this group thinks and does sets the trends and tone for the industry in the US and around the world. Here are just a few of the big topics from the show:
Massive Growth: I’m struck by how quickly MAU has grown — from a couple hundred attendees a few years ago to well over a thousand today. All that growth is a testament to the strength and commitment of the Grow.co team. It also reflects how the app space has grown and evolved into a powerful business channel in so many categories. Everywhere you turn, you see “who’s who” in app retail, travel, gaming, personal finance, and on-demand services, to name just a few of the sectors that were extremely well represented. More proof that apps have more than “arrived” – they are now at the center of digital commerce for many of the world’s leading businesses.
User Quality and Remarketing Ascendant: As we’ve been discussing on this blog for many months, marketers now care deeply about the quality of users they attract to their apps. There were lots of strategic and tactical discussions about remarketing and ways to encourage ongoing user engagement. I’ll wager that any attendee that wasn’t focusing time and resources on retention and retargeting before last week left Las Vegas with a keen sense that they need to do so in the months ahead.
Holistic View of Marketing and Users: App UA and retention have become more challenging, and marketers are clamoring for more holistic views of their businesses and users. Marketers are talking about good versus bad complexity; having more information has made marketing more complicated – but in a good way. This complexity ultimately leads to unprecedented levels of consumer insight. The challenge is that they are tired of getting all their information from different silos and interfaces. This piecemeal access to information is a bad form of complexity – one that has no benefits but many downsides for the marketer.
Thinking B2C for B2B: There’s a popular expression in B2B marketing – that B2B is “really just B2C with a tie on.” Meaning that we need to understand and appeal to the needs of individuals as we work to build interest and adoption of B2B apps. When a brand can make a case to both a prospective business client and its individual users, app adoption and retention can grow rapidly. This was a theme in multiple presentations at the event – definitely food for thought.
Seeking Early Indicators of Success: This came up again and again in presentations and informal discussions. More and more marketers are focusing time and energy identifying early indicators of user quality so that they can be nimbler in optimizing both UA and retention efforts. This is a particularly important trend in the commerce side of the app business because it may take days or weeks for a user to transact. Marketers can’t wait that long to understand whether their marketing investments are yielding the right sort of users. They need early indicators so they can improve their results faster.
AI and Machine Learning: These aren’t the industry’s buzzwords-of-the-moment for nothing. Lots of companies are developing products that leverage machine learning and other elements of AI to improve customer experience and user insights. Expect to see more innovations from leading solutions providers and new companies. This trend is about what you do with data to unlock its kinetic business value.
Events like Grow.co MAU Las Vegas 2017 are a terrific opportunity to reconnect with clients, partners and prospects. They are a chance to learn, share and promote the growth of the industry. I want to thank the talented team at Grow.co for a fantastic program and event, and all the participants for being active participants in another great app industry conference.