Mobile User Acquisition Optimization for the Holidays

by GameHouse

In this weeks App Marketing Conversations, Ryan Morel of GameHouse, Robi Ganguly of Apptentive and Ian Sefferman of MobileDevHQ sat down to discuss how app marketers can better prepare for the holiday rush by testing and optimizing their mobile user acquisition strategies now.

Watch the video, or read the transcript below and make sure to check out the segments from Apptentive & MobileDevHQ!

Ryan: Good morning, and welcome to another episode of App Marketing Conversations. As always, I’m here with Ian Sefferman of MobileDevHQ and Robi Ganguly of Apptentive. I’m Ryan Morel of GameHouse.

We are officially entering the holiday period as evidenced by the red Starbucks cups, elf on the shelf, and all the other crap that comes along with Christmas.

Robi: I feel like that stuff showed up in the summer in some places.

Ryan: It did, my house, yes. What that also means is it is a boom time for app developers, ad networks, and app marketers. As we all know, revenue in and around Christmas, and New Year’s, and Thanksgiving for iOS and Android is orders of magnitude higher than it is for every other time of the year.

So, developers are now going through the process, or probably have been going through the process, of thinking strategically about how they can get themselves as high as possible in the charts to take advantage of that Christmas Day rush.

One of the things we were talking about earlier is how developers can test their campaigns in advance of Christmas so they make sure they aren’t doing it on the fly. Do you have some thoughts on how developers can get that process started?

Robi: Yeah, certainly. I think next week is a good opportunity because of Thanksgiving. A lot of folks are going to be at home with their families, you know, existing customers. The Christmas rush is generally associated with a lot of new customers who get new devices and then just download a whole bunch of stuff.

Ryan: Yeah.

Robi: And fill it in over the course of three to five days, right.

Ryan: Yeah.

Robi: I think Thanksgiving has the existing customers, and maybe some new devices will show up. But, with those existing customers you can test messaging. You can test channels, price points, and targeting. If you’re using a variety of Facebook, Google eye ads, other mobile networks, or if you’re trying to experiment with Twitter, for example, experiment with those things this next week and see what comes out of that and what’s surprising.

Where can you come up with a new thesis that you didn’t have before that you can potentially execute during the holidays? That’s one piece of advice I would use for the next week.

Ryan: Yeah. And from your experience specifically I would guess this is also a good opportunity, or your last opportunity, to get some good engagement and feedback numbers.

Robi: Yeah, yeah. So, you probably have one more rev, right. Some people have freeze dates that have already passed…

Ryan: …Yeah.

Robi: …and they’re not shipping anything else. But, a lot of companies we talk to say there’s one more rev, early December, before the Christmas crush. And, as a result, if you are engaging with the audience over the next week or so and really listening hard to what’s the number one concern, and you get that in that last rev or the number one opportunity for you, I think that you have put yourself in a position to succeed during the holidays.

Ryan: Yeah.

Ian: Yeah. I think from my perspective, which is typically on the organic side, the big thing to be able to test and to look at over the next week or so is making sure you understand where you want to rank for search in the App Store, what positions do you want to rank, and what is that going to do for you. And, use the Thanksgiving week, Black Friday, Cyber Monday type stuff to see sort of, you know, where do I need my downloads to be to hit my goals. Use that as your guide going forward. The numbers will go up as the demand goes up. But, it’s still a rough estimate to get you there.

The sort of drum that I always bang on is organic and paid work together really, really well in the App Store. So, don’t think that you can just do one or the other. Do both and try to understand how they affect each other. Paying for downloads will make you rise in the charts. A rise in the charts will get you more downloads which will make your paid acquisitions better and so on.

Ryan: Yeah, yeah. And aren’t you guys… Do you do a Halo calculator?

Ian: We have not done one, but we have ideas on that.

Ryan: Yeah, yeah. Because I think to your point there’s a lot of you have to get all this stuff figured out now. You know, how many installs are you going to purchase, and how many are you get on the organic side. Then, kind of pulling these all together.

Also, this is your last chance to really see the LTV of these new buyers. I’m making a gross generalization here. But, the downloads that you’re getting on a daily basis are kind of like just the masses, the average user. The people you get around the holidays might be a little bit different.

Ian: True.

Ryan: So, you can identify are these people paying…

Ian: …Yeah.

Ryan: …are they worth it for the long term, and then how much do I want to pay for them, or do I want to pay for them when Christmas time comes.

Ian: Yeah. The other question that I actually have for more, like you on the paid side, is what do you do if you are, how do you think about the world if you’re not a game. For instance, I think travel and retail apps are both actually better suited for next week as the prime time week than a game. Whereas a game is like next week is your test week and your real time is Christmas.

Robi: Yeah.

Ian: So, if you’re a travel or retail app do you even want to play the game?

Ryan: Probably, I don’t even know how you do. I mean, it’s like going to… I don’t want to use that analogy. Really hard, right. Because there’s a lot of developers that are going to pay a lot of money. Average CPI’s are well north of $1.75 on iPhone right now, well north of $2 on iPad right now. I don’t know how a retail or travel app makes that work, at least at scale.

From a retail or travel perspective, I think it’s about maximizing your opportunities in your non-pay per install channels, so your organic stuff, your media, your other web channels whatever it may be. I just think it’s hard.

Ian: Yeah.

Ryan: Do you have…

Robi: …I would actually take a little bit of a counterpoint. Because I spend a bunch of time with channel retail, CPG’s…

Ryan: …Yeah.

Robi: …you know, nongaming companies. From their perspective, $1.90 an install, they don’t think about that as expensive. They don’t think about a campaign for $500,000 over the course of three weeks as expensive depending on their business and their ad strategy. So, some of those companies look at it and say, okay, that’s fine.

Ryan: Yeah.

Robi: What am I going to do with those consumers? What are they going to do with my app? How am I engaging with them? So, the opportunity for people like that is they’re less focused maybe on the cost and more focused on is this a moment in time where consumers are open to switching brands…

Ryan: …Yeah.

Robi: …switching loyalties. Have they actually established loyalty in my category? If they have, maybe I want to switch them. If they haven’t, that’s a big opportunity for me to create loyalty. So, think of yourself as one of the many apps out there that help you travel. Think about the opportunity when ten million new people get an iPhone to be the travel app on their home screen. For many of these brands, that’s awesome and they’re just really waking up to this opportunity in the marketplace. Because they’ve only in the past year started to have an app that they think is really good and it’s resonating.

Ryan: Yeah.

Robi: So, I think some of their evaluations of this are very much about consumer mindsets are shifting, there’s an opportunity to become the preferred brand on somebody’s device, and what can you do with that open-mindedness.

Ryan: Yeah. You know way more about that stuff than I do, clearly. When I think about how we’re going to go about a user acquisition strategy, I think about in app advertising, and interstitials, and videos, and all that stuff. I think it’s harder for those companies to find places to put their ads.

Because the travel apps don’t like promoting other travel apps. Retail apps… Nordstrom’s not going to Bonobos or vice versa, right. But, Casino A is happy to promote Casino, well, maybe not happy to, but they might be willing to…

Robi: …Yeah.

Ryan: The liquidity of that user acquisition market is more fluid.

Robi: Sure.

Ian: And that’s probably why, like, we have actually seen a lot of inbound interest from retail and travel in particular, that’s why I brought up those two segments – over the last couple of months, specifically. Because they’re like organic’s going to be a huge piece of our puzzle…

Ryan: …Yeah.

Ian: …because they’re not as performance based as a game where every game is sharing with every other game and so on.

Ryan: Yeah.

Ian: That’s a little bit more fluid, and they’re looking for the loyalty, and they’re looking or finding the organic channels there.

Ryan: Yeah. Well, I think maybe that’s another point. It’s like, hey, if you’re not trying to capitalize on this kind of rush of cash that goes into the system, then maybe you don’t want to participate in what we’re paying for users that you could get two months later or something like that. I don’t know. That’s an interesting point.

Okay, so the net here is we’re into the last cycle of when you can update your app. Use the week of Thanksgiving to test your user acquisition strategies. Look at LTV. Modify your keywords and any of the other organic factors to drive installs over the next month. But, go with the plan.

Ian: Go with the plan.

Robi: Yeah.

Ryan: Anything else?

Robi: Have a great Thanksgiving. I’m sure we won’t talk to people before the Thanksgiving holiday, so have a great one.

Ian: Yeah.

Ryan: Yeah, happy Thanksgiving. Thanks for watching. Make sure to like this video, subscribe to our channel, and check out the other segments from Ian and Robi.

By Ryan Morel

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