App Marketing Case Studies: Acquiring Active Mobile Users Globally

James Cooper | January 28, 2015

App Marketing

Looking to acquire users on the global stage but not sure about how to go about it? Joana Picq is Head of International & Business Development at Jampp and she spoke at App Promotion Summit Berlin 2014 on the topic of about acquiring active mobile users globally. Taking advantage of a handful of useful case studies to help make her case, her talk is a great starting point for beginners and will give some food for thought for experienced marketers.

In this talk, she covered how to:

  • Expand across the US, Europe and emerging markets
  • Scale while maintaining quality of user
  • Picking the right KPIs to ensure all the above succeeds.

If you want to check out the talk now, you can access the video, SoundCloud stream and transcript below.

App Marketing Case Studies Video:

App Marketing Case Studies Audio:

App Marketing Case Studies Transcript:

So we’re all here today at the App Promotion Summit because we know how important mobile is. So it is kind of obvious. If you haven’t read these reports that are here on this slide, I highly recommend that you do because they are very interesting. But although this might be obvious to us as experienced marketers, it hasn’t been obvious to everybody. A lot of people are still waking up to the fact that mobile apps are really important. But the fact is that they are all waking up to it.

So everyone is going to crash our mobile app party. Historically we’ve seen so far two waves of people getting into mobile apps. And what we’re going to see more and more is everybody getting into it. What I mean by this is, if you thought this space was heated up already get ready for it to be even more heated. Which means we need to be very well prepared to fight for those mobile app users.

So when we look at what we’ve done over the last three years. And three years in mobile app years is more than dog years. What we’ve seen is when people get into the space, it’s honestly almost like they had a board meeting. And in the board meeting they said, “Okay, we need to get into mobile. Why are we doing mobile? Okay. Let’s launch an app. Let’s just get a bunch of users for our app.” And then they start just getting desperate for installs. Okay? Then what happens is, “okay, let’s stop and see what happened. Let’s improve the app. Let’s look at the ROI. What’s actually happening inside the app? Oh, we don’t know. Okay, let’s make sure the tracking is there.” And then they start doing a bit more acquisition looking at what’s actually happening. And then as they get more mature they actually start trying to scale while keeping quality and making sure that they know the ROI and that the ROI makes sense.

Obviously, the more you just want installs, the less technology you need. And the more you’re looking at in app activity, the more technology you need. Which is also why there are a lot more players just offering installs and less players in this market offering actual technology for in app optimization.I absolutely hate soft promotions so I didn’t put our logo in there. But, I guess you know who we are.

And so with a lot of people getting into this phase and a lot of people getting into the space just looking for installs, everybody is bargaining on CPI. Which is a big mistake for the simple main reason that an install does not equal a user. And if there is one thing  that I want you to take out of this presentation today, it’s that.

Okay, so the alarming things that I’ve been seeing people do, in terms of clients in general, they are buying acquiring users and doing advertising is that they’re assessing results way too quickly. Which means within two or three days if a campaign isn’t converting in certain ways, they just want to pause it. Within a week or two, they think that they already know what is happening and they want to stop it. Not giving it time. Most of the time, they’re either not tracking the right KPI’s or they’re reluctant to actually send the data along. If you’re not tracking what’s happening inside your app when you do acquisition, you’re throwing money into a black hole. You literally don’t know what’s happening with it. And if you don’t give us a post back on those events, then you’re basically hoping that we’re going to optimize complaints based on telepathy or something. You really need to have that data and make sure you feed that data back. So that technology can feed on data.
I know a lot of them are just focusing on CPI, especially when they just get started. Because that’s what you pay. You pay on per install. But what you really should look at is what happened after the install and how much you’re paying for an active user and how much you’re getting return on your investment. So the right way would basically be, allow longer time windows for the results to show. Just as it takes you time to know the real life time value of a mobile app user, it does take time for it to optimize in terms of paid acquisition. It takes data to feed the engine, and it takes time to collect the data. Because it takes data to feed the engine over time, you must again make sure you have the right prospects being sent on the right events. And you must be tracking the right events. You must be looking at your cost per whatever it is you care about. And that can change over time. You could start saying, “I want registrations, that’s important for me.” Okay, costs per registration. Then later it could be a transaction that’s important. And so it goes.
So I’m going to give you a few examples to prove those points of a few clients we’ve had. And this data might be interesting for some of you might already sound familiar. For some of you it might be surprising. So, starting with a taxi app in London. As you know, there are a lot of taxi apps in London. So, it’s a heated space. It’s very competitive. The client needs to win the users right now before other people do. So they want to scale. But, obviously, you don’t want to just get installs, you want to get active users. So over the course of 20 weeks we worked with this. The case study is over the course of 20 weeks. But, it’s ongoing. To try and get more scale and installs, you obviously increase the CPI. That’s how you’re going to get more people. Right? So that works. That’s a pretty simple rule.

How did that actually impact the conversions? So the conversion in this case is the cost per first ride. So how does that first trip convert? Once we increase CPIs, it actually drops a bit the conversion. Why? Because you’re adding a new variable to the mix of data that we’re collecting, right? So we’re tapping into more sources because we have a higher CPI to play with. You can buy from more sources which means more sources to come in analyze. Once we’re analyzing them at the beginning we don’t know how they’re converting. So obviously the conversions goes down a bit. But within a week or four or five weeks and as you can see, it’s four to five weeks that it takes for it to go up again. So those conversions do go up again even though they dropped. Because the technology feeds on that data and it does get smarter with it. And what that actually meant for this client is that although they almost tripled their CPI over the course of 20 weeks, they actually dropped their CPA by half. So their cost per first trip dropped by half. Okay, but this is a pretty simple app in the sense that it’s mobile only. The conversion window between install and the actual first trip is not that long. And it’s in London. That’s pretty much your market.

So, let’s look at a more complex one. Let’s go to the opposite spectrum, which is a travel app in Latin America. Travel is a very difficult space because first a user can install an app, use it, but only convert on the desktop. Actually purchase on the desktop. And it’s hard to cross device. And second, they could take months between the install and actual purchase. And Latin America is very famous for having very poor conversions, which is why we picked that as an example for you today. So these clients, for example, wanted to scale like they all do over the course of 30 weeks. After a few weeks what we said to them is, “Listen, if you’re only looking at the cost per transaction, then the only event we have is when people actually purchase.” But they could be purchasing on desktop or it could take months. It takes too long to optimize.

So let’s look at other things. So, they added other events to the tracking. Or they sent us new post backs around hotel search. Around registrations and reopens, which already show quality. So instead of our technology thinking either good user or bad user in terms of only installed or made a purchase. Now we knew, okay, there’s bad user because he never does anything again with the app or there’s people that do hotel search and reopen and that are better users. So we started scaling a bit. Once they wanted to actually scale in terms of volume, that’s when we played with the CPIs and we increased them.

And over those 30 weeks, we managed to get these results across Latin America in terms of in app conversion for hotel search. And these results are great in general, but in Latin America, they are “amaze-balls.” Because it’s really hard to get there. But, it does take time. Thirty weeks is almost like a pregnancy. It’s like a baby. And this baby for those who don’t believe in Android is an Android baby. So you are able to extra optimize and get there on Android and in difficult markets if you just allow time and allow data for it.

So speaking of babies, this is probably the most famous baby in the history of tech conferences. I promise I’m not going to use him again because a summary is all. But so, trying to show you the level of scale we can get on this. This an eCommerce app and I didn’t bother showing you what the CPI increases were on this because by now you probably realize on those zero peaks, that’s where they happen. And the event rates. So this is India and this is Brazil.  So, basically what happen is we doubled, about doubled, the number of installs and we more than tripled their conversion rate. And this happens again because we allow time and we allow for it to drop before it can increase again. It’s not a straight line. It’s never a straight curve. And if a client says, “try and optimize it manually,” it gets in the way of allowing that to happen. So, it takes time and it takes allowing playing with the CPI and focusing on the right things with the right length.

So how does that actually work? So you’ve got all these different sources in mobile. I’m sure you all know it because you have to work with all these different players and so do we. So we’re aggregating from over 150 different ad networks and RTB exchanges. The more you play with CPI, the more you allow the CPI to increase, the more sources you actually allow us to add to the mix. Once you have a lot of sources, having the right prospects, have the right attribution, so basically tracking the right things and sending post backs to players like us to optimize for you, it means that our technology can get smart. It can get smart about this impression on this device on this operating system at this time of day in this location with this banner on this publisher works. It’s a good one. It actually brings a good user. It doesn’t mean to say that a publisher is good or bad. A sub-publisher is not necessarily good or bad. It could be good at a certain time of day in a certain place on a certain device with a certain operator and so it goes. And it’s a lot of different variables. So technology allows us to optimize it much better than if we just look ourselves at the publisher level.

So this is how it goes in terms of you paying on the install. But that whole engine is helping you optimize CPA, which is what you care about. And basically so that’s what we do. Jampp is a company headquartered in London and Argentina with offices in San Francisco, New York, Sao Paulo, Cape Town where I’m based, and we’re opening Berlin. So if I want you to remember one thing today as well is that we’re hiring in Berlin, and we’re a cool company with headquarters in Cape Town and Argentina, and London, et cetera that I already mentioned. And if you know great talent, we’re always looking for talent. So please remember that for us.

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