We’re launching into 2018 with a series that looks ahead to our next 12 months and features insights from our top partners. Today’s expert: Google Mobile App Sales & Strategy Expert Aaron Austin*. 

* Please note that all answers are the personal opinions of the interviewee, not of their employer.

What is the most exciting thing that happened to your company in 2017?

I think the most exciting thing happening at Google from my perspective is the expansion and success of the Universal App Campaign format. We really saw the product come a long way this year and drive incredible success for our agencies and clients. The power of machine learning as it applies to mobile app promotion has taken away so much of the daily stress around manual optimization and data analysis, that we see an increased thirst for more strategic conversations around LTV, creative messaging, app store optimization, and app differentiation within verticals.

What do brands need to have mastered in 2017 to be ready to compete in 2018?

In order to compete at the highest levels from an app perspective, brands will need to have a full understanding of the lifetime value of their app users. This type of robust data analysis will enable brands to understand how their app is resonating with users, where their highest-value users are coming from, and what they are doing. This is critical to maximizing revenues and engagement within the app and, from a marketing perspective, evaluating media partners to engage.

What do you see as the major trends in your industry in 2018?

The coolest topics in the app marketing space as we head into 2018 are certainly AI/machine learning, augmented reality and virtual reality, and the expansion to global markets. Additionally, the focus on user engagement will increase, as app marketers work to drive not only install growth but the engagement metrics that become more and more meaningful as business models mature.

What should brands focus on this coming year to stay ahead of the competition?

To stay ahead of the competition, brands should have highly organized and segmented cohorts of their users for the purposes of re-engagement campaigns. They should create robust and differentiated marketing messaging and focus on compelling video assets. Additionally, clearly articulated goals for the year and quarterly plans aligned with these goals will help make tactical decisions more achievable.

If you could invest $50 million in the most promising upcoming technology in your industry, what would you invest in?

I would invest in augmented reality startups that focus on blending the virtual and real world for practical purposes. I think there are ways in which marketing can be leveraged here in non-intrusive meaningful ways that need to be explored and tested.

If you could invest $50 million in the most promising upcoming technology in marketing, what would you invest in?

On the marketing side, I think there needs to be more work done to create a holistic picture of users as they exist in the real world, their desktop online experiences, and of course, mobile. These disparate worlds need to be linked together to create a full picture of a given user, and as of right now this remains a challenge.

What big change in your product or service will be a game-changer in 2018?

On the Google front, the launch of more comprehensive mobile app re-engagement campaigns will be a real game-changer as app marketers look to retain their users and drive incremental revenue from high value users. Re-engagement campaigns allow for the increased opportunity to surprise and delight their loyal user base and move users who are not as engaged into the highly engaged cohort.

What’s a reach-for-the-stars innovation you’d like to see in the next five years?

I would invest in drone delivery technology that functions within the parameters of legal regulations. Part of this funding would be to involve legal regulators and get involved with the regulatory process to allow for the emerging tech (that I would invest in) to be fully compliant.

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Aaron Austin has been in digital advertising since 2008, and has previously enjoyed working at Yahoo, GroundTruth, and InMobi. Currently he works at Google and works with agencies on their mobile marketing strategy. Aaron is from upstate NY, and has lived in San Francisco for nine years where he loves to try new restaurants. Aaron is truly passionate about the mobile space and loves working with 3Q Digital!*

* We promise, he wrote this!

Read more 2018 predictions from 3Q Partners and Experts by clicking here.

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Molly Shotwell
Molly joined 3Q in February 2017. She graduated cum laude from Boston College with a BA in English and a minor in Economics. Having lived and worked in Washington, DC, and Boston, she decided to set her next adventure in Austin with 3Q. When not working in digital marketing, she enjoys filmmaking, sweating through yoga, baking new treats, traveling the world, and spoiling her pets.