Last week we joined 500 of our fellow mobile enthusiasts at App Annie’s inaugural Capptivate conference at Pier 27 in beautiful San Francisco. The one day event featured an impressive lineup of guest speakers representing many of the top brands on the app charts.

Topics ranged from mobile user acquisition tips, trends in app monetization, the evolving landscape of app store optimization, mobile product innovation, and much more!

We’ve summarized the 5 most discussed mobile topics below. Take a look, and make sure that you have a current (and evolving) strategy for each of them!

1. Mobile Ad Fraud

It came as no surprise that mobile ad fraud was a hot topic. The consensus from the speakers and the audience was that the solution lies with teamwork and transparency. Advertisers, ad networks and publishers must work together, first to develop a mutual understanding of the inherent risk in the space, and then to set up media buying relationships that include prevention, monitoring, and mitigation tactics that all parties have agreed to at the beginning of an engagement. Our own experience over the past 12 months has certainly confirmed this necessity.

If you aren’t sure where to start, remember – information is power! Reach out to your mobile attribution vendor or a third-party tool such as Forensiq and start by learning what level of granularity is available to you about your traffic sources!

2. Achieving Scale

The next-biggest struggle for UA managers was finding scale within their KPIs – a challenge we are familiar with as well! As you’d expect, the more aggressive the growth goals and the larger the advertising budget, the bigger this pain point becomes.

The big debate here took place outside of the go-to channels. Everyone seemed to start with mobile ad networks, Facebook, Google and Apple, but outside of the heavy hitters is where a lot of testing, learning, and (sometimes) big wins occurred. Advertisers cited some success with Pinterest, Twitter, and SnapChat (the vertical of the advertiser seemed to have a lot to do with whether these channels were successful for them). And outside of those channels, advertisers discussed trying direct buys with niche sites or apps, advertising on OTT programming, podcasts, influencer platforms, and native advertising.

Coca-Cola shared their practice of refreshing their top direct advertising buys every 30 days. And finally, there was wide agreement on the necessity of setting aside a percentage of your UA budget purely for testing purposes and judging its ROI primarily on learnings gained – of course with the hope that some tests turn into thriving channels!

3. Product + Marketing

The last big topic in user acquisition was the importance of getting a mobile app ready for prime time. This means having a smooth first-time user flow, a strong conversion funnel, and creating an experience that is enjoyable and that users will return to.

A scenario cited by several direct response marketers was an inability to find any sort of consistency or scale with their original KPIs and after many months of testing and many vendors and traffic sources, realizing they needed to work together with the product team, share what the state of advertising inventory was, and see what could be done to increase the original KPI thresholds – usually accomplished through a series of in-app testing.

4. App Store Optimization

Uber and Expedia shared their tips on app store optimization from metadata testing to screenshot, video, and feature graphic testing via platforms such as Storemaven, Splitmetrics, and Google Play Experiments. Their advice for successful ASO was to start by doing comprehensive research to understand who your customers are and what problem they are trying to solve. Then to set up tests on a platform that will give you rich insights, and to continue to run individualized tests across iOS & Google Play stores and different countries since performance will certainly differ.

Apple also announced a significant App Store redesign launching with iOS 11, so stay tuned for new opportunities and challenges in ASO coming soon!

5. Using Consumer Feedback

iHeartRadio presented their practice of using customer reviews and beta groups to drive their product innovation roadmap. Focusing on both qualitative and quantitative feedback played a significant role in expanding their service to over 90 platforms, while maintaining an impressive 4.7 star rating with 1.6MM reviews.

This process of listening to consumer feedback is also what informed their development and release of a new offering iHeartRadio Plus. But you don’t have to build out a program as far reaching as theirs to have an impact. Their recommendation is to start by simply responding to app reviews in the app store!

And now we’ll leave you with some mobile ecosystem stats and predictions below courtesy of App Annie!

  • Time in apps is up 52% in 2016 from 1.05 trillion to 1.61 trillion hours
  • We spend 2 hours per day on our phones, which totals 1 month per year of time spent on mobile devices
  • The global app economy will be valued at 6.3 trillion in 2021

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Natalie Aller
Natalie joined 3Q as senior mobile strategy manager after spending 6 years in mobile apps marketing, most recently at Disney Consumer Products working on their portfolio of children’s apps. She grew up in Northern California but currently resides in San Diego, California, with her fiance, Paul, and their calico kitten named Jammie. Her favorite pastimes include exploring the great outdoors, camping, hiking, and playing in the ocean.