Watch The Data, Mix The Metrics And Tap The Emotions
Haydon Young has a long track record in marketing, an impressive career that started in real estate where his deep understanding and appreciation of what his clients valued allowed him to sell properties successfully. Fast forward, and Haydon has managed multi-million dollar ad spend for some major companies in the app industry. His drive to understand users allows him to identify the triggers, nudges and levers app markets can activate to bring about a positive outcome for campaigns while serving the emotional need of the customer. He shares his top pick of top-notch advice to app marketers.
Don’t trust a hunch. Metrics is the lifeblood of UA. You can rely on your instinct when you decide to test budget on a specific channel or investigate what a specific ad unit, audience or geo have to offer. But there are limits. It’s the hard numbers and the metrics -CPIs, CTRs, CVRs, eCPMs, Impressions, Clicks, Install-to-Impression, Install-to-Purchase, ARPPU, and ROI- that validate your KPIs and prove you right or wrong.
To know if you are on the mark you need to track, and there are two stages of tracking that need to be on-point with your tech stack. I divide them into two groups: the data up to the install event and the data post install. Up to the install, you need to know how your creatives and marketing is performing. That means knowing the KPIs I called out above and making sure they are all accurately attributed to the correct partner/platform/geo/creative and campaign. After the user has installed your app, you need to tie all the post install metrics to the partner/platform/geo/creative and campaign. I hear you asking “what are the metrics?” I gave you a good idea, but the exact mix of metrics you want to optimize for success will depend on your campaign goals.
A common goal is to optimize in order to achieve a certain user LTV and ROI by a certain day. If this is what you are aiming for, then make sure you can tie the user’s post-install in-game purchases (IAP) or ad monetization values back to the ad network and the marketing campaign. This will allow you to accurately calculate your ROI – or in this case the Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) you get for your marketing dollars.
So, how do you get the most for your money? A strong platform, a team of data scientists or analysts, and whatever it takes to map out the path to purchase, while identifying key points – indicators or app events – that give you high confidence that you will trigger an IAP or simply be able to monetize your user by showing them an ad. Either way, it’s critical to have a robust attribution system that is able track your spend and tie it all back into the in-app events you want to optimize towards.
Write this one down: Creative is the most important element of the marketing campaign. A bad creative – one that fails to engage your audience and drive positive campaign results – can bring down even the most amazing app. How do you know if your creative is – well – garbage? Your colleagues might not tell you, but the data will. Data is brutal and doesn’t care if it bruises your ego. Creatives are made up of two moving parts: images and ad copy. You produce great creatives by thinking about ‘The Who’, ‘The What’, and ‘The Where’ – and being singularly focused on the user.
It’s all about the user. The Who is your audience and their profile – in every detail and facet. The What is all about the product – in this case, your app – and being able to understand, communicate and emphasize how it stands out from the competition. The Where is about – among other things – where your ad will be showing and if it’s a placement that fits with your audience, your traffic source and what you want to achieve. Strive to answer these questions.
This is where I’ve seen that making that extra effort to tap into the emotional side of the user – emphasizing the benefits that mean the most to them personally – can deliver real benefit for app users and app marketers.
The good news: opportunity is everywhere – across the entire funnel from pre-install to post-install. The not-so-good news: they’re mostly hidden in the data. It’s all about identifying audiences and then crafting creatives – imagery and messages – to appeal to that user segment. It’s also why you need to build and test different user segments. Get it right, and you harness a big opportunity to drive a big boost in your conversion metrics. But it’s just about moving the needle on campaigns. Keep in mind that, if a specific ad network doesn’t give you the performance you’re looking for, you need to test why you come up short. Test always, but test smartly. Keep your eyes and ears open because – more often than not – you’ll find someone in the industry who has tested a similar product on ad networks with positive results. This knowledge sharing will give you a running start on where to begin, instead of blindly choosing traffic sources to test.
Post-install is also ripe with opportunities – but the work to identify the ‘how’, ‘where’ and ‘why’ can be much more data-heavy. This is where you want to understand how the installs you’re bringing in are performing. Cohorting and isolating the data is mandatory when it comes to uncovering what is working, and what is not. Work closely with your BI team and your product managers, and know the in-game events that could potentially affect user behavior. Understanding all of this allows you to discover hidden user segments, pinpoint app events that you can optimize towards, and grasp the many opportunities they present with both hands.
THE LAST WORD:
Never take anything at face value and always, always make that extra effort to understand ‘The Why’ of things. Take a step back, look at the bigger picture, breathe. And don’t forget to have fun along the way. As app marketers we’re getting paid to make amazing ads and campaigns that push boundaries and deliver results – how great is that?!