Welcome to the new-and-improved home of Mobile Heroes! Explore our updated site for the latest insights and resources.

Close Notice

Stara Gipson

Senior Growth Marketing Manager (Mobile)

A digital marketing veteran of 10+ years, Stara Gipson currently manages user acquisition and growth at Airbnb. Over her career, Stara worked primarily across email and app acquisition at both startups and major brands. Since leaving PocketGems in 2018, Stara spent 3 years at Google working in the app ads org with app advertisers across gaming and retail. Stara returned to the app publisher space in 2021, helping to rebuild mobile growth at Airbnb.

Read Stara's latest article: "Last Click Attribution Is Dead. Now What?"
Check out the latest MH Comic.

Since featuring as a Mobile Hero in 2017, my career has done quite the boomerang. I spent three years (2018-2021) at Google in the app ads org working with marketers in the retail and gaming space. 

During this time, I became a much stronger marketer. After finding my way back to being an app marketer, my approach to vendor relationships evolved. Now I understand how to foster partnerships that benefit both sides. The key to good partnerships is being transparent on internal goals and developing shared OKRs.  

The app marketing industry has evolved in many ways since you first entered it. Taking a step back, what is something you find interesting or notable about the industry?

I would be remiss not to mention the privacy shift in the industry brought on by iOS14. This new direction for user privacy has completely shifted our industry and how we strategize data reporting for acquisition and engagement on mobile. This is just the beginning of a new privacy-first landscape for acquisition. 

My best advice is to build and foster internal relationships with Data Analyst/Data Engineering teams. Much of the work for success in this new landscape relies on new types of data reporting. Secure resources early with your data teams and create project plans with clear timelines.

What do you see as the next big thing in mobile marketing?

I am excited about a true mobile and Connected TV (CTV) integration. CTV can extend reach to new audiences for big and small brands. For brands that still push dollars to traditional TV, CTV brings a unique opportunity to approach TV in a performance-backed way.

If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice when you first started working in mobile, what would you tell yourself?

Embrace the change. Embrace strategy, policy, and privacy changes and update goals to reflect where the industry is headed. I have spent countless hours adapting to changes in the industry and finding workarounds and hacks to evolve with the status quo. The mobile industry moves and changes extremely quickly, and we must be agile and flexible to move with it. 

In the past year, what is one tip you can share which made the biggest performance difference for your company’s mobile strategy?

Our vendor relationships. Working closely and sharing your goals and OKRs with your vendors can elevate relationships. When vendors are keyed in on what success means to you, your overall strategy and performance will improve.

What’s the most effective messaging you’ve seen work for your user acquisition efforts?

A human connection. A message that speaks to emotions and allows potential users to feel a personal connection to your product goes a long way. Even in performance-based campaign creative, product features don’t always need to take the lead. Find ways to integrate imagination and emotion into your creative narratives while staying true to your brand.

What’s a mistake you see get made all the time with UA strategies, even by smart people and smart companies?

Creative shortcuts. Although it can be resource-heavy and time-consuming, improving creative is one of the most impactful levers to campaign optimization. Take the time to put thought into your creative strategy and when your budget and resources are aligned, create ads strictly for mobile that speak to a mobile audience.

What advice can you offer marketers to successfully re-engage mobile users?

Integrate mobile into lifecycle efforts. Often, product marketing teams work in silos separate from their mobile performance teams. But performance and marketing go hand in hand—a lot of mobile re-engagement can come from unpaid sources. Tackle the low-hanging fruit with emails, push, etc., then move on to paid opportunities.

Let’s talk ad creative. Can you offer an insight or two you’ve gained from conducting your own creative tests?

ABT. “Always be testing!” Creative iteration is not a one/two/three-time thing. You should always iterate on existing creatives. Creative goes stale quickly, and a creative refresh can mean a jump in conversion for your campaigns. Partner closely with your creative design teams, whether they are in-house or through an agency. Plan your quarter around these creative rollouts and set a cadence for introducing new assets into campaigns.

With WFH the new norm, and more live events and in-person meetings virtual, what are you doing to stay connected and in touch?

I stay active in different mobile Slack groups where members share their knowledge and trade helpful tips back and forth. Some of my favorites are Mobile Dev Memo and Growth Marketers.