Q&A with Melissa Lertsmitivanta @Realtor.com
Melissa Lertsmitivanta is a Marketing Director at realtor.com®, a national real estate portal delivering access to information, tools and professional expertise to help people move confidently through every step of their home journey. Realtor.com® is a trusted resource for home buyers, sellers and dreamers that makes all things home simple, efficient and enjoyable. Melissa manages performance marketing for realtor.com® iOS and Android apps. We caught up with Melissa to learn more about her experience and what advice she can offer to aspiring mobile marketers.
How did you get started in mobile app marketing?
I stumbled into mobile marketing in 2012 after grad school when I took an opportunity with a private equity firm focused on direct carrier billing, subscription ringtone/wallpapers/games products. Then, Electronic Arts called and I moved up to the Bay Area where I had an amazing opportunity to work on many world class mobile gaming titles. From there, I knew I wanted to stay in mobile but expand beyond games which brought me to my current role at realtor.com®.
What qualities do you think are the most important for app marketers to be successful?
Being adaptable and eager to learn, especially in mobile marketing where everything is constantly evolving. Also, being data driven is key but more importantly, the ability to draw actionable insights from the data.
What skills do you possess that help you succeed in your role?
Being data driven, curious, and collaborative. I work cross-functionally with many teams such as analytics, finance, product, business intelligence, and other teams within marketing. Each team provides different insights and perspectives; the best work gets done when there’s strong cross functional relationships and more integrated strategies. Also, mobile marketing is constantly changing so you have to embrace that.
What do you consider the biggest challenges in mobile marketing?
First, bridging the gap between attribution and cross device measurement is a major challenge. Our users go through their home buying journey across multiple devices, platforms, and sometimes with a co-buyer. It’s a challenge, but we’re working more closely across teams to better understand and build an integrated strategy, encouraging registrations, and testing new tools.
The second challenge is navigating fraud because it has become so much more sophisticated and it’s not just the clear “bad traffic” anymore, it’s misattribution from organic, bots, you name it. Make sure you have a quality MMP or 3rd party to help navigate this.
Lastly, juggling how to balance new testing opportunities while still driving toward business goals. So many emerging ad formats and channels are worth testing but some may not drive the performance metrics right away, or at all, but can take away from budget that is making an impact. I think about where we want to double down on the formats that are driving the most for us but also leave a percentage of spend to test new channels and ad formats with the goal of maintaining a diversified media portfolio.
What’s one tip that made the biggest difference in your UA or re-engagement campaigns?
That you don’t have to start from scratch or always reinvent. Little tweaks or templates for creative can be good ways to test and learn, for example.
Would you suggest app marketers test different ad formats?
Definitely! The key is finding the ad formats and channels that work best for you, double down on those, but also test emerging ad formats. You never know what will start off as a test and become part of the regular rotation. The mentality, no matter what industry, should be, “always be testing.” Some strategies that work for you now may not have worked in the past. Different strategies work for different verticals, it’s not a one-size-fits-all. The key is to have a hypothesis, proper test structure, and be open to learning.
What’s top of mind for you going forward?
Better understanding of intent and how people consume our products in order to deliver a more compelling experience will continue to be a focus.
What advice can you offer marketers to help combat ad fraud?
It is important to establish close relationships with your partners and of course have a solid MMP. I constantly attend conferences like MAU, AGS, meetups, and other industry events as well as subscribe to various blogs to get more information on what others are doing out there.
Also, dig into the traffic your partners are driving. Be proactive about preventing fraud; be upfront on what your expectations are, work with partners that can provide transparency, strong two way communication, and agreements in place for make-goods. Lastly, make sure you really understand your data and how your users typically behave. If something seems too good to be true, it likely is!
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