Kevin Jon Buensuceso (Tophatter): What I Learned in My First Year as a Mobile Marketer

By Anya Pratskevich | February 12, 2019

Kevin Jon Buensuceso manages mobile user acquisition at Tophatter, a live auction app. Kevin is new to mobile marketing and has been at Tophatter for one year. From identifying high-performing ad creatives to selecting vendors, the first year in mobile is often a bumpy ride on the learning curve.

We chatted with Kevin at the App Growth Summit about some of the lessons he learned along the way.

What did you you learn about mobile user acquisition that you didn’t know a year ago?

User acquisition is very data-focused, but there’s also a human aspect to it. We forget about it in our day-to-day, because we are so focused on data and numbers. Behind every number and user, there is a story.

While we can’t really tailor our strategy to each individual story, we can identify a common theme and use it to shape our messaging. For example, at Tophatter, we know that some of our high-value users don’t just love shopping, they love deals that are hard to find anywhere else. We also found that many of these users love shopping for quirky and interesting gifts — something you would find at Hot Topic, Spencer’s and, of course, Tophatter. I learned how to apply this data to produce better creative assets.

I also learned that selecting vendors and maintaining account relationships are equally important. As a marketer, you want to find the right vendors and partners to work with in the long-term.

How do you approach selecting a new partner or vendor?

I learned to approach vendor selection with a very healthy dose of skepticism. I keep in mind that, at the end of the day, their goal is to sell me a service. That is different than my goal as a user acquisition marketer, which is to acquire users as efficiently as possible.

For example, many vendors will tell you that you will see strong performance on their channel. The questions is, what is leading to strong performance? Is it cheaper cost per click, better conversion rates or deeper-funnel metrics? As a marketer, you need to figure out if the new vendor’s approach works for you not just by asking the partners directly, but also tapping into your network of people who have worked with this vendor in the past.

What is your advice to someone starting out in mobile user acquisition?

Our industry moves fast and is constantly evolving. My advice is to never be afraid to fail. Many young user acquisition marketers struggle with this. It sounds obvious, but when you fail, you learn how to succeed. If you are new to marketing, don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things. In user acquisition, the reality is that it’s a new field and many of us are learning from the ground up. Understanding that will help you be successful in the industry.