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5 Keys to Working with Mobile User Acquisition Partners

By Chris Nguyen | October 19, 2015

Chris Nguyen was formerly a Senior Marketing Manager at Zoosk in San Francisco. Armed with a background in user support, Chris focuses on giving users a quality mobile experience before they’ve even registered to make sure that once they are Zoosk members, they’re more likely to stay engaged and active in the community.

Learn more about Mobile Hero Chris.

One of the most important things I’ve learned in my years as a mobile marketer is that my success often hinges upon the success of the partners I work with. A big part of the job is working with mobile user acquisition partners to make sure they’re delivering on their promise, that we’re setting reasonable expectations of each other, and that the line of communication is clear.

To me, there are five keys to building and maintaining a partner relationship: Performance, Scale, Transparency, Being Responsive, and Trust. When evaluating new partners, consider each to avoid disappointment for both parties down the line.

1) Performance

This may be the most obvious, but mobile marketers have goals to hit. Whatever your KPIs are, whether installs, purchases, registrations, or something else, the expectation of your partner is that they’re going to drive those actions at an agreed upon cost. We don’t need cheap installs, we need users with a high likelihood of becoming paying customers. If a demand side platform (DSP) can’t consistently provide quality users, and isn’t willing to work on adjustments or experiments that will help reach your mutual goals, it’s time to move on.

2) Scale

If a DSP is hitting the marks you set during a test run, the natural next step is to up the spend and sign a bigger IO. The ability to scale is what really sets the great DSPs apart from the rest. A promising test run is a good sign, but if things start falling apart when you start spending more money, you may want to pause and re-evaluate the partnership.

3) Transparency

I want to know that my partners are being honest and actually engaging my audience. For instance, as a marketer for a dating app, targeting is extremely important for me. I have creative that is geared specifically toward males, females, and the LGBTQ communities because each audience is going to have a different experience with my app. I need to know that my partners are using the right creatives on the right audience. Further, I want to know how my partners are finding new users. I want to know where my ads are running and how they can guarantee the users we pay for are in our target audience.

4) Being Responsive

This is important for both sides. As a marketer, it’s important to let your partners know if something is wrong with the quality of user you’re getting from them, or if CPAs aren’t where you need them to be. At the same time, great partners proactively let marketers know when things aren’t going so well, usually with suggestions to turn things around, or reasons for poor performance. If a partner can tell me, “Hey, we’re down on registrations today, another advertiser came in with a huge budget and didn’t give us an opportunity to spend your budget,” then I’ll be happy. It lets me know that my partner is paying attention, cares about the relationship, and that they have my best interests in mind, which leads me to the fifth key.

5) Trust

In many ways, trust is the sum of the four parts above. Having confidence in a DSPs ability to perform to expectation and scale at cost helps me trust in the service they’re offering, while having a good relationship with the account manager builds a personal level of trust. As a marketer, I want to know that after my regular check-in calls, the account manager on the other side was paying attention to my concerns and will come back with a solution.

Mobile marketers are contacted by prospective DSPs every week. Don’t get held back by working with the wrong partners, make sure to set clear expectations for performance and communication before signing an IO. After all, finding success in mobile is just as much about crafting the right message and designing the best creative as it is building strong relationships with your partners.