Iain Russell

Head of Performance Marketing

Iain Russell is Head of Performance Marketing at Moneyhub, a fintech app helping users achieve and secure their financial goals. Iain started in subscription marketing for Future Plc, leading him to run an in-house app marketing team after the iPad descended in 2010. As a mobile marketing wizard with over ten years of industry experience, Iain currently works on new user acquisition, engagement and retention for Moneyhub’s money management app.

Read Iain's latest article: "The Power of Push Notifications"
Check out the latest MH Comic.

How did you get started in mobile marketing?

I started my marketing career as a Subscriptions Product Manager for a well-known global magazine publisher. A few years later in 2010 the iPad was released—a moment we all knew was going to be an industry gamechanger. In fact, this was the moment I embarked on my mobile marketing journey. From that point, it was my role to ensure all our publications had individual apps on the app store (as part of the now-defunct Apple Newsstand) and then across Google Play and Amazon Kindle Fire.

These apps needed marketing and new communication channels, such as push notifications. It was exhilarating to lead these initiatives as a consumer marketer, and I haven’t looked back since!

What do you like most about mobile marketing?

It’s frantic, isn’t it? There is always something changing, a new channel to investigate or a data anomaly to work out. I love it all as it keeps me on my toes and challenges me to stay on top.

What does it take to succeed in mobile marketing?

Resilience and adaptability. You can’t afford to stay still, and there will be lows among the highs. Keep going and you will be rewarded. To this day, I still have to explain what app store optimization (ASO) stands for. It shows just how far ahead of the curve we are as mobile marketers.

What strategies work best to convert installs into engaged app users?

A solid onboarding strategy is a must. Once an install occurs, this is one of the hardest things to accomplish. Figuring out why people never open the app post-install is sometimes disheartening but remember to also work on keeping attentive users engaged from the get-go.

Identify key value drivers of your app and converge efforts to that point. Once a particular action has been taken by the user, you have a much greater chance of keeping them for the long term.

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

ASO – I am a big advocate of getting the basics right. Improving app store visibility gives marketers the best possible chance as you drive traffic to pages. Minor conversion rate improvements here can make a significant difference overall.

Last September, we decided to go bold by mentioning other financial providers we connect with—visually on screenshots and within the keyword field (on iOS). If Apple rejected the creatives as “misleading,” we were ready to argue the case. We reasoned that we did not steal app installs but instead highlighted our product as a service for them.

Thankfully, all was good. Our strategy led to an immediate increase in install conversion rates by 5% and boosted overall metrics throughout the funnel for the following months.

In summary, make sure ASO is an ongoing process. Tweak app store keywords, descriptions, and creatives when you can. It stays updated and prevents your app from looking stagnant.

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

For subscription-based apps (like the one I work for), offering new promo codes in App Store Connect works really well. But there are other effective methods to re-engage. For example, lapsed users can be brought back by providing an additional free trial period to try out a newly-released feature.

Also, try to determine why users stop engaging to begin with. Accomplish this by sending a survey to gather data and opinions, then use the feedback to drive future product development where relevant.

What’s your top tip when it comes to mobile ad creative?

Continuous testing on a channel-by-channel basis. You will have a better comprehension of what resonates with the audience and produces the best performance.

What advice can you offer to help marketers combat mobile ad fraud?

Partner with an MMP and pay close attention to your metrics.

What are your top 3 go-to resources for keeping up with the mobile ad tech industry?