Jason Zhao

Head of Growth

Jason Zhao is Head of Growth at Hopper, a travel app enabling users to save money and travel with ease. Jason began in the data field and later sparked his passion in growth marketing at mobile gaming publisher Machine Zone and apps Fitbit and TikTok. With over seven years of mobile marketing under his belt, Jason now drives user growth at Hopper.

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In your own words, tell us about the app(s) that you manage?

I focus on user acquisition for Hopper’s hotel business, one of the fastest-growing travel apps that uses predictive analytics to make travel recommendations. We offer unique price prediction and price freeze features to reduce traveler anxiety in the buying process.

How did you get started in mobile marketing?

I started my career in the data field and later found my passion in growth marketing. I decided to switch my profession and joined Machine Zone, one of the best places to grow and learn as a mobile marketer. A few years later, I had the fortune of managing user acquisition at Fitbit and also Tiktok. Now I drive user acquisition at Hopper, helping grow our hotel business.

What do you like most about mobile marketing?

I like the challenges and impact of mobile marketing. To be successful in growth marketing, the biggest hurdle you need to overcome is learning how to effectively drive user growth and grow marketing spend—all while constantly achieving efficient CPA, ROAS and payback. This role also brings tremendous value to the business as user growth is the priority for every mobile company. It’s great to see the positive influence my work has.

What does it take to succeed in mobile marketing?

  1. Grow a deep knowledge of marketing channels to help you structure, test, & optimize campaigns to drive efficient CPA.
  2. Become data-driven with a clear understanding of LTV, payback, ROAS, and CPA.
  3. Constantly conduct creative tests and iterate.

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

  1. Funnel optimization: Analyze the whole growth funnel to figure out where the users drop. Then remove friction by refining the product and A/B test to improve conversion at each step of the funnel.
  2. In-app action optimization: Focus on acquiring engaged users through marketing channels by optimizing towards in-app actions or targeting lookalike audiences.

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

During the pandemic, we tested user-generated content (UGC). We quickly saw success as the ads had significant CTR and IPM lift. UGC provided us with a large amount of high-quality content to iterate on and find success quickly.

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

Creatives with ideas or elements related to our daily life tend to gain more attention. User-generated content is a prime example.

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

Attribution data from MMPs provide valuable insights to discover fraud. Besides View-through and Fingerprint data, metrics such as Time-to-Install and Clicks-per-Device are effective in detecting fraud. Plot the metrics as a normal distribution, look into the top and bottom 5%, analyze their in-app behaviors, and see if they come from certain channels and publishers.

Another tip is to conduct incremental lift tests while onboarding new channels. By conducting incrementality tests, you ensure that the channel brings real value.

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

Follow growth marketing influencers on Twitter and blogs from MMP/media partners, such as Liftoff and Singular.