Stacking Your Tech Stack for Mobile App Growth

By Giulia Porter | November 3, 2019

Giulia is the VP of Marketing at TelTech, part of IAC’s Mosaic Group. In her role, Giulia leads the marketing strategy for RoboKiller, the best-in-class robocall blocker app (yes!) that fights back against spam calls using robots and machine-learning. Her background is colorful with roles at Harvard, Deerwalk (healthcare and data analytics), and marketing automation giant, Hubspot. Giulia has a passion for automation, branding, and data science.

Learn more from her Mobile Hero profile.

If building a best-in-class mobile tech stack is a challenge for your organization, you are not alone. 

Many mobile marketers struggle to develop integrated data systems to support testing, user acquisition, and marketing automation at scale. Consequently, app marketers fail to capitalize on the competitive edge a strong tech stack can offer. 

When we were first getting started with RoboKiller, our team built a solid multi-channel marketing strategy but faced limitations because we had not yet built the necessary tech systems to support it. By leveling up the tools we were using to support our growth, we were able to drive a 40% increase in revenue year-over-year. 

So, whether you are just getting started with mobile app marketing or just looking to level-up marketing tools, I present to you… the four must-haves of your mobile tech stack. 

1. A Solid Database of Your Own

This may seem straightforward, but getting your app’s internal database up to snuff is critical to the success of your marketing strategy, and to any third-party technology you use to support it. 

What does this involve? 

  • Developing a data taxonomy. Inventorying your app’s current events and data points that are and are not being collected and implementing a categorization and naming system for all teams to understand. Working with a data analyst and/or engineer for this exercise can be helpful to understand what can and can’t be tracked or analyzed.
  • Addressing your database structure. Ask your team; Do your data tables make sense? Is the structure of your database making SQL queries slow? How can you make your database more user-analysis-friendly?
  • Prioritizing data integrity. It’s not enough to implement events and start tracking. Ensuring that events are properly firing and the data that is collected by those events is accurate is critical to KPI tracking – especially for monetization events.

It’s critical that all teams in your business, including leadership, understand the importance of investing in data engineering resources to improve the structure and setup of your database to optimize. Doing this will provide your business with critical insight into KPI’s and user behavior. Plus, it will make your life easier when integrating with your third-party marketing tools. 

2. A Mobile Measurement Partner

The growing mobile landscape of competitive user acquisition, demand for personalization, and increasing mobile fraud makes integrating a mobile measurement provider (MMP) essential, not optional, to your tech stack. 

Mobile measurement partners determine which marketing channel or campaign is responsible for driving a mobile app install or in-app action for your app. Each MMP has an attribution model or a set of rules used to determine how to credit the appropriate channel with credit for an install or in-app-action conversion.


Source: AppsFlyer

MMP partners such as AppsFlyer and Adjust offer a suite of attribution and measurement tools, primarily: 

  1. Mobile marketing attribution: Attribution for app installs or post-install actions to the marketing campaign and media source responsible for it.
  2. Deep linking: Custom universal tracking links that reduce friction in the user experience by sending users directly to the place they need to be within your app.
  3. Fraud protection: A suite of tools designed to protect your marketing campaigns from known and emerging fraud trends.

At RoboKiller’s launch, we had the frankensystem of attribution tools. We used Google Firebase for product stability monitoring, we used Self Reporting Ad Networks (SRNs) to monitor paid install trends, and monitored events directly from the App Stores. The systems were disjointed with limited visibility into post-install actions. Oh, and none of our data matched.  

Onboarding AppsFlyer immediately unlocked visibility into how different cohorts of new customers were driving key performance outcomes, and where we were most vulnerable to fraud. It was the source of truth we needed to stop spinning our wheels on mismatched data and focus on campaigns that were driving business results. In our first month, we were able to increase ROAS by 30%! 

3. A Mobile-First Marketing Automation Platform 

Mobile performance marketing can be so fasted-paced that it is easy (and exciting!) to focus on the new customers you’re generating. It is much harder to focus on the customers you want to retain – unless you have a marketing automation platform. 

Marketing automation refers to tech that helps marketers more effectively market on multiple mediums and automate redundant tasks. According to Salesforce, 67% of marketing leaders say they use a marketing automation platform to fuel their strategy. Though there are over 30 vendors in the United States available to partner with, it is important that you chose a mobile-first marketing automation platform. Most standard services, such as HubSpot and Marketo, have limited app integration functionality that is designed for mobile marketers.  

Mobile-first marketing automation platforms give you two very important things as a mobile marketer:

  1. Seamless visibility into how your user base is retaining and responding to their customer experience post-install.
  2. The ability to reach and influence customer action via communication; push, email, interstitial.

For RoboKiller, integrating Leanplum into our tech stack was integral in developing the customer retention initiatives that have driven our bottom line. Leanplum complimented AppsFlyer because it connected the dots between pre-install attribution and post-install customer behavior.

For example, using Leanplum data, we were able to identify that users in RoboKiller’s 7-day free trial were more likely to convert to subscribers if they interacted with our call feedback feature, which allows our customers to report details about a scam call and flag it for other RoboKiller users. To increase performance outcomes, we implemented push messaging campaigns that drove more cohorts of trial users to use this feature. As a result, we lifted trial conversion rates by 10%.  

4. A Business Intelligence and Data Visualization Tool (That You Don’t Need SQL to Use)

So, you’ve cleaned up your internal data systems. You’ve onboarded a mobile measurement provider and are hard at work improving channel performance. You’ve found a mobile-first automation platform that helps you improve retention. How do you piece it all together? 

Data visualization. The ability to centralize data and KPI’s in one location that is accessible to all stakeholders can not only help improve performance management, but increase buy-in on your growth strategy across the entire organization. This can be achieved by onboarding a business-intelligence (BI) platform. 

There are a lot of BI tools out there that can help your business, the right decision ultimately depends on your objectives. If you are similar to our marketing team, your goal is likely to improve data visibility, KPI management, and collaboration. If so, choosing a business intelligence tool that prioritizes accessibility is key. If you are still data-soul-searching, consider asking the following questions: 

  1. Can this platform support the primary KPI’s every team needs to measure success? What about leadership?
  2. Can this platform integrate with the platforms I need it to? If not, can it easily integrate with our database? How long will it take to integrate?
  3. Can a “non-data-person” use this tool? Will data experts like using it?

Following TelTech’s acquisition by IAC, we inherited Looker as our BI platform. Looker quickly became our new favorite tool, because it quickly unlocked all the data points needed to measure team-level and business-level success. For marketers, this immediately removed the headache of requesting SQL queries from our data team, or manually updating marketing reports. A dream come true! 

Wrapping it up

If you noticed a theme, aggregation, automation, and integration play a key role in the four most important tools in your tech stack. Making the right tech investment decisions at the right time for your mobile app can jumpstart marketing performance and improve collaboration across teams. 

By translating our learnings into the context of your mobile marketing strategy’s needs, you too can build a world-class tech stack that will secure the long-term success of your mobile app.