Monday, 21 July 2014

Mobile Marketing ROI: 3 Metrics that Matter and 3 that Don't (

Metrics are key to measuring the ROI of mobile marketing efforts. Not all metrics are helpful, however.
By Adam Marchick, CEO, Kahuna
Push notifications today are like Hotmail in 1999. Mobile marketers and developers know they are onto something, but they are not always sure how to optimize for success.
A critical part of mobile marketing success is knowing how to measure it: which metrics to focus on and which to cast aside. In fact, a recent Unisys survey found that companies categorized as mobile trendsetters were more likely to define metrics than their average peers.

3 Mobile Marketing Metrics that Matter

Re-engagement: Do your push notifications inspire your users to become more active in your app? The answer should be "yes" 99 percent of the time. Every push you send should prompt users to re-engage at the next level - turning monthly users into weekly users, weekly users into daily users and daily users into rabid users and brand advocates.
Push notifications can be extremely powerful, and strong re-engagement uplift runs around 90 percent. If you are not seeing at least a 60 percent uplift in re-engagement, think about iterating on your notification strategy. In many cases, you will see better results by simply changing the message text or delivering the notification at a more optimal time of day. Delivery time can affect engagement uplift as much as 200 percent.  
One edge case worth noting relates to push notifications around breaking news. In this case, number of views is also a valuable metric, as the purpose of the notification is to provide the user with important information, not necessarily to provoke an action.  

Goal Achievement: Be strategic with push notifications, as you would with other marketing channels. This means that every notification should be sent with a specific purpose in mind. Ask and answer the question: "What end business goal are we trying to achieve by sending this notification?"
For a mobile commerce application, the goal might be purchases or revenue increase; for an entertainment app it might be registrations or video views or social shares. It is important to define this in advance, and closely measure the effectiveness of your messaging against the specific goal.  
Benchmark for success: For mobile commerce apps, the right push notification should prompt a purchase uplift of at least 15 percent. Message personalization, user targeting, deep-linking and A/B testing are all factors that impact push effectiveness.
App Uninstalls and Push Opt-outs: In addition to positive responses, it is critical to understand any negative reactions to your messaging - namely, push opt outs and app uninstalls. When users get a bad email, they ignore it. When users get a bad push notification, they uninstall the app.
Knowing your overall app uninstalls offers zero granularity and is often misleading. Rather, it is important to track number of uninstalls as a result of each message, as there can be huge variance. The worst offending push notifications can cause a tremendous number of uninstalls. Great push notifications that deliver value and relevance can result in fewer app uninstalls than the control group.

3 Mobile Marketing Metrics that Don't Matter

App Installs/Downloads: Number of app installs is worthless if these installs do not become engaged users. Research shows that 25 percent of people use an app only once, and over half of all users churn after 3 months. The ratio of app installs to engaged users can be as high as 20 to one, meaning that 95 percent of your user acquisition budget would be generating zero value.
Consider tracking monthly, weekly or daily engaged users instead. Just make sure you are tracking people, not mobile devices, as 81 percent of high-value users own a smartphone and 56 percent own a tablet.
Number of Push Notifications Sent: Why are we proud of pure volume? It does not work to simply be the app that screams the loudest. The "batch and blast" push notifications result in low user engagement and significant app uninstalls.
Sending the right push notification to a user is much more powerful than sending 10 irrelevant or broadcast notifications. If you want to increase user engagement, think about message personalization instead of cranking up the volume.
Negative App Reviews: This is not a metric; it is an anecdote. There is a temptation in the industry to abort any marketing effort that elicits a negative response - even if it is just from one or two individuals, out of millions. This highlights the importance of understanding the impact of every message you send. When you know how much revenue or re-engagement a specific notification is causing, it is easier to evaluate the pros and cons and disregard the vocal minority.
Intelligent metrics give you the power to make the intelligent decisions. What kinds of trade-offs are you willing to make as you move forward with your push messaging strategy? Is a 10 percent uplift in purchase worth a 2 percent uplift in uninstalls? What about push notifications that provoke high re-engagement but low goal achievement?  Are they considered a success?

Every app and every business is different, so there is no metric that can definitively answer these questions for you. Starting with the right data will go a long way to getting you to the best solution for your mobile business.

Mobile Developers Must Engage And Retain Users Quickly, Says Swrve's Latest App Report (

Mobile marketing firm Swrve has published data on how usersinteract with the applications on their smartphones. The average retention rate shows 26% of users returning to an app for a second time within a forty-eight hours of first opening the app, although over a third of activity with a mobile app lasts less than one minute.
Gathered during May 2014 through data collected by Swrve’s marketing platform, and the data in this survey covers “over fifty applications, with tens of millions of users and billions of mobile events.”
Looking first of all at the retention data, Swrve starts the clock as an app is opened for the first time. Previous data suggests that straight away, twenty-four percent of those who installed the app are not coming back at all. Of the rest, roughly another quarter will be back the next day (within 24-48 hours of the first session), and after seven days the retention rate drops to 13%.
Over the month, the average user starts 13.69 sessions. This isn’t broken down by app type (games will take up significantly more sessions over a month) but if users are engaging with the average app every other day there are monetization and personalization opportunities here that can be counted on.
Google Play Store (image:
Google Play Store (image:
As for the most effective method of engaging during those sessions, Swrve’s data suggests that in-app messages will generate a click-through rate of 37%. Even with the option to dismiss such a message, it is a very high rate, and of course again this is spread over 50 apps, so with targeting and better understanding of each user this rate could easily be increased. Push messaging gathers around 0.6%, which is higher than your standard mobile a banner ad, but still much lower than many would hope for.
The modern app landscape has placed a huge emphasis on freemium revenue streams, and it is important for developers to maximise the opportunities they have.
Christopher S. Dean, CEO of Swrve summarises the data for developers, “this data confirms that building relationships on mobile is hard. Retention is a challenge, as is the need to make an impression within a short space of time.”
Every app is different, and will require careful examination of the available data, but overarching studies, such as Swrve’s study here, points to a model that demands the application is engaging and impactful in the first sixty seconds capture the user. It has to do enough to bring the user back to the app within a short timescale, and there are engagement opportunities that provide high click-through rates that, if monetized correctly, will create a significant and sustainable revenue stream.

Thursday, 17 July 2014


So you’re having a promo video for your app or a game trailer produced?) Or you’re producing it yourself.
You know why you’re doing it: if a picture (or screenshot) is worth a thousand words, imaging how powerful a video can be to show what’s unique about your app, etc.
You probably already have several ideas on how you’re going to use it.
But since you’re spending money and/or time on that video, shouldn’t you make sure you make the best out of it?
Well, we’re happy to help you out with this. After all, it’s in our interest to prove you what we believe in: video is one of the best assets you can have when promoting your app.
And not only we’re going to give you plenty of ideas on where to use your promo video or your game trailer, we’re also going to give you some tips on how to get the best out of every channel and what kind of videos works best on each.

What kind of video do you have?

Where you can use your video is going to depend on the type of video you have.
And I’m not talking about the style here (motion design, live video, etc.), but rather the content and purpose of the video.
Is it a pretty thorough walkthrough of your app? A 15 seconds trailer? A short overview of the app?
A 45-60 seconds video showing what’s unique about your app or so great about your game will, in most cases, be perfect to use on most channels.
There are some instances and channels though, where different types of videos are going to be more efficient or even required.
Let’s dive in.

Video on the Google Play Store

This has (obviously) been one of our favorite features of the Google Play Store: it lets you add a video.
It’s one of the most visible assets on your Google Play Store page, as it shows up right next to the app screenshots.
In one click (or one tap if they are on their phone or table) and a few seconds, visitors can know why they need your app or want to play your game.
What’s pretty cool about it too, is that the views you get on your video through the Google Play Store count as views on YouTube. And the more views you get on YouTube, the higher your video is ranked in YouTube search results and therefore Google search results (more on that later -engagement matters a lot as well).google-play video
Video on the Google Play Store
A few tips:
  • Google Play allows you to localize your video, so you can have one video per language. That’s pretty awesome if your users don’t all speak English and you’ve produced the video in several languages
  • If you haven’t translated your video itself in several languages, what you can do is create transcripts in different languages and add that on your YouTube video. Google Play will automatically display the right transcript based on the user’s language settings.

Video on the App Store

Video is finally coming to the App Store with iOS 8!
I love Apple, don’t get me wrong. They do have a strong tendency to be late to the party, but eventually act on good ideas.
They experimented back in November 2013 by featuring the Clumsy Ninja app with a 59 seconds trailer.
Here’s what it looked like and below the actual trailer.

At the WWDC14, video was introduced and it is called an App Preview. The example given was the one of Monument Valley.
We’ve read and watched all about the new format for those app previews since the announcement.
We’ve been thinking quite a lot about it too, and already produced a few. And if you want to read about our thoughts on why they are great and not so great as well as get some tips, check out this post on app previews.
Also make sure that you check out the WWDC14 video on the topic “Creating Great App Previews” to know more. Heads up: it is up to 30 seconds and mostly about showing the app.

Video on Alternative App Stores (Amazon)

If you have an Android app with engaged users, you should consider alternative app stores to get additional distribution channels.
The most famous is the Amazon App Store, and Amazon did things right since they let you have up to 5 videos!
OK, 5 might be a lot. But you could for example have a 15/30s video as well as a more in-depth walkthrough.
There are a lot of other alternative app stores. And even more than that.
Here are some that let you add video to your app page:
And if it’s a YouTube link those stores ask you, it’s another opportunity to get some views.

Video on your app website or landing page

Increase conversion with a video on your app website so visitors can get what your app is all about quickly, or see some gameplay.
If your app website or the landing page you’ve created has the right layout, your potential customers will get everything at a quick glance: your headline along with a short description, your promo video and a call to action (CTA) to download the app.
You actually don’t have to wait until your app is released to embed your promo video on your website. You can have a “coming soon” version, with a call to action inviting to get notified when the app launches. With some video platforms like Wistia, you can even have a sign-up form directly at the end (or during the video).
Once your app is available, change the video with the app store badges at the end as well as your CTA.
A few tips for embedding a video:
  • Put the video above the fold, or right after your call to actions (usually the app store badges)
  • Pick the right thumbnail, one that integrates nicely and will get viewers to click. Don’t hesitate to create a custom thumbnail.
  • If you use a “play button” rather than a thumbnail, make sure it’s visible enough so visitors know there is something to see there.
A few examples :
This is how the Mailbox landing page looked after they launched
The Snapchat homepage, with a button to launch the video full screen
Monument Valley landing page, with the app store badges followed by video
The 94 degrees landing page, with the app store badges followed by video
Video platforms we recommend to embed your video:


When talking about video, YouTube is obviously part of the discussion.
While it might not be the perfect platform to embed your video (ads before the video, banners, thumbnails at the end, etc.), you have to put your video on YouTube.
And not only because you can use that YouTube link in everything Google (Google Play Store – see above – or Gmail – see further below)…
…But because YouTube is simply the second search engine in the world.
An engaging video with a good amount of views (it’s not all about the views, engagement is also taken into account by YouTube’s search algorithm) will help your app get more exposure.
Whether you have an app for football fans or a todo list app, helping potential customers find your video through YouTube will get you more downloads. And since they’ve watch your app promo video, they’ll already know what they’re getting into.
A few tips to get your video found (it’s really quite similar to ASO):
  • Choose the right title, making sure your app name and some keywords are in there (but keep it user friendly). Don’t hesitate to add “official”: as more and more videos and reviews of your app are shared, you want the one you crafted with love (or had someone produce) to be found easily
  • Description
    • Include a link to your app or website in the first 2 lines (the ones initially showed to viewers)
    • Make sure to include keywords in your video description. It can be the voice over script, your app pitch or description, etc.
    • End the description with other important links
  • Choose the right tags, and put the most important terms first
  • Create a custom thumbnail and make sure it works well when it’s both big and small

Get your app reviewed by bloggers and journalists

Bloggers and journalists are busy.
Really busy. At least the ones you want to review and talk about your app.
They receive hundreds of emails. Some have terrible pitches, some have good ones.
We’ve talked before about how to pitch your app (and others as well) and by including a YouTube link to your video in your pitch you give to your contact a quick and easy way to understand what’s unique about your app.
“A video provides the quickest way to initially assess your app, letting [bloggers] know if it’s worth downloading and testing further” – Erica Sadun – The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW)
It’s easier for them than reading a press release. Or than actually downloading the app, creating an account (give them logins if you need them to do that by the way) and trying it.
With a video, they can watch the first 10 seconds. If it looks like something worth their time, they’ll probably watch the rest of the video.
And if they like it what they’re seeing, then they can download your app and try it out.
“Most bloggers use Gmail, and a YouTube video in an email pitch catches the eye more than any other link” – Maxime Perignon – AppAdvice Daily
A few tips:
  • You can also put a link to your video in your press release
  • Again, make sure you have a good thumbnail

Email signature

One of the great things about Google is that they integrate their products one with the other.
So when you have a YouTube link in your email (not the short YouTube URL though, the full one), it displays a video thumbnail at the end of the email.
Once your contact opens your email (that’s why you need a good headline/subject), if he uses Gmail he’s just one click away from your video.
Not only will your contact appreciate it, it also means that you drastically increase your chances of your app being considered for review: once the video is launched, your pitch starts!

Influencers in your niche

In our app marketing strategy guide we talk about getting feedback from influencers early on.
Just as bloggers and journalists, the people you’re asking feedback to are most likely busy and sending them a short email with a YouTube link makes it easy for them to decide if they’re going to help you.
By the way when you reach out to people, don’t just ask them “what do you think”. Try to have precise questions, that they can answer in a few minutes.

Ad networks

Ads are evolving.
Users got bored and annoyed with banners, so click-through rates went down.
Ad networks are now coming up with better “native” ads, that don’t ruin the user experience. And many of them have also made a move to video ads, as they have better conversion rates.
It started with companies like VungleAd Colony that specialize in video ads.
Vungle and the others are a great way to get revenues for your app if you use the right placements and make sure it fits well into the user experience.
Most of the videos ads used by ad networks are 15 seconds.
Chartboost example: user plays the video to obtain a new life
It’s quite short, and you have to make sure you include the essentials: your app name, key benefits or gameplay, and a call to action. It makes for a very dynamic video that’s to the point.
Here are some 15s trailers examples we’ve produced:

Creating an additional 15s version video for your app is definitely a good idea if you’re considering video ads (including on Facebook – see below).
Here are a few companies that can help you either monetize or get users with video ads:
  • Chartboost (they now put a big emphasis on video ads)
  • GameHouse
  • Vungle
  • AdColony
  • TapJoy
  • Milenial
  • MobFox
A few tips for your 15 seconds trailer:
  • Make sure your app name is mentioned and show your icon/logo so people can recognize it later on
  • Insert a clear “Download now” call to action at the end
  • Focus on showing the key parts: impressive gameplay or cool benefits of your app
  • Keep any text you’re displaying very short and big enough (they’ll be seen on a mobile device and have to be readable)

Facebook Video ads

Facebook ads allow to target a very detailed audience, at scale (advice #4).
You can match your database with Facebook to target your best users or reactivate some, find people that are like your best customers, etc.
Their photo page post ads were pretty effective, with a direct “Install Now” call to action below it that leads directly to the App Store or Google Play Store.
And you can now have basically the same thing, with a video thumbnails that allow your potential customers to watch a 15 seconds promo video about your app. If they like what they see, they just have to tap the “Install Now” button and are brought to their app store.
Here’s how the facebook video ads display – with a direct call to action!
Another good reason to create a 15’ video for your app!
A few tips:
  • Choose the right thumbnail, which probably means creating a custom one that shows your app name and a screenshot, as well as other visual assets if it helps branding
  • App ratings are very important, since they appear on the ad. Don’t do facebook video ads (and probably paid advertising altogether if you don’t have good app ratings)
  • Craft the right one-sentence pitch. It displays above your video thumbnail.

Trailer platforms / Startup Videos


AppPicker has been featuring mobile apps and their trailers for quite some time.
And they still do. They even have a pretty neat iOS app to display them, putting potential customers just one tap away
By registering as a developer, you can send their team your video so they display it on their website and app.
There is no requirement for length, but keep in mind that people’s attention span is short. So we’d advise against going over 60 seconds.


If you’re a startup and you’ve put more budget in to produce your video (basically if you have an on-location video for your app, with some nice storytelling) then you can submit your video on Startup Videos to give your app more exposure.

A few other ways to use your video

Video on Social Media: Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Vine

Once you have your video, you should of course share it on your social media accounts to let your followers know about your app or game.
Now that Instagram gives the possibility to create 15’ videos, it gives you another place to share yours.
And if you feel like it, you could even produce a 6 seconds video for your Vine account!

Pitching / App Awards

Ever had to pitch your app on a stage? If you haven’t, you should start looking for contests and awards where you could do that.
If you have and ever tried doing a live demo of your app, I bet it didn’t go as smoothly as you had hoped: internet connection is not working, something that always worked great before bugs on the app, you’re a bit stressed out and can’t present the app well, etc.
But if you have a well-thought video that shows what’s great about your app in a short time, then you just have to launch it while you’re on stage.
If everything else goes wrong (I hope it doesn’t) at least they know what your app does or how your game looks. And you can keep your focus on pitching the aspects not covered in the video and answering questions.
Sending out a cool video when you’re applying to an award also gives a quick way to the jury members to evaluate your app.


What better than a cool video to catch the eye of the attendees passing by your booth? Besides maybe some booth babes (although they probably don’t work that well).
Put an HD video on a screen, and you make sure that people can get a nice introduction to your product.
A few tips:
  • It will work better if the video can be understood without sound
  • If we produced the video, ask us for an uncompressed HD file for maximum quality

Investors / Crowdfunding platforms

It can be hard to pitch an app that doesn’t exist yet.
But what if you need funds to actually develop it?
Video can be produced working only with screenshots or .psds, and can help you pitch investors or potential backers.
On a crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter or Indiegogo, you don’t want to show only the app: you have to tell the story behind it as well as the team.
If you’re pitching to investors, what’s great about having the video is that you can put the app in its best light.
No messy live demo. And you keep your energy for the speech about your team and objectives.


A good way to promote your video, find early adopters and maybe even influencers is through forums relating to your app niche.
Of course you have to get some authority there and be involved with the forum before starting to do any promoting of your app. But if you identify the right forums and start early this shouldn’t be a problem.
Once you have something to show (first designs, screenshots), start talking a bit about your app. If you have an app video, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t post it.
And if all promotion is forbidden on the forum (read the rules!), then have a link to your app website and/or video in your signature.


Quora is a great place to get some answers from experts or people in general.
Your app might be worth mentioning in some answers, as long as it’s relevant and not blatant autopromotion.
If you do mention it, think about embedding a YouTube video so that people see instantely what you’re talking about.