Every show is an opportunity to find out where mobile acquisition is headed. I ask our advertisers, existing and prospective, to tell me what about the industry excites them. What frustrates them? Returning from this year’s Grow.co Mobile Apps Unlocked Summit, one topic came up again and again.
“I get hit up all the time,” said one Acquisition Manager. “I have 300 plus unread emails right now.” A CMO told me she doesn’t even read her emails from unsolicited distribution partners. And it makes perfect sense: mobile ad spend is on an incredible trajectory, and this has created a proliferation of companies promising to help with your installs. To add to the volume, there is also plenty of confusion, as these potential distribution partners blur the lines between agencies, exchanges, and networks.
Coming back from the show, I kept asking myself: How should advertisers sort through the barrage of emails and solicitations? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Ask your colleagues. Think about how many people you know in marketing and acquisition roles for other apps. Their insight into who they’ve worked with, and the results, is invaluable. In addition to long-standing sources, they can also clue you into new partners and opportunities. I think we often wait for tradeshows to have these conversations; why not set up monthly or quarterly calls to share experiences that make everyone more successful?
2. Seek out other resources. One resource that too many advertisers overlook is their attribution provider. The attribution providers have a wealth of data and qualitative feedback on distribution partners. They have the macro view of the industry, watching over not only your stats but every app in the marketplace. They won’t share the data with you directly, but developing a relationship with your Account Manager can help you discover a network’s reputation or their capacity for scale. Kochava, for example, makes a significant effort to learn about their supply-side partners. Tune has rankings and a Tune Certified Partner Program that should be leveraged when considering new distribution. There are also advertiser only forums, including Grow.co’s popular one, that extend your reach beyond who you know in the industry. Another idea would be to start your own forum, or check to see if there are industry Meetup’s in your city.
3. Outsource. If you are satisfied with the scale and quality of your current campaign, this point isn’t relevant, but from apps just launching in the store to apps at the top of their categories, I don’t talk to many clients who are ever satisfied with their current growth. If you don’t have time to wade through the 300 emails in your inbox, hire an agency. They have the resources and the experience to know where your campaign will be successful. Like the attribution providers, we have a macro view of the industry that can be leveraged to your app’s benefit.
4. Ask better questions. This won’t help you wade through the emails or the calls, but will help you vet potential partners when you talk to them. The question I am most asked is, “What are Adperio’s differentiators?” To be honest, this question does not go deep enough. Every junior salesperson will have this memorized from script, and who knows if they will deliver on the promise of their marketing copy. Here are a few questions I suggest asking instead:
- Who are your top clients?
- How long have you worked with them?
- What would you say is key to your relationship with them?
- Can you give me a quick verbal case study?
- Tell me about your Account Management. What can I expect there?
- How many years of experience do your Account Managers have?
These questions will tell you more than any spiel about a technology or service. Probing questions about their client base will tell you what you most want to know. If they have proven themselves with other clients, they are more likely to bring you a return on your own campaigns. I like the idea of asking for a verbal case study because it takes the vetting away from carefully prepared collateral and into the human organization. It should give you a feel for the expertise of the company. And finally, questions about Account Management may seem routine, but it doesn’t matter how good the distribution is – a green or poor Account Manager will cost you time and money.