How to become a top 10% marketer: Snap’s Brendan Lyall on scaling mobile growth

By John Koetsier January 24, 2019

How do you become a top 10% marketer?

Simple: you achieve top 10% results.

Of course, that’s where the challenge lies. And doing it is not nearly as easy as saying it. But, as we’ve seen in our Scaling Mobile Growth report, top marketers get more and spend less, helping their companies achieve breakthrough growth.

A great product is a necessity, a great team helps, and a great offer is important, but great marketers know that to maximize their results, they also have have to successfully manipulate four key levers: creative, media sources, bids, and budgets.

Get them right consistently, and you win.

Screw up any one of them, and you risk blowing budget, wasting time, and killing credibility.

Brendan Lyall

Brendan Lyall knows more than most about being a top 10% marketer. He was a growth marketer at RockYou! and Storm8, then built businesses in mobile marketing: Grow Mobile, which was acquired Perion Networks, and

He’s currently helping Snap build out its ad solutions for marketers.

I spent some time with him recently to talk about marketing, growth, and moving beyond what is safe and known in order to achieve outsized results.

Essentially: how to become a top 10% marketer.

Koetsier: There’s a comfort level for digital marketers in using ad partners they’ve always worked with before. But what’s the risk in that?

Lyall: I’ve been a marketer and I’ve been on the ad network side too.

It is always risky for marketers to get too complacent or comfortable with their current ad vendors. The ad ecosystem is a constantly changing landscape of ad partners and that also includes ever-changing performance of ad partner inventory quality and install value.

There are also inward changing variables that app marketers need to keep in mind to keep they their UA campaigns running efficiently. As many mobile apps evolve, so do their user bases, features, monetization strategies and a countless number of other variables, and this can directly impact the app’s ad campaign performance.

One common scenario is, your ad partner breakdown at one stage in your mobile app lifecycle might be a great fit and provide excellent yield, making the ad partner choice and reliability appropriate, but as the app transitions to another lifecycle phase this can result in certain ad partners being no longer effective or the best choice for a marketer’s ad partner stack. Active and savvy marketers should always consider and test new partners and track the performance fluctuations in correlation to the changes to the app.

It’s important to never allow ad partners to run unsupervised with no or minimal optimization. A marketer’s comfort can lead to complacency and while we all know building a efficient and ROAS-rich strategy is not accomplished overnight. Always stay on top of your marketing campaigns and constantly validate and iterate your ad partner prioritization.

All of the quality ad partners in the mobile ecosystem have evolving products, ad units, optimization algorithms and publishers, so continue to stay up to date on your ad partner’s product offerings and how they benefit your marketing strategy. Marketers should test new channels continually and optimize their campaigns to ensure that their ad partners remain relevant throughout their app’s lifecycle.

Koetsier: The same applies to old versus new ad formats. What have you seen happen when marketers try new ad formats?

Lyall: This is something that has been a constant struggle for a lot of marketers. New formats are really exciting, but can be challenging if you don’t have the resources. Creative and ad formats are often the one of the most crucial part of a performance marketing campaign and can often get overlooked.

Quantitative optimization often takes the front seat for obvious campaign changes since they can be most closely A/B tested and correlated to certain results. Creative and ad formats are the hardest to optimize effectively and to quantify accurately.

One thing that Snap has been very conscious of is user experience and how different brands mesh with that quality standard. As mobile users we are constantly finding ways to subliminally block out ads, this brings up the importance for both marketers and ad partners to constantly iterate on ad units and formats. Testing new creatives is something we encourage our marketers to do frequently. Snap ads are a full-screen experience and this is a unique and immersive way to interact with an app or a brand, and when people spend time with them, they demonstrate high levels of intent.

It’s no surprise that ad solutions that allow for strong customization for natural and native experiences perform the best. For marketers who do not have the luxury to do high production ad formats, it’s important to iterate and test the formats that are within reasonable scale to your budget and resources.

We often see marketers test Snapchat Ads for the first time get impressive results. With thoughtful optimization and iteration within our Snap Publisher Tool, they have been really pleased with the new segment of users coming from Snapchat through the immersive ad units. User experience is very important to Snapchat which is why the ads team has continually iterated on new ad formats that resonate best with Snapchat’s audience of users while also presenting relevant ads for them to interact with.

Ultimately, new kinds of ad types have created new opportunities for stronger adoption and better performance.

Koetsier: What’s working best on Snap right now? What kinds of campaigns for what kinds of brands?

Lyall: From a performance perspective, we see a lot of scale when it comes to gaming and commerce. We’ve also had very significant scale in dating and travel.

Many of these are very performance-driven campaigns, and we see a lot of advertisers who have very specific downstream metrics and post-install events being able to scale very well with Snap. In commerce, deeplinking has been very successful for specific sales, either to another app or an external website.

Koetsier: What are the common characteristics of the best marketers — top 10% marketers — that you’ve seen?

Lyall: The Snapchat Ads self serve ads manager tool is used by a wide range of marketers and advertisers based on budget size, business category and needs.

To speak more towards the relevancy of this blog post, app advertisers have shown really significant adoption and success in the ads manager’s short history. Our most successful UA managers who generate app installs from Snapchat exemplify a heavy quantitative and non-biased approach towards their ad partners and constantly iterate and test on a wide range of campaign variables.

They also are able to understand that while the quantitative optimization is one piece of the puzzle, the creatives and ad formats are much more difficult to quantify and take a scientific approach to how they evaluate creatives and ad units. Overall, a tireless effort from UA advertisers who are willing to get their hands dirty and optimize campaigns and constantly iterate and test.

Koetsier: Thank you for your time!

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To learn more about becoming a top 10% marketer, get a copy of our Scaling Mobile Growth report. We analyzed over $10B in ad spend and a trillion ad impressions to learn what the best marketers are doing, and are sharing the insights with you.

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