From ‘hello world’ to Clash of Clans: The components of marketing analytics

By John Koetsier December 3, 2020

How do you get from “hello world” to Clash of Clans? In other words, what marketing analytics tools can help, and which ones do you need at all the different stages from just starting with your first app to becoming a global success story?

It’s an important question, because if you look at what you can buy — versus what you should buy — it’s an intimidating stack. I mean … just like at the Mobile Growth Stack:

If you’re going to have all the right tools in all the right places, there’s probably more categories than you have dollars or euros in the bank. Acquisition, engagement, monetization: each of these have ten or more subcategories of platforms and tools for growth.

You can’t boil the ocean, and you can’t start with more tools than users.

So where do you start?

To answer this question, I chatted with Clair Rozain. She’s been on Singular webinars before and currently leads user acquisition at Product Madness, a leader in the social casino and slots space. She also has a long history in mobile marketing, including a stint at Match, among other brands. She’s grown apps from the basement, and she’s grown apps in the stratosphere.

The result: another Growth Masterminds podcast.

And among the insights she shared: surprising suggestions that shattered my expectations and provided new insight into what marketing analytics you need, especially in the very beginning of your journey to dominate global app install markets.

My first question: does a total beginner need marketing analytics at all?

“Well, I would say yes,” Rozain says. “I began my passion with digital marketing creating websites … it began all with analytics … what is magic with digital marketing is that you can measure everything … you need to understand your market.”

In other words, bring in analytics right from the beginning. You can get something free, like Firebase, so it’s not taking money you don’t have, but it is providing a lot of data. That helps you understand how to make your app better, how to make your user experience better, and ultimately how to grow. It’s true that in the beginning, that growth should be organic, Rozain says, utilizing social and the App Store and Google Play.

Then: pay close attention to your metrics and you fail fast, learning all the time.

There will be a tipping point at which you need to bring in attribution as a core part of your marketing analytics.

“Once you really understand what works … when you’re sure that it’s going to work, you invest in your project and you pay attention to each dollar,” Rozain says. “It’s like your baby, you want to count everything. And you need an attribution solution, basically, because without it, you’re just going to lose your money.”

When you’re starting out, you don’t have a lot of spare cash. Testing tools takes a lot of time — which you also don’t have — and buying them is too expensive. Which means that you need to focus on the most critical elements.

For Rozain, those include attribution:

“If you don’t have attribution during your campaigns, you can’t learn,” Rozain says. “Attribution is really important because you need to understand where you’re going to … make your business grow even more … and without this it’s impossible.”

The other role that marketing analytics plays in growth is that as your app becomes more successful and your team gets bigger, you start having additional people to satisfy. That means financial analysts, of course, but it also means talent that you want to acquire and add to the team. They need to understand the metrics of your business before coming on board: tangible, accurate data that shows you’re building something successful.

Plus, of course, investors. At least at the right time.

As your app starts to grow, that’s when engagement and retention tools become more critical. Monetization becomes important as the team grows and you look to fuel new campaigns in the future, and you start looking for solutions to optimize user journeys and boost virality.

Another big jump comes between hundreds of thousands or even low millions of dollars or euros in revenue and the major mobile publishers who are making eight, nine, or even ten figures in annual revenue.

Everything just scales higher, Rozain says.

Including reporting and specifically cost aggregation.

“We use Singular, which is one of the best, I think, in cost aggregation,” Rozain says, (unsolicited, scout’s honor). “And we use it everyday because everyone is a team … [and they are] going to ask us: what’s going on? What happened today? Why did you have this spike? And you need to be accountable.”

Retargeting enters the marketing analytics picture. App Store optimization becomes more important. User segmentation and cohort analysis ramps up, as does A/B or multivariate testing. LTV modeling is critical, and conversion optimization becomes a focus. At this scale, most publishers have extensive internal BI capabilities that their marketing analytics systems need to feed, often via ETL. Set up properly, this is real-time data showing evolution of your growth.

“Even if it seems like something pricey, it’s something that is at the center of the business to make people smarter,” Rozain says.

The bigger you get, the most holistic a picture you need. That means tools beyond paid attribution including engagement tools, live ops tools, and other tools to help you understand user journeys at a deeper and deeper level. The best marketers, Rozain says, don’t stop at acquisition and don’t stop at the top of the funnel, but always work with the rest of the team to understand the full life cycle of people using their apps.

And all of this is changing, of course all the time.

(This is mobile: it’s always changing.)

With the updates Apple is making to iOS 14 and IDFA, Rozain is working hard to open up new avenues to user acquisition, including influencer marketing.

“We are going to watch the performance more holistically,” she says. “We are going to find new ways to be where the user is and where they are looking for us.”

All of which adds new complexities to measurement and marketing analytics, including web to app and app to web to app user acquisition flows, which all need to be supported at a high level of data integrity by attribution and marketing analytics companies. These are new challenges, in a sense, but build on capabilities that Singular has been working on for years.

All of which keeps life interesting.

“It’s super challenging and super interesting … because it’s something new and there are so many new channels,” Rozain says. “It’s always this cycle to test fast, learn fast, fail fast.”

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