3 eternal truths in mobile marketing despite measurement and privacy changes, with Tinuiti’s Liz Emery

By John Koetsier August 10, 2021

What will always be true about mobile marketing and marketing measurement, even in a time of massive change from iOS, Android, Facebook, and the entire mobile marketing ecosystem?

Find out in the latest Growth Masterminds video podcast, with Tinuiti’s Liz Emery, in a wide-ranging conversation about content fortresses, incrementality, attribution, and the future of mobile marketing measurement. We also chat about SKAdNetwork, Facebook AMM deprecation, why there are so many mergers and acquisitions in mobile marketing, and more.

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As much as everything is in a constant state flux in mobile marketing (“change is constant in our industry,” Emery says) there are some things that are lasting principles for success.


1. Owned media: always important

Owned media will never go out of style, says Emery.

“The investment in owned has to increase and it has to be used properly … and I think that’s going to stay true forever.”

– Liz Emery

There’s a reason companies have blogs. There’s a reason legendary venture capital firm Andreesen Horowitz started its own standalone media property. And there’s a reason why battle games are always trying to get you to share video of your recent gameplay.

That’s especially true for brands that are promoting their mobile apps as a means of accessing the brand experience. (And more and more mobile-first companies are intentional brands in their own right.)

Owned media experiences cannot be taken away. Platforms can’t change the rules of what you post there, or how people can access them. And while of course there’s both a start-up and ongoing cost of ownership, you don’t have to pay to play every time you create something to reach out to people.

One reason this is critical?

Last week when I chatted with Pearl Servat, chief brand officer for Verizon’s mobile challenger brand Visible, she said that you need “more than five” brand impressions before people even consider becoming a customer. Having your first brand impression being paid might be necessary, but it’s an expensive way to “generate awareness,” in the traditional brand marketer terminology. Since (in my opinion) all brand marketing is performance marketing and all performance marketing is brand marketing, why not let owned media contribute at least some of those impressions?

Owned media can help you get those five quicker.

And maybe 10, or 20. Done right, more is indeed more.


2. Lifecycle marketing: increasingly important

Mobile marketers are not stupid. Over the past five years they have increasingly known that it’s not about top-line install growth: it’s about bottom-line DAU and revenue growth.

New users are great.

Retained users and increased revenue is better.

But … there are metrics. There are expectations. And there are directives from above for growth that user acquisition managers just must take into account, as we detailed recently in our post about a day in the life of a UA manager. That’s a largely crowd-sourced post, and it shows that often growth marketers engage in behavior that is required tactically for internal political reasons — or perhaps fundraising pitch deck reasons — but is not smart strategically for long-term profitable growth.

In an age of scarcer data, good old-fashioned lifecycle marketing (call it mobile user engagement, or user retention if you wish) is increasingly important. That includes live ops: building and extending your in-app experience no matter whether you’re a game or a fintech app or a mobile commerce store. It also includes creating more points of connection with your users and customers.

“It costs more to bring a new user in than to retain the users you have … no matter what kind of privacy things happen, when someone gets to your experience and opts in there in your experience, they said: “Here’s my email” … and you can reach them in the right ways.”

– Liz Emery

That’s retention marketing, and it’s also smart marketing.

One reason: it’s taking a single-platform userand making a multi-platform user or customer. In other words, all you had before was a user in an app. Now you’ve got an email address, meaning you can reach that person via an owned platform (ooohhh …. 1 + 1 = 3) and you can probably leverage that into a web user or customer, if that’s appropriate for your brand.

You can also, potentially, take that customer with you if you would ever need to prioritize different platforms.

3. And social/search/display never dies

Platforms come and go. But people have been social for essentially forever, and even in the hazy metaverse futures of Ready Player One IRL, they will still be social.

They’ll also need search, because they will still have wants, and there will be an even greater multiplicity of things/experiences/whatever in our digital omniverse to find and obtain. And as long as there are things to watch or experience, there will be sponsorship opportunities and display opportunities.

“I don’t see any investment in social going away. I don’t see any investment in search going away or in display going away because the reality is that … there are more people on their phones more often for more time … and a lot of the time they’re consuming content. So I just don’t see investment going away on these channels.”

– Liz Emery

What she does see, however, is more fluidity in budgets as the world — digital and real — gets more complex. And as we develop newer, more flexible, and hopefully both more nuanced and more robust ways of doing attribution.


But wait, there’s more …

This is a pretty packed Growth Masterminds episode, since we also chatted about iOS 14.5, SKAdNetwork, Facebook AMM (Advanced Mobile Measurement) deprecation, opportunities on Android vs iOS, first-party data, and the recent mergers and acquisitions frenzy in the mobile ecosystem.

And we share a few laughs.

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