From Batman to you: mobile app retention for UTILITY apps

batman utility belt utility apps retention

We almost never talk about utility apps. That’s odd, because utilities is a top-5 app category on both Google Play and iOS, and there are many multiple billion-install apps in Utilities … think browsers, VPNs … search apps … and, of course emojis.

Today, we’re going to fix that.

In this episode of Retention Masterclass, Peggy Anne Salz and I chat with Oded Onn, the senior VP of growth marketing for AppsFlyer, and a former exec with Gett, an ride-sharing/taxi app.

Scroll down for full audio, video, and a transcript of our conversation …

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Read: mobile app retention for UTILITY apps with AppsFlyer’s Oded Onn

(This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity). 

John Koetsier:  Why do we almost never talk about utility apps? Today, we’re going to fix that. Hello and welcome to Retention Masterclass. My name is John Koetsier.

Peggy Anne Salz: And my name is Peggy Anne Salz and we’re co-hosts on the show. 

John Koetsier: So, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, only Batman had a utility belt. Now we all do … it’s called our phone, and the tools are utility apps. 

Peggy Anne Salz: Absolutely, and they are rocking because, you know, they’re a top app category. We don’t think about them really, but then you start to dig into the research and you’re seeing that costs and conversions — costs were low, conversions were through the roof in the pandemic. Now costs are rising, so this is definitely something you want to get right. You want to get your retention right. And you want to understand what they are, you know, you think about sort of, well, what are they?

Well, they’re ride sharing, right? They’re streaming, food deliveries, lots of cool categories in there that we haven’t been talking enough about, John. 

John Koetsier: We haven’t, and here I was opening the door for you to talk about Star Wars or … I don’t know, sheesh, Luke Skywalker or something like that, but it’s all good. We are mixing our metaphors and our fictional worlds.

But, you know, we’re talking about utility apps and we tend to forget about it, as you just mentioned. And the reality is there’s many multiple billion-app-install apps in Utilities. You think browsers, VPNs, search apps, the Google app is in the utility category, right? And of course emojis which are critical to life.

Well today, we’re going to chat about retention and maybe even a bit of acquisition for utility apps.

Peggy Anne Salz:  As I said, super important category, growing. We’re going to talk about that because we have VP of growth marketing at AppsFlyer. Oded Onn, welcome to Retention Masterclass! Great to have you. 

Oded Onn: Hi, Peggy. Hi, John. Very nice to be here. 

John Koetsier: Wonderful. Super happy to have you. Oded, give us a 30-second tour of your career, where you’ve been, name some names, let us know where you’ve been.

Oded Onn: Sure. I had a kind of weird career track for a marketeer. I started actually in the military intelligence corps, did some computer stuff, moved to high tech as a developer for many years. Then switched to the U.S., I’ve been in consulting, management consulting for several years at Deloitte in the U.S. — strategy and operation, innovation.

Moved to gaming in Israel, came back to Israel, moved to gaming and then into Gett, it’s the biggest taxi app in Israel, I was the VP of performance marketing over there. And now I’m the senior director of growth marketing at AppsFlyer. So, kind of a lot of different things … B2C, B2B, utility apps, gaming. I had it all.

John Koetsier: Excellent. And you kept it to almost 30 seconds too. Usually people go on for like five minutes, so I’m always scared to ask that question, but that was great. Awesome. Over to you, Peggy. 

Peggy Anne Salz: Yeah and it took us full circle because it took me where I wanted to … ‘Gett’ to. Did I say that? I’m sorry.

John Koetsier: Haha, you did. Oh man.

Peggy Anne Salz: So sorry, couldn’t help it. But Gett, you know, really exciting. We’re talking about ride sharing. We’re talking about utilities. You know firsthand what worked, what didn’t work. Why don’t you just lift the lid a little bit on the strategies that helped you convert the installs into the engaged users … keep them coming back. 

Oded Onn: Sure.

So, one thing that is really important to understand about most utility apps, and there is variety, is that you cannot convert a user unless they have the need. For example, I can remarket for you and try to engage you as much as I want. If you do not want to have — if you don’t need an actual taxi ride, you’re not going to ride with me just because we engage with you.

So that’s one thing that is really important to remember. I suppose I would say to gaming where you can really attack users and make them do whatever you want — when it works. It starts clearly with acquisition. You need to have it prior to that, you need to have [a] good brand, etc. but for acquisition, one of the things that works is using it in affinity apps where we see users that, let’s say, have like [a] Zipcar app, or something that has to do with it’s clear that they do not have necessarily their own means of transportation. That’s a great way to target them additionally based on interest.

So that’s, right, if you find those apps that has relevancy to your market or to your utility app, you can then target users in those specific apps. Clearly there’s a lot of the usual for UA on that side, you want to have engaging ads and a great app to begin with — excellent ASO. So, I was responsible for all of these different aspects of the app and you have to make sure everything works.

We used a ton of different networks, the big ones, the SANs, and the Facebook and Google, and those players in the world, but also a lot of other smaller networks that were specialized. For example, in the Eastern Bloc in Russia, etc. which was one of our main markets when I was with Gett.

John Koetsier: Interesting. 

Peggy Anne Salz: Mm-hmm. So you tried out the different markets, you probably did some A/B testing, a little, you know, what goes on in there to get that performance boost. I hate to say sort of like moving the needle, but, hey, that’s what it’s about, right? So, is there something that you could share, maybe not the one thing, but I want to get an understanding of this strategy, you know, this strategy for retention. Anything that you can share, any method, any … perhaps any hack for that matter? 

Oded Onn, Sr. Director of Growth Marketing at AppsFlyer

Oded Onn, Sr. Director of Growth Marketing at AppsFlyer

Oded Onn: So for sure. Since it’s Retention Masterclass, so we’ll focus a bit more on retention here. One of the things, again, as I mentioned before, you’ll have to understand where your users’ at and match them with a need.

What we used at Gett is a version of RFM, and I guess for the viewers that are not familiar with this framework with them, we’re talking about recency, frequency, and monetary. So basically you’re segmenting your users by how recently they used the app, how often they use it, all right, and how much money do they spend with us. And that’s a great basic framework to divide your users to different segments.

Now, depending on your user base, depending on the business, you might want to do further segmentation. 

Peggy Anne Salz: Mm-hmm.

Oded Onn: And here there’s a good balance. You have to make sure that on the one hand you don’t go too deep to micro segments, because oftentimes that will be a lot of work and not necessarily a lot of value. It changes if you’re thinking on gaming where really some micro segments are super useful, but if you’re thinking you’ll kill the app, simple usually wins the battle.

So let’s just make an example.

Maybe you segment your users to platinum, those are very frequent high value users, and then you have the gold, silver, and maybe occasional riders and one-offs, those riders that download the app, did one ride, that’s it. You’d never see them completely churn.

And within those different segments, you really want to be engaged with them in probably different ways. For a platinum user that likely didn’t show too much sensitivity for pricing, your promotion will not go and your messaging will not talk about pricing. You want to just maybe keep top of mind and give them maybe benefits, for example, a better SLA.

So what that means, I can guarantee you either a better cab, like a premium cab, or I can guarantee you that even if you’re waiting in line as many other users are trying to get a cab, you’ll be first in line, because you’re this platinum user. So you gamify the app in terms of product, but also in your messaging, you signify ‘You are my platinum user.’

Where an occasional rider is way more likely to be sensitive when it comes to pricing, so you might send him a promotion, ‘You have 25% off your next five rides if, let’s say, you take five rides in the next month.’ So you encourage them to be more engaged and take more actions. So using segments, whatever they are, as long as they match your business, it’s a great way to change your messaging and your remarketing and re-engagement activities.

John Koetsier: It’s really interesting, you mentioned the one user who pops in and never does anything again. And that might be the user who flew in for a vacation or a business trip or something like that, and, oh, there’s no Uber here, what am I going to use? Right? Or something like that in any other category, of course.

And interestingly, App Clips might be an interesting way to deal with that in iOS 14, right? Sort of like Instant Apps on Android.

But, now we’re focused on utility apps, right, and it’s a very different vertical. We’ve already talked about that a little bit, then shopping apps or gaming apps. How do you approach acquisition and retention here — is it different than other verticals? And does it vary among those apps? You mentioned already that, you know, you need to have a need for that utility. But there’s many needs that I have, maybe, that I’m not aware of, right?

Oded Onn: Yeah. So … well you mentioned actually great few points that I want to refer to.

First of all, App Clips, definitely and I think it’s going to be — oh at last it’s with iOS, you know — and I think this is going to totally change the way users interact with apps. I think there will be a lot of value for utility apps, as well as many other apps, that as a user I don’t necessarily want to … okay, I don’t want to download, I just want to use it and that will be great.

In terms of what you said about the visitors, maybe you are a foreign national that just came to this market that you have and Uber is not there — which was the case, by the way, in Israel — so, for exactly that, we actually target users and market to users with airline companies.

For example, you think of the leaflet or whatever it’s called, in the back of your seat on the airplane. I mean, nowadays with Corona, who knows about that, but at the time, that was a great way, ‘Hey, here’s the  leading taxi app in Israel, are you coming?’ Boom. You know what, and you have a QR code. So with our attribution you scan it, you download the app, or it will download later when you land. But already I know to attribute it to the QR code on the leaflet and you know what app you’re going to use. Similarly on tickets, boarding tickets, you can have [a] promotion, etc. And we also market for people with phones that are not local phones, because, and then the language it will be based on where they came from — they came from France, I’ll have it in French, why not? So …

John Koetsier: Yes.

Oded Onn: … a lot of levels of how you can actually acquire users in a smart way and actually really cheap way compared to let’s just go en mass with Facebook or Google of the worlds. Just smart, think where are your users coming from? Now, for your question was …. you’ll have to remind me actually, I’m sorry.  

John Koetsier: No worries. Talking about utility apps, how do you approach acquisition/retention for utility apps? Is that different than other verticals? 

Oded Onn: I think the main difference is the LTV or potential LTV of [a] user. So that will derive the CPA, the cost per acquisition, or the cost per action that you’re willing to pay.

If you’re thinking of Triple-A games, or if you’re thinking of really high value verticals like travel, shopping, you’re willing to pay way more per user. Utilities tend to be somewhere in between.

And then you have casual gaming where a single user usually it [isn’t] worth so much, so you have to do it in [a] really, really different scale and a much lower CPA. So for utilities, I would say anywhere in the mid-range it can be — it depends on the utility — it can be between $5, $10 to $50, really depends on [the] market and what type of utility. That’s your sweet spot.

Which gives you on the one hand, some leverage and some playroom, and on the other hand, you have to hit, again, you cannot just go crazy with endless acquisition because it doesn’t necessarily make sense. Even if you think of the Uber of the world and Lyft, etc. that are like the biggest players in the taxi app — there’s [unclear], there’s Taxify — most of them actually lost money on their acquisition because they paid, they did it en masse and paid a ton of money per user. Once you get to a certain scale, it can kind of balance.

But you have to be very careful and measure, and be very specific about what’s your ROI targets, what’s your CPA targets, and ensure that users not — because install doesn’t mean anything, unless install and actually take the first ride, and that’s not an obvious thing. It’s a funnel and people get lost in the way. So …

John Koetsier:  I’m wondering actually, if with App Clips an install will actually mean a lot more and have a lot more retention, a lot higher retention, actually. Because I’ve played around with App Clips a little bit — and it was in the casual gaming sector, but it could have been in utilities — and I had a chance to play, basically it felt like the app. It felt like I was using an app, and to actually complete the install after that was unbelievably easy and smooth and clean as a process.

I mean, it’s the way app installs should have worked from day one, in my opinion.

And I’m much more likely to use that app now, and I have in that particular case multiple times, because I actually had a chance to try it. And I had a chance to try it in a way that was no risk. I didn’t have to take, you know, multiple steps, like out of my, let’s say, app environment into the App Store and then into a decision, should I press that ‘get app’ or ‘install app’ button, right? And then out of the App Store and into another app.

Rather, it was just like clicking on a website. Click and I was in an app experience. Tap and I was playing. Tap and it was actually installed as a full app. And that was really, really interesting to me. I think that’s going to be doing interesting things for acquisition but also for retention over the next year or so.

Oded Onn: Yeah. So I think there’s [a] few points here. First of all, when you think of yes, when you experience an app via an App Clip, the intention that you put with an install is way higher, so you’re way more likely to keep it because you already experienced it, like you said. So you should not be like, it reduced the barriers, it reduced your concerns with it, the risk. So that’s one thing, I think it will definitely increase retention.

In actuality, most utility apps, the retention rates are crazy high. Like, I will tell it to my fellow gamers and they will like, ‘What?!’ … think of Day30 75% retention rate.

John Koetsier: Wow. 

Oded Onn: That’s normal. So, you’re not so afraid to lose people in terms of uninstall because you know, oh, maybe I’ll use this app. So oftentimes we see users have, we have users with the app six, seven years, and that’s like a lot of them, not …

John Koetsier: Yes.

Oded Onn:  What matters is not just retention, but actually usage. I think another thing that will come and that’s probably with the changes in iOS with clearly the forthcoming deprecation of the IDFA in iOS 14, whether it’s — it’s not immediate, but it’s some point thanks to … Apple didn’t tell us exactly when.

Similar to App Clips, I think you will see a lot of web-to-app journeys because it gives, again, this experience like having a simpler way for app marketers to use their own media, much cheaper traffic, much cheaper acquisition channel to bring users to the web, let them see and experience the app with the, I would say, surrounding and look and feel of how you want it to be and not in the App Store that is really limited.

And then send them to the App Store or to an install with a much smoother way clearly deep linking, deferred deep linking, you can already have a lot of the things they can sign up on the app and you complete the process on the App Store …

John Koetsier: And measurement.

Oded Onn:  … which would, and measurement is, yeah, the measurement will be end-to-end. I mean, I’m working at AppsFlyer so I know AppsFlyer does it. I believe other players will get there and do this smooth end-to-end measurement from web-to-app journeys. I believe we’ll see a lot more of that, given that doing just regular acquisition through networks when you don’t have IDFA might suffer. So, I believe we will see a lot of that coming in similar to App Clips because it gives you that experience, it gives you that — well, reduces risk, you know what you’re getting to. 

Peggy Anne Salz: So you talk about the journey, that’s like a magic word for me, ’cause it gets into the whole user side, right? It’s going to be seamless. It’s going to be frictionless, right, because of the App Clips. But I want to step into one other question I’m hearing a lot about out there, which is, you know, app marketers have to have a little bit more patience now.

So, it’s thinking about, to start with, let’s just talk about that journey ’cause I just want to pin this down … because, as you said, crazy high retention: 75% Day 30. But on the other hand, it’s a different cycle, you know. It’s a much different time where you say, okay, at Day 7 do I need to message? No, it might be Day 14 or day 20, you know, it’s a very different curve. Can you give me some idea of like the milestones on that or the numbers? Because it might be like 120 days before it pays off.

So we need to tell people out there who are pretty nervous, you know, hang in there, it’s going to come through. 

Oded Onn: Yeah, so there [are] a few things about it, and I’ll break it down to different topics. There’s A: there’s prediction modeling and an ROI calculation that you need to be very smart about that. I’ll put it aside for a second, we’ll come back to it but that’s one thing that how to cater for that side.

In terms of milestones, I think the first — if you think a taxi app is the what’s called the FTR, first time ride, that’s the holy grail of riding. It can be first-time delivery, or first time like the equivalent of first-time deposit if you think of gaming. This first-time action that show[s] the user actually passed the chasm and [is] willing to actually use the service.

And note, in most of these services, depends on the market, but you usually need to put [in] the credit card. There is a method of payment, so that is [a] big thing. And for example, to cater for that when we were working in Russia, and in Israel to a degree, but in Russia, people don’t like to put their credit card into apps. Just don’t. As opposed to let’s say, in New York and in London where we operated, it’s obvious, it’s a mandatory thing. 

In Moscow, for example, we said, ‘Alright, you want to pay cash? No problem.’ And we just enabled complete cash payment. So, like you reduce this barrier to allow them to get to that FTR, to that first time ride.

Peggy Anne Salz: Okay. 

Oded Onn: In order to get there, part of retention, all right, if someone downloaded the app and didn’t act on it in the very first few days, you want to start push notification. You want to send them an email if you have their email. You want to re-engage with them maybe on paid media, say, ‘Hey, don’t forget to take your first ride.’

And if a week passed and they didn’t take the ride, maybe you offer them already a promotion, ‘Sounds great, you have it, you can use it, that’s great.’ Send them the promotion. Passing that chasm is crucial in order for you to enjoy not just retention that the app is installed, because who cares — that people are using it, this is the first milestone. Then you can put, depends on the actual app, maybe it’s the second or third usage, maybe then it’s a usage a month later that shows okay, you’re still top of mind, they’re still using you when they need it. Because, well …

Peggy Anne Salz: Right.

Oded Onn:  … again, it’s a taxi. 

John Koetsier: And that’s going to be totally different depending on vertical as well, right? I mean, if you have a VPN app it’s kind of like a set and forget, and you might be on a subscription, right, but you … 

Oded Onn: Most likely.

John Koetsier: … you may almost never touch that VPN app again. Although that VPN, I’m guessing if they’re a smart company behind that VPN, they might send you a notification or report from time to time on trackers that they’ve blocked or, you know, amount of data that they’ve saved if they’ve compressed things, or something like that — just to let you know that they’re still working and still there behind the scenes providing value even if you’re not touching them. Correct? 

Oded Onn: Usually. Now I’ll explain why. Yes, in the sense of they want you to, yes you see value in it and they might even try to upsell you some sort of service, maybe they have like some protection and additional protection, so they want to engage.

The reason I kind of put it with an asterix because oftentimes those apps are based on subscription, and in all honesty, they want you to forget about it and the subscription to renew. So the less that you hear from them … 

John Koetsier: Oh man.

Oded Onn: … you might, I know it’s unfortunate, but that’s the reality of it. So, I don’t like this stuff. 

John Koetsier: Yeah.

Oded Onn: I like really [to] be very forthcoming and transparent about what you offer and what’s your value. And if you have good value, people are willing to pay. But when it comes to subscription apps, you see the whole spectrum there.

John Koetsier: Honestly, there are some really scammy apps in the subscription space. And I almost did a story recently — I did a story earlier,  there’s some of course, that have subscriptions like your $40 a month or something like that, that have like a 7-day trial and they trick you into it. Apple canned most of those. Google’s worked hard on getting rid of some of those as well. But there are some definitely that are still out there. And people have looked at their credit card receipts and they …

Peggy Anne Salz: That’s a big shock.

John Koetsier: … they’ve been paying [some amount] a month for three years, for something they don’t know what it is. Go ahead Peggy, I think you had something to say.

Peggy Anne Salz: I was going to say, we can go from the big shock if you want, to the other big question, right? Which I wanted to get to. I mean, I was going to go the direction of paradigm that Oded was talking about, but I’ll take us to the big question because we’re all there, you know, re-engagement, retargeting.

What is your take on this? We all know what’s coming [IDFA deprecation]. Okay, we have quote unquote “a stay of execution” or whatever you want to call it until the end of the year. Big deal, it’s coming, right around the corner. Let’s talk about your take on this and also your workarounds, because this is going to be a big deal. As we said, you know, we want to get to that Day 30, massive retention and we want to re-engage to make certain it goes beyond the time that I see the notification that says ‘you have this app,’ right? I don’t want to unsubscribe, I want to engage.

What would you suggest? 

Oded Onn: So, I’m trying to clarify, are you talking with in light of … [crosstalk]

Peggy Anne Salz: With IDFA … but also with retargeting. 

Oded Onn: Yeah, with IDFA, just to make sure the viewers understood the context, clearly with iOS14 and the upcoming deprecation of IDFA, or at least the need to opt in, in order to be tracked. I think, look, the thought behind it is very, very good, right? We all support privacy and security, and I think for Apple that was the main concept.

What the outcome may be, that users will start getting just non-personalized ads — you’ll still see ads. Advertisers will maybe pay less for those ads because they’re not so targeted and not be so happy with the results.

There’s a solution on the backend, on the ethics side, in the form of you’ll have aggregated attribution and probabilistic modeling to give you a sense of how well you operate in each of those campaigns of yours. But it’s going to be tougher, and I think if you’re thinking from the ecosystem perspective, a lot of networks, DSPs, retargeting networks will get hit extremely bad because it might take, you know, the main business.

Again, there are ways to still work within that wall. One of the things what I mentioned before, I think the web-to-app journeys will become a way more common channel to use for app marketers, which is barely used before, unless in the social gaming, let’s say this way. Otherwise, most app marketers didn’t use as much web-to-app journeys. And I think this will become way more common, a common channel.

Given the guidelines that we currently have — and to be honest, they are not so clear, as unfortunately Apple didn’t provide them really clear cut guidelines of what’s allowed and what’s not — but [it] looks like you cannot have gated apps or gated content within an app. Meaning, you come into my app and unless you say, ‘Yes, I am willing to be tracked,’ you will be prevented as a section of the app. So this looks like it will not be allowed, because a lot of companies were heading that direction and they need to backtrack.

Another thing that is probably not going to work, and it’s important to understand what’s not going to work, you are not allowed to prime users anymore [it] looks like. Originally it looked like you can prime users and say, ‘Oh, you will see this screen and you’ll need to press that yes, I agree in order to use the app,’ no more. So that is likely not going to be allowed.

So what can you do? I think it’s about looking at the incremental value of your campaigns, this would be crucial, and I think we’ll see more and more solution[s] whether from MMPs, from the attribution partners, or from other third-party vendors that can provide you analytics on your campaigns, both UA and retention, and understanding the incremental value of what you do. 

John Koetsier: Mm-hmm.

Oded Onn: Maybe I’ll elaborate a bit for it sounds obvious what’s incremental. But, basically if you’re using your current, let’s say no campaigns at all, you have [a] certain level of users that [are] taking action regardless, whether you do something or not, because they want to use your app. Now you [are] starting let’s say a top-of-mind campaign with network A. You work in a certain market and you see an uplift of X percentages. Great, now you need to understand what part of that came for that specific campaign versus maybe you had like a TV campaign in parallel. Maybe you had something else. So in order to understand … it sounds very simple. Unfortunately, it’s an extremely complicated process on the backend to … [crosstalk] 

John Koetsier: It’s very challenging. It’s very hard to tease out what is from what campaign, absolutely. 

Oded Onn: Exactly.

John Koetsier: But there is technology for it. 

Oded Onn: Yes there is. And also it’s important to separate between your paid re-marketing activities and your own re-engagement activities through the app, like the product push email thing that didn’t cost you direct money. And you understand how the interaction between them and what was the actual channel that brought the incremental value of each of those channels. 

John Koetsier: Right, right, right. I guess maybe …

Peggy Anne Salz: Sort of backwards engineering is what that is. Exactly. It’s really backwards engineering everything, is what you’re saying. 

So I’m just curious if I can do a quick, quick followup because you’re speaking to us as someone who obviously knows it from Gett, but you also quote unquote “get it” also from AppsFlyer. I just want to understand and be very clear with what you are advising people from your perspective at AppsFlyer.

Oded Onn: Well, I think that I’m not coming here from a point of like, you know, marketer sales, I’m actually … 

Peggy Anne Salz: No, no. I’m just curious what you’re telling them to be … to become accustomed to, is what I want to say. 

Oded Onn: I think there’s … there’s a shift happening, all right. And this industry changes actually quite often, but this is a major change, a tectonic movement. And we cannot be blind to it. An app market is oftentimes, ‘Oh, it will be fine.’

No, I mean, it will be fine, but you need to understand what you can do and cannot do within this new App Store ecosystem.

And also get comfortable with aggregated attribution and that is based on probabilistic modeling. So it’s no longer when you don’t know something it went to what was called “fingerprinting,” that’s only on the user level.

Now, probabilistic modeling and aggregated attribution are looking at the whole campaign the campaign as a whole. It’s a hundred percent in line with Apple’s privacy guidelines, but it means that you don’t necessarily know the same level of knowledge and data on the user level. And that is fine. If this is the new normal, you have to adjust your campaigns.

Some companies using automatic — a lot of, I would say, AI or machine learning tools to automate campaigns — now you have to probably check that the logic that is behind the scene looking at the aggregate level and not specific user, specific UA, because you might not get that information anymore.

So that change is the main thing. We actually provide that, AppsFlyer, like a simulator for how it’s going to look like with SKAdNetwork — that’s the new attributions sort of network from Apple. So AppsFlyer provides this simulator, you can choose, oh, I believe that 80% of my users will opt in, or just 10[%], and based on that see how, what kind of data you’ll get to start people getting accustomed to that reality. 

John Koetsier: So, it is a new reality. It is a new world. There’s so much changing and guess what? That’s mobile. 

Oded Onn: Yes, also true.

John Koetsier: It’s a very young industry and has changed tremendously, and it will continue to because it’s much faster moving than any other industry we’ve had in the past. Let’s end here … and a bit of a flyer, because not sure we’ve totally prepped for this question with you, but this is Retention Masterclass and we are focused on retention.

There’s a ton of software out there that is focused on acquisition, and MMPs are part of that, and whether you’re looking at incremental growth as well — that’s a part of that as well — but what software have you looked at, or that you’re interested in, that helps you with retention?

Oded Onn:  I think there’s two things that marketers should look [at]. First, is really in house, having much stronger connection within an alignment between the user acquisition teams and the CRM or retention teams.

In some organizations, they work hand-in-hand or in tandem. In some other places, these are siloed. And in order to do retention, even in before and definitely with this new reality, those teams have to work very, very well aligned.

And you have to understand how you’re using paid re-engagement with non-paid tactics. Because if you, A: it goes back to this notion of incrementality, of understanding how you separate the thing. So, building — and this can be done, again, with external tools, it can be done in the BI layer within the app publisher — but building different control groups, understanding how you separate, who am I touching with digital paid channels? Who am I touching with CRM? And then maybe I want to split them into smaller groups and these ones get only push. This one gets only in-app messaging. So, if you do run those A/B testing, or it’s multi-variant testing with multiple different control groups, a control group versus a lot of test group[s], you can start understanding what combination of what’s the value of each of these things.

So that’s one tool that is basically, it’s in our hands. You just need to make sure that you have good comms, good communication within the company.

The other thing is what I mentioned before, I think incrementality for retargeting will become, probably with external tools because it’s not — even though I said it’s simple to do, it’s not so simple to do — so I believe this will become a more and more needed tool in your tech stack, because the retargeting networks really lost their edge. The oldest smart bidders and stuff, they will probably suffer a lot, at least on iOS. So, you’ll need to use some tools to give you that overall view of how the campaign worked, not in the user level. 

John Koetsier: Thank you. 

Peggy Anne Salz: So we have a tip there. We understand it’s incrementality, that’s like the word to watch this year. But it’s a little bit of positive, because we also have some of this in our hands, right? Because you’re talking about CRM, testing, things that we can do already, things we understand already. So overall, it’s not the task — it’s not the mammoth task that maybe it was made out to be at first.

A little bit of a positive note, I like to end on that. 

Oded Onn: For sure, a hundred percent. You have to smile and take the hits from the ecosystem. This is what marketing is. I think it’s what keeps it exciting, to be honest. I love this industry for that. 

Peggy Anne Salz: It’s the rule of the universe, ‘Take the hits from the ecosystem.’ I like that one, John. 

Oded Onn: Here you go. 

Peggy Anne Salz: Oded, thanks so much for sharing … sharing a couple of growth hack sort of ideas from Gett as well. You know, it’s about the activity in the app. It’s about segmentation. I think we’ve learned tons. So thanks so much for joining us here on Retention Masterclass. 

Oded Onn: Thank you guys, been a pleasure. Thank you, Peggy. Thank you, John. 

John Koetsier: Thank you, Oded. It was a wonderful time that we had with you as well. Also for everybody else, thank you for joining us. And whatever platform you’re on, hey, like, subscribe, share, comment, maybe all of the above. And if you love the podcast, maybe give us a rating or a review, that would be a massive help. 

Peggy Anne Salz: Absolutely. And that’s a wrap again. So until next time … keep well, stay safe. This is Peggy Anne Salz signing off for Retention Masterclass.

John Koetsier: And I’m John Koetsier. Have a great day!

 


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