written by
Niko Thielsch
Niko Thielsch

Putting your brand in the customer's hand: Interview with Adjust

Putting your brand in the customer's hand: Interview with Adjust

Mobile First is the topic of the hour. But what does this mean for your own company’s marketing? We talked to Niko Thielsch, Sales Director for DACH and Nordics at the Berlin app analyser Adjust, and asked him to explain what start-ups need to keep in mind when it comes to mobile marketing.

Niko, why is mobile marketing relevant to young companies?

Mobile marketing just keeps going from strength to strength and is the most important channel for companies worldwide. Consumers have long since changed their media consumption, and large corporate budgets are following them straight to their mobile devices. In fact, the mobile device is now a direct communication channel to the user and brands can improve their performance by adopting Mobile First as a strategy. Mobile marketing is the most personal and often best performing tool for marketing products and services. The results of the current IAB study also proved this.

What tips do you have for start-ups looking to develop a mobile marketing strategy?

There are a number of things that not only start-ups need to consider:

First of all, companies should be testing everything before they invest a lot of budget. From creation and marketing channels to onboarding flows - and not just at the beginning of a campaign. Start-ups should establish a testing culture at an early stage so that they can react flexibly and quickly to specific market conditions.

Companies should be tracking creative advertising formats aiming to generate emotion and strengthen the brand just as much as user acquisition campaigns. It is crucial that the central metrics are not simply defined as appinstalls. The most important things are KPIs that provide information on how qualitatively valuable the purchased traffic is. Implementing mobile marketing strategies requires a completely different skill set than classic offline marketing. The marketer needs a deep understanding, not only of creation and media planning, but also of current expertise in MarTech (marketing technology) and AdTech.

Also important: Companies need to think about which tools they need to purchase and which tasks should be outsourced versus how much of this know-how they want to build up internally. It pays not to inflate the tech stack, i.e. all tools, programming languages and services required for app marketing, too much. On average, there are 14 software development kits per app, i.e. 14 different tools that usually generate costs. Therefore, companies should select the tools at the beginning according to functionality and use as few of them as possible.

What in your view are the absolute don’ts?

Inhouse beats outsourcing: those who outsource a large part of their marketing from the outset will find it difficult to regain control of it. Most agencies have problems with implementation because they are lacking the technical know-how in many areas. But with the evolution of data management tools, marketers have won time to educate themselves on a broader range of subjects. Brands should create more inhouse expert positions to help them better understand their users and the impact of their ads. Mobile is too often thought of as an add-on to the classic channels. However, you forget that even the performance of TV campaigns which advertise an app download can be measured.

In addition, mobile advertising fraud remains a central challenge for the industry. Failing to deal with it is a serious mistake.

What are the current trends in mobile marketing?

New advertising formats are constantly emerging, such as conversational ads. But the big trend for 2019 and 2020 is automation. At the moment, juggling a variety of tools and dashboards takes up a lot of time. This leaves the internal mobile marketing teams less time to find important solutions for problems illustrated in the data - such as strategy development for new campaigns.

The development of tools for data consolidation is the key to increasing efficiency. This will be a major focus for us at Adjust in 2019. Marketing executives and their teams will spend significantly more time in their day-to-day business optimising creation and more time working on strategic papers than monitoring ongoing campaigns and their performance.

What do you think of the Mobile First strategy? Should you always start with mobile these days once you have covered marketing and content?

It all depends on the product and how best to reach the desired target group. If the app is part of the service or if it plays a central role, then it makes sense to rely on Mobile First and plan acquisition, activation and retention accordingly. Companies need to be clear about which channels they want to reach their customers through and which content makes the most sense.

Can you point to any exciting cases or brands which implement mobile marketing particularly well?

As a traditional brand, Otto has made a really impressive digital transformation. The change from catalogue to online business is a great example of where every company should see digitalisation as a real opportunity. Otto now relies much more on data and algorithms to display its products in the most customer-friendly manner and only show those articles that are really relevant. This leads to a better shopping experience for the customer. In November last year Otto sent out its last catalogue and on the cover was an advert for the Otto app. Since then the app has successfully established itself as a sales channel for Otto. 95 percent of the company's turnover is generated online, almost half of it via smartphones and tablets.

Imagine we talked again in ten years time. How will mobile marketing have changed by then?

We can see from how Google's tech is developing that the boundary between apps and the web is becoming much more blurred over time. The keyword here is INSTANT apps - apps that can be used without first having to be installed on the device. There are already numerous applications for this: from mail-order shopping apps where the user orders infrequently, to apps that can be used to pay for parking tickets in a city. Apps remain on the rise and will continue to evolve further in the future.