They say that “to err is human, to forgive divine”, but can you easily forgive and forget an error that affects your app’s revenues? Usually, not so much.
App monetization professionals take on a difficult role with lots of responsibility. Mistakes are inevitable, but work is required to prevent some of the more crucial problems. In other words, be forgiving, yes, but don’t bury your head in the sand.
To make it easier on you, we are sharing these 5 questions that you should be asking yourselves right now, and hopefully providing yourselves an honest answer as well.
1. Are you truly closely collaborating with the Acquisition team, as you should be?
Different forces within any company, even a one of less than 10 employees, may represent conflicting interests. Revenue Managers must frequently collaborate with the Acquisition team to prevent frustration on either side and to promote the same KPIs. You often aim to bid for key events, which takes a lot of fine-tuning to get right, and so while the focus on high-quality users is very important, it’s also crucial that short-term goals are addressed at the same time. After all, you want to see results throughout the process.
A close collaboration with the Acquisition team enables both parties to be aligned and to measure their performance against the exact same KPIs. Revenue Managers normally have their hypothesis regarding users’ behavior and buying habits. By inviting acquisition professionals to join the conversation and work together, they can create a broader map of buying patterns and user personas, a puzzle that would have been missing a few pieces if it weren’t for the symbiotic relationship between the different teams.
2. Do you have a deep understanding of users’ motivation?
How different segments respond to different premium offers? What ads are viewed more by different ages? genders?
It’s not enough to collect aggregated data and present it. Revenue Managers must dig deeper, ask “why?” and connect monetization patterns based on impression-level revenue data in order to understand every single user’s motivation and purchase behavior. It’s relatively easy to understand this when thinking about mobile games, but what if your app is a fitness tracker? Alarm clock? parenthood tips? gardening monitoring? DIY guide?
Still, user level data can be combined with other info, such as users’ age or gender, to enhance the data pool and add to its accuracy. It can help you better understand usage patterns, willingness to purchase premium offerings, positive responses towards specific ads and additional data that is needed to make your app profitable.
Instead of only examining user segments, location, and other basic characteristics, go the extra mile towards impression-based data to understand users’ needs and offer relevant content.
Ask product teams to enrich the app with content that can shed more light on users’ inner world, and use enriched content to segment users further.
3. How much are you involved in the app’s product efforts?
Sure, Revenue Managers have more than enough on their plate and sure, Product Managers might not appreciate someone stepping on their toes, but a disconnection between revenue and product efforts in a mobile app is one mistake worth avoiding. The Product team is normally focused on usability and engagement issues, and could use a little push when it comes to monetization considerations within the app itself. The conversion funnel starts with the product and leads to ad viewability, in-app purchases, subscriptions, and more.
At the same time, the Product team would probably appreciate having a say when it comes to monetization mechanisms that they feel are hurting the app’s flow by being too aggressive, or risk the app’s functionality by adding too many SDKs to the mix. The solution to this is an open dialogue and productive collaboration between the worlds of revenue and UX. This collaboration should include lots of experiments and A/B testing efforts in order to reach the proper balance between engagement, usability and monetization. When meeting with the Product team, Revenue Managers should not get too defensive, stay open minded and creative.
The same logic applies to collaborations with the R&D team, especially when arguments around the use of SDKs arise. Research shows that the average Android app includes 18.2 SDKs, which may be overwhelming for Product, Development and Security teams worried about issues ranging from SDK fatigue to poor security or performance (The numbers are much higher for mobile games by the way, and in accordance, the revenues are as well. I would therefore not run to stop implementing SDKs). There are many implications that revenue-focused professionals may be unaware of and other teams must focus on. Don’t butt heads and instead try to look at the situation from the other team’s perspective and offer solutions that will make everyone’s life easier (such as running a pilot first, implementing SDK management solutions and alike).
4. Do you prioritize short-term monetization tactics over long-term user experience? Do your managers force you to do so?
In the battle of quality vs quantity, quality doesn’t always win and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Realizing the potential of a short-term revenue increase is important, just as long as you keep more meaningful KPIs and business goals in mind. If an aggressive marketing move can boost your profit for a short while, go for it, but make sure not to go too far, or else your app’s reviews will suffer, users engagement will and other painful results will occur, which will be hard to fix. One way of avoiding this pitfall is by running multiple simulations and keeping in mind the possible impact of each scenario on the app long-term goals. Don’t forget to take into account the difference between user-based churn – which refers to the customer base – and revenue-based churn, which focuses on lost revenue rather than users.
5. How creative are your monetization strategies?
In the revenue management field, we are constantly trying to come up with new monetization channels and find creative methods to help us maximize existing ones. This includes finding new insights regarding current and potential users, maximizing fill rates, running special promotions, personalizing the promotions, forming collaborations with other apps or new ad mediation platforms, and more.
We also keep our eyes and ears open for new emerging tools and tactics.
If you’re stuck in a rut and have been using the same go-to channels for a long time, giving new ideas a go is important. Solutions like our Audioburst Publishers offer an innovative path that could allow you to tap into a new pool of revenue you were unaware of until now.
Even the most talented revenue managers cannot run the show by themselves. Even the most successful ones have to reinvent themselves more frequently than you’d imagine.
It usually starts by asking hard questions and providing honest answers that result in actions taken.
To make an app a success for the long run, professionals need to collaborate with colleagues and other teams, listen to new ideas and work with external suppliers.
Keep looking in the mirror, search for ways to improve, search for new methods, tools, and creative ways to increase the performance, and as mistakes come by, be forgiving and focus on the doing.