In this post-pandemic world on the verge of an economic downturn, the most forward-thinking marketers are considering how they can think differently and be more holistic with their strategy. Specifically, to stop thinking channel-first and start thinking customer-first. Some may call this an omnichannel approach, while others simply think of it as the evolution of performance marketing.
In a channel-first approach, each channel is expected to drive a complete customer journey—awareness, consideration, and conversion—even if that channel isn’t really strong at points across the funnel. But, when you put the focus on customer-centric thinking rather than on siloed channels, the net result is the ability to lean on the strengths of the tactics and tools at your disposal. One can finally ask the question, what is the best role for this channel to convert customers in a holistic media plan?
For example, apps are powerful levers marketers have to impact and influence consumers throughout their purchase journeys. Forget about the myopic chasing of installs for a moment which may never drive true business growth. What’s the best way for a brand to use an app to drive total program ROI? It’s this kind of thinking that most industry experts believe will usher in a way to break through today’s performance ceilings and bring success to those companies with the marketers willing to trailblaze this path.
Today, we chat on this topic and more with Skai’s Senior Director of Sales, Hawley Shpiro. A veteran of the digital marketing space with a passion for apps and their evolving [and important] role in the omnichannel media plan.
Five Questions with Skai’s Hawley Shpiro
Hawley Shpiro is an American-Israeli who moved to Israel in 2009 and has spent the last 15 years in a global sales capacity across software sales and advertising technology.
She’s been with Skai since 2014 focusing on app sales and strategy while working with the leading app developers and agencies across the globe.
What was the impact of the pandemic with regard to app usage and what should brands know about the new, post-pandemic app landscape?
As consumers quarantined and began working from home in mid-2019, they turned to their apps for news, information, entertainment, and staying connected with friends and family. Mobile app usage surged by 40% during the early days of COVID on top of a decade of exponential growth since the rise of smartphones.
According to a recent trends report by Adjust:
In 2021, consumer spend on mobile apps reached US$170 billion, marking a 19% increase from 2020. Ad spending also reached a record $288 billion and is predicted to grow to $336 billion in 2022. The mobile app industry is bigger than ever and shows no signs of slowing down as consumer reach broadens and the quality of services offered continues to exceed expectations.
Companies that saw massive growth during this time were across QSRs, delivery-focused businesses, food & beverage, streaming & entertainment, and financial services apps. And, for the most part, this heightened use of apps has persisted beyond COVID.
Because of this pandemic-generated quantum leap, consumer behavior has been more reliant on mobile apps than ever before. Purchasing through mobile devices inside apps is now the highest it’s ever been.
Traditional marketers have become more knowledgeable about the importance of developing an app strategy to drive more revenue and growth for their businesses.
One of the biggest success stories over the last few years in the app world is the rise of Apple Search Ads (ASA). What are we seeing today with this channel and how does it drive quality users for brands?
To understand just how hot Apple Search Ads is, industry reports show that Apple has tripled its share of mobile advertising since the first half of 2020.
Skai became one of the first campaign management partners for Apple four years ago and ASA has become one of the fast-growing channels across all Skai publishers. Our role as an ecosystem partner is to build robust capabilities on top of the Apple API to help app marketers better scale, manage and optimize their apple search programs.
Where will we see it growing next year? Apple is planning on some major new enhancements to ASA soon that are going to knock marketers’ socks off. New ad placements will give marketers more inventory through ASA to reach their audiences. And many of our clients are testing Apple’s big creative update this year, Custom Product Pages.
Our roadmap is clear: continue finding innovative ways to help marketers efficiently manage and drive performance from their Apple Search Ads programs.
Clients love us for a few main reasons
- Streamlined workflows such as bulk creation management and editing, shorten task times, and reduce errors
- Skai’s full-funnel bid optimization tool was built on 16 years of SEM development and helps marketers bid to value 24/7.
- Reporting, analytics, and consolidation of data. Today’s data-savvy clients need insights faster to drive optimization decision-making. With our key partner integrations, clients can see MMP data and publisher data all in one place.
- Expertise and CS support. Skai’s support team is one of the best in the business.
Where does app marketing fit in Skai’s wider omnichannel vision?
Skai’s ultimate vision is to build an omnichannel platform where brands and marketers have access to one holistic partner for management, creation, optimization, and reporting across the most premium publishers in the ecosystem to drive growth, increase ROI, and lower costs. Right now our focus is on the most-utilized digital channels: paid search, social advertising, retail media, and app marketing.
In an omnichannel world, every touchpoint between a brand and a consumer is deemed as extremely valuable and an opportunity to either build or erode trust. Paid ads, while absolutely powerful in the purchase process, have two weaknesses that apps do not. First, they are ephemeral—once they’re clicked, the dialogue ends. But with apps, the user can come back to the experience again and again so the long-term value of the investment is immeasurable.
Secondly, with advertising, there’s a limit to how much information you can squeeze into the ad box. With apps, you can evolve your messaging over time and really hammer home your value.
The app environment is an incredibly useful inflection point for marketers because it’s a completely owned ecosystem where a brand can truly build a relationship with the user. Marketers are beginning to finally realize how important this dialogue is in the complete brand-consumer conversation beyond just in-app purchases.
What sets Skai’s App Marketing solution apart from others in the industry?
Overall, Skai empowers the world’s leading brands and agencies across industries to manage omnichannel digital marketing campaigns. Our omnichannel marketing platform includes solutions for retail media, paid search, paid social, and app marketing. We keep our clients at the forefront of the digital evolution with data and insights, marketing execution, and measurement tools that work together to drive powerful brand growth.
For app marketers, we offer cross-channel capabilities to better manage their app program across the four premium channels that matter most; Apple, Google, Snap and Meta [Facebook].
Given app developers are very data-driven we have built robust reporting and filtering capabilities to analyze data across all publishers in one view and as granular as the keyword level. Our media gallery is a huge added value for cross-channel marketers where they can manage all of their creative assets in one place, build ads quickly and push directly to their campaigns.
In addition, for channels like Facebook, Snap, and GAC where creatives are a big part of the success, clients are able to quickly view the performance of ads in a consolidated view across all channels to make more effective decisions on which ads to continue to be using.
Question: What advice can you give new SaaS sellers or sales executives who are starting a new job?
While certain temperaments lend themselves to selling better than others, success seems to be more about doing the right things rather than having a specific “sales” personality. Some of these best practices include:
Doing the homework. Successful salespeople know that research can make the difference. Know your audience by preparing before your calls. Learn your prospect inside and out and you’ll be prepared to take the conversation in any direction it organically goes.
It’s on YOU to prospect. While many organizations have demand gen roles and inside sales teams, ultimately it’s up to you to go find those leads.
Be an expert. Know your product, know your industry, and learn what matters to your clients. Many people think selling is about “BSing” but that will only take you so far. B2B buyers have BS detectors and are easily able to spot when someone doesn’t know what they’re talking about. You can connect with prospects better when you can speak to their level.
Master your internal resources. It takes a village! Smart salespeople know that they don’t win alone; it’s a team effort. Keep an ear to the ground at your company and seek out the right folks to connect with and bring in to help you with your deals. Whether that’s Product, Client Services, Marketing, Analytics, or even Management, people are generally more willing to help than you may realize.
Integrity matters. I learned a long time ago that it’s really hard to sell something you don’t believe in. Make sure you find a company whose solutions you find compelling and valuable. Honestly, if you don’t, then you should find another job. Don’t over-promise things that you know your company can’t deliver. Ultimately, it’s your name on the line, and it’s better to walk away from deals that aren’t a good fit for your company rather than trying to “fit a round peg through a square hole”—you’ll just ruin your name and your company’s reputation.
Build relationships. This is probably the most common denominator when it comes to successful salespeople. The ones who continue to build relationships even after the deal closes. Remember, your customer might switch jobs next year and then you’ll have a “friendly” that you can go sell again. I have old clients calling me years after we’ve even stopped working together to help them with an expert POV on a challenge, connecting them with another company, or even helping them source hires for their new teams. Being a “trusted advisor” is always the right path.
If you would like to chat with Hawley, feel free to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Schedule a brief demo to see how Skai could be the technical foundation of your app marketing program
As part of Skai’s omnichannel marketing platform, our App Marketing solution helps your app stand out among millions in the top stores with Apple Search Ads, Google Universal App Campaigns, and more. Skai leverages an advanced algorithm based on AI and machine learning to ensure your ads reach your target users. Increase installs and user acquisition with streamlined automation, optimization, and reporting.
Client results include:
- 280% increase in installs for DraftKings
- 314% increase in registrations for C-Date
- 20% decrease in cost per acquisition for eToro
- 2x increase in conversions for Epix Now
For more information or to see Skai’s cutting-edge app marketing functionality, please schedule a brief demo today!