On the 29th of September 2016, around 250 of Berlin's finest developers, entrepreneurs, and marketers gathered for the App Alliance's annual App Strategy Workshop at the historic Kalkscheune venue. The event, hosted in partnership with Amazon Appstore, Flurry, AdColony, AppsFlyer, Branch, Appnext, and AppLovin, highlighted the fundamental strategies for any developer looking to build a profitable app business.
Alliance President & CEO, Jake Ward, warmed up the crowd by explaining how building an app isn't just developing an idea, but it also requires the essential strategies and practices to create a successful, sustainable business.
Think It, Code It, Ship It, Tweak It
- Daria Markova, Managing Director & Co-Founder, Space Shack (moderator)
- Cristina Teixeira, Product Owner - Mobile, HelloFresh
- Maxim Nitsche, CEO & Co-Founder, Math42
- Benjamin Mosse, CPO, Yeay
- Niko Schröer, Business Development, Android Apps EMEA, Google
Our first panel provided sage advice for any developer looking to bring their app idea from paper to the Appstore. Here are a few strategies they shared:
Get feedback for your initial idea & avoid biased opinion. A seemingly obvious yet critical question to ask your potential customer is "Would you buy this product?" - Benjamin Mosse, CPO, Yeay
Soft launch to minimise embarrassment. If you're not embarrassed by your initial product you've launched too soon was the general consensus by the panel. However it's not only the initial product, "Soft launching your product can be a way to initial test” according to Cristina.
Build a cohesive business environment. When it comes to matters between development teams, & sales team, it is essential to manage conflict and have an open policy of feedback to ensure better understanding of each other's targets & goals.
Improving Appstore Rank: Best Practices (& Tactics to Avoid)
With tips on product launch under our belt the program moved on to the essential topic of User Acquisition (UA). First up, we welcomed Peter Heinrich, Developer Evangelist, Amazon, to share valuable insights into how to improve your Appstore rank.
- Get found, get downloaded: Peter focused on the importance of discoverability within the Appstores & converting the potential user once you have their attention “Think of your apps description as its dating profile – start with the best line”, and also “Show gameplay & action, not menus on your screenshots”
- Advice for protecting the intellectual property for your app: ‘Monitor the App market place even where you don’t sell’ Peter explained how oftentimes people will piggyback off the success of an app by replicating the icon and features.
- Finally, your network is essential: “Make sure you have a good contact at every app store!’
Then vs. Now: Next-Generation Marketing Tactics to Grow Your Mobile App
- Chris Godderidge, VP Client Relations, AppLift (moderator)
- Jordi Mon, Ambassador, Branch
- Ben Jeger, Managing Director DACH, AppsFlyer
- Varun Thunuguntla, Business Unit Manager, Consumer Sector, Meteogroup
- Thomas Petit, Growth Team Member, 8fit
Continuing on the theme of UA, next up was our panel of marketing experts & gurus. A lively discussion ensued covering topics such as deep-linking, segmentation & projections for 2017. A few key points included:
Segmentation is key. Varun from Meteogroup shared an important insight: 'Understand different segments of your audience and tailor your business to solve real-life problems.'
Utilise analytics. 'Finding out why your customers are not using your product is also a good learning point.' Jordi from Branch explained.
On a shoestring? Thomas from 8-Fit declared that when budget is limited, just go with facebook advertising - testing different channels can be costly.
YOUR TREASURE MAP TOWARDS SUCCESSFUL MOBILE UA
With $7billion spent on mobile advertising globally it is imperative that mobile marketers do not leave themselves open to ad fraud. Kobi Edelstein, VP Advertising, Appnext provided the key identifiers that ad fraud has occurred - whether the ad fraud was committed organically or via algorithm.
- 'Personalise and localize when refreshing your creative to maintain volume and scale for a great return.'
- "Choose the right time: Target the exact moment the customer is using the app."
Show Me the Measurement: Monetizing Mobile Apps In Today's Competitive Ecosystem
Feeling refreshed from coffee, pretzels & a happy dose of networking, attendees returned to their seats, ready to learn about the most important topic of all: how do you make money with apps?
Luckily for them, James Kelm, Senior Director Product Management, Flurry Analytics, had flown in from San Francisco to share from his wealth of experience as a serial app publisher & seasoned professional in the field. James walked the audience through critical steps, such as when to integrate ads & how to effectively monetise their content. A few take-away from James:
Native ads work best in social, news, utility & productivity apps.
Integrate your monetisation approach early on for more time to fine tune your user experience.
Never compromise the users experience; Measure your ad performance with fill, CPM, CTR and viewability
Proven App Monetisation Strategies
- Ekaterina Rabe, Director Bus. Dev. LATAM, EMEA, India, PubNative (moderator)
- Fernando Pernica, Sr. Manager, Monetisation & Publisher Growth, AdColony
- Thomas Heinze, Sr. Director of Business Development, AppLovin
- Philipp Karstaedt, General Manager - Europe, GREE
- Sebastian Kriese, Head of Partnerships & Corporate Strategy, Wooga
Picking up where James left off, the panel shared from their combined wealth of personal experience in this area. Here’s a few nuggets of their wisdom:
It’s never to soon to think money. Fernando from AdColony, summarised his advice as follows: 'Have a plan, be flexible, and think about monetisation from the get-go.'
Prepare to re-think. Carl from AppLovin agreed with the importance of planning but stressed the need to stay flexible & adapt, quoting Mike Tyson “Everybody has a plan, until they get punched in the face!”
It’s all about implementation. 'Choosing monetisation strategies is not as hard as implementing them and doing them the right way' shared Philipp from GREE
News flash: You don’t have to annoy your users! Sebastian from Wooga put a positive spin on the ad conundrum, reminding attendees that: 'Ads could be complementary, not disturbing, to the gameplay.'
Business Intelligence in Mobile Apps - From Data to Insights & Action
Martje, of App Annie ended the event by demonstrating how global brands such as Alibaba, Facebook, and Box, utilise data to make smart business decisions, and how app developers can utilise data sets to optimise their app strategy. Here are some methods of how data can help:
Respond quickly to new trends - by monitoring downloads, revenue and usage trends in the market, app developers can quickly adapt to new trends, and potential new markets
Optimise app via reviews - by tracking reviews over time, developers can find key milestones that have influenced perceptions of the app
Find which apps your users are engaging with - by understanding your users better app developers can spot competitive threats and discover unconventional partnership and advertising opportunities.
Prizes, Drinks and Making New Connections!
Two lucky attendees walked away with enviable prizes: an app controlled HD Drone, from the Apps Alliance and a voucher worth $300 from AdColony! And attendees stayed afterwards to mingle over food & drink and share their key takeaways with each other.
Verdict: Another top class workshop thanks to the Alliance team, our wonderful sponsors and such a great audience.
Berlin app ecosystem, you rock!