Recap: Seattle App Strategy Workshop

For the second consecutive year, the Application Developers Alliance kicked off the App Strategy Workshop series at one of our favorite venues, Impact Hub Seattle. A packed house of 180 mobile professionals filled the room to learn how to build apps with target audiences in mind and the value of feedback in post-launch app improvement.

Create Evangelists

The first session of the day was a panel featuring Alliance members from OpenX, Intel, AppLovin, and Sirqul, as well as Amazon and Alaska Airlines. Panelists weighed in on the most useful resources and tools for developers in the app creation process.

One of the most interesting takeaways from the panel was the importance of influencers and evangelists in the app marketing process. Paul Cutsinger of Amazon advised the audience to spend less time focusing on producing a “finished” app and more time researching key influencers in the app categories they want to target at launch.

Rob Frederick from Sirqul agreed with these sentiments, declaring that “it’s all about the people evangelizing your apps; no keywords and screenshots are going to get your apps discovered to the extent that positive word of mouth will.”

The panel also cited excessive ad frequency at launch as the quickest road to losing evangelism opportunities for your apps. Specifically, Rafael Vivas from AppLovin told the crowd, “all the great content that you built is going to get ruined in a hurry if your audience thinks that monetization is the only thing you focused on when building the app.”

Interaction Before Monetization

We pivoted from best practices for creating more engaging apps into a conversation on using customer feedback to improve apps post-launch. Moderated by Robi Ganguly from Alliance member Apptentive, the “fireside chat” brought in a fellow Alliance members from TUNE and Nordstrom, one of the world’s most renowned retailers.

According to Ganguly, too often we only ask customers what can be done to make an app more useful. Instead, developers should be investigating what can we do to make customers want to use the app often. Creating an immersive mobile experience that engages customers even when they don’t necessarily need to use an app is the difference between a good app and a great app.

Yenna Cheng of Nordstrom was also quick to emphasize that customers can tell when you are only interacting with them in order to monetize them. Going above and beyond to give customers a superior in-app experience will result in monetization down the road, because audiences want to spend their money with the brands/products that treat them well.

Optimize for LTV & Deep Linking

Our evening in Seattle concluded with a panel on the value of mobile audiences, which was moderated by Alicia Cervini of Allrecipes and included panelists from Alliance members at AppsFlyer, Calldorado, Google, and Millennial Media.

Measuring LTV of target audiences was a major focus of the discussion, with Kelly Bolen of Millennial Media making the point that developers don’t have to shy away from more expensive user acquisition strategies that bring in users with higher LTV, as long as those users are being tracked and engaged with regularly in order to receive maximum value off that UA spend.

Using deep linking to measure the value of cross-platform marketing campaigns was another hot topic during the panel. Ben Roodman of AppsFlyer was especially encouraged by the re-engagement statistics of his clients that sent emails with hyperlinks to open up an app to users that had stopped engaging.

As Michael Svendsen of Calldorado put it, “all of us have at least one zombie app on our phone that we only need to click once to remember that it exists.” Deep linking is increasingly being used to solve this problem, making it a strategy to watch closely in 2015.

The Wrap Up

From the importance of app evangelism to the potential of deep linking, the Seattle App Strategy Workshop introduced a number of trends that mobile professionals can use to improve their apps throughout the new year.

A huge thank you to our sponsors at OpenX, Millennial Media, CTIA, AdColony, and AppsFlyer for making this event possible. Our App Strategy Workshop series continues when we visit LA on March 26, hope to see you there!

Posted by:

Max Rollinger

Member Programming Manager