In this episode we are talking about the biggest challenges for mobile app marketers in 2022 and how to overcome them. Digital Dames CTO Jaclyn Hawtin and CMO Mani O’Brien each identify their recommendations for overcoming the most common obstacles that mobile app marketers face today.
Listen in to learn about:
- Data and tech stack challenges
- ATT/App Tracking Transparency challenges
- The importance of customer data collection and segmentation
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See the full transcription of this week’s episode below.
The Biggest Challenges for Mobile App Marketers in 2022
J: Welcome to Conversion Path, a podcast about mar-tech, data, and growth for your online and mobile business by Digital Dames. We gather here every week to talk about how to amplify your product, service or message. I’m Jaclyn Hawtin.
M: I’m Mani O’Brien. In this episode, we’re talking about the biggest challenges for mobile app marketers in 2022 and how to overcome them. To kick it off Jaclyn, let’s talk about your pick for the biggest challenge for mobile app marketers this year.
J: I think the biggest challenge for people that are just getting started with developing their mobile app, especially if they’re not coming from a technology background, is how to figure out how to approach their tech and data strategy.
Now that we have moved into this world of cloud computing, there’s a lot of new tools that have been developed with unusual names and it can be confusing for people that are just getting introduced to all this stuff.
Many times people don’t even know what questions to ask before diving in and doing the research. It can become overwhelming. Our recommendation generally revolves around three things. You want to enter into this space with a data mindset, thinking about what you actually want to be tracking and what questions you want to be answering with your system. Then you have a way to measure your success and see how the back end is going to be able to provide that data.
There’s a technology called a “customer data platform” or CDP which is a method for setting up your customer’s data processing in a clean way that allows you to basically bring in data points from all the different systems that you’re working with into a centralized data warehouse. There can be different bits and pieces of data pulled in from various tools (such as email, app, web, ads networks) depending on your requirements. Generally, we recommend starting out with designing your system with a customer data platform.
Next, it’s important that you’re hosting your actual web application in one of two places, either AWS (Amazon Web Services) or in Google Cloud. With that you’ll be getting the benefit of scalability as you grow right out the gate so you don’t have to rebuild your infrastructure later.
Finally, the other consideration that’s really, really important to think about is your actual tech stack (the collection of technologies used to build, run, and grow your application).
So, some of the things you want to think about are the sustainability and security of your application. For example, if you pick a tool, a technology tool that was just developed and there’s not a very big population of developers in this space, and it’s not being updated very often, and you build your application on top of it, then you’re very likely not going to be successful long term, because you might not end up having the resources that you need.
Say the developer you originally worked with decides to shut down the company, what are you going to do then? It’s really important to make sure that you’re using a tech stack and tools and libraries that have a large support foundation. You need to have those resources.
Other things to consider in your tech stack are the modernity of your tools. Are you using old school database infrastructure? Do you have a need to use something like a no SQL database so your data points are updated, basically instantaneously? Whoever your technical consultant is, they should help you to make those decisions. These are definitely things that you want to have a conversation about before starting a project.
M: I think it’s so easy for new startups to have an idea for an app and have great ideas about features and what it’s going to look like and then get stuck when they’re mapping those things out.
Jaclyn, you shared three tips in one: which is the CDP (customer data platform), your cloud setup, your technical stack, and how all of those relate back to data at the end of the day.
If you’re offering a fitness app, think about what type of information you need to make decisions in the future. What type of data will you need to present to your user base, so they find your app useful? I think that it’s exciting to think about what the app is going to look like, but it’s so important to think about the technology behind it.
Do you have any recommendations? How would you approach your tech stack, your CDP (customer data platform), and the cloud setup for an existing mobile app? Also, what if you realize your current technology choices are not scalable? Any top-level recommendations for how you might approach that problem?
J: A lot of our clients that have apps that were built maybe five years ago, or using older technology, and maybe they’re posting setup is not on AWS (Amazon Web Services) and they have no idea what a CDP (customer data platform) is. It would be similar. It’s about reassessing what you currently have and what pieces need to be updated. Preferably it would be a situation where not every aspect of your setup has to be redesigned and re-engineered. However, sometimes it is the case and then even more importantly, I think for somebody that already has an app is figuring out a timeline that’s realistic and not making the shift until everything is 100% working. Which doesn’t just mean that the functionality of the app itself is working, but also all of the different third party API (Application Program Interface) integrations and endpoints are all functioning correctly.
M: Ok, let’s shift gears. My pick for the biggest challenge for mobile app marketers in 2022 is marketing attribution challenges.
This has been a huge shift in the marketplace. Limited ad tracking has been around since 2013 or so, but Apple pulled out some power cards with their dispute with Facebook. I think it’s this power play between these two powerhouses: Apple who owns devices and Facebook who is a leader in the software space. Apple is now making the point that they’re going to put privacy front and center. We don’t know whether or not it’s a PR stunt or Apple being genuine about their intentions to protect user data, but the outcome has meant that you’re not going to have a lot of information about the vast majority of people who come and use your app, or how they found it.
Here are a couple of real world scenarios. Right now, if you are a mobile app marketer and you’re placing advertisements in two places like Facebook and Google, you’re not going to have nearly enough insight into which ad dollars produced the most users.
Another example is if you have a huge influx of users on a random Wednesday in January, you might not necessarily know exactly why you had that influx and where those people came from.
We are now moving into a world where mobile app marketers are going backwards in terms of being able to see insights into their marketing budgets. It’s causing mobile app marketers to be more holistic with their ad spend and looking at their ad spend across the board. They are thinking, “I am spending money and I want to know how many users I brought in this month and where they came from.” Then draw correlations in that manner.
We have a lot more information about ATT (App Tracking Transparency) in a previous video on our Digital Dames YouTube channel. But ultimately what this means for mobile app marketers in 2022 is that your customer relationships are really key.
It is more important than ever for mobile app developers to know their core audience and have a relationship with that audience. That means being in touch with them through surveys and focus groups or having a customer data platform in place. You want to own your customers’ data in terms of who they are, their contact information, and in an ideal world, how they use your app.
The other way to build relationships is through really strategic email marketing, push notification marketing, and text messaging marketing. There is another big area of focus that is related, and that is about learning exactly how your customers are using your mobile app through heat mapping tools, AB testing, and focusing on how to maximize your user base.
Once you get people to your app, and they’ve downloaded it, you want to focus on maximizing the experience to get your users to take the next step. This could be registering for an account, making a purchase, or engaging in gameplay, etc. I think heat mapping tools are going to be more important than ever, as is AB testing, to understand exactly how your users are interacting with your app. That is my key takeaway for 2022 mobile app challenges.
J: Everyone is having a really hard time with this. It’s like a black box now. We don’t know anything.
M: It’s industry wide. If you’re starting a mobile app product today, it’s good to know the landscape and that you’re not alone. Then if you can have that “data first” mindset and look at challenges like ATT (App Tracking Transparency) options, you’re more prepared for it.
J: I think it’s a good thing. It is also very likely that apps are going to become a lot better, because organizations are going to start focusing on that in-app optimization process. That is the area that you have access to data, and you can improve and track things, which will make your users happier and technology will get better.
M: Absolutely. I heard on another podcast that I really love and recommend to anyone interested in mobile app marketing, called Sub Club. It was interesting because they were talking about how mobile app marketers have relied a little bit too heavily on ad platforms being so smart that they didn’t have to do that much legwork to know their audience because the ad networks knew their audience more than they did. Now it’s putting the information back in the hands of the developers and the mobile app owners to know their customer in a way that’s not owned by a third party. I think it’s better in the long run to be less reliant on algorithms.
I think that’s it for this week’s episode. Before we go, we should say that we would love to hear from you. We would love to hear what type of topics you’d like for us to cover. In January, we are focusing on mobile app marketing. To find us across the web, you can visit our website at Digitaldames.io. We’re also on Instagram and YouTube and TikTok @Digitaldames and you can drop us a line anytime with podcast ideas at [email protected]. Before we go, is there anything you want to add Jaclyn?
J: Nope, I’m good. Thanks so much for listening.
M: Thanks everyone.