app marketing


What: PortadaMX will take place next Wednesday October 17 at Casa Lamm in Mexico City. The thought-provoking agenda includes essential marketing topics such as influencers, app-marketing and Fintech presented by major brand marketers from companies including Best Buy, PepsiCo, Rappi and GBM.
Why it matters: At PortadaMX you’ll have the chance to network with high-level executives, participate in interactive workshops, and enjoy the beautiful and historic Casa Lamm in Mexico City.

The seventh edition of Portada Mexico is less than two weeks away, and we are thrilled to say that the contents of this year event will be more surprising than ever. The newest addition to the already enticing agenda is an exclusive breakfast presented by Band of Insiders, an agency that counts influencer marketing as one of its specialties.  Get tickets for PortadaMX and join us for a provocative panel titled: “How powerful is influencer marketing? Success, mistakes, and points of confusion behind a strategy”. Why can’t you miss it? Influencers have gained strength during the past couple of years to the extent that it has permeated marketing strategies everywhere, but sometimes marketers are not fully aware of the power of this part of the industry, or they are discouraged by the risks.

Vivian Baron

In the panel, you’ll hear from brand marketers about the mistakes to avoid and the strategies to follow when putting together an influencer marketing campaign, and moreover, the role of big data and the importance of a quality audience beyond followers. Vivian Baron, president and founder of Band of Insiders, will moderate the discussion between Pepsico’s Director of Innovation & Marketing Yamile Elias and Best Buy Mexico’s Subdirector of E-commerce José Camargo.


Other Content You Can’t Miss at PortadaMX

After the insightful breakfast, you’ll get the unique opportunity that only Portada can offer with its new Portada Meet-Up service. As part of your ticket, you will receive four one-on-one meetings with major brand executives to be present at the event. These are leaders of the marketing and advertising industry in Latin America, and most of them will be having their closed-door Portada Council System meetings throughout the day.

Later, Carlos Leal, Marketing Director at Rappi, will lead an interactive workshop on App-Marketing, one of the key trends to look at starting now. Then, we will introduce Javier Martínez Morodo, Director of Grupo Bursátil Mexicano, who will conduct another interactive workshop on the topic of innovation and Fintech.

Finally, members of the Agency Star Committee Latam including Vilma Vale-Brennan (Deputy General Manager of Vale Network) and Fernanda Campos (General Manager of PHD Mexico)will take the stage to discuss how to measure and report consumer engagement in the best possible way for brand marketers.

Join us at PortadaMX and get the tools to control the future, before it controls you. Click on the banner below now!

What: Carlos Leal, Marketing Director at Rappi and member of the Portada Brand Star Committee, will lead a Workshop on App-Marketing at Portada Mexico on October 17.
Why it matters: Colombian startup Rappi has gained important ground in the business of delivery apps. Carlos Leal will share his expertise in app-marketing with Portada Mexico attendees.

For the opportunity to network with Carlos Leal and all the other Portada Mexico attendees, register here!

Rappi is the only Latin American app that has received support from Sillicon Valley investors like Y Combinator and Sequoia Capital, that have funded Airbnb, Apple and Youtube.

In less than two years, Rappi has more than a million users in Colombia and Mexico. The application, which is meant to be a sort of personal assistant that is available 24 hours a day, is solving the needs of today’s world and today’s consumers.

Carlos Leal is the head of all marketing operations for Rappi, and he will be joining the list of brilliant speakers that will take the Portada Mexico stage on October 17. Leal is a bilingual business manager and corporate professional with a Master’s in Strategic Marketing and experience in management, marketing and commercial teams in FMCG and Pharma companies.

Carlos Leal has experience in business strategy and management, marketing, digital marketing, branding, trade marketing, shopper marketing, product development and new product introduction, as well as experience in marketing strategies designed to increase brand equity, channel development, and profitability. He has been part of the Effie Awards jury in Colombia four times and once in Latin America.

Major brand marketers and innovators will gather at the tenth annual edition of Portada Miami in the Hotel EAST on April 18 and 19 to discuss topics like Voice-Based Technology, Gamers and Gambling, Attribution Models for Digital Media Agencies, App Marketing and much more. Register now here!

Innovators and Brand Leaders attending Portada Miami are members of Portada’s powerful Council System of Brand Marketers and Agency Execs. We prepared this article to get ready for the conversation.

What: Portada talked to app-marketing experts Rosetta Stone’s César Taveras, MBMG’s Zach Rosenberg, and a knowledgeable anonymous source to find out the ways in which the proliferation of apps has changed the marketing landscape in the last years.
Why it matters: Nowadays, apps are a big business opportunity. Marketers and data specialists need to work together to make the most of it.

The Hagenuk mt-2000 (left) and the Nokia 6110 (right) were two among the first mobile devices to offer gaming apps

At this point, it’s hard to imagine a world without mobile phones and apps. In the technology industry, experts cannot agree on how exactly apps came to be, but they’ve been around for some time. Since Tetris was the first game ever, installed in the Hagenuk mt-2000 mobile phone in 1994, and Nokia pre-installed Snake in over 350 million mobile devices, computer programs designed for mobile devices have been gradually but steadily gained more importance. Fast forward to 2008 and the launch of Apple’s App Store and Google Play forever changed the history of communication, entertainment, and marketing.

According to a study by AppsFlyer, there’s an average of 2.5 million apps available for download at the two big app stores for iOS and Android. Users have a myriad of options to choose from, and competition has never been fiercest. However, knowing how to enter the competition is quite necessary; as experts in app marketing explained to Portada, apps are an inescapable business opportunity that can be approached with the right knowledge and tools.


1. Apps Are Gaining More Relevance Every Day

In its beginnings, Rosetta Stone was a CD-ROM package

According to Business Insider, the app market has the potential to grow to over US $100 billion by 2020, but a majority of this revenue is expected to go to only a handful publishers. More and more firms are adding apps to their technology repertory in order to reach consumers successfully. For example, app marketing is very relevant for Rosetta Stone, a language-learning company that was first made possible by the introduction of CD-ROM technology in 1992. “App marketing is becoming more relevant than ever for Rosetta Stone,” said César Taveras, Digital Marketing Manager at Rosetta Stone. “Our product has transitioned from a CD-ROM box to an online subscription model with full mobile app access, and it’s performing well for us.”

As consumers and the technologies they use evolve, the ways to offer products and provide services must get updated as well. In the words of Zach Rosenberg, president of MBMG Media, “Some campaigns call for mobile-first or mobile-only tactics; in-app is a more reliable environment to serve ads vs. mobile web.” Needless to say, things have changed. “The focus used to be on inviting people to a physical store, then to a store online, and the most recent move has been from creating mobile-sensitive websites to designing full advertising campaigns for users to download an app,” told to us a source who didn’t want their name revealed. First lesson: firms need to consider apps in their marketing strategy in order to keep up with the speed at which things move.

2. Just Like Any Other Strategy, App Marketing Requires Accurate Targeting

Rosetta’s Stone César Taveras

With over two million apps to choose from, users need some guidance. Luckily, there are basic tools marketers can use to make sure users are finding your app and, ideally, engaging with it. “We are spending more than 30% in media,” shared Rosetta Stone’s César Taveras. “Most of our media spend is going to Facebook, Google, and Apple, but we also try other small vendors and we are testing online influencer marketing to market our apps.”


MBMG’s Zach Rosenberg

For MBMG’s Zach Rosenberg, app marketing integrates seamlessly on most ad campaigns, but he has noticed that “identifying and targeting people who have certain types of apps on their device” is a useful indicator of consumers’ needs. “We use mass media such as television as well as out-of-home to drive awareness, interest and, ultimately, installs,” he commented. “We also focus on lower funnel tactics such as mobile, including in-app display, video, and search to generate interest for app downloads.”



3. Users Have Downloaded Your App, Now What?

Now you need to make sure they actually launch it and then come back to it. Retention is one of the biggest challenges within app marketing because, as our anonymous source explains, “The quality of most apps isn’t at the necessary level; you can create an app, but if it’s not well designed, if it’s slow, or if it doesn’t offer the same benefits the user can find on a website, then it won’t work.”

According to AppsFlyer’s study, apps that don’t meet user’s expectations are quickly deleted; with so many options out there, there is no time to lose in an app that doesn’t deliver. Many factors come into play when dealing with retention, but perhaps the most important one is ASO (App Store Optimization), the app version of SEO. “It’s all about search engines,” says the source. “Ad campaigns are done extensively within the app stores, both Android and iOS. Apple and Google have their own advertising platforms, so the apps can be found more quickly, and their spot on rankings is monetized.” From 2016 to 2017, non-organic app downloads increased by 22%, while organic downloads increased only 4%, says AppsFlyer. Interestingly, retention rates change between app stores: while there’s not a significant difference in retention of apps downloaded from Apple’s Store or from Google Play during the first month, there is 49% more retention of apps downloaded from Apple after three months.

4. Other Challenges to Keep in Mind

Knowing where to spend your ad dollars is important, but that is not the only challenge when it comes to app marketing. As with any other channel, the focus must be on communicating with the users and making sure your product is appealing and functional. Apps imply a different kind of interaction; as our anonymous source explains, “The level of interaction with a user who downloads an app is much higher when compared to the consumer who has been using the same service online. You have to be in constant communication with the user, and you need to offer new updates and services frequently to renew their interest and get them to use the app again.”

The level of interaction with an app user is much higher. You have to be in constant communication with the user.

“Our strategy is to get people to try a free class when they download the app,” comments Rosetta Stone’s César Taveras. “And then we follow up with push notifications and e-mails that get you excited about purchasing the subscription.” This has worked really well for Rosetta Stone to produce positive ROI, and that’s also due to the app’s design and functionality. The challenge here is that “it’s more complicated to work with apps than it is with websites because there aren’t as many app experts,” says our anonymous source. Not many people are capable of linking an app ad server to an online store, for example. You need an engineer to do app integrations, which is difficult and makes the process slower, but when done well you have a higher competitive advantage when trying to reach your audience.”


What: DiDi Chuxing, the Chinese ride-hailing company, has begun advertising available jobs in Mexico City. They plan to launch a smartphone app and hire drivers this year. DiDi Chuxing is the second-most highly valued, venture-backed private firm in the world just after Uber.
Why it matters: DiDi Chuxing expansion into Latin America bodes well for increased Latin American marketing expenditures in the very competed ride-hailing sector. Ride-hailing companies heavily depend on their users downloading their app. Therefore app marketing spend in particular is expected to grow.

During the past two weeks, there have been several job postings on LinkedIn for DiDi’s expansion into the Mexican market. The firm’s interest in Latin America, a market where Uber doubled-down after DiDi drove them out of China, has been public since last year. They plan to launch a smartphone app and hire drivers this year, although they have not disclosed the specific cities to be taken into account in the expansion.



Globalization is a top strategic priority for DiDi.


Cheng Wei, CEO of DiDi Chuxing

We’ve been hearing about DiDi Chuxing’s internationalization efforts since 2015, when the firm invested in India’s Ola and USA’s Lyft. They increased their global presence in 2016, investing on Brazil’s 99 Taxis, a firm they have agreed to purchase, adding 14 million registered customers to their 450 million active users. However, it was their teaming up with Japan’s SoftBank that called the West’s attention: now valued at more than US$56 million dollars, DiDi is the start-up with more private funding in history. According to Cheng Wei, founder of the company,“globalization is a top strategic priority for Didi.”


Same rivalry, new territory

In December, the firm announced plans to open operations in Mexico, where Uber has established a stronghold with seven million users across 43 cities. If we consider that Mexico City is the third biggest market in Latin America for Uber behind Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, we find that old rivalries between Uber and DiDi will be stronger than ever. Even though DiDi had been investing in other ride-hailing companies, this will be their first international expansion, marking a turning point for the firm.

Offering free rides is one way of promoting referral marketing

In 2017, 40% percent of Mexicans used a smartphone, which means there is a huge segment of the population with access to ride-hailing services. The arrival of DiDi not only means competition for taxi drivers, but also for app marketers. One strategy that has worked so far for the cab industry is referral marketing, where users get discounts or free rides if they share the app with their friends. But what can they offer, and how can they make sure users will spread the word? Here, companies have an opportunity to differentiate themselves from companies offering the same service.



What: According to AdColony’s Spring 2017 App Install Marketing Survey of the top 250 grossing app developers, a full 50 percent of all app install spending now goes to video advertising. Half of that is for full-screen video ads, while the rest goes to in-feed, social, and television video ads.
Why It Matters: We spoke to industry insiders about how the rise of video in app marketing will factor into Hispanic-targeted app marketing campaigns.

App developers are definitely betting on video.

AdColony’s Spring 2017 App Install Marketing Survey spoke to the world’s top 250 grossing app developers and found that 74 percent were shifting their ad campaigns toward video. Full-screen video ads, which display during a break in content on an app, are gaining popularity over social video, with 25.2 percent of marketers allocating budget for full-screen video and 15.7 percent for social video. Channel effectiveness seems to be the primary concern, as 69 percent said that full-screen video is effective, while slightly less, or 67 percent, said social video was effective.

But a chat with industry insiders revealed that video is just one factor impacting the effectiveness of Hispanic-targeted app marketing campaigns.

Key KPIs: App Store Rankings, Loyal User Acquisition, Cost-Per-Downloads

How does the rising popularity of video app marketing factor into efforts to reach Hispanic or Latin American audiences? Sergio Barrientos, Chief Strategy Officer at digital marketing agency M8, commented that when it comes to empowering a campaign, “particularly when it’s not 100% performance-driven, the key is mobile video, including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and programmatic mobile platforms like S4M.”

Fernando Monedero, Managing Director of IPG Mediagroups, emphasized that video is just one important tool: “Companies with the most successful apps are investing more in getting them into hands of their customers through specific mobile marketing strategies and specialized teams or providers.” Monedero added that the best strategy is to focus on “KPIs that are specific to the apps market, such as app store rankings, organic and loyal user acquisition or cost-per-downloads.”

As an example, Jonatan Zinger, VP, Media Insights at M8, pointed to their “Plan Conectados” initiative for Sprint, which allows Movistar clients in Mexico and El Salvador to access a Sprint plan that connects them with family in the U.S. The U.S. customer “uses the World Top-up App to reload the Movistar customer’s plan,” and users can even use the app to send “top-ups” to family and friends in 23 Latin American countries. Zinger noted that for this campaign, his team at M8 put together a heavily direct response-oriented campaign focused on installs and activations.

Monedero of IPG Mediabrands added that successful organizations “are also promoting their apps through mobile advertising networks and real-time bidding exchanges and showing how their apps simplify users lives and make a unique user experience.” The immersive, sensory experience that video makes possible has given app marketers plenty of tools to work with when it comes to standing out from the competition.

 Successful organizations are promoting their apps through mobile ad networks and RTB exchanges and showing how their apps simplify users lives.

Strike the Right Balance Between Branding and Performance

When it comes to branding versus performance, industry insiders agree that both are important aspects of successful app marketing campaigns. Monedero defended the importance of branding, saying: “People buy from people they trust, and in order to earn trust, branding is as important as performance.” He elaborated, explaining that the more downloads an app gets through media campaigns, the higher its ranking in the app stores, which increases its visibility among potential organic users. 

“Once there is an impactful number of organic users, ad spending can be scaled back to the minimum necessary to maintain these numbers,” Monedero said. At the end of the day, success is about “the right execution and find the balance between ad spend, app store ranking and organic downloads.”

People buy from people they trust, and in order to earn trust, branding is as important as performance.

Sergio Barrientos, Chief Strategy Officer at  M8, added that branding versus performance is always a “balance” that depends “not only on the goals of the client and the campaign but also on the maturity of the app itself.” He gave the example of one of their travel clients, who was completely re-launching their app with significant changes to its functionality. After research and strategy sessions, the team decided that a significant portion of the client’s budget needed to be allocated towards branding efforts. “We need to maintain very precise targeting,” Barrientos said. “But at the same time, we want to showcase the new functionality to our audience in a way that app marketplaces simply do not allow.”

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To push back against restrictions in the app marketplace, the team at M8 built an owned a middle layer to control more persuasive messaging. Fernando Monedero and IPG Mediabrands, on the other hand, are taking a different route: creating their own app marketing unit to “help clients navigate the complexity that comes with ever-changing consumer technologies and behavior” called Ansible.

One thing is clear: as video and other new technologies open up opportunities for more interactive, engaging, and accurate targeting, app marketers will be paying attention.

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