Rosetta Stone


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.”


A summary for Corporate Marketers, Media Sales Executives and Advertising Agencies to see what clients are moving into the market and/or targeting Multicultural consumers right now.

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  • Sprint

Telecom giant Sprint has built its own ad agency by putting together its own marketing unit that will handle digital ad buying and advertising creative, as well as ‘programmatic’ ad buying, search advertising and even traditional media buying – all in house. Many if not all of these functions have traditionally been handled by outside ad agencies. Sprint follows other brands’ steps including Allstate, StubHub, Unilever and Netflix among others, who have all taken programmatic in-house in recent years. Last year, Sprint launched Yellow Fan Studios, an in-house creative studio. In the past year, it has also ended its relationship with ad agencies including Deutsch and DigitasLBi Chicago. The company continues to work with ad agency Droga5 for strategy and Horizon Media for buying ads on TV and other mediums, however.



  • Buchanan’s

Buchanan’s and global Latin superstar J Balvin launched the search for Los Imparables (the Unstoppables). During J Balvin’s ENERGÍA tour, which kicks off Hispanic Heritage Month, Buchanan’s and J Balvin will be spotlighting Los Imparables (The Unstoppables) – the new generation of Latinos who are positively influencing and shaping mainstream culture – in cities around the country to bring these catalysts of Latino culture into the spotlight and celebrate their greatness. Those 21+ with a thirst to move forward, including creators, artists, musicians, and fashionistas, will be invited by Balvin to showcase their work for the opportunity to be featured on the artist’s Facebook page. Balvin is inviting those 21+ to join Los Imparables by sharing their work on Instagram for a chance to be spotlighted by him on his Facebook, including #Imparables and #EsNuestroMomento, and tag @BuchanansWhisky when posting the photo. Balvin will choose and highlight the winners on his social media channels throughout his tour. Carat is Buchanan’s media buying agency.




  • Univision & Rosetta Stone 

Univision Communications Inc. (UCI), the media company serving Hispanic America, has entered into a new partnership with language education powerhouse Rosetta Stone Inc., a world leader in technology-based learning solutions to debut Univision Aprender con Rosetta Stone, a new language learning program to help the Hispanic audience gain English-language proficiency. Conversely, those looking to gain proficiency in Spanish will also be able to benefit from the co-branded program. Several subscription options starting as low as US$79 for three months of access are available now on www.univisionaprender.com as well as through the Google Play and iOS app stores.Univision Aprender con Rosetta Stone is a mobile-first digital language learning solution tailored to Hispanic learners looking to learn English or Spanish. The program includes the immersive curriculum developed by language and education experts at Rosetta Stone, as well as its TruAccent™ speech recognition technology to help learners get speaking accurately right from the very first lesson.  Learners have access to a personalized skills-based learning platform, as well as numerous features including Phrasebook, Stories and Audio Companion. Various subscription options are available starting at US$79 for a three-month subscription, US$119 for a six-month subscription, US$179 for a 12-month subscription and US$249 for a 24-month subscription at launch.



  • Rakuten Group & Golden State Warrior

On September 12th, the Golden State Warrior announced they came to terms on a three-year jersey sponsorship deal with Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten. The jersey patch deal is reportedly worth US $20 million a year. During the 2017 Sports Marketing Forum in New York, Rahul Kadavakolu, Executive Director of Global Marketing & Branding, Rakuten Group, was the first person to talk about the deal, on behalf of the e-commerce giant. The brand is not only going global, but it is also making changes to its products so that each of them includes the name Rakuten, for example, Rakuten Viber, instead of just Viber. The sponsorship represents the biggest NBA jersey sponsorship contract to date.


NEW PORTADA RESEARCH REPORT: “Content Marketing Initiatives targeting Hispanic and Multicultural Audiences”. The report is filled with intelligence for brand marketing executives targeting multicultural consumers – the majority of consumers in many major U.S. markets –  as well as for media and marketing tech vendors. This report provides a description of 20 content marketing initiatives. Each program’s main elements are described (Brands involved, Target Audience, Owned Properties, Paid Media Program, Key Influencers) are summarized and the agencies and brand decision makers behind them are listed. Described companies include: Avocados from Mexico, Barilla, Best Western, Ford, General Mills, Hershey’s, Kellogg, Kimberly Clark, Kraft, Makita, Miller Coors, Nestle, Procter & Gamble, State Farm, Sprint, Unilever, Verizon, Vilore and Wonderful Pistachios. Buy the report here  Upgrade to “Research Plus Membership” for only US$ 999 and access this report and 9 more!


  • Hennessy

Hennessy, one of the world’s best-selling Cognac, and Golden Boy Promotions, the first national Hispanic-owned boxing promotional company, announced a formal partnership that brings to life the spirit of Hennessy’s “Never stop. Never settle” mantra, with content that tells the remarkable story of Saul “Canelo” Álvarez. Like Hennessy, the Mexican boxer epitomizes the importance of family and the pursuit of excellence. The integrated partnership features original content, in addition to digital micro-videos, special events, and cross-channel promotions intended to inspire others to “Never stop. Never settle.” In recognition of the millions of boxing fans that will be cheering across the globe this weekend, Hennessy recommends enjoying this Canelo-inspired cocktail while viewing at home. Hennessy is imported and distributed in the U.S. by Moët Hennessy USA. Hennessy distills, ages and blends spanning a full range: Hennessy V.S, Hennessy Black, V.S.O.P Privilège, X.O, Paradis, Paradis Impérial and Richard Hennessy.



  • Chili’s

Chili’s Grill & Bar has appointed 360i as its integrated media agency of record, Adage has reported. Chili’s has previously hired 360i as its digital marketing agency in 2016, including creative and media, following a competitive review. The Dentsu Aegis Network-owned agency will continue to handle that part of the business, but will now also field integrated planning, communications planning and broadcast planning, buying and execution for the casual-dining chain. Chili’s spent US$119 million on measured media in the U.S. in 2016, up from US$114 million in 2015, according to Kantar Media.




  • WPP

Holding company WPP has combined five of its brand consultancies and design agencies — Brand Union, The Partners, Lambie-Nairn, Addison Group and VBAT — to form one large global brand agency that will launch in January 2018. The new agency, which does not have a name yet, will have a combined staff of 750 people in over 20 countries, with client billings of more than US$100 million worldwide. The entity will be led by Jim Prior as global CEO and Simon Bolton as executive chairman. Back in June, WPP announced it was combining MEC and Maxus into a new entity called Wavemaker. On the same month, Mindshare absorbed Ogilvy’s Neo and in July, the holding company merged Possible into Wunderman.



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Rosetta Stone announced that it has acquired Seattle-based  Livemocha, one of the world’s largest online language-learning  communities, for $8.5 million in cash. Bringing with it a robust and  extensible cloud-based learning platform and a community of over 16  million Livemocha members, the transaction accelerates Rosetta Stone’s  transition to cloud-based learning solutions.

“We are in the process of transforming Rosetta Stone to be the most dynamic and ubiquitous technology-based learning platform in the world,”   said President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Swad. “Our acquisition  of Livemocha will help accelerate that transformation. With Livemocha and its vibrant online community on our side, Rosetta Stone will reach       more people and change more lives than ever before.” Rosetta Stone also expects the Livemocha acquisition to help accelerate geographic expansion, as Livemocha’s community is quite global and has a high concentration of users in China, Russia and South America.

The transaction accelerates Rosetta Stone’s transition to cloud-based learning solutions.

TechCrunch says that it’s worth noting that Livemocha has raised a total of $19 million over the course of its existence the past six years. While an acquisition is almost always good news, the company clearly exited for less than it accrued from institutional investors the past six years — and even less than the expected valuation from previous funding rounds.

Other players

The Spanish-language e-learning sector in particular and the language  e-learning sector in general has quite a few players.
Voxy, a language-learning service that  turns real-world content into personalized language lessons, announced a  Series A investment of US $2.8million last year. Voxy belongs to a group of companies who provide different offerings to the  Hispanic demographic mostly through the mobile phone; the group also includes Edioma and Lexicon  Marketing, although the latter is less mobile phone based.
Another player in Latin markets is Open English, which provides off-line and online classes Last year it raised more than US $40 million in a financing round. Open English mostly targets Latin American markets, although launches in the U.S. Hispanic market and Spain are going to happen soon.