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Mobile adjustments: Choosing the right mobile performance agency

Companies working in mobile face a number of business dilemmas every day. To help you make well-informed decisions, we turned to Adjust’s General Manager Israel, Moshi Blum. With nearly a decade’s experience in marketing and sales and a specialization in mobile growth, Moshi will be sharing more insights with us over the coming months - so keep your eyes on the Adjust blog for more.

First up, we’re taking a look at all things agency-related - from why you need one to when is the best time to bite the bullet, along with words of wisdom from executives at well-known mobile agencies.

Choosing the right mobile performance agency is one of the most crucial business decisions you’ll have to make. Companies are investing more resources into mobile than ever, with mobile advertising budgets expected to reach $187 billion this year - or 30.5% of global ad spend. Crucially, marketers want to ensure that users discover, download, and love their app, and finding the right partners could be make or break.

Why: The importance of choosing the right mobile performance agency

Here are just a few of the areas where choosing the right agency will help your business:

  • Finding the right strategy: Plenty of companies need help defining mobile success and ensuring that it’s aligned with overall company strategy. A great performance agency will steer you away from the false promise of sheer downloads and help you focus on the strategy that will generate the most value for your brand.
  • Diversifying your channels, while finding focus: The mobile revolution has created a variety of channels for you to focus on, including different search engines, app stores, social networks, content publication platforms, and more. Often, it’s simply unviable (and unaffordable) to invest in each and every channel, so you have some tough decisions to make. The right agency can help you understand where your most profitable target audiences can be found and how to reach them effectively.
  • Measuring results: Knowing what you want to achieve is only part of the equation, and mobile success depends on tracking and measuring the right parameters. Using the latest tools and technologies for performance tracking and monitoring will give you trusted metrics you can use to put all the pieces together.
  • Creative thinking: Creative assets are a key factor in performance campaigns, and their quality is essential to a campaign’s success. It’s important that the agency you collaborate with offers a creative edge in terms of copywriting and design skills.

How: Four tips for choosing the best agency for your business

If you’ve been convinced of the need to find a top-notch performance agency, here are a few tips to help find the right one:

  • Broad perspective: While some agencies specialize in one specific area or market vertical, others offer a broader perspective that will serve your business well. This holistic approach allows you to find many services under one roof, often includes a wide network that can help you break into new markets, and comes with a deeper understanding of how some mobile performance channels behave. Thanks to your relationship with such agencies, you’ll be able to connect with decision makers faster than ever while benchmarking your own in-house team based on a large data pool.
  • Scaling capabilities: Choose an agency that knows how to work with startups in both the seed and growth stage, and with mature enterprises as well. This will help you reach the next stage for your company while taking into account your current budget and needs, and transition from a startup that must scale fast to a mature company that learns to maintain focus and polish campaigns.
  • Niche and experimental experience: The mobile business moves fast, and you have to embrace a trial and error approach in order to win the game. I suggest working with agencies that have the ability to quickly prepare a campaign that fits the latest market trends (TikTok, anyone?), as well as specific audiences and channels within your particular field. Ask every potential partner for their portfolio in order to see how versatile their work really is. Where you lack the relevant experience, your agency can save the day.
  • Talent pool: Opt for an agency that works with talented in-house or freelance professionals who will support the performance and creative aspects of your campaign. I also recommend paying attention to the agency’s pricing for each creative activity, as it tends to affect the overall budget.

When: The right time to pick an agency

They say that timing is everything - even when choosing a mobile performance agency. Here are a few crucial moments for making the move:

  • Dipping your toe in the paid growth water: Relatively small startups looking to make their first attempts at paid campaigns must collaborate with an agency that suits their needs. Getting it right from the start can save startups a lot of mistakes and valuable resources.
  • Double-checking results: Established companies will do well to collaborate with agencies when they need clear benchmarking for their in-house team and get confirmation that they’re on the right track.
  • Major companies embarking on a new and different project: Big companies looking to launch in new markets or channels often struggle to find the right professionals for the project, especially without clear information on a task’s budget and sustainability. A leading agency can serve as an early tester and offer strong expertise in that specific niche.

Who: Tips from the experts

Eyal Argon, SVP Growth at AI-powered performance marketing agency yellowHEAD, said:

“There are 5 elements you should look for in a performance agency. First, they must have the necessary level of experience and know-how to scale your marketing activities and hit your KPIs. Their marketing mix should be tailored to those KPIs and combine paid and organic efforts working together harmoniously towards the same end goals.

Next up, technological capabilities are crucial nowadays – smarter marketing decisions are backed by real-time data and analysis, and you should have full transparency over performance to be confident in the budgets dedicated to each activity. The creative process should also be performance-oriented - after all, we are talking about a performance agency. Ideally, your agency will have the capacity to produce everything from ideation to copy to creatives. Finally, it’s about choosing a partner that works with you, not just for you, and will act as your consultant, rather than simply follow a set of actions.”

Megan Dean, Associate Growth Director at Yodel Mobile, 2019 winner of The Drum’s Mobile Agency of the Year, said:

“First of all, check an agency’s track record to make sure they have the right expertise in launching and growing countless apps – the value of relevant experience is so important to minimizing failure and maximizing success. Then evaluate how they measure success.

Long term value in most cases does not come from the lowest cost or highest volume of downloads, but from sustainable business growth and meaningful learnings. Choose an agency who understands your KPIs and your product to really drive value for the business. This means breaking away from vanity metrics to execute meaningful goals. An agency who can help you more holistically in this way will help your company balance reactivity to data with reaching your business goals, understanding the whole user funnel as well as organic opportunities, to maximise the levers which can be used to improve performance and achieve value. Lastly, don’t forget to listen to your gut too. If you feel that the agency is transparent, listens and understands what you are trying to achieve in the long term, that trust is an indication that you have a good match.”

David Pich, Head of Business Development, Liniad - an agency that specializes in high-end mobile and social gamer acquisition - said:

“Understand that collaborating with a performance marketing agency might be a daunting or lengthy process. But taking the time to ensure the right fit can make the difference between the success or failure of your marketing campaigns. Start a screening process for an agency you can trust and has the capability to meet your goals with full transparency of the process.

The right agency will challenge your team, and guide you through the process with out-of-the-box creatives to meet your ROAS goals.”

Avishay Raviv, Co-CEO of mobile growth agency Edge226, a leading provider of mobile-first performance services, added:

“In today’s ever-changing marketing landscape, finding an agency that can fully understand a client’s business model and its customer user journey is rare. And it’s even rarer when they can produce effective and innovative creatives to fit any format and platform.

Marketers should choose agencies that use their own proprietary technology that is able to process, analyze, and optimize large amounts of data. This will be key to targeting and reaching their most relevant audiences. An agency’s ability to scale campaigns, provide full transparency and have strong communication at every step of the process is also essential for protecting a client’s ad spend and delivering meaningful value.”

Philipp Höntsch, Director Programmatic & Social at data consulting and digital marketing agency Artefact, added:

“A good performance agency will start by building an in-depth understanding of your customers’ journeys, and will then be able to advise clients on an end-to-end approach across all channels and devices. This involves complex topics including data strategies, platform infrastructures, ad- & martech consulting, among others.

In this context it's important that an agency is able to serve all relevant channels (programmatic, SEM, social media) and assign the corresponding value attribution to individual channels and actions. With this in mind, at Artefact, we no longer speak of performance marketing, but see precision marketing as the core competence that an agency should be able to provide in the area of data marketing.”

Poor results are hard to accept in mobile marketing, but smart collaborations form the basis for success and can give companies a head start when dealing with uncharted territories and challenging conditions. Whatever your goals and budget may be, the most suitable agency for your business is out there, waiting to march your mobile app growth forward.

To learn more about mobile marketing, read our guide on monetizing your app - covering everything you need to develop your monetization strategy. You may also be interested in our guide to mobile marketing automation, including best practices for driving growth.

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