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How to cut the BS and build trusting relationships: Key insights from Mobile Spree 2018

When you’re leading an app’s advertising and acquisition strategy, you might often be exposed to huge claims about how a new partner can multiply the performance of your campaigns. While any of these opportunities could be the difference between success and failure, how can you know who to choose?

It was this question that inspired the ‘Marketing vs. BS’ panel at this year’s Mobile Spree, Adjust’s bi-annual conference dedicated to mobile app marketing. While the conference was packed full of mobile marketing insights - from incremental user acquisition and gaming motivation models to predictive marketing - this panel was focused on filtering out the bull and help attendees understand what to look for.

Joining us was Rina Nagashima, Marketing Manager at Apalon; Ludia’s Senior Marketing Specialist, Rose Agozzino; Kabam’s Marketing Manager, Roz Hajian, and Samantha Guertin, Growth and UA Manager at Tubi.

With their combined experience in developing trusted long-term partnerships and spotting red flags, the panel shared their tips on how to cut the BS and choose the best options that will benefit your company.

The full talk at Mobile Spree

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Clarity is key: Finding a partner’s true value

Early into the discussion, the importance of clarity became the group’s first major tip.

Speaking about an upfront approach to the way statistics are presented, Rina shared her expectations when looking for the true value of a claim:

“I’ve come to realize that so many partners will say ‘100% this, 100% that’. I think it’s come to a point where we really need to be realistic about how sure you are about the traffic you’re driving. Nothing is actually 100%. We know that you have fraud. So I think it’s just a use of words you have to be careful with.”

Rose added to this, explaining that no matter how impressive the statistics may be, a good strategist will always check the variables that shaped them:

“One person’s 100% is not the same to another company. Sometimes, if you say ‘we’ve increased traffic by up to 300%’…it’s such a big number to see 300%, but you have to understand what the variables were before the fact. As soon as I see very large percentages, I’m always a little hesitant.”

To help skip straight to the facts, Roz explained the practicality of Kabam’s prospective partnership questionnaire. While posing the questions specific to their needs, this method also highlights the true value of what’s being offered.

That said, even with preventative vetting, it’s still possible for partners to underdeliver on their claims. Poor results can quickly lead to a lack of trust, but - as our panel explained - an upfront approach could salvage that relationship.

An actionable plan can save a partnership

Finding a way to excuse a poor performance may sound like the easy option, but in reality, this won’t help either party achieve their future targets. A prime example of this came from Roz, who explained the long-term benefits of speaking openly about fraud:

“It would be much more helpful for both parties if we received some sort of actionable plan; why did this happen, how did this happen and how are we going to prevent this publisher from sneaking into our inventory from another direction? That’s not a very common thing in the industry these days, and I think it needs to be.”

Adding to this, Rina shared her experience with upfront partners and how their approach ultimately led to long-term relationships.

“I thoroughly appreciate when a partner is proactively reaching out to you saying ‘we actually found some fraud in your network and we’re going to cut it off from your monthly spend’. It doesn’t happen often, and I really prime my relationship with those partners because they’re upfront with you. They’re very truthful and honest about what kind of inventory they’re running. That further wants me to continue my relationship with them down the road.”

By having these difficult discussions, it’s possible to strengthen relationships and build trust over time. With this in mind, the panel went on to discuss trust-building in greater depth. More specifically, the group gave key advice on how to recognise promising signs early in the process of forming a partnership.

Building trust inevitably takes time

When choosing an agency you can trust, Samantha explained the importance of speaking directly with account managers to gain insight into their technical aptitude:

“You should be shopping for people, not for case studies, metrics or portfolios. Make sure you are talking to Account Managers [...]. Salespeople can offer a lot of stuff but they’re far removed from the daily job [...]. You should be looking for the individuals that are working on your account rather than a big name or a good track record. It’s definitely down to the people working on your account, all the time.”

Rose also suggested a small-spend strategy in order to see an agency’s true value over time:

“You start on a small spend. You let their actions prove that they’re worthy of your trust. If they can consistently deliver what they’re promising, then you’re going to branch out a little bit more. You’re going to give them a little more budget to play with, and it builds that relationship.”

To summarise just a few of the takeaways from this panel, remember the following advice:

Key tips from our panel

  • Focus on clarity: A trustworthy partner will cut the BS and show their value with confidence.
  • Think long-term: When you find a promising partnership, trust can be built based on the performance of small-spend campaigns.
  • Honesty is the best policy: If expectations aren’t met, an actionable response will always be mutually valuable.

If you’re interested in further insight from Mobile Spree, be sure to take a look at our resource hub. The hub is a great way to navigate your way through the many panels and seminars led by industry experts - giving you access to everything the conference has to offer.

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