Mobile Heroes Uncensored by Liftoff brings you the latest industry news, entertainment and insights from across the app marketing industry. Hosted by journalists John Koetsier and Peggy Anne Salz, we go in-depth with brand and performance marketers at the forefront of marketing.
Sep 14, 2022
What can 250M users and 30 billion games played reveal about mobile games, winning IP, and monetization?
In this episode of Mobile Heroes Uncensored, we chat with Mobile Hero Amy Huang, the CEO of Mattel163. She’s led the company to take iconic games like UNO and Skip-Bo mobile, leading to a quarter of a billion users and 30 billion games played. If that’s not enough, she’s also an accomplished rock climber.
Sep 7, 2022
Apple’s SKAdNetwork has accelerated 10 years worth of CPM growth in just a year, according to our guest and Mobile Hero, Giulia Porter, VP of Marketing at RoboKiller.
In this episode, we dig into what that means, how marketing a utility differs from marketing a game, and a new approach to channels and attribution in the age of privacy. Plus, hosts John Koetsier and Peggy Anne Salz chat with Giulia about the TikTok video on her app that got 20 million views, kickstarted a huge number of app installs, and that they didn’t even know about until they saw the avalanche of new users.
Aug 31, 2022
How do you get to 8 million monthly average users with $0 in marketing spend? That’s the core question we ask Geoff Hladik, Head of Revenue & Growth at Visual Blasters. Part of the answer: product-led growth.
Aug 31, 2022
Can you make better games by understanding player psychology? By knowing what people’s primary (and secondary) motivations are in mobile games? According to GameRefinery’s Joel Julkunen, absolutely. And understanding these motivations has led, he says, to multiple hit games over the past few years.
In this Mobile Heroes Uncensored, we chat with Joel Julkunen. He’s played over 500 games, and that’s a core part of his work, believe it or not. From that and a huge amount of data from thousands of games, he’s found 12 key player motivations that determine what kinds of games we like and which we don’t.
And that can help game marketers and designers build and market the right games to the right people.
Aug 17, 2022
Why stick with a potential audience of millions if you could have billions?
It’s not the right move for every app, but for apps that don’t rely on geographical boots-on-the-ground in terms of inventory, warehouses, or fulfillment, going global can unlock runaway growth. But there are a few things to keep in mind, says Bessie Byeon, Senior Director of Global Marketing at Liftoff.
In this episode of Mobile Heroes Uncensored, we chat about her recent guide to scaling mobile apps overseas.
Aug 10, 2022
From crazy success to favorite flops, we chat with veteran DoubleDown Interactive marketer Faith Price. Price tells us about soft launches, MVPs, app store featuring, and advice for a younger self, and talks about how getting the “grand tour” in marketing gigs was the perfect set-up for what she’s doing now … and maybe our privacy-safe future.
Jul 20, 2022
Scaling ad spend seems easy: boost buys, increase bids, add partners. But it’s really easy to lose massive amounts of efficiency and instead of driving results, simply increase ad blindness.
In this episode of Mobile Heroes Uncensored, we chat with mobile growth marketer and consultant Alper Taner, who has worked with over 50 apps in 10 verticals and helped brands scale users 5X to 50X.
We chat about:
Jul 20, 2022
More granularity! More data over time! But … still plenty of uncertainty over timing, transition, implementation, and so much more.
Apple’s announced SKAN 4, and in this Mobile Heroes Uncensored, we dive deep into it with mobile growth expert and consultant Thomas Petit, who participates while being down with Covid (!!!). We chat about what we know and what we don’t know, and especially about the new areas of complexity that, he says, are great job security for consultants 🙂
We also discuss:
Jul 13, 2022
Can you run user acquisition at scale without app store optimization? Probably not without wasting a lot of money, according to Taha Karsli from MobileAction.
In this episode of Mobile Heroes Uncensored, we chat with Karsli about key ranking factors on Google Play and the App Store, reviews, fitting ASO into an overall mobile growth strategy, and how frequently you should update your app listings.
We also get insight into:
Jul 6, 2022
Does your creative drive targeting? Does your creative answer questions? Do you offer video ads like cinematic trailers for the CTR and gameplay videos for retention?
In this episode of Mobile Heroes Uncensored, we chat with Activision’s Senior Manager of Growth Strategy, Thanasi Chalkiadakis, who shares how he drives growth for one of the most iconic game franchises of all time, Call of Duty.
Jun 29, 2022
Have you ever been review-bombed by an unscrupulous competitor?
In this episode of Mobile Heroes Uncensored, we chat with Natalie Drozd, User Acquisition Lead at Fabulous. She’s an app store optimization expert as well as a user acquisition expert, and she chats about good ASO, bad ASO, and toxic ASO.
We also chat about being featured by Apple as an Editor’s Choice app, learning from Reforge, winning in the wellness, fitness, and health categories, and the biggest challenges to achieving and sustaining organic growth.
Jun 22, 2022
Can it be possible that 99% of ads for midcore games fail to address one of the most important factors in drawing new players in?
In this Mobile Heroes Uncensored, we dive into Liftoff’s creative index report. Based on an analysis of 805 billion ad impressions — yes, you got that number right — the report highlights what works and doesn’t work in mobile advertising.
What we learn: far too many ads ignore key user motivations, one very old and much-maligned ad unit is actually an all-star, what hooks new users in fintech, and much, much more.
Jun 15, 2022
Is it possible to have privacy that doesn’t suck for marketers? While SKAdNetwork and iOS 14.5 might not fit that billing, Privacy Sandbox on Android just might.
What does it include? What will change? What will get worse, and what will get better. In this episode of Mobile Heroes Uncensored, we interview three experts to get their insights:
They tell us what Privacy Sandboxes’ most pleasant surprises are, what the biggest concerns about losing GAID are, and whether Topics API is robust enough for accurate targeting. All that and more.
Jun 8, 2022
This may come as a shock but not every massive, successful, money-making app is in gaming, fintech, ride-hailing, or the metaverse. Today we chat with the CMO of a very different type of app: one that builds a digital layer to connect a pre-existing community and offers tools and commerce that make what they do better.
What is it?
Fishbrain connects 14 million fishers across the planet with tools, maps, social features, recommendations, and shopping. We chat with Lisa Kennelly, the CMO, who is building something amazing in a nontraditional (for mobile!) space.
Lisa talks about acquisition channels, what’s delivering uplift, how Fishbrain keeps its marketing and ads fresh, and how they engage their users. Plus, we also get into Fishbrains expansion into commerce.
May 25, 2022
Why has Zynga bought no fewer than 5 Turkish game companies? Why are so many significant success stories coming out of the Turkish game community?
In this episode of Mobile Heroes Uncensored, Peggy Anne Salz and John Koetsier talk to 2 leading experts in Turkey’s emerging mobile gaming ecosystem. Batuhan Avucan, Founder & Managing Director at Mobidictum and Utku Altunkiran, User Acquisition Manager at Animation International Turkey, talk about what’s happening, why Turkey’s gaming space is growing, and what publishers need to know about the Turkish scene.
We also chat about moving from hyper-casual games to a subscription model, influencer marketing, monetization, AR/VR, and creative strategies that deliver big upside.
May 18, 2022
Are people predictably irrational? Pretty much, and some game marketers have learned exactly how and used that knowledge to grow. One, with over 1.4 billion game installs, is our guest Mert Ersöz, Head of Marketing at MagicLab Game Technologies.
Mert started his career in — you guessed it — behavior economics, and has been growing hit games like Fidget Trading, Text and Drive, Run Race 3D, and more over the past few years.
We ask him:
We also learn more about how MagicLab is transitioning from hyper-casual to casual games, and how their marketing is changing too.
May 11, 2022
Times Internet is a global behemoth with over 550 million users. Now the company is extending its reach globally from its home base in India.
In this episode, we chat with Machine Zone alum Vivek Girotra, who is building a fintech app for the Indian diaspora: tens of millions who live in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and elsewhere around the world. He gets deep into psychographics and demographics as well as the nuts and bolts of mobile growth.
We chat about:
May 4, 2022
Is it happy days for location-based apps again? We’re getting back to some kind of normal and apps for places, travel, restaurants, hikes, flights, hotels, beaches, and bookshops are back in action.
Today we chat with a super-interesting location-based app called Bimble, which is “counter-mapping” the planet … finding all the cool places that aren’t big on Google Maps and highlighting the small wonders of the world. In this episode of Mobile Heroes Uncensored, we chat with Julia Mallaby and Fatima Zaidi of Bimble. They launched 3 weeks before lockdown … but survived COVID! And now they’re doing better than ever.
We chat about:
Apr 20, 2022
Scaling to 220 million users is a pretty massive achievement. Helping over 30 million women get pregnant: also massive. And driving growth via content and curation is a pretty unique way to do it.
In this Mobile Heroes Uncensored, hosts John Koetsier and Peggy Anne Salz chat with Aurelie Genet, who is VP of Product and Engagement Marketing at Flo, the app that’s all about periods, ovulation, and pregnancy on the surface … but even more about wellness, health, and being your best self.
Genet shares the gold on how product, user acquisition, and retention need to align and collaborate to win, how customer experience determines success, and how Flo uses content as both a competitive differentiator and community creator.
In addition, we chat metrics (always fun), her biggest accomplishment, and Genet’s top three tips for mobile marketers in the health & wellness space.
Apr 13, 2022
It sounds insane but one of the top ad monetization specialists in the world is confident that ad monetization is not dead … and that a blast-from-the-past ad unit with super-high CPIs is one of the ways to make it happen.
In this episode of Mobile Heroes Uncensored we chat with Kelly Kang, currently Senior Director of Ad Monetization at Pixel United (think Product Madness, Big Fish, and Plarium) and has held roles at both Zynga and Glu. She tells co-hosts Peggy Anne Salz and John Koetsier how ad monetization is far from dead and how monetization pros can still get a great return from app users … even without ad identifiers like IDFA or GAID.
Plus, Kang gives us her top tips in monetization and the one thing she’d change about her career if she could go back in time.
Apr 6, 2022
How do you get ads that outperform native content? There’s only one way today’s guest has achieved that, and it’s via influencer marketing on social platforms.
“The best thing about TikTok is that you can get massive algorithmic distribution on ads, which I haven’t been able to achieve in the same way on other platforms,” says today’s guest Aidan Quest. “So we’ll have ads that will perform better than an influencer’s content sometimes if the ad is interesting enough.”
Quest leads JetFuel’s creator operations and business development. He spent 30 minutes with John Koetsier and Peggy Anne Salz chatting about what’s new in influencer marketing, what’s changing, and how to make influencer marketing a steady-state growth engine for new mobile app users.
And: why influencer marketing is still the only channel where you can actually get on-platform algorithmic distribution IF your ad is good enough.
The funny thing about good enough? Often it’s the opposite of what you’d expect. Get all the details in this episode of Mobile Heroes Uncensored.
Mar 23, 2022
March is women’s history month and includes International Women’s Day, so of course we’re chatting with two incredible leaders in mobile growth and user acquisition who just happen to be women.
One is currently a user acquisition manager at Voodoo and has led growth at other top games studios like Jam City. She’s Radostina Zhekova, and she tells us what she’s learned and how she’s grown in a traditionally male-dominated space. The other leads product at Drest, “the world’s first interactive luxury styling game.” She’s Johanna Vuorela, and she’s led growth, built games studios, co-founded companies, and built dream teams.
In this episode we get their best advice, top tips, and opinions about how to grow in the game of growth.
Mar 16, 2022
Games with insects are super-hot right now. So are fashion games. And so are games with 2D cartoony graphics. So maybe it’s time to make a game about fashion choices for beetles in 2D?
If you want to grab a place on the Top Grossing charts for games, it pays to pay attention to SensorTower’s data on what’s working and what’s hot. In this episode of Mobile Heroes Uncensored, we chat with SensorTower mobile insights strategist Craig Chapple. Chapple, who used to play games for a living at PocketGamer, shares what’s working, what’s hot, what’s new, and what’s trending in mobile game subjects, styles, and genres.
We also chat about paying players, profitability, and the controversial new part of so many games: NFTs and crypto.
Mar 9, 2022
In-app bidding, waterfall, privacy, ATT … maximizing in-app ad monetization has probably never been harder. In this episode of Mobile Heroes Uncensored, we chat with GSN Games (Scopely) VP of Ad Revenue & Product, Brian Truman about boosting ad monetization and scaling revenue without negatively impacting user experience.
In this episode:
Hosts John Koetsier and Peggy Anne Salz chat with Brian about how he got his start in mobile marketing (by knowing the right Excel shortcuts, of all things), ads that cause app crashes, and how hands-on experience makes a massive difference.
Mar 2, 2022
Dating apps are huge. 40% of couples are now finding each other via digital dating services, and dating apps are forecast to be an $8.4 billion opportunity by 2024.
But how do you beat the competition?
First of all, by defining your niche like, perhaps, the Thursday dating app … which only works on Thursdays. Or the dating app that’s only for people with beards. Or another only for music lovers.
But most importantly, you have to understand your users and locale. In this episode of Mobile Heroes Uncensored, we chat with James Haslam and Mikael Orpana, who have analyzed the top dating apps, millions of installs, and billions of ad impressions to identify what works well and how the top apps win.
Feb 23, 2022
You gotta do your data homework, you have to look under the hood of all those fancy shiny marketing platforms, and you have to find channels that your competitors overlook.
Those are just a few of the massive number of tips and insights for increasing sales in your retail app from Nico Winkelhaus, the Director of Digital Marketing at PAYBACK, Germany’s top loyalty program. (Little secret here: they see literally 5% of the entire nation’s commerce. Insane!)
In this episode of Mobile Heroes Uncensored, hosts Peggy Anne Salz and John Koetsier chat with Nico about achieving sustained growth, learning from gaming apps, beating nightmare competitors, and evolving through changes in consumer behavior due to Covid.
Plus, we also chat about weaving service through web and mobile app channels, and Nico’s unconventional advice about why you should grow your app at the expense of other channels.
Feb 16, 2022
There are not many retention-first mobile user acquisition specialists on the planet. While retention is important — ok, essential — most UA experts focus, naturally, on the acquisition of users. While retention matters, it’s more the product and DevOps teams responsibility.
Not Miray Alanlar, Senior Product Marketing Manager at FOX Bet & PokerStars.
She focuses first on retention, because getting a new user doesn’t even matter if that user is just going to churn out in a few hours or days. That means targeting is critical, onboarding is critical, engagement is critical, and user experience is critical.
In this Mobile Heroes Uncensored, Miray chats with hosts John Koetsier and Peggy Anne Salz about acquisition, retention, capitalizing on big events like the Super Bowl or Olympics, and maintaining momentum between those natural growth points.
Plus, she even chats about something new we’re calling the “mobile retention stack.”
Feb 9, 2022
Imagine competing with Apple, or Google, or Amazon, or Spotify. Better yet, imagine competing with all of them at the very same time.
Not for Audiomack, which has been streaming music from creators to fans for over a decade. In this Mobile Heroes Uncensored, we dive deep into Senior VP of Revenue Dave Edwards’ story: how Audiomack wins, how it monetizes, and how it’s become super-successful doing things that everyone else thinks are crazy.
We chat about:
Feb 2, 2022
What do you need to know about competitive apps? In this episode of Mobile Heroes Uncensored, we chat with Apptopia CEO Jonathan Kay, who shares the three super-simple but uber-important pieces of data you need on competitors.
(Apptopia, by the way, collects 4 billion data points daily on over 1 million apps.)
Plus hosts Peggy and John ask Jonathan about app trends for 2022, finding new opportunities in data, knowing when to get excited about spikes in downloads and when not to, and Jonathan’s 3 top tips for mobile marketers.
We also learn why Dunkin Donuts is super successful with its Apple Carplay app, why Sam’s Club gained on Costco in mobile, and why there’s an endless runner game with minions in it.
Jan 26, 2022
90 million writers and readers connect on global storytelling platform Wattpad. Daniel Kenny-Godoy, Wattpad’s Interim Head of Programmatic & Ad Ops, boosted revenue substantially.
In this Mobile Heroes Uncensored Origin Story, hosts John Koetsier and Peggy Anne Salz chat with Daniel about ad operations’ biggest challenges and opportunities, how to scale ad revenue while maintaining a great user experience, and the increasingly important topic of contextual vs behavioral targeting.
Plus, we get his top 3 tips for ad monetization in 2022.
Jan 19, 2022
Is incrementality the answer to mobile marketing measurement’s crisis?
Let’s be honest: mobile marketers exist on last-touch attribution, whether they’re using GAID, SKAdNetwork, or probabilistic methodologies. But declining signal on iOS has led some to suggest that incrementality is the answer. And there is a place for it.
Today’s guest Moshi Blum of Beach Bum (owned by Voodoo) has been there and done that, and he has the scars to prove it. Armed with hard-won knowledge gained from leading user acquisition at Viber and being a country general manager for Adjust, Blum shares what he’s learned about incrementality and measurement with hosts Peggy Anne Salz and John Koetsier.
Plus, Blum gives us his three tips for mobile marketing success in 2022.
And we see the youngest mobile hero ever: Golan, who’s 4 months old!
Jan 12, 2022
Everyone wants to grow. Today we’re learning from an expert, Vishal Korlipara.
Vishal leads growth at Future, the fitness startup, and has held roles at Morgan Stanley, Credit Karma, and Intuit. He’s essentially not just a growth expert, but an expert at ending jobs successfully, transitioning to new roles successfully, and initiating new stages in his career.
Hosts John Koetsier and Peggy Anne Salz chat with Vishal about ending well, when to switch jobs, how to start well, and Vishal’s unconventional but clearly effective top three tips for advancing your career in growth marketing in the coming year.
Dec 29, 2021
We have had a year. In some ways an awful, horrific, challenging year. In other ways a crazy, wacky, but growth-filled year. What happened? What did it mean? And, more importantly, how will mobile marketers achieve massive growth next year in 2022?
In this episode of Mobile Heroes Uncensored, hosts John Koetsier & Peggy Anne Salz chat with Shamanth Rao, who has led growth for games leading to acquisitions by GSN Games, Zynga, and GameLoft (!!!). He now runs Rocketship HQ and might just possibly have a podcast that maybe potentially a few people might listen too. (It may or may not be called the Mobile User Acquisition Show.)
We rant and rave about the highlights and lowlights of 2021, then get Shamanth’s top 3 tips on how to win in 2022.