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.
Jan 19, 2023
Apologies, but we liked Brazil so much we stayed (virtually, of course). In this Mobile Heroes Uncensored, we chat with Guilherme Braz, Senior Director of Acquisition at Mercado Libre, an e-commerce and fintech leader in Latin America.
While he’s got great experience in mobile — having worked at Wildlife Studios previously — in another life he was a Bain consultant. And Guy, as he likes to be called, brings the kind of intellectual rigor you might expect from Bain to his marketing.
We discuss Brazil, mobile marketing today, incrementality and media mix modeling, App Tracking Transparency, and so … much … more!
Jan 17, 2023
If the US Postal Service says, “neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” we add appendicitis! While one of our guests was having emergency surgery (and is now much better!) We soldiered on with ROAD TRIP BRAZIL.
In this Mobile Heroes Uncensored, we chat with Christian Gaitan, former Performance Lead of Lemon, about entering the Brazilian mobile market.
Christian chats about market demographics and psychographics, as well as the most significant features and challenges of marketing mobile apps in Brazil.
Dec 28, 2022
How will massive global trends in advertising impact mobile apps and games? In this Mobile Heroes Uncensored, we chat with GroupM global director Kate Scott-Dawkins.
This is not like other Mobile Heroes Uncensored sessions. In addition to being a former United States Archery Team member, Kate is a big thinker with access to huge amounts of data. She’s currently tracking 62 markets: 31 downgraded, 21 upgraded, and 10 stayed the same. But as the global economic outlook suffers, the digital advertising ecosystem is being impacted, she says.
The good news: it’s still growing. The bad news: it’s not growing quite as fast.
We chat about retail media, ad spend, mobile economies, and how marketers and app publishers should think about changing opportunities in 2023.
Dec 21, 2022
How big will streaming TV be for mobile user acquisition in 2023? In this Mobile Heroes Uncensored, we chat with M&C Saatchi Performance managing partner Jonathan Yantz. Our focus: will streaming TV, connected TV, smart TV be a great place to run ads in 2023?
CTV is one of the fastest growing ad markets. But it’s fragmented into multiple platforms and multiple services on each platform. How do you address it? How do you measure it? How do you design for it?
Dec 14, 2022
Does reverse psychology work in ads? Sure, sometimes. And sometimes, just plain old psychology.
In this Mobile Heroes Uncensored, we chat with Philippa Layburn, UA manager for Trailmix, the games studio that makes games snackable … yet somehow nourishing. Philippa tells hosts John Koetsier and Peggy Anne Salz about her background in psychology and how that impacts her marketing and advertising, as well as her focus on science and math.
We chat about creative winners and losers, Super Bowl ads, A/B testing, and how to come up with truly creative ideas for new ad campaigns.
Dec 7, 2022
Mobile marketing intelligence can tell you which are the top apps in a category, where your competitors advertise, how they monetize, what ads are working, and which apps that you’re competing with have the highest LTV. It can also reveal emerging trends.
We ask Stan what trend he found first, what trends people have discovered on his platform, and how to use mobile intelligence tools to get an edge on the competition. And, how to avoid what he calls “trap markets.”
We also chat about the emerging trend of fake ads. Yes, literally fake ads.
Dec 1, 2022
Do you ever have acceptable unprofitability in your ad spend?
In this Mobile Heroes Uncensored, we chat with Gessica Bicego, the CMO of Paired, an app that helps couples feel more connected. We chat about influencer marketing, about hitting singles and the occasional home run, and about whether you can engineer virality or not.
We also talk about diversification of ad spend, and how Bicego ensures that she is always able to take advantage of opportunities to go viral. We chat about metrics that she uses to keep on track, and we also talk about taking time out — in her case to have a child — and then coming back stronger than ever.
Nov 23, 2022
Bootstrapping is great. Especially when you’re getting a suitcase full of awards for your app. In this episode of Mobile Heroes Uncensored, we cha with the founder of Rootd (pronounced “rooted”), Ania Wyshocka.
Rootd is an app for people who suffer from anxiety, stress, and panic attacks, and in a classic entrepreneur story, Ania built a product based on her own experiences. In the process, she’s earned a Developer Spotlight by Apple, a “30 Under 30” win, and a selection to “Canadian Woman in Tech you Should Know.”
Now of course, inevitably, she’s looking to paid acquisition to take her app to the next level. Hosts John Koetsier and Peggy Anne Salz chat with Ania about her journey, choices, revenue model, and approach to personalization and segmentation.
Nov 16, 2022
What mobile game literally has a tombstone in one of its promo images? A super-successful one, actually: BitLife, which has tens of millions of installs and millions of reviews.
In this Mobile Heroes Uncensored, we chat with BitLife maker Candywriter. Specifically, with VP Gabby Bradford Pigott. Our focus: mashup games: what drives success, and what works best for ad-based monetization.
We also chat about ad partners, managing waterfalls, and balancing user experience and monetization.
Nov 16, 2022
If segmentation sparks joy in your life, you might need to get fitted for a straitjacket. Or maybe you’re just super passionate about mobile marketing, engagement, monetization, and retention.
We think the latter applies to Geoff Hladik, who leads revenue and growth at FlipaClip. At least we hope so, because this is the second time we’ve chatted with him and we’re almost related now.
Nov 2, 2022
Every mobile marketer needs good ASO. The last thing you want is to acquire users, have them hit your App Store or Google Play listing, and say … nah, maybe not. So getting your app store optimization right is critical.
In this Mobile Heroes Uncensored, we chat with AppTweak’s Head of ASO Simon Thillay. He chats with hosts John Koetsier and Peggy Anne Salz about custom product pages, in-app events — the kind that people participate in, not the kind you track for KPIs — and how he sees ASO evolving.
Check this episode out to make sure no marketing dollar gets wasted at the very last step in the funnel. And why endurance skating and mobile marketing are similar!
Oct 26, 2022
It’s never been tougher to make it in user acquisition and growth, but Huuuge Games director of marketing creatives Misha Syrotiuk makes it work in two diverging ways: more automation, and more human connection.
In this Mobile Heroes Uncensored, we chat with Misha about the amount of automation needed to remove some of the drudgery and grunt work from creative creation and campaign optimization. But we also chat about the advice he’d give his younger self: investing in the human relationships that make the business run and enable needed growth.
In addition, hosts Peggy Anne Salz and John Koetsier discuss how Misha feels about Android vs iOS, creative testing, AI-enabled art workflows, and the best career advice he can offer.
Oct 12, 2022
Blockchain and gaming? Check
IDFA, ATT, and Privacy Sandbox on Android? Check
Influencer advertising on TikTok? Check
Today is agency day on Mobile Heroes Uncensored, and we’re chatting with three all-stars. Jonathan Yantz at M&C Saatchi Performance, Dave Riggs from Apex Growth (used to be Customer Acquisition), and Eddie Yoon at NP Digital (yeah, that’s Neil Patel’s company) join Peggy Anne Salz and John Koetsier to talk about all the hot stuff.
From multi-million dollar monthly budgets to startups just beginning to scale, there’s something for everyone. And … we get each mobile hero’s hot take on their most uncensored opinion in mobile marketing.
Oct 5, 2022
Is data-driven marketing actually impossible today? Do we have too much data … so much we have to shift to AI-driven marketing?
In this Mobile Heroes Uncensored, we chat with Mobile Hero Agustin Ochoa, a former Googler and now Performance Senior Manager at Winclap, a growth marketing consulting partner. Ochoa chats with hosts John Koetsier and Peggy Anne Salz about events to pay attention to — hint: far more than most do now — and how AI is better than humans at certain things like that.
We also chat about when sacrificing marketing efficiency for growth makes sense, the “event stack” he evangelizes, and the kinds of data you need to be collecting for optimal effectiveness.
Sep 28, 2022
3 billion app downloads is no small feat. Wildlife Studios, however, has achieved that and has very quietly become a top 10 games studio on the planet, beginning in Brazil and expanding across the globe.
And … we get both Carolina’s and Anel’s uncensored opinions about ATT and privacy, as well as their biggest hacks for automating the more annoying and mundane aspects of user acquisition and monetization. We also get Anel’s take on what to measure in a mobile game – pretty much everything – and Carolina’s identification of the single most important KPI.
Sep 21, 2022
Apple’s app tracking transparency was great … if you were primarily monetizing via ads on Android. In this episode of Mobile Heroes Uncensored hosts John Koetsier and Peggy Anne Salz chat with long-time SmartNews marketing leader Fabien-Pierre Nicolas, now an advisor.
We chat about ad monetization, using old-fashioned linear TV for mobile user acquisition ads, and automating hyperlocal organic and paid reach on Facebook. And, of course, as always, much, much more!
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.