Thought Leadership
How Essence Digital does Custom Integrations with Mobile Apps

Chrissy Dalton Essence Digital

Jolie Giuffre
Mobile Planning Director, North America

Chrissy Dalton
Mobile Strategy & Talent Development Supervisor

Jolie Giuffre is the Mobile Planning Director for North America at Essence and is responsible for driving mobile marketing strategy across the Google digital portfolio. Before joining Essence, she held mobile leadership roles at marketing agencies Fetch, Amobee and RingRing. She has been working in mobile media for over seven years across a diverse client base, including Expedia, eBay and Google, and has a wealth of experience across mobile performance and branding campaigns.  

Chrissy Dalton is a Mobile Strategy & Talent Development Supervisor at Essence, the world’s largest independent buyer of digital media. There, she is responsible for planning award-winning mobile work on the Google account, as well as training traditional desktop planners on her mobile expertise.  Before joining Essence, she worked on the Expedia, Intuit & Dish accounts at Amobee, with an emphasis on performance campaigns.


It seems like Essence is really on the bleeding edge of innovation, by virtue of your agency reaching out to partner with mobile apps that don’t even offer advertising, to see if there are any brand integration opportunities for your clients. What sparked this practice?

At Essence we strive to make advertising more valuable to the world. What better way to do this than to reach consumers at relevant times when they’re open to brand messaging?  We’ve found that app integrations are not only more effective, but less intrusive to the consumer experience.


What are some of the awards you’ve won for these campaigns?

Our Google Maps + QuizUp partnership has won a great deal of press, winning both gold & silver Smarties for native & in-app and gaming advertising respectively, The 2015 People’s Voice Webby for best use of mobile media, the InMobi Chameleon Award for Excellence in Native Advertising, and a nomination for the Cannes Lions.


What are some ways you identify the mobile apps you are going to reach out to? Is it typically by growth, or up and coming apps significant in the cultural ethos?

Both. We not only want to be relevant and featured within top apps, we also want to ensure it’s an endemic fit with the brand. It’s important that the user experience is seamless and additive.


Have there been any tools you’ve used (like AppAnnie, for example) to track the growth of apps in certain categories to build a shortlist? Or is it typically by word of mouth, of what a lot of friends/family are talking about?

While we do typically look at app rank, it can’t always highlight “what’s hot.”  We keep a pulse on the trades to know how the industry is trending.


Any interesting examples of campaigns you’ve run, that you can share with us?

The Google Maps + QuizUp example we mentioned is our most noteworthy.  For this mobile integration, the “Earth from Above” quiz within QuizUp introduced 1000 questions that prompted players to battle head-to-head in real-time trivia based on visual content powered by Google Maps.


What are some typical metrics you’ve used, to measure the success of these campaigns?

It really depends on the execution.  It may be engagement within the unit itself, number of participants if it’s a challenge, etc. Since these are custom integrations, we treat each one separately and establish the best success metrics according to the experience. 


Are there minimum thresholds in terms of DAU/MAUs of a mobile app that would need to be hit to be considered? Do these user numbers vary by category, or is it really completely ad hoc for the client?

This is dependent on the client, category and how nuanced the integration would be.  If there are a lower number of users but we’re seeing a quick increase, we’ll typically take that into account.


Have you seen any other great app integrations that you admire? If so, which ones?

Definitely!  To name a few, The Terminator added voice commands into Waze to promote their new movie, and The Mindy Project characters had their own Tinder profiles created to promote the show.  Those are certainly fun surprises for the consumers to find.


Do you see a lot of agencies integrating this tactic into their suite of offerings in the future?

I’ve heard a few agencies talk about this, but the required effort to bring it to life definitely has slowed its proliferation.  There are certainly more folks moving in this direction to remain additive in their audience’s life.



Essence is a global digital agency and the world’s largest independent buyer of digital media. We blend data science, objective media and captivating experiences to build valuable connections between brands and consumers. Clients include Google, Viber, method, Tesco Mobile and the Financial Times. The agency is more than 480 people strong, manages over $700MM in media spend and deploys campaigns in 71 markets via offices in London, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Singapore and Tokyo.

Visit for more information and follow us on Twitter at @essencedigital.

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