Director of User Acquisition
TodayTix is an app for purchasing last-minute theater tickets. We’re in London and in 7 US markets (New York, Chicago, Boston, CT, DC, San Francisco and Los Angeles). We’ll be launching additional cities by the end of this year and many more in 2017.
My role is primarily focused on driving performance marketing strategy and evaluating user growth opportunities across our global markets.
Many of the mobile ad networks out there have a specialization in driving game installs, however, you are looking for a very specific audience of theater-goers. What types of targeting do you typically use to acquire these users?
My goal is to fill the funnel with qualified users, those users with a higher propensity to engage with and use our app. I’ve found that contextual, behavioral, interest and look-a-like based targeting have been effective in finding the right users, whether it’s for a gaming app or an entertainment app.
As a media buyer, you must have a tremendous amount of new vendors reaching out to you on a weekly basis. Can you give us a sense of the volume of inbound pitches you receive per week? How do you vet which ones to actually have a conversation with?
Haha, A LOT. The hazards of having ‘user acquisition’ in your title. A big factor for me is diversifying the media mix. I look for gaps in our mix and those vendors who have the solutions and capabilities that can fill those gaps.
What are some of the biggest challenges that exist in the mobile ad ecosystem today?
Fraud, inventory transparency and ad blockers continue to be points of contention for the ecosystem. Ad networks, publishers and attribution providers are continuously developing solutions to combat and solve for these challenges.
Do you track post-install events like a user sign-up, or first booking? Do you optimize towards those events when working with your network partners?
Yes, and yes! We track and optimize towards registrations and first purchases. Optimizing towards post-install events, both mid and lower funnel, is imperative for delivering quality users.
How many new ad vendors or networks do you try to test out every month?
I prefer a quarterly testing cycle, and tend to test a few new partners each cycle. I like to ensure that we are thoughtful about testing and slotting in new partners when and where it makes sense, per our mix and defined goals.
The major social platforms are great for building and targeting custom audiences. You can get pretty granular with their audience targeting options. Though, it’s gotten more and more expensive to effectively scale on some of those channels. I have yet to test Pinterest, but it’s on my radar. Facebook’s custom audiences and look-a-like targeting do perform well for us.
There’s been an explosion in the sheer number of mobile apps in the last few years, with estimates posting the total at 3M apps in both the Google Play and Apple App Store. Do you think that this is sustainable, and how do you see the market evolving over time?
Native apps are not going away any time soon. Brands and app publishers will continue to build apps, while discovery and conversion will continue to get harder and harder. Brands will need to take ASO more seriously, and go beyond download velocity, reviews and keywords to gain more visibility. I’m expecting Google to continue expanding its Play Store search ad products, as Apple gets in the game. It’ll be very interesting to see how Apple executes its app store search ads this year. There’s also a big opportunity around app indexing for discovery as well.
How do you identify potential mobile ad or install fraud?
Fraud is an unfortunate part of the mobile ad ecosystem. Working with trusted partners who have the appropriate fraud detection systems in place Is the first step. As a media buyer, it’s important to constantly monitor your data – looking for discrepancies or unusual changes in your click to install ratios, suspicious click volume from one device or location, and inconsistencies in new user behavior after the install. You have to remain vigilant because it can strike at any time.
To the extent that you can share, what are some non-paid / organic user acquisition techniques that have worked well for TodayTix? (deeplinking by Branch Metrics, PR, Blogger Outreach, Influencers, Social Sharing, etc)
We’ve been successful with PR, influencer promotions, and social sharing via our mobile lottery and rush product features. We’re also increasing our efforts around indexing, SEO and content marketing.
Lastly, what is your take on the future of mobile user acquisition for non-gaming apps?
I think the convergence of traditional marketing channels and emerging digital platforms is essential. Mobile first doesn’t mean mobile only. Mobile is an opportunity to amplify and reinforce other more conventional channels like radio, print, TV, OOH and direct mail. Striking the right balance between awareness and direct response, online and offline, and organic and paid media is why I think employing 360 strategies will help drive the best efficiencies.
TodayTix is the first and only free mobile app for iOS and Android that provides access to the best prices on last-minute theater tickets, booked same-day or within a week’s time. Operating in the world’s two most iconic theater markets, TodayTix secures the best discounted and full price tickets available for more than 40 Broadway and Off-Broadway shows in New York City and more than 40 of the hottest shows in London’s West End.
TodayTix aims to make theater a readily-available and exciting option for everyone. Through its personalized, intuitive and easy-to-use service, TodayTix delivers an efficient, affordable and reliable user experience for aspiring theatergoers.
TodayTix is currently available for free on the iOS and Android platforms at www.todaytix.com.