Q&A with Jon
Jon Michaeli is the EVP, Strategic Partnerships at Medisafe in Boston, MA. Motivated by his passion for helping people live healthier, he’s focused on bringing new users to Medisafe’s cloud-synced mobile healthcare platform.
Read a VentureBeat article featuring Jon Michaeli on how to improve your mobile app conversion funnel.
What do you do at Medisafe?
I’m responsible for marketing and business development, which includes marketing principally, at least initially to patients and consumers, either directly or through partnerships. I also work with other stakeholders in the care continuum around the patient in the health system, including hospitals, physicians, payors, or health plans. Anybody who would be a user of our platform or customer of our data.
What does a quality mobile user look like to you?
A quality user is one that we believe is active on a weekly basis. By active, that means they’re taking their meds, because that is what the app is intended to do, to get them to take their meds.
How important are installs to you?
Installs are important. Obviously, we want to grow our user base, and the top of the funnel is how you start to do that. Without that nothing else happens downstream. We also know that to the market, whether we’re talking to investors or potential partners, top line numbers matter. Installs matter, but they aren’t the end-all, be-all KPI. That’s not where we are principally-focused.
What does the Medisafe app funnel look like?
At the top, of course, we have installs. Post install, you can either register or you can just get started. The lighter way, of course, is to get started without having to enter any information. But by registering, we’re able to tailor the app for the user.
Is there a particular strategy that works to convert installs into engaged users?
Lowering the friction is really important. Streamlining the flow, lowering the friction. That’s why we don’t require people to register or sign up from day one. It’s like asking someone to marry you before you start dating. Users are asking themselves, “How does it work? Can I trust this company? This is private information.” They want to know it works for one medication before they commit time to entering all that information.
Beyond that, it’s just about doing UI/UX exercises and testing usability. We take feedback from our users and constantly A/B test up and down the funnel to improve the experience.
What are some of the biggest challenges that you’ve run into in growing and scaling an active mobile user base?
There are two pieces to that. There’s the acquisition side, and there’s the retention side. On the acquisition side, we all know that scaling can be challenging. We originally planned to build a web interface for certain things, but the killer solution here is using mobile for taking your medications. We really rely on a lot of mobile traffic, because you’re even more removed on desktop web. There are so many extra steps in converting desktop, users fill out a form, we text them an app download link, then they get to the app store, and finally they can download. You start to see more of a drop-off in registrations there, so we focus more on mobile traffic.
How does device fragmentation impact Medisafe?
From an acquisition standpoint, it just splinters. You’ve got your development team building apps for several devices with different screen resolutions and technology to support. Then there’s the two different app stores you’re optimizing for search, Google Play and Apple.
A huge opportunity for marketers is going to be indexing app content and deep linking to it in Google search results. That’s going to be the next wave of mobile app marketing.
How do you feel about diversifying user acquisition channels outside of Facebook?
In terms of Facebook, all I can say is it is certainly amongst the most cost-effective. We get great volume, high quality Medisafe users from Facebook at a CPA we’re mostly comfortable with.
Of course, you don’t want to have a one trick pony. You don’t want them to make changes that impact your company overnight. They’re in the driver seat there. They’re in control, and that’s scary. It’s no different than what you should be doing in every other area of your marketing, which is diversifying, testing, and finding new platforms. That work pays dividends. But at the same time, you’ve got to go with what works, and Facebook works for us.
What’s the biggest mistake that you’ve made in mobile marketing?
I haven’t believed in banner advertising in a long time on traditional web but I tried it for mobile, and it failed miserably. It only cost us a few thousand dollars, but I only saw about three installs, maybe a few more than that. Banner ads might work in some categories, but it didn’t work for us. I will not try it again any time soon.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone marketing a non-gaming app?
Number one is identifying the critical activation and/or engagement metrics that you want to manage to. Once you’ve identified them, really drive those requirements with the partners you work with. It doesn’t mean that everybody’s willing to work on a CPA basis with you, but you need to be able to manage to that CPA and have that level of intelligence. It keeps your vendors honest and it keeps you aligned with your business goals.
What do you see as the next big thing in mobile marketing?
Mobile marketers are going to start leveling the playing field in traditional search. We’ll have the ability to reveal high-quality, real app content to users searching topically by keyword and showcase apps that are solving real-life problems in a visually captivating way. I think we’re on the verge of that, which is great.