Kartick Narayan

VP Growth & Computational Marketing

Q&A with Kartick


Read Kartick’s blog post where he shares some great tips on A/B testing ad creatives.


Kartick Narayan is currently the VP of Growth & Computational Marketing at Coupang, one of the largest and fastest growing e-commerce platforms. In his role, Kartick leads a world-class team of product, engineering, data science, and marketing teams. Prior to Coupang, he spent a number of years at Groupon and Amazon. Kartick has a background in Finance and has lived and worked across 5 countries around the world.

In your own words, tell us about the app that you manage?

Coupang is a $5 billion company currently serving the fast growing South Korean eCommerce market. I manage the core app which generates over 80% of topline sales coming from millions of active customers.

What drove you to get started in mobile marketing?

I became aware of the power of mobile marketing and a world class Customer Experience during my time at Amazon and Groupon. At Groupon, I managed a marketing budget of several hundred million dollars across multiple countries and multiple channels. The marketing teams at Groupon generated a significant amount of intellectual property as they built out a truly mobile-first computational marketing engine. We transformed marketing from being a cost center to a profit generating center on the P&L.

What do you like most about mobile marketing?

Mobile marketing is the best example of a discipline which brings software engineering, data science, and finance all under one umbrella. The rapid pace of innovation in this space is evident in the fact that mobile ads now account for over half of all digital ad spending.

What does it take to succeed in mobile marketing?

In my opinion, there are three key elements which are necessary to succeed in mobile marketing:

  1. A team which believes in algorithmic decision making and the power of computational marketing
  2. Product-market fit including a deep understanding of the customer
  3. High quality data retention which is essential to train predictive models

mobile app marketing with coupang

What does a quality mobile user look like to you?

Having the right definition of a “quality mobile user” is a critical component of managing a marketing budget of any size. In our case, a high quality mobile user is a customer whose engagement, purchase frequency, average spend, and average profit are at least two standard deviations above the mean.

What strategies work best to convert installs into engaged users?

While customer segmentation is helpful, it is important to bear in mind that there is always a head and a tail even within fine grained segments. This means that presenting the right message, to the right customer, at the right time, on the right platform using the right channel becomes critical in order to convert installs into engaged app users.

What have you done in the past year to help better monetize your app?

Having a single North Star metric which takes activations, reactivations, and existing customer’s current and future activities into consideration has been critical in order to solve for the optimal marketing mix and channel budget allocation.

What is the biggest challenge in marketing your apps?

At an eCommerce site such as Coupang, millions of unique item/offer combinations are being added daily along with hundreds of thousands of pricing adjustments being done simultaneously. Driving awareness and capturing a customer’s attention is the biggest challenge we face today.

How do you stay ahead of changes in technology?

Testing off-the-shelf solutions allows my team to stay ahead of how the market is adopting the ever-changing needs of marketers and publishers alike. Also, there is a lot of value in doing casual user testing by simply talking to customers to understand the most important customer pain points. Learning from industry experts through networking events and blogs (such as these) are also of tremendous value.