Q&A with Thomas
Thomas was formerly Director of Marketing at Penn Interactive Ventures (PIV), where he was responsible for marketing Viva Slots Vegas & Hollywood Casino, two of the top 50 grossing Social Casino apps. Thomas joined the company by way of PIV’s acquisition of Rocket Games, Inc, a popular social gambling company, where Thomas worked as the User Acquisition Director managing all mobile UA efforts.
In your own words, tell us about the app that you manage?
I am responsible for managing two of the top 50 grossing Social Casino apps available in the app stores. Viva Slots Vegas is the #1 Classic Slots app. Hollywood Casino has real Las Vegas slot machines and the opportunity to earn real-world rewards.
What drove you to get started in mobile marketing?
Nothing too exciting here. As the company grew I went where the company needed me most; from Product Management to Product Marketing to Acquisition Marketing.
What do you like most about mobile marketing?
Mobile app marketing is a great mix of art and science. I love coming up with new promotion strategies and advertising creative styles, A/B testing them, doing the analysis on the results, and iterating on the winners to fine-tune the overall marketing strategy.
What does it take to succeed in mobile marketing?
Ideally an innovative product but a differentiated one will do, great artists and animators, disciplined media buyers, and trusted advertising partners.
What does a quality mobile user look like to you?
Our most valuable customers are ones who spend with us on our apps and also visit our local casinos.
What strategies work best to convert installs into engaged users?
The best strategy in the social casino space comes when every customer receives a seeded experience with some of the top-performing content at the top of the first-time user experience (FTUE).
What have you done in the past year to help better monetize your app?
App Store Optimization (ASO) tests in the Google Play Store and thinking outside the box with advertising creative. Most developers are blown away at the improvements that these two initiatives bring. Widening the top of the funnel will do wonders for your return on ad spend (ROAS).
What is the biggest challenge in marketing your apps?
Apple App Store has become a pay to play platform. Even if an app publisher’s product is extremely innovative and producing great returns at low scale, the publisher has to be prepared to spend $1M+ in marketing spend on a new app to gain organic app store visibility through higher keyword rankings largely determined by CTR, CVR, and install volume. Without a strong k-factor and organic install volume it is hard to have sustained growth and profitability.
How do you stay ahead of changes in technology?
Advertising possibilities are usually dictated less by technology and more by what the advertising partners make available to advertisers. Therefore, it is really important to be in close contact with the advertising partners to ensure that you are always on the cutting edge of the placement types and channels that they make available.
What do you see as the next big thing in mobile marketing?
Social influencers marketplace. Social influencers collectively have a massive audience, arguably bigger than any other channel but they are too fragmented and hard to manage and produce a consistent performance at scale like you can with an ad network, DSP, search, and social channels. I believe there will be a consolidation of the social influencers into an efficient marketplace where advertisers and influencers can connect and interact similar to the more established web-based affiliate networks.
Do you run re-engagement campaigns? If so, can you share a strategy that worked well for you?
Yes, but on a small scale for our most valued customers. We have found that re-engagement campaigns only make sense if you are able to bring the customers back to a different, improved experience. So we try to use a free new machine promo or level unlock. First we use free channels: push and email. And if that doesn’t work then we will advertise to them with Facebook or a DSP.