Q&A with Tim
Tim Ming is the Director of Digital Marketing at American Well in Boston, MA. After spending three years as an analyst in the clean tech industry, he shifted into the fast-growing mobile space as a performance marketer. His background in analytics made him a perfect candidate for mobile marketing, where he’s found success by making smart, data-driven decisions to grow his company.
How did you get into mobile marketing?
I spent three years in clean tech as an analyst after graduate school and pivoted into mobile marketing 4+ years ago. I saw an opportunity in mobile initially due to being in Boston, where there was a growing ecosystem of innovative tech companies hiring analytics-savvy generalists.
What do you like most about mobile marketing?
Four years ago, smartphone unit shipments had grown nearly 50% year over year and the amount of time spent on mobile media was growing very quickly, now up to 25% as of 2015. With more users on mobile devices, it’s exciting to see how quickly technology companies helps brands get in front of their users in elegant, non-intrusive ways that are both fully trackable and transparent.
What is the biggest mistake you made as a mobile marketer?
Losing sight of KPIs. At various stages of a company’s growth, a mobile marketer needs to be dialed in to their core KPIs, whether it is top of funnel installs or deeper funnel, revenue-generating purchase events. These metrics are potentially dynamic depending on the stage of a company’s growth, and it is important to always be internally aligned on what the metrics of demonstrated success are.
What does it take to succeed in mobile marketing?
A clear understanding of one’s target user base, strong relationships with technology partners, a nimble creative and copy team to aid iterative optimization, and a compliant reporting infrastructure that supports analytics.
What does a quality mobile user look like to you?
At American Well, we’re in the business of finding sick people and connecting users with a licensed provider in minutes. In-person care typically involves a patient to take time out of their day to sit in a double-booked waiting room for an all-too short appointment with their in-network doctor. American Well is flipping this patient care model on its head with on-demand services in a fully secure, HIPAA-compliant video experience on either desktop or mobile.
What strategies work best to convert installs into engaged users?
One of the key drivers of usage and engagement is finding users with strong intent at a time of need. When American Well moved into the consumer market three years ago, direct-to-consumer online doctor visits were novel and under the radar. Even now, users will first attempt to self-diagnose when sick, rather than visit an online doctor. Given this is the case, search platforms and marketing partnerships are critical to helping us source and convert users looking for immediate and quality care, moving users efficiently through the conversion funnel from click to clinical visit.
What is the biggest challenge in marketing the American Well app?
We are in the early days of telehealth and have the rare opportunity of defining how consumers have doctor visits online. Over the past three years, we have seen the telehealth for consumers achieve stronger product/market fit, amass coverage from all major health insurers, and obtain more favorable regulatory rulings permitting doctors to practice and prescribe online in all states, except two. For telehealth marketers, the challenge is coupling optimized performance marketing with clear and memorable branding – but it is also the opportunity.
How do you stay ahead of changes in technology?
We have found it invaluable to partner with agile freelancers – experts in specific and at times niche areas of marketing to help take our efforts to the next level.
How important is diversifying user acquisition outside of Facebook?
Like many mobile marketers, we have found a lot of initial success on Facebook, with Facebook detailing our results in a case study published in February 2015. As we continue to test Facebook ad products, specifically Facebook Lead Ads as of late, we also find it helpful to have many irons in many paid channels – both proven and up-and-coming.
How important are the holidays to your business and what season is the biggest time for you?
On-demand online urgent care is highly seasonal and tracks flu season quite closely, which typically begins early Q4 and peaks in Q1. People tend to avoid taking time to see a doctor during the holidays as it may interfere with their holiday plans. We observe this to be the case during weekends as well. As we continue to expand our medical offerings with practices featuring licensed psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, and dietitians, we expect a steadier stream of app usage and engagement throughout the year.