How to Make Money on Mobile

Warply John DoxarasJohn Doxaras, CEO of Warply, offers advice on monetising your mobile efforts. 

Mobile is where your customers are. This statement, once optimistic and predictive, is now a reality supported by hard data. This mobile revolution has changed the way brands and companies perceive the customer lifecycle value, and get closer to their audience, by adapting the nature of their approach or service. With users being 10 times more valuable in mobile than traditional media, understanding the impact and importance of mobile loyalty and engagement is equal to capitalizing on the customer lifecycle value (CLV).

Mobile affects consumer behaviour
The time users spend on screen has diversified in recent years among mobile devices, PCs, laptops and TV. The statistics prove consumers have a closer relationship with their smartphones (and other mobile devices) than ever before. This change does not only lie in the time spent, but is also related to the purpose of use.

A new pattern of use has been noticed through case studies, metrics and consumer surveys. People use multiple devices simultaneously or one after another, for different purposes. Shopping online with your tablet while relaxing at home, tweeting about a TV show on your smartphone, answering emails on your laptop, or listening to a music streaming application using your PC. Sounds pretty familiar, right?

Mobile channels are unique
Mobile channels are different from other media and platforms, for two reasons. Firstly, the direct nature of approaching people, reaching users on their most precious device, is hard to compete with. Secondly, it doesn’t pull leads and amplify buying intent, but pushes content to the users. So the message, the method of delivery and the context are all under control and provide immediate results, depending on the push notifications’ purpose (e.g. app download, click-to-action etc.)

But there is a problem with mobile acquisition. The app economy is saturated and overpriced. Your competitors are games, Fortune 500 companies that monetize mobile and more games, and more awesome games. When you try to acquire customers, the CPAs are much higher, and in addition you face an adverse selection problem. Apps are only selling clients that they don’t monetize, so in return you are buying users that are proven not to spend on mobile. A big opportunity window comes when you have the option to capitalize on low CPAs and first-mover advantages.

You can do this by co-operating with brand-aligned publishers using an ad network, to reach users in a targeted way. A great example is food delivery apps publishing interactive app-download campaigns in sports (newsfeed) apps, acquiring customers after using suitable behavioural tags.

Customer Lifecycle Value (CLV) is the most important metric in order to quantify your future predictions of revenue and refine your monetization methods. Understanding what your clients are worth is closely connected to sustaining a high retention rate, the key element in increasing your business CLV. Mobile provides the ideal channel for both impulse buying and getting your customers into the habit of buying on mobile. Define the added value missing from the mobile ecosystem, and let it showcase through every in-app activity. Build an amazing user experience (not only interface design) and give your users something that engages them socially and that is contextually relevant.

Loyalty in a mobile-first world
Loyalty programs in many verticals, such as financial services and airlines, seem to capitalize on this framework, and constantly use innovative features to maximize their performance in their respective apps, such as push notifications, an inside-app message inbox, one-click actions etc. At the same time, mobile commerce is rising; mobile payments make the transition to a full buying experience on a mobile device easier, and banks are on this track.

Making money on mobile is not simply enabling seamless buying experiences, from facilitating buying intent to realizing a payment. Considering mobile as a direct sales medium, and not a substitute for a native app or website, is the key to effective mobile monetization.
Encourage users to use their mobile devices as an easier, more pleasant way to shop and order products and services. Whether it’s food, clothing, online seminars, or whatever, managing this channel independently and aligning it with the ecosystem will ultimately leverage your efforts, and at the end of the day, convert leads to sales.

John Doxaras is CEO of Warply