Digital App Growth Summit Austin 2021 Recap: Testing Strategies for New Channels & Creatives

On November 16th, App Growth Summit held a live in-person event in Austin. Nancy Roberts, CMO of YouAppi, hosted a panel with Pedro de Arteaga, COO and VP USA of Winclap, Amanda Carvell, Director of Marketing at BitPay, Alex Meredith, VP Growth at Minibar Delivery. The panel titled Testing Strategies for New Channels & Creatives included conversations about key channels to explore, which creatives work best for each channel, and how to properly test and measure new initiatives to gauge success or failure. Here are the key questions with tips from the App Growth Summit’s panel discussion.


Nancy: Over the last two years, we’ve seen the consistent growth of mobile and digital- whether in gaming, fintech, food delivery, photo editing, social casinos. There are channels that work better than others. What’s the first thing you consider when you are creating your media mix?

Pedro: The first thing we consider when creating our media mix is the target audience, followed by the goal, stage of the app, and budget. 

Amanda: The first thing we consider is always the audience. 

Alex: Similarly for me, I would say audience comes first, opportunity second, and cost third.


Nancy: Small, scrappy teams are something that resonates with all of us on this panel. What marketing initiatives do you implement for your digital growth strategy when your resources are limited?

Pedro: This applies to everything, but it’s important to decide what tasks should be done in-house and what should be outsourced. Another way of looking at it is what you should build versus buy. In terms of marketing initiatives we implement when our resources are limited, it really depends on the context. We always like to make sure that the tasks we invest our time in are helping us to build a competitive advantage. 

Amanda: Similarly, we like to focus on doing a few things well, rather than trying to do a million things all at once. 

Alex: When our resources are limited, our focus is less on the specific channels or initiatives we are implementing, and more on what tasks we should prioritize in those moments. 

Nancy: What is the initial consideration when you are evaluating channels to test?

Pedro: Some of the things we ask ourselves when evaluating which channels to test include, “Why would this work? Does the channel make sense with the target audience? How much budget or time do I need to get significant results? Is there any overlap with existing channels? What is the level of transparency?”

Amanda: Our initial considerations are similar to the first question you asked in terms of creating our media mix. It’s all about the audience and goals.

Nancy: Do you consider retargeting or re-engagement a separate channel? What has worked for you?

Pedro: We consider retargeting a separate strategy, but it could be on the same channel. The framework that has worked for us is first clarifying the goal, whether it be activation, generating a habit, cross-selling, preventing churn, or reactivating, followed by defining the who, what action, where, why. And finally clarifying how it will be measured, such as by CAC or incremental value. 

Amanda: We do not necessarily consider it to be a separate channel, but potentially different objectives. For instance, an objective could be converting a user from a visit to an acquisition, or from install to a post-install event.

Alex: From a management perspective, yes we consider it a separate channel. But because of audience crossovers, it is very important for user acquisition and retargeting teams to be locked in step. 


Nancy: Talk to me about creatives, what creatives seem to work the best for fintech?

Pedro: What works best for us is channel-specific content. 

Amanda: For fintech, it’s important to focus on the copy and make sure the product is clearly defined. 


Nancy: I’ve heard that messaging has many layers of approval and compliance when it comes to fintech- what type of messaging resonates when it comes to fintech?

Amanda: The type of messaging that resonates in fintech will give the customers something. More specifically, a reason to use the product. For example, no fees, rewards, a referral bonus, or education for newbies. And the messaging has to be clear. 


Nancy: Winclap represents a large swath of clients, most notably fintech and food delivery clients. How does Winclap test creatives? Do video/playable work better than others?

Pedro: The pain points we usually run into include that there are multiple stakeholders to align, multiple channels to run, and specific content for each. So what we do as far as testing creatives is we follow a process. This starts with brainstorming with creative, performance, and branding teams that lead the storyboard for testing concepts, followed by creating a channel strategy and test schedule and cadence. The third step involves channel specific delivery, and the fourth step is running the campaigns. When running the campaigns, we are careful about the way we structure each channel, with an emphasis on not “over-optimizing.” Lastly, we iterate. This means launching new concepts while iterating winning ones. The key aspect that helps us in this process is our team structure, combined with CS, CA, and analytics. 


Nancy: Food delivery uses a unique mix of creatives- dynamic feeds being one of them. What seems to work best when appealing to thirsty and hungry people? Do discount codes work?

Pedro: First you should showcase the most demanded products or restaurants, which means scrapping first orders, ranking the most highly demanded places, and building ads that show this. Second, you should make it attractive to order. Nothing works better than an image of something really really tasty. 

Alex: High-demand products are certainly key, along with regional nuances. Discount codes are huge!


Nancy: When testing new channels, how do you approach the test? Do you run A-B tests with proven performers against new ones or do you test the channel with the best performing creatives from other campaigns?

Pedro: If we are testing a new channel, we would use the best-performing concepts from other channels. The key point we want to prove is that the channel can add incremental value to the existing media mix, so we will leverage all existing learnings as possible. This doesn’t necessarily mean the same creatives since some channels require specific creatives. For instance, TikTok requires fully vertical creatives with high-impact visuals, while Twitter embraces emojis, connects tweets with content and carousel images.  

Amanda: We use what works in other channels while adapting to specific channels. For example, Facebook vs Reddit also depends on the audience. 

Alex: Ditto what Pedro said! 


Nancy: There have been a lot of changes in the industry related to privacy in the past year. What has been impactful for marketers when it comes to channel testing?

Pedro: There are four things. First, how to measure. For instance, what do you use to measure? SKAN? Second, what to optimize for, for example conversion value, or events taking place 90% in the first day. Third, you should go for aggregated data and campaigns. And lastly, always rely on models. 

Amanda: The most impactful things for channel testing have been content, organic videos, and testimonials. 

Alex: Last year has really reinforced the importance of first party data.


Takeaways from App Growth Summit 2021: 

  • When creating your media mix, focus on your target audience first! Next you can consider your goal and opportunity, followed by budget or cost. 
  • Small scrappy teams can accomplish a lot! Focus on doing a few things well, rather than a million things at once, and prioritize. Don’t be afraid to outsource tasks when needed.
  • Retargeting and User Acquisition could be separate channels, but they should always go hand-in-hand and work together. 
  • Clear messaging goes a long way when it comes to making successful creatives! 
  • Test, test, test.. but don’t over-optimize. Focus on launching new concepts while iterating winning ones. 
  • When testing new channels, keep track of what has worked for other channels while keeping focused on your audience. 


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