Five minutes with: Aaron Glazer, CEO of Taplytics

What are your biggest opportunities & challenges for next 12-24 months?

Both are very similar. Our technologies help marketers A/B test and fine-tune their apps to make the mobile experience as engaging as possible for users, with the hopes that they’ll spend more time within them, make more purchases and become loyal users. Many are predicting this is the year that retail truly moves into mobile, rather than just planning around it, so there’s a big opportunity for us to help retail brands move faster and do a better job at wooing small-screen shoppers than their competitors.

Another near-term opportunity is helping companies personalize the mobile experience to drive engagement. The nirvana for mobile marketers is creating that magic moment for shoppers where you’re presenting the right message at the right time and making it all work. There’s a chance for us to help marketers figure out what resonates most, personalize the experience by target segment and get to that moment much quicker.

The fact that the mobile industry moves at breakneck speeds also presents challenges. You can never get settled into one mode of thinking or one technology because there’s another one emerging. Also, the perpetual need to innovate to keep up with new advances, such as wearable devices and app store changes, is difficult when you’re trying to solidify your place in the market. Wearables will undoubtedly fuel the industry with new revenue opportunities, but we also have to be careful to not just start throwing resources at it because it’s the shiny new things. For us, thoughtfulness and strategy prevail here.

What are some unmet needs in marketing technology landscape?

As simplistic as it sounds, marketers need to get their arms around the technologies that help them move quickly on mobile. The winners and losers in mobile are being decided right now, so there’s no room for missteps or making decisions based on best guesses. Very few customers will give retailers another shot if they’re disappointed with their app.

The age-old story is that consumers will download an app, use it once, and then either forget about it or delete it. This highlights the importance of creating ongoing app engagement by constantly iterating. Like it or not, marketers now have the onus of iterating their apps and push notifications to keep them fresh and relevant for users, and A/B testing is at the core of that. It’s a new beast for many, and an area where technology can lend a big helping hand. Newer tools like ours can show them which tweaks can drive the biggest improvements, whether it’s changing the location or color of a buy-button or switching up the copy. They can then test the new variants to see which works best – all without having to code or endure app store approvals. There’s a huge need here as what was historically developers’ work is landing on marketers’ desks.  

We also find that most of the investments in mobile to date have been made on analytics, which provide app owners with a huge stream of data. Unfortunately, it’s often not results-oriented, and making sense of it can be like drinking from a fire hose. My feeling is that marketers need analytics that provide “just enough” data on their apps, and give the guidance on focus areas where they can reap the biggest ROI.

What keeps your clients up at night?

Our clients are under intense pressure to grow their mobile business, yet most of them are also managing their web properties at the same time. This is creating a strain on their resources and generating new questions about which content belongs where and what tools to use for each channel. It doesn’t help that much of what used to be web-centric is now being cannibalized by mobile, so the lines are getting blurry.

The other part of this equation is that they’re under the gun to grow all of their business’s channels at once and meet key metrics. They worry about losing users, not getting enough new ones to sign up or countering negative reviews.

What social network do you anticipate accelerating growth in the next year?

There are two that seem poised to really take off – Facebook Messenger and Kik, which are both instant messaging apps for mobile. They’re among the first to start embedding other apps from brands such as Burger King and NBC News into their platforms, and there’s huge value in that for both brands and consumers. Mobile messaging is the idyllic space for brands to market to and build engagement with consumers because it’s one-on-one and interactive. Users win because they don’t have to deal with multiple apps and the content they receive is contextually relevant to them.

Some of the biggest brands and news services in the world are showing real interest in this interactive advertising movement, and Facebook Messenger and Kik are positioned to be the far-and-away leaders.

What’s the hardest thing to educate clients about?

The main one is the need to wait and not make decisions based on your A/B testing data until it’s reached a certain statistical significance. Sometimes, this can take a few days or longer, and it’s difficult to balance the desire for immediate results with the value that a statistically significant test provides. Making strategic decisions based on incomplete data is often the same as making them with no data at all.

2015 will be all about:

Smart push notifications. Push notifications are one of the best ways for marketers to build deeper, more meaningful and long-standing relationships with their customers. Smart push notifications call segmenting your mobile app targets based on their in-app behaviors, preferences and location, and delivering targeted information to them at the
most relevant time. I believe that marketers who send the right message to the right people at the right time will win in their customer’s mobile moment this year.

Aaron Glazer is the CEO of Taplytics, an innovator in mobile optimization

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