Acceleration 2016 Recap: The Future of User Acquisition

Panelists Erin Clift, CMO of Kik, Peter Hamilton, CEO of Tune, and Janae McDonough, VP of MoPub, discuss growth in mobile during Acceleration 2016.

By: Jessica Lindsay, Digital Marketing Manager

Editor’s Note: This is the second in our series of Acceleration 2016 recaps.

During the Growth panel, Acceleration panelists Erin Clift, CMO of Kik, Peter Hamilton, CEO of Tune, and Janae McDonough, VP of MoPub, discussed how User Acquisition has changed in the past few years and how brands are keeping up with it.

No Longer “Just for Gamers”

McDonough described the early days of MoPub when it mostly focused on user acquisition in the gaming vertical. At the time, MoPub was building flashing gif banners to try to appeal to their users. Now, gaming publishers are the minority of MoPub’s business, and McDonough has witnessed a substantial shift in what kinds of companies are involved in mobile UA campaigns. She specifically mentions Chase Bank as one of these unexpected companies.

In fact, McDonough later mentioned, one of the challenges facing marketers is that the number of users continues to grow exponentially. As the market gets more saturated with both supply and demand, it will be even harder to engage with an individual user in a meaningful way. Which leads to…

A Shifting Focus From Short-Term Conversion To Long-Term Experiences

Hamilton also noticed a major shift in the way Tune’s customers have engaged users. He explained that they now spend a lot of time determining “who touched what” and understanding the “whole consumer journey.”

Hamilton’s mobile app customers are looking to understand who their users are, and how to create “long-lasting, engaged relationships.” His software helps companies look at the pathways that the most engaged users took in order to determine what’s the first thing a company should do to get new users like them “hooked” on an app.

McDonough agreed that marketing and user acquisition is no longer about the install. It’s about the lifetime value of the user. The question has shifted from, “How can you get a new user to install the app,” to “How can you retain a user once they’ve installed?” There is very little brand loyalty, so a strategy of constant re-engagement is required if you want your users to remain with your app.

Clift explaining how bots will contribute to marketing in the future.

Worlds of New Opportunities


Kik’s CMO Erin Clift discussed how people are spending the majority of their time in messaging apps, and that marketers need to engage and connect with users while they’re there, making bots critical to the future of marketing.

She noted how marketers will have to connect differently to users than they have in the past, under “a completely different paradigm.” Unlike interaction through a website, messaging apps are built on the premise of a 1:1 intimate conversation. Brands will need to build content-based experiences that engage customers on their own terms.

While we are still in the very early days of bots, she laid out three possible use cases:

  1. As a way to meet a customer for the first time.
  2. As a way to drive engagement.
  3. As a way to transact payments.

All of these actions can occur within the context of a bot, just like they happen in a website or inside of an app now. The difference, she argued, is that interacting with a bot is a much more natural way to meet customers where they are.

The Real World (“TRW”)

Clift also describes the exciting possibility for authentically and seamlessly connecting in-app experiences to the outside world. She explained that the thrilling piece is not just what’s happening on the platform itself, but how you can connect your interaction with a user with what happens in a brick and mortar store, for example.


Finally, McDonough also noted the importance of marketers beginning to think internationally. User acquisition cannot focus solely on the US anymore. Rather, marketers need to find an audience in bigger markets, like China and India, that use mobile devices in novel and different ways.

Check back soon for our third installment in this series, in which we’ll discuss “Four Ways to Engage Users in Mobile”!

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