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Yahoo7 audience boss: ‘Marketers should not dismiss mobile apps, they need better user data’

Yahoo7’s product and audience chief is urging marketers not to buy into the growing rhetoric dismissing mobile apps as a marketing tool, arguing instead the problem is a lack of good data around usage.

Caroline Casey, director of product and audience for Yahoo7, made the remarks at the recent launch of Yahoo7’s new mobile developer suite, which is promoting a range of free tools including analytics tool Flurry, aimed at mobile developers.

Casey:

Casey: marketers need to target power users of their apps.

Questioned about a growing consensus against building mobile apps in favour of more mobile friendly/responsive websites, said Casey: “It is about having a really good app, because if you don’t get it right then people won’t use it.

“But consumers change apps, they update them,” she argued. “They don’t just use one for their entire life, they will change apps and that comes down to understanding the audience and improving your app.”

Key to the new Yahoo7 product launch is the Flurry tool which has more than 200,000 developers globally and is active in 730,000 apps across two billion mobile devices worldwide. Other parts of the launch include a publishing app, powered by Yahoo’s Gemini native advertising marketplace and a Brightroll video demand product.

Casey said the big data within its “Flurryverse” would be key as Yahoo7 seeks to gain the attention of marketers and their agencies in building market share within the Australia mobile app market.

“We have Flurry in all our apps (at Yahoo7) because we can really understand what’s working and what’s not,” said Casey, who is responsible for major Australian apps such as catch-up TV app, Plus7.

“I have two hats here at Yahoo7, both product and audience, and it is around how do you make the best product for your audience and how do you increase your reach and the audience overall.

“Flurry has reach so that you can build really interesting personas and coupling Flurry together with the marketing and monetisation capability makes it incredibly powerful.”

Casey argued a bigger issue was not concern about the power of apps, citing the likes of popular apps such as Angry Birds and Shazam, which use the tool, but more a lack of understanding among marketers about how to build popular apps and how to use what can be a powerful marketing base in the mobile space.

“In the marketing space you have to think with multiple hats on,” said Casey. “You can’t say ‘I’m just a marketer but I don’t understand product’, you need to know both the app and the audience.

“That’s why one of the most useful things about the mobile suite is to look at who the power users are – the hardcore mobile users – and target them. Rather we need to look for lookalike audiences within the Flurryverse and target them rather than spending your money on people who look like users or people who will be light users.”

Yahoo7 CEO Ed Harrison told Mumbrella that the new product launch was an example of the benefits the joint venture partnership was getting from its US parent, Yahoo.

“This is about putting the power of the those Yahoo tools to market here,” said Harrison. “The mobile suite is about allowing developers to get to know their business, build their business, advertise the business.”

Yahoo7 is co-owned by Seven West Media and Yahoo7 in the US. In recent months there has been speculation that Yahoo in the US would be sold, raising questions about the future of the local partnership.

Casey said one of the benefits of their partnership was the accessYahoo7 gets to big data tools from the US.

“People talk about ‘big data’ and this is about a massive amount of data,” Casey said. “It allows you to market to them in a way that shows that you know that customers (signal) dropped out at the check-out. Why did they drop out there?,” she said.

“You need to be able to track events in an app – doesn’t matter if its a gaming app, video app, whatever you need to be able understand what is triggering results, what is working and what isn’t.

“It allows you to look at the funnel and figure out where people are dropping out etc. and that can be from a product perspective and marketing perspective.”

Nic Christensen 

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