Mobile

Google's Jason Spero: We need to think beyond app installs

Google's head of performance media Jason Spero with Re/code writer Ina Fried at MobileBeat 2014.

Above: Google's head of performance media Jason Spero with Re/code writer Ina Fried at MobileBeat 2014.

Image Credit: Mike O'Donell/VentureBeat

SAN FRANCISCO — App installations are one of the best ways marketers have to measure the success of their apps today, but they can’t stop there, according to Google’s head of performance media Jason Spero.

In particular, developers and marketers should be paying close attention to reacquisition — engaging with users after they’ve installed apps — Spero said at our MobileBeat conference today in a conversation with Re/code reporter Ina Fried.

“If we stop at app installs, we really haven’t solved the problem,” Spero said, referring to persistent issues around tracking the effectiveness of ads.

“Outside of our industry, installing an app is not a typical marketing end,” he added. “The marketing end is getting someone to walk into your taco restaurant, or getting someone to engage with your product … Marketers have downstream goals.”

In fact, Spero acknowledged that many companies might not even need an app — or might need one just for their very best customers. Outside of app-centric businesses like mobile gaming, Spero said, as many as 50 to 75 percent of companies just need a well-designed mobile website to serve the majority of their customers’ needs.

The lesson for developers, then, is to create an app that can easily become a part of someone’s daily routine. Spero pointed to GrubHub and Seamless as apps that have managed to do that for him. Since they can save his payment credentials and remember his food preferences, they’ve become and indispensable way to get food on demand (something that anyone who uses these apps regularly can attest to, including this writer).

Similarly, he added, the Papa John’s app lets you order pizza easily during your commute, so your dinner is ready as soon as you get home.

The goal, Spero said, is to “use the foothold of the app install as the starting point of the conversation with the customer, not the end.”


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