The tools they use may be leading-edge but when it comes to engaging mobile app users, Playboy and GameStop adhere to advice our grandmas might have given: Listen to your customers.

According to Fiksu, the price paid for luring consumers to your mobile app is high — between $3 and $4 (or $15 to $20 if you’re in some hot markets) — but the cost is even greater if users don’t become loyal, engaged customers. That’s what happens to about 70 percent of people who try out those apps your team sweated over: They download, then ignore.

“It’s not about the install. It’s about what happens after the install,” says John Koetsier, mobile economist at TUNE, in VentureBeat’s recent webinar: “CMO Roundtable: Mobility Engagement is the New User Acquisition.”

Koetsier was joined by two powerhouse mobile marketers: Jason Allen, vice president, multichannel at the $9.3 billion Gamestop, and Playboy’s Robin Zucker, senior vice president of marketing, digital research at Playboy Media. Together, they talk about what it takes to turn fickle app users into loyal die-hards.

As to those new users:  if you’re lucky, instead of ignoring your app, they may get angry.

That’s what happened when GameStop first launched its mobile app in 2014. But as Allen says in the webinar, GameStop listened to its customers and then delivered what they really wanted — not what GameStop believed they wanted.

“Our customers were asking for three to five things they wanted to do on the app,” he says.

These included the ability to look up trade-in value for games and consoles, finding the nearest store, and other simple capabilities that allowed GameStop to develop one-on-one relationships with some of its most loyal customers, says Allen.

In the case of Playboy Media, the mobile app led the way in the company’s recent decision to not publish nudity. And despite the doubters, app users really do download it for the articles — between 20 and 30 pieces of new content each day, says Zucker.

“Even if we wanted it, which we don’t, you can’t have nudity in the Google Store or the Apple Store,” she says. “On the website we have a lot of users coming back every day and that’s our goal. There’s something [new] there every day. We want to aspire to the same thing with the app. As long as we can have an ongoing relationship, that’s the key thing for us.”

The two businesses emphasize the relationship aspect of mobile apps by regularly communicating with users to ensure they continue to provide appropriate content and services. Asking users questions, A/B testing, and other measures also allow them to measure a program’s success.

“We don’t live in a world where we’re so disconnected from consumers any more,” says GameStop’s Allen. “Go ask them. Go do a test. Go do A/B. We’ve found that to be critical. It’s really created a strong sense of agility.”

This continuously gives customers reasons to use brands’ apps, says Koetsier. Marketers must convincingly answer the “why” question, he says, otherwise consumers will soon walk away from the app. Smartphone real estate is invaluable and personal, executives agree. There’s always a new game looking to hog your phone’s storage and only so many hours in the day to use apps of any kind.

“The user has elected to have the app on their most personal device and adding more personalization is key to keeping us there,” says Zucker. “The people who are more engaged have us on their phone. It’s a much more personal experience than we’d get on the web.”

Because of this, brands should not consider monetization prematurely, warns TUNE’s Koetsier.

“Get a great user experience first. Get somebody to like the app,” he says. “Worry about monetization last. Monetization comes with longevity. Monetization comes with engagement.”

After all, customers who use your mobile app daily are more loyal to your brand, most likely to buy and recommend your products, and spend more when they shop. That’s definitely worth waiting for.

Don’t miss this critical discussion between three mobile leaders.

Access the on-demand webinar right here for free.

In this webinar, you’ll:

  • Hear the mobile strategies that top tier B2C companies are using to engage consumers.
  • Discover the mistakes some marketers make in measuring mobile engagement.
  • Achieve the sweet balance between mobile customer engagement and user acquisition.
  • Get top notch industry survey results from VB Insight’s latest mobile report.


John Koetsier, Mobile Economist, Tune
Robin Zucker, SVP Marketing, Digital Research, Playboy Media
Jason Allen, VP, Multichannel, GameStop


Wendy Schuchart, Analyst, VentureBeat


This webinar is sponsored by TUNE.