A new study by mobile app A/B testing company Apptimize finds most apps are severely lacking in fresh or personalized content. In fact, only 5 percent of apps release updates on a weekly basis. If you’ve been under the hood in mobile marketing and development, you know that mobile audiences are fickle and move fast, and small changes can dictate business-critical events. For instance, the same Apptimize study found over a third of respondents generate 50 percent or more of their revenue from their mobile apps.

If understanding your mobile audience and meeting their needs is so critical to app success, and brands and apps can’t update fast enough to meet demand — what’s broken?

Slow to update

It’s clear there are organizational breaks that cause updates happen so slowly. According to Adobe’s annual mobile maturity study, more than 89 percent of IT respondents claimed that mobile is IT’s responsibility — whereas nearly 50 percent of marketers said mobile belongs to them. The demand for faster, continuous development that challenges traditional IT infrastructure and development methodology is clear.

If mobile doesn’t have a clear owner, it’s harder to make product level decisions quickly. “Most of these apps are more static than a website. You can actually change your website a lot more easily to reflect a campaign instead of your app. That’s the opposite of how it should be,” Apptimize CEO Nancy Hua said. I’m inclined to agree — but the challenges make sense. Marketing and product wants the app to do everything; engineering wants to release it on time. There’s a broken operational chain — but not for everyone.


Join us on May 19 in San Francisco, where top mobile product executives from Pinterest, Zillow, and Glassdoor go deep on mobile development and marketing and reveal what makes them successful.


Mobile growth is increasingly becoming a top priority for businesses in nearly every vertical. That means it’s also creating demand for faster, continuous development cycles that challenge traditional IT infrastructure and development methodologies.

Mobile marketing is broken

VentureBeat’s research arm VB Insight has been researching the enablement tools that power the mobile app economy’s unparalleled growth. We’re actively tracking how user engagement/retention, segmentation, targeted messaging, and audience development, acquisition, and engagement, as well as app monetization, have evolved over the past few years.

“What people have to realize is that mobile isn’t another random marketing channel like a website,” Hua told me. “The thing with mobile that’s uniquely awesome is that now you have real-time access to your user. There’s a lot of opportunity to that, but the flipside is you have to raise your standard of experience. If you get it wrong, users don’t tolerate it.”

The Apptimize study also found around a third of mobile marketers never or rarely run marketing campaigns, and another third only run them occasionally. This is a dangerous proposition for every category of app, where there are competing exponential curves showing user acquisition costs are entirely out of whack — app attrition is in an equally scary downward curve. We’re at peak app penetration — people aren’t downloading new apps nearly as frequently as the past few years. Optimization is a survival tactic now more than ever.

“Usually, what happens is if your app sucks even a little, users will bounce and get a competitor’s app. It’s funneling money to your competitors,” Hua said. “That’s why people are seeing their costs not make any sense. You need to nail retention. You need to make sure your app is great.”

On May 19 in San Francisco, we’ll be discussing exactly how the most successful apps build a development, marketing, and data strategy to move even faster than their customers — where top mobile product executives from Pinterest, Zillow, and Glassdoor will be sharing trade secrets.

The Details

Who should attend?

High-level mobile marketers, growth executives, and product managers. (This event is brought to you by our friends at Taptica, who had no influence over the study we’ll be giving away to attendees or its findings. Proceeds from the evening benefit Sleep Train Foster Kids.)

Register now.