Benedict Evans, partner at the venture capital giant Andreessen Horowitz, may have claimed in 2014 that ‘Mobile is eating the world’, but a look at the job market shows that still isn’t the case three years later.
There may be more than 3 million apps in the App Store, but there are fewer than 700 marketers in the Mobile Dev Memo Slack Team – one of the most active communities that specializes in mobile user acquisition, ad-tech and monetization. The ratio is ridiculous, but quite accurately reflects the relatively small number of experts who are responsible for the growth of the multimillion dollar mobile app businesses.
One of the biggest challenges in the market involves hiring mobile marketing experts for your department. If you have undertaken a job search in the past you will probably agree that it was nearly impossible to find an available expert with the right set of skills, experience, and mindset. Finding the best candidate is especially challenging if you are based outside of the US or Scandinavia, a region with a particularly strong focus on gaming.
But wait. What actually is the “right set” and what’s the risk of missing right people? To help you understand these important aspects, I have described four key roles you need in your marketing department to be competitive in today’s mobile space.
Consider this as a basic guideline for your hiring processes and team set up.
MOBILE MARKETING MANAGER
Why is a mobile marketer important? Your mobile marketing manager should be the single person driving the growth of your mobile business. They are the head of a body coming up with a strategy, an action plan and the ability to drive the execution. Without this role you will be dependent on organic traffic and… luck.
Skill Set: Your new manager will need a deep understanding of the mobile ecosystem (4+ years), performance marketing principles and classic marketing knowledge. You need an expert that is able to combine different disciplines. The marketing manager should work as a strategic planner who is ready to tap into other areas, create meaningful briefs for colleagues and serve as their opponent, challenging them when necessary. Often this role works closely with PR, game designers or product managers on cross-department campaigns.
Experience: Ideally your chosen candidate will have a background as a performance marketing manager role, or potentially even having owned their own mobile startup. (If it failed, all the better as it’s very valuable experience). F2P or subscription model knowledge, A/B testing, and analytics are required. Understanding of video production, asset creation, social media and brand building is a plus.
Mindset: An entrepreneurial background and approach is ideal for this role, with the mixture of a creative and data driven mindset bringing the best results. The person must have the potential to be a strong team leader.
Michal Skvor, mobile marketer from Avast discussing cross-promotion in a portfolio of apps with Jacob Chour from AppAgent.
USER ACQUISITION MANAGER
Why is UA manager important? The vast majority of mobile business today is driven by paid acquisition which should be covered by an experienced performance marketing manager. If you look at your media budget you will be probably more calm if you know the spend is managed effectively by someone that you can trust.
Skill Set: Your UA manager covers campaign management, reporting, and data analysis. The right candidate needs to have the ability to think strategically and to have eye for detail at the same time. Look for an itch to dive into numbers, finding continuity, and an ability to convert these numbers into insights.
Experience: Facebook and Adwords are the two main networks covering 70% of mobile ad inventory. A thorough knowledge of these is essential. RTB management is also a plus. Mobile specific networks are much easier to learn and manage, thus not necessary skills – at least at the start. High proficiency in Excel is a must, reporting automation and SQL/data visualisation beneficial. You’ll need to ensure that your UA manager understands LTV models, auction processes and differences in bidding types.
Mindset: Interested in finding the essence of a problem, analytical and results oriented.
Recent metrics from Hungry Pet soft launch discussed by UA manager Edward Krecmar and Albert Kolacek from Pandastic Games at the Mobile Marketing Economics workshop.
Why is data analyst important? All marketing activities need a proper data evaluation. If you don’t have someone to process information into insigt, you will quickly run into the trap of having the data but missing actionable insights. A skilled data analyst will help you to build the right data architecture, develop clear reporting dashboards and help you to find answers about your business, users and marketing. Without this role you will do the wrong things at the wrong times and almost certainly lose money.
Skill Set: You’ll want to find a number cruncher who has a positive attitude to tech. Skills in customer behavior analytics, campaign analytics, understanding of machine learning, attribution modeling and most importantly ability to understand business needs and communicate the data with other team members are all essential.
Experience: Mobile analytics, data mining, ETL processes, data visualisation, R, Python, SQL… A previous background in mobile isn’t necessary, with an “only digital” level of experience usually being enough – at least at the start.
Mindset: You should look for a modern-era Colombo; a data detective who looks for stories in numbers and loves a deep discussion about your business. The person must be open to directly present findings to business owners and marketers.
Having a team under one roof allows quick daily statuses, here about analytic dashboards of a news app called Tapito
Why is creative director important? With the potential for information overload, the ability to communicate clearly and catch people’s attention is priceless. To be successful your creative director needs to be able to follow quickly changing visual trends and different media formats specific to mobile. If you won’t have a creative personality with the mobile knowledge it could end up a little bit like speaking Japanese to a French baker.
Skill Set: A creative personnel that is skilled at designing a customer experience with monetization as the main goal. The key skill is the ability to distil the message and simplify the business in a form which is accessible for customers. No Photoshop or Sketch skills necessary, this is a “pen and paper” kind of role that favours an idea maker who can set the direction and manage the creative process with designers, animators or video makers inside or outside of the company.
Experience: Previous time spent working through the app development process is a big advantage as there are tons of great art directors who don’t get specifics of mobile. Understanding of animation, video production, design software and the overall creative process is necessary too. A big part of the work is leading artists and daily communication.
Mindset: Being imaginative and a bit of a dreamer isn’t a problem for the Creative Director,. Playing it safe and following others is. Your creative director should be hyper-critical with a very strong vision, but yet still be open to discussion.
Sketching new screenshots for Wallet by Budgetbakers.
Hire or outsource?
For many teams, employing such a skilled and varied mobile marketing team could be considered a bit premature considering their dev team size. Also, it could be ineffective at a certain stage, as the development could take years before the marketing team has a product ready to launch.
Personally, my experience leads me to conclude that the critical role in the process is the mobile marketing manager who can – to some extent – manage other roles outside of the company. Yet the seamless cooperation of experienced experts complementing each other brings real benefits.
It’s tempting to keep costs as low as you can, but our experience at AppAgent shows us that if you believe all of these roles can be done 100% by a single person, it’s unrealistic.
At the end of the day, this department drives your growth, and that’s what all of us want.
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🤝 Get help with the launch of your app or game, growth strategy, app and marketing analytics, ASO, user acquisition, video and playable ads production by reaching us at peter at appagent dot co.