Facebook and Google should be part of any marketing strategy. Still, diversification and looking to other channels for scale and deeper insights is a smart move marketers should consider–particularly marketers who need significant results on a small budget. So, how do marketers move out of their comfort zone and into the winner’s circle? Our host Peggy Anne Salz gets surprising answers from Kate Palmer, Director of Growth at Stash, a personal finance and investing app helping more than 4.5 million Americans save, bank, and invest. Kate, a Mobile Hero recognized for her accomplishments, names the channels that offer opportunities. She also draws from her own experience to provide valuable guidance for marketers seeking ways to stay motivated and advance their careers in challenging times.
Either way, we get the inside track on all of the above because this is the bi-weekly feature show where we talk with the marketing experts and they do it because it’s their daily job, it’s expertise that has earned them the title of Mobile Hero as chosen by Liftoff, a full-service mobile app marketing and retargeting platform.
So today, it’s all about decreasing stress which is probably good news because you as a marketer must be feeling it, I mean, it’s in these times, right, it’s when you have to get big results on a small budget – now, how do you do that, how do you do that is by avoiding mistakes from the get-go and you need to know what to avoid, you need to know how to diversify and these are some tough questions, yes, but we get straight answers from a Mobile Hero who has been there and done that. Her career has covered all sides of digital and mobile advertising, she was in an agency, vendor, client and now consultant and now of course something very different, Director of Growth at Stash. So bring it on, Kate Palmer, welcome to the show and great to have you here.
KP Thank you so much for having me, I’m so excited.
PAS Okay, so I said that you’re a Mobile Hero, that gives us some background, we know you’re at Stash, that’s another big point but for people who don’t know exactly what it means to be Director of Growth at Stash, what’s your daily routine like?
KP Sure, so I oversee all paid acquisitions, so I’m in charge of running all of our – any campaign that we are putting dollars behind, I manage a team of 4 really incredible people and between the 5 of us, we’re probably managing almost 100 campaigns at this time that span across many, many different channels and every day we are just continually strategizing on how we can drive more users more efficiently.
PAS And that’s probably good reason why you’ve written about diversification, all of those channels, that’s what’s in your blog and we’ll get to that because I thought it was great, I thought it was great sort of like reverse psychology – it wasn’t like you need to do these three things. No, this is what you need to avoid, that motivates us to try and understand what that is. I talked a bit about small business, you know, not small business necessarily but really all marketers, I guess, and agencies are squeezed, right? I mean, you have to do more with less and one of the things that you’re highlighting in your blog is diversification.
I’m just curious what you think the benefit of that is in a nutshell because it makes sense, you spread budget around but what should you – well, I wouldn’t say promise yourself but as a marketer, what should you expect?
KP I think it’s really easy when, you know, you get notice from above that your budget is now less than what is was previously, I think it’s really easy in order to stay within that budget to just pick one channel and, you know, one of your better-performing channels and just funnel all of your budget through that one channel. But the problem with that is that if that, you know, when you are spending all of your money in one place, if that campaign has a bad day, you have a bad day and so your performance will vary, you know, can vary pretty significantly day over day and you really don’t want those swings. I mean, it’s not helpful to your bottom line and it’s obviously going to raise a lot of questions internally. No-one needs that kind of stress.
So when you take your budget and you spread it out over maybe your top 5 performing channels, you’re alleviating your risk of bigger swings day over day, you’re able to continue to increase your number of users with minimal impact to your bottom line because you can just continually reallocate budget within those campaigns. You know, funneling it towards the most efficient channels for that day.
PAS We’re going to talk about how to find more efficient channels and diversify really but at another level, you mention that when they have a bad day, so Facebook, Google what have you, they have a bad day, you have a bad day and that’s a lot of questions that get asked but there’s also a lot of questions that get asked earlier on when you’re maybe telling someone, you know, you’re telling someone at sea-level, hey, I’m going to diversify – it’s like whoa, wait a second, everyone’s on, I’ll just name it, Facebook, I’m not trying to disrespect them but everyone’s there, this is not a time for experimentation, you know, we are in the era of COVID-19, stick to what you’re doing, stick to one channel. What would be your reaction, what would be your answer to that because I’m sure a lot of marketers are going to run into that, maybe more now than ever.
KP Oh, absolutely. My response to that is sure, but that’s what everybody else is doing right now so if everybody cuts out, you know, the majority of their portfolio and just starts funneling all of their budget into Facebook and Google, all of our costs are going to go up and at the end of the day, that’s not beneficial for anybody. So my response to them is we can find much more efficient traffic at scale in other places.
PAS Okay. So we overcome the herd mentality, we convince our boss and we’re saying, okay, let’s do it, let’s really do it, let’s let go of preconceived notions, let’s experiment. It’s exciting, you know, to do something different but do you have any sort of to-dos or not to-dos while you’re moving in that direction because, you know, it’s got to be a sort of thing where you make, you do a campaign, you see what the metrics tell you and then you decide double down, decrease, switch off altogether and those are a lot of questions to ask there but maybe there are just some rules of thumb to guide us through that. So let’s just say I’m experimenting, how many should I go for?
KP It really depends on the size of your budget but when you do start to diversify, there are a few things that I tell my team over and over again, you know, never take no for an answer – if you want to launch a new campaign with a new vendor that you’ve never run with before, if they say, oh, we can only run this on a cost per install basis but meanwhile you’re running all of your other campaigns on a cost per down funnel event, a CPI campaign, don’t take no for an answer. They can do it, they just don’t want to do it because they’re obviously going to make more money on a CPI campaign. So that’s number one, never take no for an answer, make sure you’re always negotiating to mitigate the most risk for you up front.
And then the other biggest tip I can give is just there is no such thing as set and forget in the mobile industry. You need to be 100% on top of all of your performance across every campaign at all times. If someone comes to you and says, hey, what’s the CPI on campaign X, you should be able to, you know, give that answer right off the top of your head. You always need to be optimizing these campaigns, you can’t just let it run and then, you know, after 30 days, say, well, this didn’t work – no, you need to be proactive, you need to be in there adjusting bids, blacklisting site IDs, you need to be updating creative, you need to be in there and be proactive and you should never just rely on the vendor itself to do all of the optimizations for you because that’s not beneficial to anybody.
PAS And I love that not taking no for an answer, I didn’t realize, I’m not a marketer, right, Kate, so I didn’t realize that you can still get that brush-off because basically they want to earn more or it’s just more problem, you know, they don’t want the heavy lifting.
KP Absolutely and sometimes it’s not even about the heavy lifting but, you know, on their end, they want to get as much learnings as possible so they want to run the campaign in a way where it’s going to be basically just casting a very wide net which is great for them, they’re going to learn a lot quicker but then it’s worse for you because you’re going to be super-inefficient most of the time for the first couple of weeks.
PAS Okay, just a quick one for you. Is there a channel that has you totally interested or totally on your radar because we’re telling people to diversify and we’re going to dig into some places where they need to be going but maybe there’s just one that really is hot now, for you.
KP Well, since I came to Stash, I have been pretty excited about our affiliate content channel, this is something that I didn’t have a lot of experience before I came to Stash but it is amazing, it’s basically you’re creating these partnerships with other companies like Penny Hoarder, FinanceBuzz, you’re creating content with these partners and they’re running reviews of your company or putting you in a listicle, top 10 finance apps, top 10 apps for investing or online banking. You know, so, for the user, I mean, users that come through on this channel are so much more qualified because they have a very strong idea of what your company does and what you have to offer by the time they enter the onboarding funnel. And so we have really been having a lot of fun over the last couple of months really growing this channel at Stash.
PAS That is fascinating, that’s the first I’ve heard of that too. I expected, oh, you know, Quora, whatever, Reddit, because they are amazing channels with amazing results – I mean, I’ve heard a lot and seen a lot but content through affiliate and sort of like more power to content marketing, now that’s an exciting short-cut. I knew there was a reason why I had you on the show, Kate, this is going to be great, you are definitely going to be the stress buster for our audience. But we do have to go to a break right now so listener, you can see it, you gotta be back for it, it’s going to be great, so don’t go away, we’ll be right back.
And we’re back to Mobile Presence. I’m Peggy Anne Salz and we have Kate Palmer, Director of Growth at Stash. And before the break, Kate, you were so helpful in sharing some inside tips that I think are going to really make this one sing as far as podcasts go, I expect it to be one of our more popular ones because it’s just straightforward what you need to do and your blog is about what you need to avoid.
So, let’s look at a couple of those tips. So drawing from your blog and we’ll talk later about where people can read it, what’s a top tip again – big results on a small budget, what do you need to avoid to get those results?
KP One of the things that you really need to avoid is just being uninformed about mobile fraud, mobile fraud is going to get you from every single angle and there’s no way to ever be, you know, completely free of it. And so you need to be aware of the different kinds of fraud, you need to figure out how it’s infiltrating your channel but then more importantly you need to know how to operate and still continue to scale your business while, I mean, you’re just going to have to accept that, like, fraud exists and you just have to learn how to proactively optimize it out and live with it.
PAS Okay, I mean, that is the big one and I’ve read a lot about the different types of fraud, last time I checked there’s several different types, I think I had it up to 9 in one white paper. What are, if any, some short-cuts because you’re obviously going to go for the fraud that’s the most beatable, you know, you’re not going to go for things like bots that are just like constantly programmed to be smarter than you – that’s a different world – but, again, thinking about where the marketer needs to focus efforts, where would you say that is?
KP Needs to focus efforts…
PAS …to fight fraud.
KP To fight fraud. The number one thing that you have to do is to invest in a fraud detection tool, that’s number one, they are pricey but I promise you, you will be amazed at the ROI of these platforms. I personally use the Appsflyer Protect 360 and it’s pretty incredible – it blocks a lot of fraud in realtime. So, you know, they’re really mitigating a lot of risk on your side and then even the stuff that it doesn’t block out in realtime, it gives you really granular data, so it tells you what kind of fraud it was. If it’s hijacking, if it’s fake installs – and it gives it to you not only on the campaign level but it gives it to you on the site ID level, so you’re proactively optimizing it out of your campaign.
This way you’re not just looking at a campaign and saying, oh, this is driving a lot of fraud, I have to pause it – you know, you’re able to actually optimize it out and so you’re continuing to drive legitimate users on that campaign. It might be at a lower volume if they are driving more fraud and you need to be pausing more things off the back but, I mean, at the end of the day, like if you are still driving even 10 users a day from a campaign, I mean, that’s valuable at an efficient price.
PAS Absolutely, so being uninformed, as you write about it here, being uninformed about mobile ad fraud, that is the risk, that is the mistake. So you do have to be proactive, you have to understand and have a fraud detection solution, as you stated. What I like about your approach is that you pinpoint opportunities, you pinpoint opportunities where it will make sense for marketers and it’s something very simple, you know, it’s something that you find opportunities in our current state. But as a person, you also find opportunities, I mean, I look at your experience and I have to ask myself if we can’t learn something from you, you know, how do you find personal opportunities, career opportunities? What can you share?
KP Sure, so I think when a person goes into a new position or into a new company, a lot of people do not want to make waves, you know, they want their new co-workers to like them, they want to be accepted into the team and I think women especially struggle with this – they don’t want to go against the grain and so I think a lot of people’s mentality when they go into a new company or a new position, you know, they look around and they see things that don’t necessarily make sense to them but they don’t really say anything, they just say, oh, this is how they’re doing it, they’ve been successful doing it this way so it may not make a lot of sense to me but okay, I guess I will just get over that and I will just do it the way that they are doing it.
But for me personally, you know, when I ask somebody why are you doing it like this? And they say, well, this is how we’ve always done it. I think that is such an incredibly dangerous answer, just because that is the way that you’ve always done it doesn’t mean that that is the right way to do it or that there isn’t a better way to do it.
So I would say for me, I might be super annoying, I’m sure I am, you know, when I first start a job because I am that person that’s just like following people around the office just asking question after question after question after question because I want to make sure that I am fully 100% understanding something, you know, because in my mind you should never just settle for, okay, this is how they do it, this is how we’re going to do it and this is what is expected – these are the expected results. In my mind, I’m always thinking how can I do this better, how I can do this faster, how can I drive more users, how can I, you know, make this campaign more efficient?
And so I am truly that person that’s going in there and I’m following people around the office asking question after question, and then it’s hard to say – once again, I hate saying women struggle with this more than men, but I think it’s true – we never want to ruffle feathers, we never want to speak up and say, well, I think it could be done better because we don’t want to, you know, necessarily hurt anybody’s feelings – anything like that. It’s a real concern but you can’t be afraid of that.
PAS No, I get that completely particularly when you’re new to the job, you don’t want to come in and say, okay, so how do you do this, like, well, this is the way it’s always been done – but what I love about your approach, Kate, is that you’re taking the marketing skills, which is interrogating the data, right, that’s what it’s all about, and you’re interrogating the workspace, the workflow – you’re just saying, you know, why does it have to be like this, why can’t it be different than that.
I guess the other secret is to always do some homework and come with something constructive – it’s not destructive like, oh, this isn’t working, this isn’t right – no, it could be this way. I guess that’s the other half of it, isn’t it?
KP Exactly, I don’t ask so many questions just to be a pain in the butt, you know, I ask so many questions so that I fully understand what they are talking about so that I am not just sitting there going, well, that doesn’t make sense, that’s a stupid way to do that – you know, I want to make sure I fully understand something so that I can figure out a way to make it better. If it doesn’t make sense to me, what can I do to this to make it make more sense, what can I do to this to make it more efficient?
And so that’s the big thing, you never – it’s one thing to go in and be annoying and make waves as long as you’re being constructive and you’re being productive and you are adding value to the company or to the department but you never want to be that person that just comes in and be just, you know, a Negative Nancy across everything, and just say, well, that’s stupid, that’s a dumb way to do it, this doesn’t make sense, you know, if you’re going to say those things, you have to back it up.
PAS I love that, Negative Nancy, I hadn’t heard that one, Kate, that’s a new one, or it may be your very own. You are a Mobile Hero, you get that accolade for a reason – is there something you can share, an anecdote, so we understand not just where you’re coming from but maybe also an example that, one, earned you that title but also is aligned with this attitude, this mindset of saying hey, I can always make it better?
KP Truly, I think the biggest reason I was nominated for the Mobile Hero position, which was such an incredible honor, I was really stoked about it, is because I have always practiced - since I’ve been in the mobile industry, I have always practiced the diversification of the portfolio and because of this, I have worked with so many incredible people, I’ve worked with almost every single mobile vendor that exists at this point and it’s a very small industry so someone who started at Company A, within six months they’re over at Company B and they say, hey, you know, I think you might be interested in this and so I think, you know, being a Mobile Hero is just being really in tune with the entire industry and being able to figure out, you know, being able to walk into a place and say, hey, I have 10 vendors who I think would actually run really great campaigns for this particular product or for this particular company. You have to be on top of everything and that really – it really falls into my whole diversification mindset.
PAS I like that because you have to sort of, you know, you have to have a broad base in anything otherwise you’re just too focused on one thing, you’re not going to go with the flow, you’re not going to adapt – it makes sense to me. Just in a word, how do you stay then sort of up to date and in the groove with your industry? Any short-cuts on what to read, where to network, where you get your inspiration?
KP Yes, so I always read all of the Appsflyer newsletters that go out, they usually – since they are a mobile measurement platform so they’re ingesting so much data across the world, across every single app, you know, so they really have a really good finger on what is going on in the mobile world right now, trends, and then the grow.co newsletter is also a great place for new and upcoming trends and products.
And then honestly I rely a lot on my friends, on my friends in the industry, not only other UA people but people who work for ad tech vendors or mobile vendors – I really learn so much from all of those people. I love going to a conference or even just having coffee with another, you know, UA director, UA manager, anybody who’s working in the same space and just saying, hey, you know, I’m really struggling with vendor X, I heard such good things about it but I can’t get it to work – have you used it, do you have any tips on how to get it to work? I feel like that is probably the most beneficial resource that we have is each other. I mean, it’s still such an emerging industry and there are still so few people who have substantial experience in the field, you know, we really have to rely on each other.
PAS Absolutely, and those are great words of advice, Kate, really, and very human, very down to earth – what you need to read, I agree, Appsflyer has some great data, I live in data and reports and benchmarks, including Liftoff’s benchmark as well. So absolutely, I get it. We do have to go to a break a final time, so listeners, don’t go away, we’ll be right back.
And we’re back to Mobile Presence. I’m your host, Peggy Anne Salz and we have Kate Palmer, Director of Growth at Stash. And Kate, I’ve been enjoying this I have to say a little bit more than some of the others although I won’t play favorites, you are definitely a woman of action and I love that, I love to hear that and I love to have that on the show. So first of all I just want to thank you for just sharing, you know, and being real.
KP Oh, thank you, Peggy, I’m really enjoying this as well, I was nervous, this is great.
PAS No, this is fun, this is great and, you know, a woman of action, okay, so I’m going to ask you for the action plan – unemployment, high, we don’t have to go there, outlook for marketers, for everyone is limited at best – we need positivity, we need ideas, we need motivation. You certainly have it or at least that’s what I'm feeling here so we’ll stick with the three, because that’s what you have in your blog, you seem to like threes, so just give me three things, personal or professional, dos or don’ts, so avoid or do – just for marketers listening in and some of it could be about growing their opportunities at their job, you know, again, leading on from diversification but it can also be things they can do personally. Just things to expand their own horizons. So, I’ll let you kick it off, what would be number one?
KP Number one is to always bring a level of creativity to your professional life, like you said, the outlook for marketers right now is extremely limited, all of our budgets are lower across the board right now. Do you want to just sit back and become a one-trick pony and just run campaigns on Facebook and Google or do you really want to figure out an even better way to continue to drive a high level of users even more efficiently?
You know, right now isn’t the time to just say, okay, well if my cost per user was X and, you know, my budget was Y, okay, if my budget is now lower I’m still going to keep that cost per user, that’s just what it is so we just have to be fine with bringing in less users. No, you should be trying to think outside of the box and say, okay, well now if my budget is half of what it was, I should try and get my cost per user, you know, far lower so I’m still managing to bring in a good amount of users for that budget.
It doesn’t matter what your budget is, if you’re getting creative, you know, you can still continue to drive a good amount of users and really have minimal impact to your bottom line.
PAS And that’s probably even more important now because I think the UA sort of organic, you know, soaring organic numbers - I’m reading more and more that that’s sort of leveling off so it’s going to be back to work for a lot of people as well and making some decisions around the users you acquired and the users you want to acquire. So it’s going to be even more important, correct?
KP Absolutely, you have to constantly evaluate your entire portfolio and make sure that you’re always reallocating budget towards the channels that are most efficient for you at that time. You know, constantly funneling in new creatives, getting more creative with your creatives. It’s like, okay, well – I hate to use the word one-trick pony but, okay, well, this is what has worked for us before. Okay, so are you telling me that nothing else is going to work for you, like, nothing else is going to be more efficient, nothing else is going to drive more volume? You have to stay creative and you just have to always be thinking about the next thing.
PAS Okay, and on that note, I promised that we’d have a professional, we had our professional, now a personal tip – so leave us with a motto, something to give us perspective because, hey, Zoom is our new social network, work at home is the new normal, maybe we need something to put on our t-shirts when it’s all over – what would that motto be, Kate?
KP I would say my motto is, “You can always be better.” And I think that is really impactful not only in our professional lives but in our personal life and also, I mean, the world right now – we can be better, we can always be better – I think we should always be striving for that. Fairly recently, someone asked me, we were talking about the Breakfast Club and they asked me well, who are you in the Breakfast Club, were you the jock, were you the popular girl? And I said I was Emilio Estevez’s dad in that movie – I was the guy saying, You gotta win, you gotta be the best – that was me! I’ve always had that mindset, I’ve always just, you know, like if I got an A on a test, I wanted to get an A+. If I scaled my user base 50% month over month, it should have been 60. Like, I'm very hard on myself but I think that has really helped me to get to where I am not only professionally but in my personal life as well.
PAS That is great. I’m thinking of a saying, okay, I'm based in Germany so it’s not going to make it but if I translated it, they say if you sit down, you rust!
PAS So it sounds about the same here, it’s a great way to leave us. And of course, you know, people are going to want to stay in touch with you if only to get some of that motivation, to get some of that energy – you could put it in a bottle, sell it. How
would they do it, what’s the best way – is it LinkedIn, Twitter, what’s the best way?
KP Yes, the best way would probably be to connect with me on LinkedIn and then we can take it from there. I am part of the Liftoff Mobile Hero Slack channel so if you’re in there, we can speak in there as well.
PAS Awesome, and I was just admitted to that, I feel it’s like being one of the tribe now, I'm so pleased, so incredibly pleased. So, thanks again, Kate, thanks for sharing everything, it was great to have you on the show today.
KP I really enjoyed it, thank you so much, Peggy.
PAS And my friends, that is a wrap of yes another Mobile Presence. If you want to read up on Kate or any of the other Mobile Heroes in the series, you can check out their dedicated page and their amazing blogs over at heroes.liftoff.io.
And if you want to keep up with me throughout the week, find out how you can be a guest or sponsor on Mobile Presence, then you can email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, mobilegroove.com is where you can find my portfolio of content marketing and app marketing services.
You can also check out this and all earlier episodes of our show by going to wmr.fm or you can find our shows on iTunes, Stitcher, Spreaker, Spotify and iheartRadio simply by searching Mobile Presence. So until next time – remember - every minute is mobile, so make every minute count. Keep well, stay safe and we’ll see you soon.