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Joyce Solano is the VP of Corporate Marketing at Leanplum, the engagement platform for the mobile era. Trusted by top brands like Lyft, Macy’s, and Tinder, Leanplum helps mobile marketers deliver faster growth and personalizer user engagement. Before Leanplum, Joyce spent four years at Adobe, managing the world's most creative brands such as Photoshop and Illustrator. There, she realized the opportunity to use mobile to better understand customers, fulfill needs, and capture hearts.

Joyce has been recognized by Mobile Marketing as a 2017 " Mobile Women to Watch" for cutting-edge leadership in the industry. She has lent her expertise to industry publications Mobile Marketing Watch and MarTech Advisor, serving as a thought leader in an ever-evolving space. She guided Leanplum’s marketing through its Series B and C milestones, and today leads Demand Generation, Brand, Content, and PR teams. Leanplum was honored as one of Business Insider's most valuable enterprise startups of 2016.

You can follow her on Twitter: @joycesolano

She will be live on May 4 starting at 930 AM PT for one and a half hours during which time she will answer as many questions as possible.

  • DH

    Dani Hart

    about 2 years ago #

    Hi Joyce,

    Excited to have you participate in an AMA!

    If you had three things you could share with the CEO of every company with a mobile app, what would they be and why?

    Looking forward to hearing what you have to say.

    Cheers!
    Dani

    • JS

      Joyce Solano

      about 2 years ago #

      Dani, great Q and we tell CEOs these tips all the time:

      1. Don’t forget about user retention! By day one, apps only have a 21 percent retention rate. By day 30, this number falls to 7.5 percent. And by day 90, it dwindles to 1.89 percent. Engaging your hard-earned users from day one is critical for encouraging your audience to stick around. Try sending relevant messages across push notifications, email, in-app messaging, and app inbox, to keep your app top of mind.

      2. Constantly evolve your product. With iOS and Android regularly releasing new updates, and competition keeping you up at night, the best mobile apps consider how they can continue to add more value to their users’ lives. Two thoughts: Make sure you have a best-in-class onboarding experience. And When you adopt new features, make sure you test it with a segment of your audience to capture feedback before rolling out in full.

      3. Make scaling easier with automation. Considering the amount of mobile moments that happen every day on an app, it’s not humanly possible to keep track of everything your users do. Don’t be hard on yourself; research and adopt the right technologies that can help you scale with ease. That way, when a user goes dormant, you can automatically send them a message asking them to come back and check out what’s new — and you send this to every dormant user at the best time.

      5 Share
  • WB

    Will Blunt

    about 2 years ago #

    Hey Joyce,

    I'm pretty new to push notifications... what are some common mistakes to look out for?

    Thanks for your time!

    Cheers,

    Will

    • JS

      Joyce Solano

      about 2 years ago #

      Welcome to our world, Will.

      We approach the use of Push Notifications like online dating, in fact we shared these tips with Mashable.

      Let’s avoid these 5 mistakes:

      1. Don’t be creepy
      Be personalized, but not too personalized. It’s safe to use a person’s first name or mention a recent purchase, but don’t bring up an ancient search they did. A little subtlety goes a long way.

      2. Don’t keep calling
      How many push notifications is too many? A news app can easily get by with 10 push notifications a day, whereas a shopping app may cross the line even with one coupon a day. What really matters is reciprocation. Are users opening your messages?

      3. Consider the hour
      No one wants to read a push notification in the middle of dinner or right before they go to bed. It helps to segment your audience by time zone to ensure you’re not bothering anyone. Even better, use an optimal algorithm with your tech partner to send at exactly the right time for engagement,

      4. Switch it up
      Taste is subjective. It’s hard to predict which messages will resonate with users. The best solution is to A/B test push notification copy until you’ve found something that works.

      5. Get past the one night stand
      Like booking a first date, acquisition programs get your foot in the door. But, on average, 79 percent of users won’t return after the first day. Invest in automated campaigns to keep people engaged in the long run.

      4 Share
  • GO

    Greg Ogarrio

    about 2 years ago #

    What is the No. 1 engagement issue facing mobile marketers today?

    • JS

      Joyce Solano

      about 2 years ago #

      It’s hard to choose one so here are my top 3. I won’t charge you for the bonus 2 ;)

      1. Onboarding new users
      Many apps struggle with retention (79% of users won’t return after the first day), which makes onboarding all the more important. Marketers can A/B test different variations of the onboarding flow to find what works.

      2. Bringing back users
      Even if 21% of users make it through the first day, less that 2% will remain active by day 90. So it’s important to engage users after onboarding too. Push notifications help with this: I’ve seen apps increase retention by 600% purely through personalized push.

      3. Connecting your engagement campaigns to in-app content
      When you drive users to your app with messaging campaigns, you have to align the in-app content, or else you risk giving your users an disjointed experience. For example if you send a push or email with a deep link to a seasonal offer or great piece of content, you want the app to reflect that promotion or experience in an integrated way.

      4 Share
  • JP

    John Phamvan

    about 2 years ago #

    Hi Joyce
    You'll have clearly been putting a lot of emphasis on content - I see it all the time on GH.
    How do you'll attribute the ROI of your content marketing efforts?

    • JS

      Joyce Solano

      about 2 years ago #

      Thanks for noticing! We have always understood that mobile marketing is hard. It is also a nascent industry that has yet to reach maturity. Building educational content needed to be fundamental to our marketing strategy. At Leanplum, we collect a tremendous amount of data. In fact we send 6 billion push notifications a month and are installed in 1 of 2 mobile devices worldwide. Having such scale enables us to package up valuable data science insights that we can share with mobile marketers, product managers and their teams. We also track the success of each piece of content from a media perspective, MQL targets and the influence it is having on closing deals.

      4 Share
  • SE

    Sean Ellis

    about 2 years ago #

    Hi Joyce, thanks for doing this AMA. I remember at the first GrowthHackers conference about four years ago that mobile attribution challenges was a big theme at the conference. I've heard great things about Leanplum for mobile attribution and engagement metrics. What are the challenges that still exist in mobile signup attribution (not solved by any vendor) and what are the major advances that happened in the past few years in mobile attribution?

    • JS

      Joyce Solano

      about 2 years ago #

      Hi Sean,

      Glad to be here! We look to our attribution partners like Kochava and Apsalar to provide strategic value for those challenges. We’re hyper focused on the engagement and retention side in the mobile ecosystem.

      Trends that continue in 2017 are:

      Using rich data to empower mobile marketers to automate personalized experiences in and out of the app.
      Proactively anticipating user desires via predictive analytics.
      Delivering new features (e.g. predicting bank balances and personalizing mobile shopping recommendations) via AI-powered chatbots.

      Mobile teams will invest heavily in automation campaigns that contain personalized parameters to move users towards conversions, save acquisition costs, and drive more ROI on every new user.

      2 Share
      • SE

        Sean Ellis

        about 2 years ago #

        Thanks, glad I didn't say I had experienced great things with your mobile attribution :) I guess it's only the engagement and retention side that I head great things about and assumed it carried over to attribution as well. Appreciate the answer!

  • TN

    Tri Nguyen

    about 2 years ago #

    What is your top acquisition channel at the moment? Has that changed from this time last year? Also, can you talk about any recent tests you've done in that channel that have resulted in big wins?

    • JS

      Joyce Solano

      about 2 years ago #

      Hi Tri. We have experimented a lot over that last few years to optimize each channel and reduce CPO (Cost Per Opportunity). Most of our leads used to come from content downloads and demo requests driven from SEM and SEO. We continue improving our SEO visibility by developing keyword targeted blog content focused on helping mobile marketers address their challenges. Sharing and promoting the content with partners, pubs and social has generated valuable inbound links, increasing our non-brand traffic.

      One of our biggest drivers of pipeline is actually Field Marketing which includes: sponsored conferences, webinars and events we host. We invite our customers on stage with us since their insights are much more powerful than a vendor pitch.

      In the last few months, we have also seen an increase of 150% in pipeline opportunities driven by email testing. We test every email that goes out the door and we recently learned that we get higher response and engagement from more targeted audiences, including from those with recent activity. People also love numbers in their content, e.g., 60 Greatest Mobile Marketing Strategies of All Time. Lastly, people are responding positively to seeing an emoji in the body copy of email.

      3 Share
  • NG

    Naji Ghosseiri

    about 2 years ago #

    Hi Joyce,
    For mobile teams out there trying to improve retention - can you detail proven strategies?
    Thanks,
    Naji

    • JS

      Joyce Solano

      about 2 years ago #

      1. Get out of the acquisition rat hole. It’s common for apps to put the majority of their budget into acquisition. But by day one, apps only have a 21 percent retention rate. By day 30, this number falls to 7.5 percent. And by day 90, it dwindles to 1.89 percent. We see the most successful mobile brands equally distribute budget to account for retention as well, to protect their acquisition investment and engage users for the long haul.

      2. Optimize onboarding. Great mobile apps examine their funnel to understand where users drop off. Can you simplify your onboarding flow with a social login, or by asking users to create a profile later on in their journey (like before purchase)? If so, you may be able to prove your value earlier and convince users why they need your app.

      3. Increase push notification opt-ins. Push notifications can increase user retention by 20 percent! But on average, apps only have a 43 percent opt-in rate. One of our customers, Last Minute Travel, increased their push notification opt-ins by 182 percent using a pre-permission message that gently explained the value of push. Now, Last Minute Travel can engage their users for many trips to come.

      4. Orchestrate engagement across channels, based on user behaviors. Don’t just send push notifications and forget about other channels. Email, in-app messages, and app inbox are critical channels to engage your users. For example, let’s say you have a retail app. If a user adds an item to cart but forgets to check out, send them a push notification the next day with their name and the specific item. If they don’t interact with the push, send an email three days later. If they still don’t respond, engage on both channels a week after offering free shipping. Through analysis of our billions of push messages we have learned that apps that send messages in response to user behaviors see 9x the engagement.

      3 Share
  • ML

    Mayank Lahiri

    about 2 years ago #

    Hey Joyce,

    Two questions:

    1. How can you invest in a push notification strategy that doesn't gradually annoy users? Do you feel that users are getting more wary about enabling push notifications for new apps as a result of annoying/useless campaigns done in the past?

    2. I was wondering what value you place on cold calling to acquire new customers, especially in the early days of new B2B businesses. Is it a viable strategy to gain the crucial first handful of paying customers?

    • JS

      Joyce Solano

      about 2 years ago #

      Great question, Mayank! These questions have more in common than appears at first glance.

      1. Yes, it’s absolutely possible to send push notifications that don’t feel like spam. Personalized content sent at the right time won’t annoy users — after all, don’t you want to recieve content that’s valuable to you Mayank? Great mobile app teams identify what their users want and send content tailored to that. For example, if you have a music app, send listeners updates when their most-played artists release a new song. If you have a travel app, send voyagers an alert when flights to a recently browsed destination go on sale.

      2. Yes, calling works! The key is having the right message to share. Just like with push notifications, we’ve learned that prospects don’t want a generic message. They want to know how you can improve their business with personalized strategies. We always treat content as king/kween at Leanplum. Yas. We email our prospects a piece of content that showcases business impact, and then coordinate with a call to deep dive on these opportunities. Valuable insights (case study, data analysis etc) should be at the center of each conversation.

      2 Share
  • AG

    Aman Govil

    about 2 years ago #

    What are some customer re-engagement strategies that you've seen be effective for service and food delivery apps like postmates, instacart, handy et al? It seems early orders are driven by discounts and coupons, but MAUs, ARPU and GMV falls rapidly once this free money dries up.
    What are the most effective businesses doing to drive repeat purchases?

  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    about 2 years ago #

    Hey Joyce - great to have you on!

    I noticed that you'll don't display pricing on your site.
    Can you talk more about the decision to do that and what tests you'll ran to arrive at this approach?

    • JS

      Joyce Solano

      about 2 years ago #

      Thanks Anuj for the great question. We don’t list our pricing because we don’t take a one size fits all approach to plans. We customize the pricing based on MAU (Monthly Active Users) and some additional services such as Push Notifications and Email. In the earlier years of Leanplum, we did offer a free tier and learned it took a big toll on our Customer Success team. We also recognized that only a small percentage of the free tiered users converted to paying clients. Today, we offer a free 30 day trial so mobile teams can test drive Leanplum, and we can focus on our enterprise customers.

      3 Share
  • JF

    Javier Feldman

    about 2 years ago #

    Hi Joyce,

    Thanks for doing this AMA!

    What has your organization learned about marketing to developers vs non-developers? What's differences are there, if any, and what are the top things to keep in mind here?

    Cheers!

  • AL

    Arsene Lavaux

    about 2 years ago #

    Bonjour Joyce,

    Merci for doing this AMA.

    Which core principles of growth marketing do you most use at Leanplum?

    • JS

      Joyce Solano

      about 2 years ago #

      Bonjour Arsene,

      Growth marketing and growth hacking at their core involve a few things.

      1. Be deeply curious. For content marketing, we ask: What do people want to hear about? We craft Mobile Marketing Trends reports based on never-before-released data that our audience uses to craft their approaches. We’ve analyzed the effect of emojis and personalization on push engagement, the best time to send push notifications, and other great insights that our audience wants to hear.

      2. Take big risks. Each team is always asked to execute on new ways to increase web traffic, landing page engagement, and so on. Sometimes this involves taking risks. For example, we launched a billboard a few weeks ago with the tagline “Engage the 💩 out of your users.” We didn’t know how that would go over with the public — would being too silly affect their perception of us in a negative light? But it paid off big time, with tons of feedback coming in from friends and press on how much they loved the ad.

      3. Use data to continually improve. Numbers really matter. When something doesn’t work, we do a post-mortem to determine learnings and action items. Not everything turns out to be a winning idea, but with the right mentality of analysis and an eagerness to try new things, we’re constantly improving our strategy. After all, A/B testing is at the heart of what we do. :)

      4 Share
  • JD

    James Dunn

    about 2 years ago #

    Hi Joyce
    Can you talk about the biggest retention challenges the Leanplum platform has faced so far and how you overcame them (or are working through them)?

  • SK

    S Kodial

    about 2 years ago #

    Hi Joyce
    What is the simplest, yet most powerful, mobile growth hack you've ever seen or implemented yourself?

    • JS

      Joyce Solano

      about 2 years ago #

      We’ve seen some powerful hacks when analyzing push notifications over the past year. Simply changing which words you use in a push notification can impact open rates substantially. In fact, over the past year, we analyzed 2.6 billion push notifications and found 120 words that resulted in consistently high open rates when used in mobile messages.

      For travel: Emotions evoke longing. “Dream,” “escape,” and “memories” promise adventure (and bookings).

      For retail: Lead with desire. “Want,” “sweet,” “amazing,” and “incredible” deepen shopping FOMO.

      For music: Personalization is key. “Curated” and “selected” indicate that these apps take user preferences seriously — and that each recommendation is hand-picked for you.

      Of course, there’s much more than just word play that goes into a great push notification. But experimenting with the most basic element of your message — the copy — can make a surprising difference. In fact, Publisher’s Clearing House found that altering tone lifted push open rates five percent, and shortening copy lifted opens 20 percent.

      3 Share
  • DO

    Danielle Olivas

    about 2 years ago #

    Hi Joyce,

    Great to have you here today!

    What is Leanplum's aha-moment? What strategies do you employ to get users there as early as possible?

    Thanks!

  • JK

    Jen Kilchenmann

    about 2 years ago #

    Hi Joyce,

    With an ever-growing app retail consumer base, what are your top 3 pieces of advice for acquisition, retention, and engagement. And how much value do you put on push notifications today?

    Thanks
    Jen

    • JS

      Joyce Solano

      about 2 years ago #

      Hey Jen, thanks for participating. Here’s what I’ve learned from the retail apps Leanplum works with like Nordstroms, Macys, Tesco, Topshop, QVC..etc.

      1) Acquisition
      Double down on the channels that work, and invest in analytics & attribution software. It’s hard to outspend the top apps and climb up the App Store rankings. Instead, focus your spend on whichever channel shows the best results, whether that’s App Store search ads or social media or something else.

      2) Engagement
      Start with in-app messages. Coupons, loyalty status updates, and product recommendations can all improve the user experience. Also, send as many behaviorally triggered push notifications as you can (e.g. abandoned shopping cart reminders). These messages see 9x more opens than non-triggered push.

      3) Retention
      The stats show that push notifications are key to retention for all apps, not just retail. Using push at all yields a 20% lift in retention, while personalized push can raise that number to 600%.

      So yes, we place a lot of emphasis on push notifications. They directly help with both engagement and retention, and they’re still a great and low cost way to bring users back into the app.

      3 Share
      • JK

        Jen Kilchenmann

        about 2 years ago #

        Hi Joyce,

        Thanks so much for the feedback, super helpful. I'm new to this site. What fantastic opportunity!

        Best
        Jen

  • CB

    Cedric Britton

    about 2 years ago #

    When growing a multiple brands, how do you manage brand overlap without discouraging followers or clients of one brand or the other.

    • JS

      Joyce Solano

      about 2 years ago #

      Cedric, I'm a passionate brand marketer so thank you for letting me put my brand hat on!
      It is important to have a clear brand architecture that can scale and is simple for the end user. Branding and product strategy need to also be deeply aligned. Here are questions that a brand marketer should solve. Is this a sub-brand or ingredient brand, branded house or house of brands? Do the brands exist to solve problems for distinct audiences? What is the strategic value of each brand to the business and at what altitude are you resourcing and investing in building long term equity in them? I have seen a lot of teams release new products without clear strategy on what problems to solve. This makes the brand growth plan challenging.

      Setting up the right strategic framework will help reduce customer confusion and avoid cannibalism of your users.

      Some of the large app publishers we work with especially in games and media drive a lot of user acquisition and re-engagement via cross-app marketing. So we see a lot value of using multiple brands to the business. Yet, It requires solid brand architecture and a strategy that goes hand in hand with the product vision. At the end of the day, everyone should be clear (including your users) on why each brand exists and what is their distinct purpose.

      2 Share
  • IA

    Imran Alam

    about 2 years ago #

    Also few tips for a PR team; what should be KPIs for PR team?

  • MD

    Mark Anthony de Jesus

    about 2 years ago #

    Hi Joyce. One question for you... Can you talk about some of the challenges of scaling the Leanplum platform and how you've overcame them?

    Thanks!

  • IA

    Imran Alam

    about 2 years ago #

    Hi Joyce,
    Can you please give some tips on Demand Generation for B2B business?

    • JS

      Joyce Solano

      about 2 years ago #

      I noted some insights in the other question posed by Tri Nguyen on top acquisition channels. With a great team, Leanplum has grown top line revenue year over year for 3 years in a row. It has been a rollercoaster like any startup, yet a great journey and we are just getting started.

      Here are my top 5 learnings:

      1. Invest in creating great content with unique insights for your target audience
      2. Use social, guest posting, partners etc to promote content
      3. Invest in event marketing where you can make your customer the hero
      4. Focus on quality of leads, not quantity and be hyper-focused with your targeting to lower cost per opp
      5. Align sales and marketing and have clear definition/criteria of key pipeline metrics and opportunity creation

      Best of luck with growing demand!

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