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"Going Beyond the Install | Growing your app for value instead of volume"

Belinda Langner is a Product Manager at Google working on Mobile Search Advertising. She is currently focused on improving app install ads. She played a key role in launching Search Ads on Play to help users discover apps within the Google Play Store. In addition, Belinda was instrumental in launching Google’s newest app marketing tool, Universal App Campaigns.

Prior to Google, she worked as an engineer at IBM. Belinda holds a BS in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University and in her spare time enjoys eating tasty new foods and hiking.

She will be live on August 25 starting at 930 AM for one and half hours during which she will answer as many questions as possible.

  • SE

    Sean Ellis

    almost 4 years ago #

    Hi Belinda, thanks for doing this AMA with us! I'm curious about the tagline at the top of your bio "Going Beyond the Install | Growing your app for value instead of volume". Can you give us any background on it? Do you think value and volume are mutually exclusive? If there is value, wouldn't it make sense to shoot for volume also? I definitely agree with what's implied in the first part of the statement that too many app developers focus on getting installs and don't focus enough on engagement post install. An install without engagement delivers zero value.

    Thanks again!

    • BL

      Belinda Langner

      almost 4 years ago #

      Hi Sean!

      You are completely right that most advertisers want a combination of volume and value. Let me pose this question: is it more important to have 10 downloads that don’t drive in-app engagement or to have 3 downloads with loyal, engaged users? That’s how we like to think about value vs volume. It’s up to you to decide what are the most valuable actions. If an install is most valuable or if a specific in-app action is most valuable. Our new Universal App Campaigns v2 product (coming soon!) is empowering marketers to find the best combination that works for them.

      With the current version, we started with driving install volume. This has been great for some advertisers but we knew we needed to do more.

      This is why we are bringing even more power to UAC. You can tell us what you “value” and we give you either lots of installs that do that, or specifically focus on more profitable users (even if that decreases volume of installs somewhat). Specifically, they can choose from a brand new “Maximize in-app volume” or “Maximize in-app value.” They are related, but you turn the dials.

      We’re excited to see how advertisers leverage the new power to UAC we’re bringing soon!

      4 Share
      • SE

        Sean Ellis

        almost 4 years ago #

        Thanks for the answer. I'd definitely take the 3 engaged users over the 10 installs without engagement! Sounds like a great new addition to your service to be able to optimize on engagement.

  • LS

    Logan Stoneman

    about 4 years ago #

    Hey Belinda! Quick question for you: What has been the best success story you've heard from someone using Universal App Campaigns?

    P.S. The tool looks rad and I've already shared it with a variety of my peers. Keep up the good work!

    • BL

      Belinda Langner

      almost 4 years ago #

      Thanks Logan -- glad to hear that you’re excited about Universal App Campaigns (UAC) and that you’re sharing it with your peers!

      For a good success story, the Triva Crack app is one that comes to mind. It’s a really addicting game -- as the name might indicate. ;-)

      They were looking to grow revenue, acquire high quality users, and expand globally by targeting the US, India, South Africa, and Denmark.
      Their approach was the create a brand new campaign with Universal App Campaigns to run on Search and Display in target countries. They had a CPI that was 40% lower than other channels with 40,000+ downloads in only 2 months of running the campaign at a global scale.

      We’ve seen a lot of success from advertisers using UAC to reach new markets -- especially because it’s so easy to get a campaign started!

  • AA

    Aldin A

    almost 4 years ago #

    Hi Belinda,

    Great to have you here!

    1)There are a million things you could be working on growth at any one time. Can you talk about your process for
    figuring out the MOST important thing you have work on RIGHT for growth? How do you make and prioritize your growth road map?

    2)How do you think about retention and increasing retention? How do you think about engagement and increasing engagement?

    3)Can you name some resource you use to learn from about growth and business in general? Books, podcasts, blogs, courses etc

    Thanks

    • BL

      Belinda Langner

      almost 4 years ago #

      2) It’s super important to re-engage users especially since you spend so much time trying to get them to engage and love your app! And because only 3% of all Android and iOS apps have active users after 30 days. One of the easy things to do is to make sure you enable app indexing. This gets your app into Google Search results! If a user already has your app installed when they search for related content, they will launch your app directly from the search results! What better way to increase engagement when users are looking for relevant content! For more details refer to this link: https://developer.android.com/training/app-indexing/index.html

      We are hosting a webinar with TUNE on 9/29 and will do a deep-dive on re-engagement strategies. Definitely recommend viewing!

      4 Share
      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        almost 4 years ago #

        re: app indexing - Why is this just not turned on by default? Put another way, why would app publishers not want their app showing up in Google Search results?

    • BL

      Belinda Langner

      almost 4 years ago #

      3) One of my favorite blogs on growth is Andrew Chen’s blog. I always find his posts very insightful. Although I’m sure this community has even more resources that they love and I’d be eager to learn about what other resources folks find useful!

    • BL

      Belinda Langner

      almost 4 years ago #

      This is very different for every company. The most important thing is to focus on the user! They’re key to everything you do! There are a lot of great analytic tools for apps that can help you better understand user behavior. Once you look into those analytics, you can draw insights and prioritize accordingly. All in all, focusing on users, their feedback, and behaviors is most important.

  • AL

    Arsene Lavaux

    almost 4 years ago #

    Bonjour Belinda,

    What is the most impactful mobile search growth hack you may have experienced?

    Merci beaucoup!

  • HQ

    Hila Qu

    almost 4 years ago #

    Hi Belinda,

    Since you must be an expert on this, can you give some tips on how marketers can create better app install ads in google Play store? What are the common mistakes you see people make ?

    Another question inspired by your bio, assuming you backpacked for 5 days without eating a real meal, which tasty food will you crave most? :)

    Look forward to hearing your answer.

    Hila

    • BL

      Belinda Langner

      almost 4 years ago #

      Hi Hilla --
      If you’re using our Search app install campaigns, we recommend a few things:
      Use tCPA - With automated bidding, you can maximize your install volume within your CPA target
      Good keywords - You want to make sure you have a good set of keywords that cover that you think users are looking for. Really focus on the generic keywords that users might be searching for where your app can help solve that task.
      Budget for success! Ensure daily budgets are set appropriately and make sure to keep an eye on them.

      For Universal App Campaigns (UAC), we learned a lot about mistakes people make across all our different app campaigns and automatically apply our best practices. The best thing about UAC is that it lets you find users wherever they are, not just the Play Store! And we have a number of exciting updates coming to make it more powerful.

      We are hosting a webinar with TUNE on 9/29 and Google Play will be present offering helpful insights for Play Store optimization & organic app discovery. Definitely recommend taking a peek at that as well.

      We also have some great best practices doc posted on the AdWords Help Center: https://support.google.com/adwords/answer/6167168

      I encourage you to check them out and apply them to your campaigns today!

      4 Share
    • BL

      Belinda Langner

      almost 4 years ago #

      As for my favorite tasty food that I crave is mac and cheese. Can you go wrong with cheese, fat and carbs? I don’t think so! What are some of yours?

      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        almost 4 years ago #

        #NomNomNom

      • HQ

        Hila Qu

        almost 4 years ago #

        Haha, the reason I asked is because once I hiked with friends for a week in Yellowstone without eating any real food, in the last day out, we all craved for totally different things. For me, it's noodles from my hometown in China, some other answers include In&Out's double cheese burger :)

  • SA

    Shaker A

    almost 4 years ago #

    Belinda,

    Thanks for doing this ama.

    1)Regarding benchmarking analytics, when you don't have a long product history to draw on for historical data, how do you figure out what to use as benchmarks. For example if someone is starting a new fashion ecommerce site how do they figure out what to use as benchmarks for things like retention, avg cart size, repeat purchase rate, etc. Where and how did you get the bench marking information to make sure that your core metrics were healthy compared to the industry and your competitors?

    2) What are the most valuable lessons you've learned in your career?

    3) In your opinion what are things early stage startups have to do to not only survive, but thrive? Conversely what do you see startups messing up that they can't afford to, and how do they fix them?

    Thanks

    • BL

      Belinda Langner

      almost 4 years ago #

      3) In my opinion, I definitely see that some teams try to take on too much at once. We all think we’re super-people but in reality sometimes we need to make sure we stay focused. This can be difficult for early stage startups because there is always so much to do with so few resources. Despite this challenge, it’s vital to know what core things your business really needs to make progress and also to know what makes sense to outsource to others.

    • BL

      Belinda Langner

      almost 4 years ago #

      1) This can definitely a hard problem. It’s natural to want to know how you’re doing compared to others but it’s not really about keeping up with others. Early on, one of the best things to do would be to make sure you’re improving your internal metrics step by step. One of my favorite parables is the tortoise and the hare and I think this applies a lot for business as well -- you want to make sure you’re making steady progress for the long term and not just sprinting but not making it to the end. So really think about your own strategy and the key metrics you want to improve -- such as are you able to increase your purchase rates over time? What about trying to see what changes you can make to encourage a certain strategic behavior? The key to “winning the race” (to come back to my analogy) is really to make sure you focus on your users! Of course, tortoises are also wise creatures and if you want to take a look at some benchmarks to get an idea of what’s going on, there are some tools such as App Annie and Google Play, but you can use those to focus on benchmarking for other metrics like app downloads. There are a number of reporting companies that publish information for industry-level benchmarking as well such as Forrester, Mintel, etc.

      2 Share
    • BL

      Belinda Langner

      almost 4 years ago #

      2) One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is to know when to move on. I love solving problems and getting into the nitty gritty and sometimes I’m so invested that I just don’t want to give up a project. However, there are times when you need to step back, re-evaluate and make sure you’re still following the right strategy.

  • ES

    Edward Stephens

    almost 4 years ago #

    Hi Belinda,

    Can't wait to have you on! A couple of questions from my end:

    1) What are the biggest mistakes you see app makers make when submitting to the Google Play Store. Further more how do you think an app developer creates the perfect first impression.

    2) How have you seen the search space for Google change on mobile and how will it continue to change as emergent technologies like VR/AR and MR emerge? E.g. will Google focus more on voice search?

    3) Which technologies and unexplored mobile app or smartphone opportunities (or broader technology) excite you?

    Very much look forward to hearing your answers!

    Best wishes,

    Ed

    • BL

      Belinda Langner

      almost 4 years ago #

      Hey Ed!

      1) The play store has a lot of great best practices which I’d highly recommend taking a look at! https://developer.android.com/distribute/googleplay/guide.html

      We are hosting a webinar with TUNE on 9/29 and Google Play will be present offering helpful insights for Play Store optimization & organic app discovery. Definitely recommend taking a peek at that as well.

      2) Mobile has really changed the way people interact with their devices and as a result Google Search. As we’ve moved into the mobile world, we’ve done a lot of experiments and studies to see how people interact with Search to really drive a number of our product changes. We are never perfect the first day out the door but we keep trying and learning to improve Search. As more new technologies emerge, we’ll continue to iterate and experiment.

      3) Google recently announced instant apps at Google I/O. This is really exciting to see how you can share your app experience with folks quickly even if they don’t have your app installed yet. There are so many efforts that are going on to really make sure we can bring the user and the awesome products folks such as yourselves create together.

  • DH

    Dani Hart

    almost 4 years ago #

    Hi Belinda,

    Thanks for joining today. Can't wait to see what you have to say.

    I'm curious, are app owners able to track behavioral data through a/b testing in the Google app store? If not, do you see this being feature being something important for the roadmap?

    Also, any tips for improving mobile search ads or apps within the store to improve download conversions?

    Thanks!

    • BL

      Belinda Langner

      almost 4 years ago #

      Hey Dani!

      Play offers store listing experiments, which I’d recommend you take a look at! Experiments allow you to use data instead of intuition to optimize the text and graphics of your store listing, ultimately driving towards install conversion. It can also help you iterate on which parts of your marketing or product resonate most with users.

      * Start by testing the most visible and impactful parts of your store listing page.
      * Don’t test too many attributes at once, otherwise it will be hard to see what drove the results.
      * Run the experiment for at least seven days and with a large pool of users so you collect enough data.
      * Keep an open mind and test different combinations. You might be surprised!
      * Iterate on your results to confirm and improve your findings.

      2) We recently launched Search Ads in the Play Store. This helps users to discover your app at the perfect moment when they are in a position to follow through with a download. I also gave some tips for mobile search ads in my response to Hila’s question.

      3 Share
  • AK

    AVINASH KOUL

    almost 4 years ago #

    Hi Belinda,
    Thanks for being here
    My question is regarding being productive all day
    Lots of ideas must be coming and channelizing them is always a bigger problem
    Also with multitasking , we end up losing focus on one primary thing
    I just want to want how you manage to focus on one real problem before jumping to another one
    What process our tools will be beneficial to prioritize your work/ideas and be productive?

    • BL

      Belinda Langner

      almost 4 years ago #

      Yes, life can totally be hectic! I have one tip that I like to do every morning to help my focus and make sure I get the most important things done. Just like a chef lays out his or her knives and equipment to help them move fast, I like to make a list of the top 3 things I want to get done each day and any blockers I need to resolve. This helps me focus throughout the day to make sure I’m solving my most important problems. If I ever get distracted, I refer back to my list to make sure I’m making progress on some of my key tasks.

  • MM

    martín medina

    almost 4 years ago #

    Belinda,

    Thanks for doing this AMA with us.

    As a Product Manager, what do you believe your primary role and responsibilities are regarding the growth of a new product? How long do you typically work on a product?

    What are you most excited about for the future of mobile apps?

  • SN

    Simon Nung

    almost 4 years ago #

    Hi Belinda,

    b. I have a dream of being a product marketing expert at Google one day. How would you recommend I start down that path to begin to realize this dream?

    b. What does the term growth hacking mean to you?

    • BL

      Belinda Langner

      almost 4 years ago #

      Hey Simon!

      Having a dream is the best place to start! :) Getting more involved in marketing and understanding the industry is one of the best things to do. It’s important to have some good experience and insights. Best of luck!

      2) For me, growth hacking is really about constantly experimenting and learning from those experiments.

  • MV

    Maja Voje

    almost 4 years ago #

    Hi Belinda, thanks for making yourself available to us. Can you share some tips how marketers and product managers can work well together? How are you marketing (growth?) and product team connected? Thanks and please continue to amaze us :)

    • BL

      Belinda Langner

      almost 4 years ago #

      I’m on the Product team and I work with the marketing team really closely. We definitely talk a lot to make sure we work with the marketing team from the time we start to dream up a product! We want to make sure we have the right messaging to tell the users and make sure that our vision is fully realized. It’s so vital to be working together in and out so everyone understands and has input into the product decisions. Working together ensures that we create alignment across the board and that really is what helps make a product successful in the end.

  • AK

    AVINASH KOUL

    almost 4 years ago #

    quick question Belinda ,

    Any notes for learning advanced google analytics, that will be very grateful of yours

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