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Mada is one of the co-founders of Branch, the leading deep linking and measurement company, where she leads community and developer marketing. Branch was born from the challenges the co-founders faced as they struggled to maintain the growth of the previous venture, Kindred Prints, a mobile photobook printing app. Branch has since evolved into a robust mobile linking platform with cross-channel solutions for businesses of all sizes to drive app installs and user engagement, and powers deep linking for over 15,000 apps and 2 billion monthly users around the world such as Airbnb, BuzzFeed, Jet, Pinterest, Target, Yelp and more.

Mada co-founded Mobile Growth, a global community of over 22,000 app developers, mobile marketers, and mobile-focused businesses in more than 50 cities. Powered by Branch, the Mobile Growth community holds regular meetups focused on app growth (organic and paid), retention, and engagement strategies, and a monthly webinar series, Mobile Growth Stories. Mada is the co-author of the 2016 Mobile Growth Handbook, the editor of the Mobile Growth Medium publication, and is a frequent speaker at conferences and events around the world, from India to Vancouver to New Orleans.

Born and raised in Romania, Mada came to the US to study Electrical and Computer Engineering at Cornell University and then earned her Masters of Engineering and MBA from Stanford.

Mada enjoys playing the latest viral mobile game, binge-watching the hottest sci-fi show, and photographing Branch events. She was included in Linkedin’s Next Wave, 150 top professionals in 15 industries all 35 & under, and sits on the board of the App Developer’s Alliance.

You can follow Mada on Twitter: @mada299

She will be live on April 11 starting at 930 AM PT for one and a half hours during which she will answer as many questions as possible.

  • AL

    Arsene Lavaux

    over 2 years ago #

    Bonjour Mada,

    Merci for doing this AMA.

    1) Would you share with us one of your favorite examples of mobile growth via deep linking?

    2) Do you see many apps using deferred deep linking as a growth strategy to boost upper funnel metrics (installs)?

    3) In your experience, is there strong correlation between deep linking and stronger in-app engagement? Can this be quantified?

    4) What's the future of mobile growth?

    Looking forward to your thoughts.
    Merci encore.

    • MS

      Mada Seghete

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi Arsene,

      Awesome questions.

      1) I have a few. I love what Jet did - they took advantage of their awesome mobile SEO to drive users to their mobile website and then used customized mobile banners with discounts and promos to drive users to purchase the same item in app. This really helped drive new app installs and convert their mobile web users to app users.

      2) I still love the example from one of our early customers, The League, a dating app. They built a waitlist for the app, but if you invite a friend to get the app with a special VIP link, they get to skip the line. I also like what Tinder did - you can share profiles of a user with a friend that might get along with them better, driving new adoption.

      3) Yes. We ran a study between all the users across thousands of apps coming from deep links to content vs regular users and we saw the engagement is 2x. There's an article in TC about it.

      4) I think the future of mobile growth is around finding ways to unify the fragmentation that is getting worse and worse. We try to do that with a link that works on all platforms and can measure data across all platforms, but brands also need to create experiences across more and more mobile platforms.

      3 Share
      • MS

        Mada Seghete

        over 2 years ago #

        Hi Arsene,

        I actually don't think chat bots are really going to mitigate fragmentation. I think they will make it worse - bots can help you find things on different platforms, but you need to be able to have content that works on that platform. I believe that all the large platforms - Google, Apple, WeChat, FB are building walled gardens trying to keep users in - so a brand needs to exists in each of these ecosystems, even if they don't have full control over the experience users get.

      • AL

        Arsene Lavaux

        over 2 years ago #

        Merci, Mada, for your great answers. I'll do some deep dive on 2), I think it's simple and powerful indeed.

        As far as 4), will fragmentation intensify (store on wearables, Magic Leap is working on an app store, not sure they will leverage their Google synergy)?

        One new aspect of growth in my opinion which could help mitigate segmentation are chat bots. Still early but curious to see what this could lead to in terms of growth in the near future. Spending time exploring this aspect of growth currently.

        Merci encore for your expertise, Mada!

      • AL

        Arsene Lavaux

        over 2 years ago #

        Hi Mada: Can we have hope for some sort of standardization in the same way some mobile technologies work cross-platform (think advent of GSM for example)?

        Will we always be gated in these wall gardens or will the walls come down to the benefit of a greater chat bot ecosystem?

        You are probably right that legacy walls will remain, but as an idealist, I want to keep the hope! :)

  • GH

    Glen Harper

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Mada, thanks for being on the AMA. It appears there were early challenges at Kindred Prints that led to what became very successful with Branch. Can you talk about what testing you did at Kindred Prints that led you to become Branch? Did you find a clear path to revenue using testing, or did product/market fit emerge? Would love to hear the story, thanks!

    • MS

      Mada Seghete

      over 2 years ago #

      Branch was actually born from all the issues we faced at Kindred - we are the same founders that built and released that app. Some things that stayed with us are around putting customers (we call them partners) first. I still remember getting bad reviews on the app store and trying to find those users and asking them what went wrong. It was usually something to do with printing or shipping of the phonebooks, and when we apologized and fixed the issue they usually would change their reviews from one star to five stars. This helped us stay featured for longer and we realized early on the power of being entirely consumer centric. We brought that value to Branch and we make sure we put our partners before anything else - their problems are our problems.

      3 Share
      • MS

        Mada Seghete

        over 2 years ago #

        Hey Anuj, we were trying to build growth features for Kindred. I wanted to build a referral program where if a user shared the app, they would get a free book and so would the friend who installed. This need actually is behind our influencer tab that allows you to see who invited who and which users brought in the most installs - it's something a lot of smaller apps use. Ryan, the creator of Blackbox game actually used this feature to build vitality into his game. Other use cases were sharing - I wanted a user to start a book and share it with a friend and there was no way to do that (basically deep link through install) so we decided to build it!

      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        over 2 years ago #

        Super stuff.
        Can you talk about the specific behavior(s) or whatever else you saw with Kindred Prints users that told you it was best to pivot into what Branch became?

  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    over 2 years ago #

    Hey Mada - so cool to have you on!

    What do you think are some benefits of deep linking that don't get as much attention/not taken advantage of as you think they should be?

    • MS

      Mada Seghete

      over 2 years ago #

      I think many times smaller apps don't realize how hard linking is to build. It's important to think as mobile linking beyond deep linking - as links that work everywhere, in every edge case, on every platform. Deep links should work even if a user doesn't have the app, even if it's shared in WeChat, or Facebook, from an AMP page. I helped write an article on this with Alex from my team and it's one of the articles that is most comprehensive on what deep linking in a fragmented world means: https://hackernoon.com/the-death-of-deep-linking-6cc65eb33e28. If your links don't work in an edge case, you are loosing users.

      3 Share
  • MS

    Mada Seghete

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi everyone, excited to be here! I see some awesome questions out there, looking forward to dive in :)

  • PD

    Pulkit Dubey

    over 2 years ago #

    Hello Mada,

    As you've mentioned your interest in being up to date with the new viral mobile games, I would like to know your point views on KPI that a new viral game should think about and also how deep linking can help it grow even further.

  • JP

    John Phamvan

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Mada

    For anyone looking to start a meetup group, what advice would you have to getting one off the ground? What's the playbook that gets you from zero to your first one?

    • MS

      Mada Seghete

      over 2 years ago #

      I love this question. Building the Mobile Growth Community with Elizabeth and Cynthia on our team has been one of my favorite things over the past few years.

      We started the meet up group early on, when Branch was 6 people. We found a free space at our accelerator, StartX and went to Safeway to buy drinks, called 5 places to find the best deal for pizza that day and asked two aquaintances who were big in Growth - John Egan from Pinterest and Joe Binney from Robin Hood to speak. We then promoted like crazy - on every group we found, ran some Facebook ads, invited all our friends. I remember how nervous I was that people wouldn't come - but they showed up (I think 100 people) and loved it, so then we kept doing it.

      3 Share
  • JF

    Javier Feldman

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Mada!

    What are the top lessons you learned about getting the Mobile Growth community off the ground? What do you think it takes to not only get a community up and running but one that doesn't fizzle out in a while after the initial excitement has gone away?

    • MS

      Mada Seghete

      over 2 years ago #

      I think it's all about consistency. I can't take credit for that - it's all my team. Elizabeth, our director of community made sure once we started (I think we had done 5-6 meetups before she joined) there was a meet up schedule, everything was organized, we had a growth goal, etc. Her and Cynthia manage all our meetups globally and work really hard to both ensure consistency, but also quality of content for all our events. Also, every meetup is a mix of past members and new members (more than 50% new) - so every event needs to be promoted and cater to both returning members and completely new ones.

  • DL

    Daniel Lee

    over 2 years ago #

    Hey Mada! I see on your linkedin you are well versed in various languages -- and on top of that, you're an impressive Entrepreneur. What are your systems for learning ?

    • MS

      Mada Seghete

      over 2 years ago #

      The languages are a funny one. I am Romanian and I learned Italian and Spanish as a kid - after communism Romania didn't really have new channels, so I used to watch cable from Italy and Spain :) So I guess my answer is - the best way I learn is by trying to mix learning with my goals or my everyday life. I'll give you an example. At Branch it's super important to me that everyone knows how our tools. So we have a build an app day + competitions where everyone needs to build an app and integrate Branch. We have some awesome prizes + everyone who does it and shows it to the company gets a cool Patagonia jacket you can;t get otherwise - so they learn by trying to achieve a goal! :)

  • JD

    James Dunn

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Mada - thanks for your time.

    Does Branch have a "one metric that matters"?
    If yes, what is it and why?

    • MS

      Mada Seghete

      over 2 years ago #

      It depends on the team actually. Each team has one metric that matters - we are over 100 people at at this point we do have a few different company wide priorities. So while the company has a few metrics - each person and team only has one! The metric for my team is the number of new users integrating our SDK for the first time - that is a measure of global adoption of Branch.

      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        over 2 years ago #

        Can you talk more about any tests you've run to optimize the flow that gets users to this point of integrating your SDK for the first time?

    • MS

      Mada Seghete

      over 2 years ago #

      We have tested multiple on boarding flows that teach the developer how they can integrated the SDK, create the first link etc. We also have extensive getting started docs that also help.

  • MD

    Mark Anthony de Jesus

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Mada,
    What's your best advice for growing a Medium publication from scratch?

    • MS

      Mada Seghete

      over 2 years ago #

      Find cool content that you think will be big and ask them to publish in your publication. It's all about work and consistency - you have to do it every few weeks and try to see the potential of a piece before others do. It's also important to control quality of the content - otherwise people will unfollow you.

  • SK

    S Kodial

    over 2 years ago #

    HI Mada - great to have you here.

    What do you think are still the biggest challenges with analytics and measurement on mobile?
    Are there any feasible workarounds to any of these issues currently?

    • MS

      Mada Seghete

      over 2 years ago #

      I think fragmentation is the biggest issue. Brands use different measurement tools to analyse web visits vs app installs and they look as iOS app, va Android App vs Web app in vacuums. A user touches a brand many times on different platforms - form FB, to the FB browser, to the website, to iOS app, to the twitter browser, to Safari, to Chrome, etc. A brand should be able to tell that journey and understand how a user behaves on each of those channels and which will drive a conversion.

      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        over 2 years ago #

        What in your view is the best measurement/analytics tool (or tools) that best compliments Branch at this time to be able to understand the entire journey?

  • TN

    Tri Nguyen

    over 2 years ago #

    Is there something unique to developer marketing that doesn't apply to other types of marketing? If yes, what do you think the top things are that raise the odds of doing this right?

    • MS

      Mada Seghete

      over 2 years ago #

      I would say developer marketing is not really marketing. It's all about building communities and creating awesome educational materials. Ads and promos don't really work, great events and great content do. :)

  • DH

    Dani Hart

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Mada,

    Awesome to have you here today!

    I'm curious about how your team is structured. Do you have a growth team? How do the product and marketing efforts work together? Are there any lessons you've learned from growing a company to almost 200 employees?

    Looking forward to hearing what you have to share.

    Cheers,
    Dani

    • MS

      Mada Seghete

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi Dani,

      We're not quite at 200, we're a bit over 100. We have three different areas on marketing - Enterprise Marketing, Community and Developer Marketing and International. While different members help across teams, each person has one main goal they are responsible for. Growth is split between marketing and products - Marketing is in charge with awareness and brining new users in while product is tasked with building the best user experiences and products to convert new users and retain them :)

  • DO

    Danielle Olivas

    over 2 years ago #

    Good morning, Mada,

    Thanks for spending time with us today!

    When writing the Mobile growth Handbook, was there something unexpected/surprising that came up (either about mobile growth itself or anything else) that wasn't on the cards initially? If yes, can you talk more about this?

    I look forward to your reply, thanks!

    • MS

      Mada Seghete

      over 2 years ago #

      I would say a lot of the stories in that book came from the stories speakers shared at our meetups. I would say every app is different and there are a lot of quotes and experiments in the book that were awesome. In encourage you to go through it, it's an awesome compilation of the best growth experiments apps around the world ran.

  • PH

    Paul Hopkins

    over 2 years ago #

    Buna Mada!

    Congrats on new funding round.

    What tips can you share for onboarding customers to ensure long term retention please?

    Thanks

    Paul
    Warsaw Poland

    • MS

      Mada Seghete

      over 2 years ago #

      Thank you!!!

      I think of the first experience with a user as the first date. It's really the most important one, and if you screw it up, it will be so much harder to bring them back in. I think the biggest mistake I see apps do it show on boarding tutorials, sign in screens, etc. The first time someone uses your app, you should give them a taste of what the app is about before getting them to jump through hoops - if a friend shared a restaurant, take them to a restaurant. If they came from the web trying to buy some shoes, take them to the shoes. You can ask them to register and teach them about the app later, once they are hooked. The other thing that works is personalization. If a friend invites them to try the app out and you show a welcome from that friend as the first thing they see, they will be a lot more likely to signup :) We tested it and the signup rate increased by 70%.

      3 Share
  • EJ

    Edmund Jones

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi,

    Do you have a view on the progressive mobile vs dedicated app debate. Do the user experience and data collection advantages of a dedicated app outweigh the additional development and management cost for a small to medium sized organisation? I know this may be effected by sector e.g. ecommerce, publishing, healthcare but would appreciate your view.

    • MS

      Mada Seghete

      over 2 years ago #

      I personally think so. Progressive web apps don't work on all platforms and don't have the same user experience a native app does. But I understand your point. I think native apps have gotten to a point where you can use tools like React native or Phonegap to build apps faster and with less resources, but still get the advantages of a native app.

  • CA

    Carlos Abad

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Mada.

    Thank you for your time.

    I want to ask you, how you come up with hypotheses and experiments to growth your clients base in Branch?

    • MS

      Mada Seghete

      over 2 years ago #

      A few ways - we try things we've seen for others, we take advice from our partners and we test our own ideas.

  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Mada - one more for you

    You've answered a couple of questions above that apply to the offline community
    What about the online one?
    What have you'll learned about what increases engagement and retention on the site?
    Any big wins from tests you can talk about here?

    • MS

      Mada Seghete

      over 2 years ago #

      It's similar to the offline community - it'a about engagement and consistency. The more work we put into it as community managers, the better the community is. There is no secret sauce - it's all work and commitments.

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