Mobile Gaming is at the forefront of this year’s ICE Exhibition, Team SBC decided to catch up with OtherLevels CEO Brendan O’Kane to discusses changes on mobile strategy and analytics
Brendan has over 20 years’ experience in the mobile ecosystem. He managed global operators such as Cellnet/O2, and Cable and Wireless for Oracle Corporation, before growing Oracle’s Asia/Paciﬁc services oﬀering to a $150m business. He subsequently led a US mobile messaging business in Asia/Paciﬁc prior to its acquisition in 2001. In the past decade he has been an active investor in, and director of, a number of mobile and on-line properties. As the CEO of OtherLevels, Brendan is helping mobile focused businesses leverage mobile messaging analytics to engage, retain and monetize their mobile audiences.
Brendan will address effective user engagement and retention strategies that reduce acquisition costs, extend lifetime value and increase ROI in his presentation titled, “Post Acquisition; Successful Mobile Engagement During The First 90 Days.”
SBC: Hi Brendan pleasure to interview you. Can you summarise how OtherLevels operates in terms of analysis of users and data collection, how do you aim to help its customers?
Brendan: Thank you, it’s nice to meet you too. The OtherLevels platform brings to mobile the same level of sophistication that marketers have used to engage and retain users through email, web and other digital channels. Too many companies view mobile push notifications and in app messages as a broadcast channel where every user gets the same message. This is incredibly short sighted; mobile is a highly personal device and the OtherLevels platform gives app publishers the analytics, testing, targeting and segmentation controls to optimise all aspects of the mobile conversation.
SBC: You have a strong focus on early detection. What measurement instruments has your team built to detect higher quality customers and how can igaming operators use this data to their advantage?
Brendan: Different verticals have different metrics around user acquisition, churn, abandonment etc. We believe that unless you engage new users early in the customer journey, you risk having them churn out and remove your app. We accomplish this by leveraging all of the available data on the device, analysing user behaviour at a very granular level and then automating nurturing campaigns that engage new users. Too often the cadence and content of messages are not grounded in any data analysis—OtherLevels helps companies look at things like recency and actual in-app message outcomes, test different message content, and execute notifications across push, in-app and the rich inbox. This allows broad coverage and flexibility that covers numerous potential use cases.
SBC: Mobile is a relatively new technology, when compared to other digital verticals. How aware are your clients of the key differences and intricacies that come with implementing a mobile acquisition strategy?
Brendan: Agreed. That really depends on the vertical—mobile gaming companies, mobile first retailers and their ilk understand the power of the device in every consumer’s pocket. Their approach is data-centric; brick and mortar retailers and organisations that have traditionally relied on email as their go-to channel to engage users may not realise that the tools they’ve used to create incredibly powerful campaigns and stellar ROI exist for mobile messaging. There’s definitely a learning curve with certain companies and this is where OtherLevels really shines: understanding each company’s relative evolution in terms of their mobile strategy, and helping craft a path to sophistication and success.
SBC: Can competencies and techniques gained in traditional online formats be transferred to mobile acquisition and retention, or are operators better off separating these from Mobile?
Brendan: Oh absolutely, search, web, email, etc. have 20 years of experience in terms of their approaches, available tools and tactics. We encourage companies new to the mobile to make their mobile messaging be as advanced as their other channels. The real trick in achieving success and an ongoing ROI is to use every facet of mobile behaviour and mobile analytics, to inform the conversation with the user. Don’t think of push as a catapult, think of it as access to the ‘remote control of a user’s life: their mobile device.’ And before you ask, I didn’t come up with that, but I think it’s an apt description.
SBC: Many operators see of drop of in customers (acquired by mobile), once they have downloaded the app, why do you think that is the case and what should companies do to avoid this trend?
Brendan: Generally, this phenomenon can best be described as early churn. Early churn can take the wind out of an app publisher’s sail because it becomes a ‘three steps forward, two steps’ back scenario. Don’t assume that new users know how to use your app, nor that your app is the only one on their mobile device. Nurture them without aggressive calls to action and discounts; rather strive to bring users back to the app and increase the app’s ‘stickiness’. This means having tools to easily test alternative messages to maximise language efficacy, localise delivery in the user’s time zone so that you’re not waking people up at 3 a.m., and understand the effect of these messages at a very granular level.
SBC: With more technologies focusing on mobile output and integration of mobile friendly features, how will this effect marketing and retention. Will we be able to harmonize retention and marketing strategies across multiple devices.
Brendan: iGaming operators can start to build up a multi-device picture of the user, and deliver the right content to the right device at the right time. For example from mobile we know when they are at the football ground; from usage patterns we can see when they are most responsive; and with linking the messaging to event outcomes, we can determine the types of messages to which they individually respond. This is a 360 picture of the individual user, which absolutely maximizes engagement and ROI.
SBC: Finally we are the at start of a new year for gaming and mobile, what advice would you give to igaming operators?
Brendan: Don’t put your players in big, general buckets—instead focus on the fluidity of mobile users, their patterns of use can be tracked, and how they can be engaged at every step of that journey with focused messaging and offers. Use smart platforms that pull BI data into the decision process and leverage segmentation so that the right content is being delivered to the user at their particular level of engagement. A mobile device is the most personalised device on the planet – if your messaging strategies reflect this you will absolutely maximise revenue outcomes.