It’s no secret that mobile is taking advertising by storm.
As of 2017, mobile advertising accounts for over 70% of total digital ad spending and is projected to hit more than $195B annually by 2019. More marketers are ramping up efforts to reach their customers on their mobile devices, or risk missing out big time. You’re probably one of those marketers.
You’re in luck. To help you reach more of your customers on mobile devices, there are now millions of publishers, networks, supply-side platforms, demand-side platforms, ad-tech vendors, and agencies all fighting for your budget.
Furthermore, as mobile-first agencies are still far and few between, traditional agencies are scrambling to build out their mobile competencies, and as mobile-first movement demands more from agencies, the question stands…
In selecting a mobile agency, what should you look for?
1. Your mobile agency should be specialized
This may go without saying, but having a focus on mobile is crucial — agencies with this focus and capability will go far beyond traditional agencies in not only strategy, but targeting, creative, and of course, results.
For many traditional “one-stop shop” media agencies, mobile is shiny new revenue stream opportunity. Beware. If they aren’t mobile experts, you can expect them to be learning mobile advertising alongside you and they will be doing it on your dollar. The value in choosing an agency partner with mobile expertise and specialization will be immediately apparent. Trust us.
You should find a partner who excels at paid social and/or paid search first since it’s higher upside and typically higher ROI as well. If the agency has proven expertise in Facebook and/or Google at scale for mobile products in your vertical, trust that you’ll be able to easily scale with better ROI.
2. Your agency should be diverse
Following our first point, this may sound counter-intuitive, but it’s important to pick an agency with experience across verticals.
Because mobile is so new and evolving so quickly, partnering with a well-versed and well-rounded mobile agency will help you get ahead of the learning curve — and the competition.
If you are trying to boost user acquisition for a travel app and you’re talking with agencies with portfolios made up of 90% gaming apps, it may not be a fit. They’ll likely waste your money while learning how to market within your vertical.
Keep in mind–every agency you talk with will tell you they have experience in your vertical.
So, what should you do? Ask about strategies they’ve implemented, tangible results they have driven, and better yet, ask to speak with a client reference. It’s one of the most valuable things you can do while vetting an agency partner. If the client reference is a well-respected mobile advertiser and they like the agency’s service quality, it’s likely you will too.
3. Your agency should be connected within the industry
First off, know that many ‘agencies’ looking to serve you have ulterior motives. Many of the vendors in the mobile advertising space pitch the service aspect of their work but have other incentives as a technology business, ad network, or intermediary.
Make sure you’re speaking with partners who are service-only and/or leverage technology simply to augment their service vs. the other way around. If they are a network, a demand-side platform or supply-side platform masquerading as an agency partner, you can find a better-aligned partner.
That having been said, having inroads and experience with the best ad-tech companies is crucial for a mature mobile program. Teams who truly understand how to execute on high ROI mobile campaigns know how to do mobile attribution effectively. They should have a strong list of mobile measurement partners (i.e. Appsflyer, Adjust, Kochava, etc.) and should not even think about bringing up web-only solutions (i.e. Mixpanel, Google Analytics).
4. Your mobile agency should know what to measure success by
Now that you’ve established an agency’s legitimacy: they’re specialized, experienced and connected, the single most important item to dig into is aligning expectations around measurement.
Start with the budget. Make sure your expectations fit their repertoire. If you’re looking for a partner to manage $10,000 per month and the agency you’re talking with says their average client is spending $1MM+ per month with them, you probably want to find another option as you won’t be a priority for their team. The inverse of this is also true. Don’t hire an agency to spend $1M+ per month that doesn’t do it actively with other clients. Success at scale is a specialization in itself.
Now onto Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). You know what metric drives your actual business forward. Your mobile agency should be focused on that as well.
If you ask them what your cost-per-install should be, they should answer with, “Who cares?”.
They should focus on metrics around revenue, cost per acquired customer, and return on investment. That said, good mobile agencies should be able to give you CPI ranges that they see in your vertical, along with more relevant benchmarks.
Bonus: They should be passionate
If you can tick the first four boxes, you’re probably in great shape. This last item, however, can and will make a world of difference.
The agency you want as your mobile partner isn’t just in the business because they love advertising. The best mobile advertising agencies are motivated by the possibilities that mobile experiences offer to your customers and that passion will work on your behalf every day.
At Bamboo, we love what we do because we can create truly personalized relationships with billions of potential customers.
Never in history have we been able to market directly to an individual customer in such a personalized way at scale. We covet the opportunity to connect with customers this way.