How to Optimize your Mobile Marketing, interview with Ryan Pitylak

We had the opportunity to interview Ryan Pitylak, CEO of Unique Influence, a digital marketing firm based out of Austin, TX.

Pitylak has more than 14 years experience running Internet marketing campaigns, including email marketing, search engine optimization, pay per click advertising, landing page optimization, and web design.

Together with partner Chantal Pittman, COO of Unique Influence, they’ve helped top brands drive optimized Internet marketing results.

In this interview Pitylak discusses:

  • Why there is still a large untapped opportunity in mobile marketing.
  • Why the typical Internet conversion metrics are not enough, and what are the real success metrics you should focus on.
  • The importance of mobile optimized landing pages and how to test them.
  • What is the hottest trend of 2012 for Internet marketers.

Our Product Manager, Nico Roddz, interviews Pitylak:

What is mobile marketing?

Pitylak: Mobile marketing has 2 sides: advertising to promote your mobile applications for your iPhone or Android device, and the promotion of mobile optimized websites. With these websites there’s advertising you can purchase on Google and other websites, and the purpose of this advertising is to drive traffic to a mobile optimized website and drive conversion.

What are the key elements of successful mobile marketing campaigns?

Pitylak: Mobile marketing is complicated. When you’re marketing mobile applications tracking is very difficult. Which ad buys are adding to conversions and installs of your applications. Right now a lot of the industry is based on PPC, for example, and you may pay 6 cents for that click, and I need to be able to track which of those clicks turns into installs. Closing the loop on that traditionally has been pretty difficult.

There are some solutions to do that and that’s one of the things we make sure we do: to put in the technology so that all the advertising that is purchased ultimately leads to a particular cost per install, so we can optimize the different sources.

Success there is figuring out which source leads to a particular cost per install, and using tracking technology to figure out which of those sources leads to more retention.
So for example a particular source may lead to lots of installs, but they may not stick around and use the application, and typically that’s the type of activity that leads to revenue for the company.

We want to make sure we track all the way from the advertising source all the way to the end user behavior to retention.

With mobile optimized websites how you think about the website is important. Ultimately you:

  • Have a landing page you send people to which will convert users.
  • Have a product you want to sell.
  • Have a website where you’re promoting some sort of sign up.

You’re measuring the same metrics: conversions.

Ultimately across the board you want to focus on conversions and find the customers that are the most valuable for you. At Unique Influence we call that the conversion gap:

The distance between where you think your customers are, and what their activities are going to be in terms of conversions.

For example you may think that 50% of the people that come to your website are going to convert and become retained users and stick around for a long time. The reality is typically it’s a lot harder to figure out which advertising source leads to the right customers because all customers are not created equal.

So you want to find the best sources that lead to the best customers that lead to retention that lead to engagement.

How important are landing pages in this process?

Pitylak: I’ll focus on the mobile optimized websites for landing pages specifically.
Optimized landing pages are very important. You want to A/B test your landing pages. You’re buying all this traffic, all these people to come to your website, it’s important not to send them to your home page because it doesn’t speak to the particular audience you have shown advertising to.

You want to create an experience that is consistent with your marketing message and the audience you've targeted, and once they land on your landing page you want to make sure you've designed it for conversions and selling messages that show the benefit statements that lead to conversions.

Landing pages are very important for that process, and doing A/B tests and running different landing pages for different audiences - that’s how you’re successful with landing pages.

What are the biggest challenges in creating optimized landing pages for mobile?

Pitylak: I guess the biggest challenge is that there's not a lot of technology for creating landing pages for mobile. In terms of toolsets there are definitely tools that allow you to take a landing page you’ve created and make changes, but it’s not very easy. Not a lot of people focus on mobile like they should.

For example, for a particular marketing campaign 15% or more of your traffic will be mobile, but a lot of the time this traffic is taken to a site that is not mobile optimized at all.
If you have a mobile optimized landing page that means you are getting part of the way to creating an experience that is pleasant for a mobile audience. If I'm on my phone that has a tiny little screen with which I may do a lot of my surfing, and I get to this page and it’s a tiny little landing page, that’s very annoying.

There's a big opportunity for companies to create landing page experiences that are more mobile optimized, and it's also important because the cost per click for mobile is lower now than for normal web pages, like for a desktop or laptop user. If I can buy traffic going to my website for cheaper on mobile and I can take them to an experience that converts well because I have a good landing page, then I'm going to have a lower cost per acquisition.

My cost to acquire somebody to engage with my client’s brand will be lower.
There’s a big opportunity there and I don’t think a lot of people have figured it out, so that’s a good place to focus on.

Do you test your landing pages?

Pitylak: So you certainly have to, and we do. The way we do it today is:

  1. Creating two versions of a landing page and using some sort of technology to A/B split them.
  2. Working with some tool provider to allow us to place a piece of code on the landing page to swap out different items.

 
So there could be a DIV tag or a piece of HTML, and we focus on that HTML and change the message in that piece of HTML. So when half the traffic or a 1/3rd of the traffic is sent to that lading page they’ll see this message or that message.

Ultimately it’s important to start with a landing page you think will convert the best, and then make small changes to it. Maybe you change the marketing message, or you change the color of the button, the text in the button to see if that’s a little bit better.

You want to keep testing. Never let your landing page be, you always want to run small tests to try to improve the results and the conversion rate of that landing page.
That's where success ultimately comes from and again it’s testing these different messages, the feel, what the buttons look like, etc.

Small changes can make a surprisingly large difference.

It’s also showing people an easy way to explain what you want them to do, if you want them to click on a button you should just tell them to do that, something like “click here to get something,” or “free trial” or whatever actions is going to happen.

You'll be surprised how many people get to a page and they don't even know what to do, and they don’t realize what’s going to happen when they do click on a button.

Too often we as marketers or web designers don’t think about a website in terms of the people that are using it, but in terms of ourselves. We’re very savvy in terms of the web, it’s very obvious for us what to do typically. But think about your grandmother and how she would use the website. If she looked at this page would she know what to do?

That’s how you should design it: make it easy for anyone to use it, and that’s where testing can come in.

What KPIs or metrics should you pay attention to in mobile advertising?

Pitylak: On mobile applications specifically it’s really important to pay attention to:

  • Cost per install: If you’re promoting an application you’re going to have a certain cost to acquire that traffic. For example a cost per click may be 5 cents per click. So now you know the cost to acquire a click. But a click doesn’t really matter.  Getting traffic to your website it’s helpful but it’s not the metric you should care about. It’s the number of people converting. You want to measure the conversion rate on that traffic, and that leads to the cost of installation.

I know every single person who installs the application from that source: the cost to acquire that install is a certain amount. That’s a very important metric. And conversion rate and cost per click feeds into that, but the ultimate metric that matters is the cost per install.

  • Retention rate: It's very very important to retain users. I emphasize this only because a lot of people only focus on the cost per install, but the reality is that if somebody stays with your application twice as long, they end up purchasing more when they’re using it, and they see more ads when they’re using it. Ultimately you can pay a lot less for that particular customer.

So improving the product’s performance, understanding the retention rate, and understanding the retention rate of the different sources where you’re advertising – that’s what’s important.
So you may find if you show somebody a video advertisement that they’re more educated about your product, and so you show that video advertisement and then they go to the iPhone app store and download the app and ultimately start using it. That audience may retain better because they are more aware of what your product really is.

  • Conversion Rate: On the mobile optimized website side, the same metrics apply in terms of the web, what is your conversion rate. I want to know, if there’s a button on that page that’s ultimately going to take somebody off to take a specific action, like maybe go purchase a product or something like that, I want to know the click-through rate of that button, but only insofar as it ultimately leads to conversion rates or to sign-ups or whatever activity it is that you’re trying to promote that also leads to your cost per acquisition.
  • Cost per Acquisition: Much like the cost per install on that app promotion site, you have a cost per sale or cost per person signing up to your website service. But ultimately you want to know if you’re buying people at a certain cost per click, which is typically how you would buy them, once they get to your website you want to know what their conversion rate is and what is their cost per acquisition.

Would you like to say hello to the Lander community?

Pitylak: Hello to Lander community! Thank you for listening to what I’ve had to say, I’ve always enjoyed talking about this stuff, it’s very near and dear to my heart. I’ve been doing Internet marketing for 14 years, I love it. Some people they are fortunate enough to know what they love. I absolutely love Internet marketing. I love helping clients solve difficult Internet marketing problems, that’s why we’re in the business we’re in.

We also appreciate people who are equally as passionate about Internet marketing, and are trying to figure out a way to make it work. I understand it always starts somewhere. You’re always trying to figure out what that little thing is that’s going to make that conversion rate a little bit higher or make your cost of advertising a little bit lower to increase your revenue a little bit.

And landing pages are a huge way to improve that performance. I’ll tell you what a lot of what people are focusing on in 2012, it’s improving conversion rates more so than anything else - focusing on the right things by looking at conversion rates.

My person twitter handle is @ryanpitylak, my company’s twitter handle is @uinfluence, we are available at uniqueinfluence.com. You can read more information on what our thoughts are on marketing and what we think about marketing at our website.