Keys to Mobile Growth with Lisa Sullivan-Cross from Pandora: Part II

Tobias Vogels, Mobile Developer Evangelist

In our previous post with Lisa Sullivan-Cross (@sullycross) from Pandora, we discussed how different product tactics can help you turn new users into paying subscribers. Lisa highlighted, how app personalization, in-app communication channels, and customized subscription offers helped Pandora to efficiently grow their subscriber base.

While in-app initiatives usually build the foundation for a successful growth model, the communication with your users shouldn’t end there. We asked Lisa, how marketing channels can help you to drive growth outside of your app and what to keep in mind when running your campaigns.

Keys to Mobile Growth with Lisa Sullivan-Cross from Pandora

Anything in quotes below is attributed to Lisa Sullivan-Cross.

“I recommend putting a lot of energy into questions like how do we get a person to keep using the app and to come back more often. While marketing triggers can help you with that, you should always be very careful to not inundate people.”

Triggers for Staying Top of Mind

Push Notifications

Push notifications have become a main communication channel for many growth marketers. The interfering character makes it actionable and drives conversions. On the other hand, this can also be problematic if you cross the line between informing a user and annoying them. It’s important to think about your individual user groups and how your push notifications add value for them.

“I have tons of game apps on my phone where I just get irrelevant notifications all day. Our notifications are very personalized and meaningful and that’s why they work. Our messaging is based on what you’re listening to and how you interact with our product. We have done a lot of experiments and it’s important to carefully monitor your unsubscribe rates to make sure you’re sending the correct frequency and the right messages for each user.”

Balance Email and Push

“For us, push notifications are much stronger than email and that difference has become greater over time. At least on iOS, they’re so prominent that people see them and respond to them. On the other hand, email is still a strong channel to reach your users outside of your app. Especially considering that not all of your users are opting-in for your pushes. The good thing about email is that you have space to say more and set a brand tone whereas push is really just a driver of engagement and traffic.”

Paid Direct Response (DR) Marketing

Besides the free marketing channels email and push, paid DR marketing can be a good way to keep your app on the top of your target audience’s mind while they’re not in your app. “We use paid DR Marketing to do a lot of retargeting lapsed users and occasional users - trying to get them to come back more often. We can be very targeted there in what we say because we know the artist or the genre they listen too. Since you have to spend money for it, the ROI is not as high as on mobile push and email channels but we’re very efficient with what we do there.”

Regardless of Channel, Never Forget Quality

While we highlighted some individual growth channels in our posts, it’s important to keep the big picture and long-term goals in mind. “I feel the biggest growth mistake that people make is focusing on short-term user growth and not on the quality of the user. They try to juice their unique user numbers but don’t have a strong enough filter on the quality of users. It can be complicated to track through the ROI and some people might not have the resources to implement this tracking or they just haven’t figured out what the right tracking mechanisms are.”

To make sure, you stay focused on quality user growth, “I’d say, look way beyond the install. If  you’re a subscription or ecommerce company, don’t just look at cost per subscriber/order, look at a lifetime value metric that includes things such as retention. For us, we don’t look just at cost per incremental listener or cost per subscriber, we combine that with engagement metrics that drive revenue such as hours per active user and ad revenue. We don’t just stop at: Did we get this person to install the app or subscribe.“


What do you think about Lisa’s tips? Tweet us @flurrymobile, using #KeysToMobileGrowth. Stay tuned for our next #KeysToMobileGrowth post with Andrew Chen from Uber.