The Ultimate Mobile Opportunity: The Consumer In-App Mindset

February 3, 2016 – iMedia Connection As more global consumers adopt and integrate mobile apps into their daily lives, marketers are wise to understand how they orient and interact in this environment. “In-app” is the most powerful mobile marketing environment we have. This highly receptive state offers unique ways for brands to effectively and directly engage consumers. There are two avenues for the marketer: advertising to the receptive in-app consumer while they are engaged in that environment and/or developing a branded app to build loyalty.

Winning with in-app advertising

If we think about the consumer’s state of mind when in-app, it’s easy to imagine how well executed advertising can succeed there. All consumers “in” an app have essentially “opted in” to the environment. As a result, consumers are attuned to messaging and are receptive to it. Well-targeted, rich, useful, in-app advertising resonates in this environment because a connection can happen at the right time, appropriate place, and in a personalized way, handing control to the consumers themselves. Imaginative uses by a QSR brand of things like the smart phone’s accelerometer, allowing a consumer to mix and select various menu items by shaking their device, is one strong example we’ve seen in the market.

Location-based advertising has been another trigger for the growth of in-app advertising. U.S.-based location-targeted mobile ad revenues are expected to grow from $4.3 billion in 2014 to $18.2 billion in 2019, according to research from BIA Kelsey. Location-enabled programmatic mobile inventory has doubled in the last year. Today, more than 60 percent of all mobile ad requests include location data of some kind. 

As the available data and technology improves, more mobile ad marketers are using it to drive greater campaign relevance. Advertisers and ad networks now have the ability to collect and process volumes of consumer data to create more targeted and timely mobile marketing. The better the data, the more precise the targeting can be. When coupled with definitive place, or POI data, accurate location data allows marketers to develop powerful consumer audiences based on their prior mobile activity, behavioral frequency, and device information.

Data input needs to be verified for accuracy or the data led marketing will be wasted on the wrong people. The upfront vetting you do with your data solutions, providers, and partners on the methodology is essential. The most accurate form of location data is real-time, latitude and longitude coordinates pulled directly from a mobile device’s global positioning system (GPS). Leveraging precise location data, marketers can reach consumers within steps of a retailer, driving foot traffic from potential shoppers, or capture consumers’ intent on visiting competing retailers nearby. That’s where you want to be.

The branded app as marketing

According to a recent study from Forrester Research, consumers spend more than 85 percent of their time on smartphones using native apps. In fact, consumers don’t even consider many of these apps “native.” They consider them “functional” — tools to effectively interact with brands they depend on. However, the challenge is to keep the users engaged with these apps on an ongoing basis. It turns out “native” app users aren’t using the vast majority of the apps they have downloaded onto their phone. In fact, according to a recent Forrester study, 84 percent of their time is spent using just five apps. This dovetails with another recent study from Nielsen spotlighting that there is a ceiling for the number of apps that consumers will consistently use.

So, what can you do to ensure that you’re one of the lucky few, favorite branded apps that consumers deploy on a regular, if not daily, basis, able to take advantage of these consumers ravenous for information about, or utility delivered from, your brand? Establish immediate value and functionality to the end user.

Most of the apps that people use frequently are ones that deliver a specific function in an instant. So, how can your brand’s app do that? How will it make their lives instantly easier, becoming indispensable in the process?

The best in-app interfaces or executions are incredibly focused, taking advantage of the consumer state of being “all in” when they are there. A strong app is mobile-first with a streamlined design that provides a logical, easy flow and navigation. Essentially, it will deliver a laser-like focus on a primary task and eliminate bells and whistles that may distract. A lot of businesses make the mistake of pretending that their mobile website launchers are apps, but they’re not. Native apps offer marketers an environment that can be used to create distinctive, specific experiences for customers.

The app consumer is ready, willing and open to marketing. That’s a unique combination. But, for it to work, brands must respect and cater to this special permission. Whether you’re delivering the messaging and proposed engagement via ad placements inside the app or using the app itself as a marketing vehicle, everything you do must engage, service and delight — not annoy or burden — the audience. The elusive permission slip has been granted. Now it’s the brand’s responsibility to deliver a continuous, memorable journey.

Tom Kenney is president and CIO at Verve.

Pratiksha Patel Joins Verve as Chief People Officer

Newly created role expands c-suite; emphasizes deep commitment to people and culture

NEW YORK, NY – January 27, 2016 – Verve, the leader in location-based mobile advertising, today announced that Pratiksha Patel has joined its executive leadership team in the newly created role of chief people officer, effective immediately. Reporting to Verve’s chief executive officer, Nada Stirratt, Patel will lead the company’s people and culture initiatives, spanning talent development, recruiting and the embodiment of the company’s core values. 

“I’m extremely proud of everyone at Verve, as we delivered record-breaking performance in 2015; our people are the foundation of our success,” said Stirratt. “Pratiksha’s passion for cultivating strengths-based, growth-focused cultures aligns perfectly with our profound commitment to our people as the critical component of our broader corporate strategy. She will be instrumental in scaling this people focus as we expand globally.” 

Patel brings to Verve over sixteen years of leadership and people management experience. Most recently, as vice president of people at Centric Digital, Patel led the company’s human resources team. Previously, Patel held senior positions at Gilt, L’Oreal and McKinsey & Company, employing modern and energetic approaches to organization design, change management and talent and learning development. 

“I’ve spent my career training my eye to spot the potential in others and to facilitate rewarding paths to achieve it,” said Patel. “Verve has ambitious plans and I look forward to expanding on the tremendous momentum and creating the people and ethos we need for success in 2016 and beyond.”


Verve Taps Innovative Digital Media Executive Gian LaVecchia to Lead Client Strategy and Development

NEW YORK, NY – January 20, 2016 – Verve, the leader in location-based mobile advertising, today announced the appointment of highly accomplished digital media veteran Gian LaVecchia to the role of vice president of client strategy and development, effective immediately. Reporting to Verve’s chief revenue officer, Kevin Arrix, LaVecchia will lead the mobile marketing platform’s client development and agency strategy, partnering with and advising clients on breakthrough mobile executions to help drive their businesses. This new role demonstrates Verve’s commitment to client success by delivering leading-edge solutions, progressive thought leadership and original, industry-first concepts for brands and agencies.

LaVecchia joins Verve from MEC Global (GroupM), where, most recently, he was managing partner and North American digital content marketing leader. In this role, LaVecchia was the chief architect behind MEC’s digital content marketing practice.

“Gian is an inventive marketer with a proven track-record advising many of the world’s most influential and iconic brands on growing their business across a wide range of platforms and technologies,” said Kevin Arrix, Verve’s chief revenue officer. “This perspective and experience will enable us to enhance Verve’s market-leading performance for our customers.”

A renowned industry visionary, LaVecchia has been frequently published in prominent news outlets such as Fast Company, WIRED, The Wall Street Journal, Advertising Age, Ad Week and Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Before joining MEC, LaVecchia was the executive vice president of digital media at Story Worldwide and held senior leadership positions at Publicis Modem and Digitas, Inc. He was also an early member of MSN’s branded content and experiences team (BEET), an industry-lauded group focused on creating innovative custom experiences for Visa, Sprite, Kraft and other key advertisers.

“My career has always centered around helping brands effectively reach, connect and energize audiences at scale utilizing next-generation digital platforms and technologies,” said LaVecchia. “I’m thrilled to apply this proven approach to the brands we serve at Verve and to capitalize on our investment in innovation to continually introduce new and exciting ways for our clients to impact their consumers.”

Verve Hires Dr. Mark Ollila to Drive Continued Innovation in Mobile Location Advertising

Mobile veteran to expand Verve’s innovation pipeline and develop market-leading product offerings that fuse the best in hardware, software, services and consumer experiences

NEW YORK, NY – January 4, 2016 – Verve Mobile, the leader in location-based mobile advertising, today announced the appointment of Dr. Mark Ollila to the position of general manager and chief of staff of Verve’s innovation and new products group. In this role, Ollila will work closely with Verve’s president and chief innovation officer, Tom Kenney, to grow the company’s world-class innovation team focused on advancing the evolution of mobile location advertising.

Prior to this, Ollila was at Nokia where he held a variety of senior roles, including leading the smart devices long term roadmap and innovation portfolio. He played an integral role in the development and roll-out of Nokia’s services, ranging from games, app stores, photo and video sharing and new publisher intake tools, with global reach in the hundreds of millions of handsets. Ollila was also a core member of the deal team between Nokia and Microsoft in the strategic agreement in 2011 managing product requirements. During Ollila’s tenure, he delivered many first-of-their-kind, industry-winning services and solutions, and, most recently, was responsible for complementary products in connected devices. [Read more…]

Verve Continues Hiring Spree With Focus On Data, Analytics

November 16, 2015 — GeoMarketing Barely a month after Verve Mobile CEO Nada Stirratt hired her former Viacom colleague Keven Arrix as CRO, the mobile ad platform is turning its attention to rounding out its analytics team with the addition of Bryan Throckmorton as the company’s new VP of Enterprise Data and Tim Gough as VP of Insights and Analytics.

Gough reports to Verve CMO Julie Bernard, who was named to her role in June.

He joins Verve after a decade at shopper tracking provider dunnhumby. Gough most recently served as VP of media solutions. In this role, he led an insights team responsible for the delivery of all “non-retail” media targeting and effectiveness with dunnhumby media partners, including Facebook and Twitter.

In this new post, Gough is charged with expanding Verve’s campaign analytics capabilities and providing performance insights designed to show whether an ad led to a real-world sale.

Having worked with Tim in the past, I am thrilled to be reunited with this creative insights master,” said Bernard, who before coming to Verve, was SVP for customer strategy, data science, and loyalty at Macy’s. “Tim shares my passion for a fierce focus on delivering magical consumer experiences and elevates analytic outputs by producing them through a robust consumer lens. His command of the complex media landscape coupled with his unique ability to extract substantive meaning and insights from intricate data assets makes Tim the perfect leader to build upon Verve’s strengths.

Throckmorton will report to Verve’s chief product officer, Brian Crook, and will manage the company’s enterprise data strategy. In order to instill a “holistic” approach to managing and implementing the data Verve ingests, Throckmorton will partner with Gough to implement process, data, and technology solutions to power advanced insight generation.

“Bryan’s experience scaling high-performance, customer-centric strategy organizations gives Verve the edge as we take our enterprise data strategy to the next level, augmenting data intelligence efforts in real-time,” said Crook. “Bryan’s track record helping large firms integrate their business and marketing strategies using data and technology will advance Verve’s existing data and analytics capabilities by delivering solutions that put brands, and their consumers, at the center of every decision, ensuring long-term customer loyalty in the process.”

The hiring of Throckmorton and Gough are meant to “create a trifecta of analytics excellence for Verve,” Bernard said. When she first joined the company, one of the first people Bernard met with was Gary Eng, who was recently promoted to VP, head of data science at Verve. Essentially, Eng is responsible for connecting and capturing mobile device IDs and the lat/long, along with the behaviors, the interests that people are demonstrating on their smartphones with the goal of inferring their intent and “need state” so that brands can reach them more effectively.

“Gary’s job is intended to extract the meaning out of very large Big Data environment we find ourselves in,” Bernard said. “It allows us to match people, places and purpose in order to inform the entire platform execution that Verve offers. That includes everything from audience selection from a targeting and a campaign strategy perspective, as well as the ultimate campaign effectiveness and performance. But we recognized that Verve had an opportunity to augment Gary’s team with a VP of Enterprise Data Strategy.”

That’s where the conversations with Throckmorton started opening up. He had worked directly with Stirratt during her previous role as CRO of Big Data provider Acxiom. Bernard had also gotten to know Throckmorton well in her last post at Macy’s.

“We were were very comfortable with Bryan’s ability to understand the data strategy,” Bernard said. “The data infrastructure team that existed at Verve already had been doing an excellent job of mapping and organizing data. Yet, we saw a chance to further enhance that capability with new ways of doing data matching with someone who had this strategic ability to help us build out our enterprise data offerings.”

Gough had always led insights teams at dunnhumby that were delivering against data driven marketing, but always with a consumer behavior lens, something that also appealed to Stirratt and Bernard.

“Tim has a fierce focus starts with the consumer experience — and it’s of paramount importance that we never lose sight of that,” Bernard said. “We want to constantly learn from that effectiveness: are we true to delivering content that matters within the context? That’s what we always have to be aware of.”

[Read more…]