YouAppi is a leading performance-based mobile app marketing and retargeting platform.

We caught up with Hilit Mioduser Ames to find out more about app retention and what her typical day looks like.

Please describe your job: What do you do?

As VP Growth, Re-engagement, I lead the focus on helping advertisers reach their growth objectives through our retargeting and re-engagement product. At YouAppi, re-engagement is used to target dormant users who have become inactive after having previous activity in app, while retargeting targets existing users who previously installed an app but didn’t proceed down the funnel to make a purchase.

I joined YouAppi three years ago to lead the app retention efforts because the company recognized that in North America, Europe and much of Asia, most users owned smartphones and the pressing marketing challenge for the majority of apps was to retain users. Furthermore, our brand marketing clients were looking to go deeper into the funnel and enhance user relationships and ultimately, app profitability. As a result, app retargeting and re-engagement became more effective with the continued growth of programmatic buying.

I work with my team to create app marketing campaigns aimed at users engaging with the technology platform and methodology YouAppi developed to improve retention, increase revenue, and profitability. Through our work, we’ve learned that personalized product preferences favorably impact the user’s interest when re-engaging with an app. For example, in one of our campaigns for a popular travel app, we retargeted users with personalized ads based on their in-app and product preferences and this resulted in a 40% increase in orders.

Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?

YouAppi is structured into three main verticals: Operations, Sales and Growth. I have a unique role where I operate in both Sales and Growth. Within Growth, I report to the Chief Product Officer and lead the retargeting product growth globally. Within Sales, I report to the CEO and lead the sales teams in select European and Asian markets.

What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?

The main skills needed to be effective in my role are an analytical mindset, marketing savvy, sales instincts, as well as the curiosity to constantly learn. Everything YouAppi does is analyzed, optimized to find and retain profitable users, hence a significant part of my day is spent analyzing campaign data. I use my marketing skills to prepare retargeting/re-engagement proposals for clients which includes analyzing user journeys through 1st party data, offering a strategic and tactical plan to re-activate, convert and retain each app’s most valuable users.

My sales instincts are called upon as I am responsible for growth. It requires me to be strategic in meetings and pitches for our retargeting/re-engagement platform, which supports the sales team to achieve our revenue KPIs.

To be successful in this role, an innate sense of curiosity is required. I spend my free time thinking about why one person stays actively engaged with an app while another takes the time to download an app and abandons it the following day. When evaluating the various ad creative options, I often recommend a non-traditional campaign to test a new pitch angle or idea I have.

Tell us about a typical working day…

A typical day kicks off with a team meeting to discuss the campaign updates and the deal pipeline. Following the meeting, I take a deep dive into selected campaigns, seeking performance improvement opportunities as well as to glean insights from which we can learn and apply to future campaigns. In addition, a major part of my day includes calls and meetings with our global sales teams and partners for market education and pitches.

App retention is a relatively new discipline in mobile and we are continuously revising our methodology and technology. In a recent retargeting campaign for a fintech app, we needed to create totally new and unconventional user journey funnels to successfully retarget specific users at a very early stage before they became dormant. Based on this experience, we learned that we needed to reformulate the campaign within hours of launching to ultimately meet our campaign KPIs.

I also spend an hour or two per day working directly with clients and YouAppi’s account and R&D teams across our 15 offices.

What do you love about your job? What sucks?

It is so easy to describe what I love about my job: I have fun working with my team to answer the ‘how’ and ‘why’ a user has abandoned an app and then creating the right campaign mix to bring the user back. I also enjoy working with several household names in apps and our global team across Asia, Europe, and the Americas. These reasons fuel the passion I have always had for marketing. Consequentially, this also means that every hour of the day, someone in one of YouAppi’s 15 offices needs to consult with me about a campaign; this can be a challenge as I am juggling my children’s bedtime with answering campaign-specific questions.

What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?

Our app retargeting and re-engagement campaigns are KPI-driven, measuring incremental lift – how many more conversions did the users who were exposed to the campaign (test group) generate when compared with the users who did not see the campaign (control group). At YouAppi, we focus on performance KPIs like Cost Per Engagement (CPE), Cost Per Acquisition (CPA), Return on Investment (ROI), Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) and use incremental lift to measure the increase in Average Order Value (AOV), conversions and total transactions.

Every campaign element is documented. Because of this, we can show our clients the entire process we undertook to arrive at the optimized incremental lift YouAppi was able to achieve, as well as recommend which actions.

What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?

I have YouAppi colleagues located in 15 offices around the globe. Because of this, Zoom is one of our most heavily-used tools for communications. As a global company, we utilize a range of social channels – WeChat with colleagues and clients in APAC, Skype in Europe, Slack for the US and WhatsApp for internal communications. I am also an avid user of YouAppi’s homegrown retargeting/re-engagement business intelligence platform to monitor campaigns throughout the day.

How did you end up at YouAppi, and where might you go from here?

After a series of account management, sales, and business development roles, I wanted a product and process-focused role that would enable me to provide more technology-driven value to my clients. It was at this time that YouAppi made the strategic decision to focus on retention marketing solutions like app retargeting and re-engagement. It turns out, my timing was right and the rest is history.

When I think about the future, I’m excited by the technology and methodology that my team has developed and there is still much more I believe we can accomplish together.

Which advertising has impressed you lately?

As the mother of young daughters, I’ll have to say Nike’s ‘Dream Crazier’. Beyond the fact that I thought the ad was amazing and inspirational, it’s an important message to pass on to young women and perhaps more important, to young men.

What advice would you give a marketer starting out?

My advice to someone starting out would be: seek out opportunities where you can learn. The first job title or salary is less important. Marketers should explore companies and individuals who will give them space to learn. Look at the senior staff of a company and identify those who are willing to mentor. Pay close attention to company culture and join a company that supports trying new things without the fear of failure.

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