Matthew Lord serves as a Chief Strategy Officer at Perform[cb]. With 15+ years of experience in the affiliate marketing channel, Matthew has been a central figure in implementing the day-to-day administrative and operational functions at Perform[cb]. In an exclusive interview with MobileAppDaily, Matthew Lord revealed the latest industry trends and future company endeavors.
I had been doing marketing, searching for non-profits like NPR and an awesome little theatre in Iowa City. My career here opened me up to a much larger world of performance marketing. When I first started (so long ago), I was doing email. Since then, I have had a chance to run campaigns across verticals and traffic types, including mobile. Mobile is so exciting because of all the smart, data-driven marketers in the industry. We not only drive pure customer acquisition in the form of installs but track post-install events that show the consumer engagement and return on ad spend the campaigns generate.
I sometimes joke that my title [Chief Strategy Officer] is because no one knew what to call me. The truth is, over the course of my career, I have been involved in pretty much every aspect of the business, which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed, from Product to Compliance, from direct Account Management to Media Buying. In my current role, I partner with the other members of the leadership team to help guide the organization into the future. This means that I get to work closely with all teams; from sales where I can better understand customer needs and industry trends, to technology where I help interpret those needs and trends into our technology releases, to the marketing team which is tasked with continuously filling our own funnel with potential customers and clients.
Our primary goal is always, “How do we further serve our clients?”, so our vision of the future of Perform[cb] is one where we’re continuing to lead the industry in technology and solutions for marketers and partners - making their lives easier with data-driven insights and ultimately driving return on ad spend.
One example I can think of off the top of my head is Apple’s SKAdNetwork, which is expected to come out any day now. Of course, we’ve been preparing for that, but we also have an eye to what track is going to look like in 3-5 years. How do we prepare for that privacy-centric future today, in a way that also allows performance budgets to run in traffic types that are difficult or inaccessible now? That’s the great advantage of owning your technology. It allows you to be a futurist instead of waiting for everyone else to decide what marketing will look like one day.
Another area we are currently investing is in automation. PerformShieldⓇ is a homegrown compliance tool, but it’s really so much more than that. We use it to ensure that we’re delivering the transparency our clients want, so we can set up rules to make sure app names and IDs are being passed on every click. But we also use it as a machine learning rules engine. For example, we use it to optimize away from low converting sources, away from potential click flooding. So that’s a function of compliance. When we also create rules around our app developers' KPIs, what post-install events mean the most for them, we are also leveraging the tool to increase the return on ad spend for the campaign. It’s an optimization platform, bringing programmatic elements to performance marketing.
What else is in the future? While post-pandemic it’s likely that we’ll return to in-person activities, I think that the internet will keep a chunk of the growth it has achieved during this time as consumers have grown accustomed to the new world. We plan to continue to be a significant player in the world of digital customer acquisition. We were pleased to announce the acquisition of the direct ad sector from Digital Remedy just after the first of the year, and I anticipate that Perform[cb] will continue to grow both organically and through acquisition.
Everything, always, comes down to our people, the family we’ve built at Perform[cb]. We have big ideas for the future of the company and the industry, but ultimately it’s our people who execute and deliver for our clients. So as we grow, as we dream, we must do it together, sharing vision and purpose.
It’s in our name: we live and breathe performance marketing. In mobile, we help apps scale their user acquisition through CPI or CPE campaigns. In some cases, we are helping clients acquire users both in-app and on their websites. We want our clients to think of us as members of their own team, identifying opportunities and new traffic channels for growth and proactively optimizing their campaigns from the start.
The pandemic impacted our business. At first, it was just so much uncertainty. And then, like everyone else, we saw both negative and positive impacts depending on the vertical. We were agile and pivoted so that we could, for example, help D2C brands, already exploding pre-pandemic, continue to boom with convenience and subscription models as they strived to compete with more established, traditional retail brands. Consumers around the world were forced to double down on the shift towards online lives, which will result in permanent shifts in consumer behavior. The pandemic has also accelerated the adoption of online versions for previously in-person transactions, including telemedicine and therapy; entertainment including first-run movies; concerts; food, restaurant, and grocery delivery; etc. This shift in behavior will surely continue to a large extent post-pandemic.
The whole experience has made me grateful in a few respects. One, we are lucky to be in an industry where we could work from home. We made that decision early, and over the course of a week shifted to a 100% remote workforce. Watching our team adapt to that new environment, face and rise to the challenges of the year have made me so proud of what we’ve accomplished despite the pandemic. Our HR team has done an amazing job keeping the culture going. Two, I’m proud of our industry and all the apps we work with. Those apps were providing so many services needed during these difficult times, including streaming entertainment, games, delivery services, and telemedicine and online counseling.
I have really gotten into meditation. When you are intensely focused on a problem, thinking can expend up to 50% of the body’s oxygen. Breath-focused meditation - it can be a quick 5-minute break - can help restore energy and clarity.
It is gratifying to be recognized by BusinessofApps and others, of course. At the end of the day when we’re recognized there or on the Performance Index, it’s because we are relentless about our clients’ goals. We find out what’s important to them, and we deliver on that, again and again. Our success and growth boil down to that.
For new apps and new app developers, your passion lies with the problem your app solves, not necessarily with marketing it. Hire an experienced User Acquisition Manager and/or partner with good companies. Start with the fundamental channels: Facebook, Apple Search, Google UAC. Watch your user experience through your data and tweak the app accordingly.
When you are ready to scale, that’s when you need to explore all the other traffic types available, including display, programmatic, native, pre-load, SMS, and reward. As you scale, the most important part is the campaign structure. Make sure your payout and your marketing spend aligns with what is most important to you.
Culture is very important to us at Perform[cb]. One specific event we do every year where we bring the whole company together is called “Think Bigger”. We have a ton of fun at the event, including some volunteer service. Last year we volunteered with the organization AMIKids that works with at-risk youth in the Anna Maria Island and Sarasota area.
This year’s event will have to be virtual of course, but here are some photos from this particular event in the past.
I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about the world post-COVID. What will return to the old normal vs. what will never be quite the same? I think we are about to see an explosion in direct to consumer products and services. It’s a continuation of a trend that has been happening for several years, but I think the pandemic accelerated it. I’m excited to see new categories and innovations from mobile apps here.
One industry that I am excited (professionally and personally) to see come back is travel. I predict that travel will set new records when we get populations vaccinated country by country and COVID is under control. It can’t happen soon enough.
Mobile advertising is a complex space. We need forums and repositories like MobileAppDaily to be resources for marketers new to this space, and as tools to keep us all informed as mobile advertising evolves and changes.
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