A UA Q&A with Thiago Monteiro, Director of Growth at Peak Labs

Working in Digital and Mobile Marketing for more than seven years, Thiago has a vast experience in multi-disciplines of paid media ranging from Display, Paid Search to Social Paid advertising. He now directs the Growth team at Peak, responsible for acquiring and retaining hundreds of thousands of subscribers every month whilst reaching ambitious financial goals.

 

What do you believe is the biggest marketing challenge you face in the year ahead?

I think 2019 will bring us three main challenges: shift to ad revenue, automation and diversification.

First, as we are looking to increase the weight of ad revenue into our bottom line, we need to define and adapt our Marketing Strategy accordingly, as certain pockets of users who weren’t as relevant to us become more attractive, and as so, new channels and opportunities (with their own issues will appear).

The second is automation. At Peak we are proud of our automation tools for creative and budget optimisation but these need constant rework to adapt to market developments and also to keep ourselves ahead of the curve. So we need to be able to identify and understand what is the next steps and how we can further improve our algorithms without creating a black box that makes decisions that none of us can explain.

The last challenge is diversification. Last year we saw several issues rocking our main supplier in terms of traffic which ringed some alarm bells. Due to that, this year we will be looking into diversifying our acquisition portfolio as not to be as dependent on one source.

 

If you have in-sourced your UA activities: What was the chief driver behind your decision to take this function in-house rather than outsource to an agency?

In 2018 we pulled all of our activity in-house. The main driver was to regain full control over the data and activity.

 

What do you believe is the chief motivation to pull more mobile advertising and UA activities in-house?

Gain control of your data and budget leveraging all your Marketing spend to not only create growth to your product but also to generate knowledge that is kept in-house. Data and knowledge are huge competitive advantages which you should try to leverage and increase as much as possible.

 

What are the main benefits to in-sourcing your UA activities and campaigns?

Knowledge, control and cost. All the knowledge you get from testing and trying different things stays in-house. You gain more control over the campaigns and efforts as you reduce the number of steps in the communication line. It also reduces the cost of operation.

 

What have you found to be the “North Star” KPI –the key KPI you optimize campaigns to– in order to measure the success of your marketing and UA efforts?

Currently, D1 ROAS is working wonders as it’s quite fast to have data and is a good indicator of our performance. Obviously, this depends on the product we are marketing.  For our Games section, we are looking into retention as a guiding line.

 

How has this changed compared to last year, if at all?

We used to rely on a predictive 12m ROI before which became shaky after some necessary changes. We also had to test and learn how to measure activity for our games section.

 

Up until now, what are the metrics you choose to optimize your campaigns to in order to achieve your targets?

Ideally ROAS or CPA. If none of those is available we will focus on CPI while focusing at a quality indicator like early retention.

 

How do you view the impact of AI on mobile user acquisition in the coming year?

Machine learning is quite powerful to help us improve our performance as it can take in consideration more signals than its humanly possible which can help us understand trends and turning points in performance before they even happen.

In my opinion, we are still at a very early stage for this change, and we should avoid any sort of black boxes that will take decisions without any explanation. Due to that, I can see a lot of mixed solutions coming up that will alert, inform and even propose changes which will need to be approved by the UA team. This will last until trust in the solutions is established.

 

Hear from an array of mobile experts on their strategies for tackling similar issues for the year ahead and download in our full User Acquisition in 2019 report.