Vice President, Global Sales & Marketing, and General Manager, APAC for Minimob Ltd. Colin is a long-standing mobile media entrepreneur in Asia, and presently leads the APAC regional App-related business unit for Minimob Ltd a mobile advertising and performance-marketing powerhouse with offices across 24 cities. With a 15-year career spanning all things Mobile, he has presented at many international conferences, including the Mobile World Congress (Barcelona), RBC Capital Markets Technology, Internet, Media and Telecommunications (New York); the Social Media World Forum (SMWF) Singapore, the MEF Global Forum (San Francisco) – and also at GMIC (Beijing).
What is minimob and how are you positioned in the market?
Well, thanks for asking, this is one of my favorite questions of course! I would say minimob (with a small m) is a platform built natively, to fully address performance advertising – and more importantly, fill some of those problematic ‘gaps’ we felt we saw in the marketplace. Over recent years, it’s positioning has been fully justified. In particular, as the display ads market has basically been ‘tarred and feathered’ by observers; mostly with fraud and viewability issues, we’ve simply carried-on focusing on finding real users for our clients – who need only pay for results. I’d reinforce that our positioning is as a ‘performance network’ that wants to secure the absolute best results for its clients. What I love is that minimob constantly innovates and regularly launches new technical features; like we did with dynamic CPI bidding – and now, the new video-CPI module.
minimob – smart mobile marketing and monetization
What types of clients do you work with?
Some of the biggest in the world and yes, some of the smallest too. minimob has been used by App startups such as nanu, as well as established brands, like BBM, Uber, kabam and KING. We’ve worked with most of the major ecommerce Apps you can name, as well as transport apps (and especially) travel booking Apps. We also work with some of the top mobile-centric ad agencies in the World, like MC Saatchi and airwave. The global business community is huge and sometimes overlaps in places, so it’s all about finding the right combination of partnerships, either directly or indirectly, to best serve specific campaign objectives.
What geographies are you focused on and where are you seeing the most growth?
Actually, you already know most everyone immediately says they are ‘global’ and that’s true, because you really have to be! However, it’s pretty clear that some ‘geos’ have better delivery and impact than others in different footprints. That said, this can also change in waves of cultural adoption (like the rapid growth of smartphones in India) – or by forging new publisher partnerships as well. Initially, for minimob, the USA was huge (due to the dramatic uptake of the first SDK) and although this has been replaced by API calls, the USA somehow maintained its position through sheer weight of offers. Physically speaking, minimob has offices in 24 cities, having opened in Berlin, so overall, we are ‘strong on the ground’ in key continents: Southeast Asia, LatAm and Europe in particular. The business growth in India, Latin America and Southeast Asia is tremendous at present.
What are your main tips for successful mobile app marketing?
My feeling is its part art, part science, part timing, part budget and then mostly perseverance. A lot has been written on this though, in fact there are tip sheets everywhere! Some for those with no budget looking towards ASO and social media efforts; as well as those with huge spends trying not to disappear in the morass of banners, clickbots and phone farms that are unfortunately prevalent. I once read some advice, that game publishers for example, would need to spend $1m per day to acquire traction (and enough paying users). My main takeout for now on paid campaigns (outside of having a brilliant – and viral – category app) is to focus on performance metrics (obviously) and co-opt as much smart data as possible to continually refine the targeting. Avoid network overlap and make sure your bidding logic is consistent. Oh, and if you ‘stop and start’ paid campaigns continually, precious momentum (and publisher belief) can be lost. So, stay solid for as long as you can afford it.
What do you think about ad blocking problem? How do you think the industry should approach and solve this issue?
My head was firmly in the ‘block the blockers’ camp. But, my heart says this phenomenon does speak to some structural issues we need to fix as an industry. Hopefully, we’ll get there before a technical impasse snarls up everything (that was previously ad-supported) – and leaves us open to a significant content-funding deficit.
What verticals do you see the most promising for publishers?
The nature of the app economy is in flux, for example, with the idea of invisible apps – devs could make things just as horizontal as they are vertical, but for the time being; games clearly will remain a major component of this business. The Entertainment industry has however, struggled a bit to find the right formula, but maybe the shakeout has finally occurred – and music & movies have found a consolidated way forward. Utilities (from flashlights to battery optimizers) have been quite amazing overall – and I still see apps that solve functional issues (finding local products or services) or enhance daily tasks (household, health, finance or educational) to be a major opportunity.
What kind of people work with you in the team at minimob?
Only the best! It’s an eclectic and cosmopolitan mix of talent spread worldwide; ad folks, tech folks, ad-tech folks, data scientists, programmatic technicians – and some extremely driven senior management – coupled with some visionary leadership from our CEO. We speak many languages at minimob, but we all believe in one thing. Performance pays!
What mobile devices do you use?
I have been using Samsung (since the S3 came out actually) as my primary device. I’m just about to jump on to the S7 bandwagon as well – and hopefully join the VR future. I also have a Samsung tab and (don’t let them know) I sometimes borrow my boy’s tabs, which are both from Acer. To be honest, as a family, we are never far from mobile access or devices. Ever!
What are your favorite apps?
It somewhat goes by category here, some are essential, like you pretty much have to have Facebook regardless, but some have become more important (and interesting) over time, like WeChat. I still use twitter, so Plume is handy for me – and I am a keen runner so Runkeeper is like a compulsory extension of my training. I actually enjoy having S-Health available by default as it counts my daily steps, and can use the sensor to check my pulse too. Musically-speaking I use both Tune-In and Akazoo to stream music. I am playing the Goo Saga (platform game) a lot as well. For travel, I install and uninstall apps as required (like aviva travel) for getting instant insurance when I’m sat at an airport and they’ve decided to change the plane at the last moment! Travel wise, the XE Currency app is indispensable when it comes to finding out just how much you are being ‘ripped off’ by apparently credible retail Currency Exchanges in countries like those in the UK.