Solve for Tomorrow’s Problems: Lessons Learned from the Boston App Strategy Workshop and Demo Day
I recently had the pleasure of talking with Meredith Flynn-Ripley, CEO of HeyWire during the App Developers Alliance App Strategy Workshop in Boston. (Check out the video of our fireside chat with Meredith here.) Meredith was kind enough to share her process of identifying and capitalizing on market opportunities as well as some tips on how developers can ensure they’re on the winning side of the mobile revolution. We’ve recapped some highlights for you here.
MM: You’ve been in technology for quite a while and in mobile since the beginning. Can you share the story around the founding of HeyWire and a bit about your background?
Meredith: I started my career at Ogilvy & Mather Interactive, introducing major brands like American Express and AT&T to the Internet. In 2010, HeyWire was founded on the belief that text messaging was going to skyrocket in popularity and displace voice as the preferred way to communicate. IP technologies would allow for new features and functionality when it came to messaging like cloud messaging from computers, tablets and smartphones. Why limit messaging to just a phone? Which is exactly what phones were limited to back in 2010.
MM: So what would you say is HeyWire’s unique value proposition?
Meredith: HeyWire allows businesses to communicate with their mobile customers via text messaging conversations. That sounds simple, yet today’s major brands are only using SMS to send alerts and notifications. They’re not taking advantage of personalized human-to-human interactions for customer engagement. Why not allow customers to text the same phone numbers they use to call a company they do business with? HeyWire fills this important missing channel in an omnichannel strategy. We do this by developing both easy apps for contact centers to use for customer communication as well as messaging apps that employees can use to separate their business and personal communications. 50% of today’s business people are already texting with customers and 33% have a closed a deal via text. Our apps for employees and contact centers let businesses meet their customers’ needs and increase productivity.
MM: What’s your strategy for mobile monetization?
Meredith: Our Enterprise messaging services are SaaS-based monthly subscriptions. Our highly-rated Free HeyWire Consumer texting app is advertising-supported.
MM: What are the top three things that app developers should consider when incorporating advertising into their apps?
Meredith: Focus on User Acquisition first. You need to accumulate a community of Monthly Active Users (MAUs) that produce a worthwhile amount of impressions to drive fruitful revenue from advertising. For us, we’ve found that 30M-100M monthly impressions is the threshold to meaningfully monetize via mobile advertising. This is something to consider if you’re using mobile advertising as your primary method of monetization.
Second, understand how your customers use your app and test the advertising formats in advance. Improperly placed ads that directly affect the user flow will be rejected by customers who will uninstall your app. App developers need to strike a balance and plan for how advertising lives within your user experience.
Third, be prepared for ongoing ad implementation and management. Charter someone in the company to lead the advertising product and monetization, working with your partners, constantly looking for new advertising formats to test.
MM: Right now what would you say is the biggest challenge in mobile advertising? And what is the biggest opportunity?
Meredith: The biggest challenge and opportunity is that we’re just at the beginning of mobile advertising. Despite huge growth, mobile advertising is a fraction of overall spend by most major brands. The trends are moving in the right direction, but these are still the early days.
MM: One of our main goals at Millennial Media is to make mobile simple for our partners and clients. How has Millennial Media made mobile simple for you and your team?
Meredith: Millennial is a great partner to HeyWire. We’ve worked with Millennial for the last several years and through their vast network of properties, they’ve helped streamline and centralize our advertising opportunities and have always delivered high quality advertisers to our app.
More from Bonnie Hommeyer
Millennial Media is the leading mobile ad marketplace, making mobile simple for the world’s top brands, app developers, and mobile web publishers. The company's data and technology assets enable advertisers to connect with target audiences at scale, while driving monetization for publisher and developer partners. AOL acquired Millennial Media on October 23, 2015. Millennial Media boosts AOL's global, mobile capabilities and scale across ONE by AOL for advertisers and agencies, and offers the most attractive monetization platform for app developers.