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It’s possible to collect a lot of information about mobile users. Companies can learn what users are doing inside their own mobile app. But only solutions like Apptient Mobile Intelligence gives companies the power to see what users do when they’re outside the app.

All this undifferentiated information by itself, however, isn’t worth much. High quantity, but not much quality.

For mobile publishers, advertisers, DSPs, game developers and others to derive value from it, the information needs to be segmented. Only when it’s intelligently sorted into usable segments, can it be used effectively to reach mobile users.


Segmentation by interest


One powerful way to segment by the user’s interest. A careful analysis of all of the apps on a mobile device and how they’re used can provide useful insights into a user’s particular interests or preferences.

It’s reasonable to assume, for example, that a smartphone user that regularly opens Gas Buddy and Waze owns an automobile. A company selling tires or oil change services would find this person particularly valuable, and they’d pay a premium to reach this particular high-value segment with mobile advertising.

Similarly, someone that spends time in Tripit, TripAdvisor, and FlightAware is likely to be a frequent traveler, and airline, hotel, and rental car companies would find them a particularly attractive target for mobile advertising.   A user fitting this particular profile is far more valuable to them than a generic “mobile user.”


Segmentation by device or carrier

Knowing the customer’s particular mobile device or carrier offers another valuable segmentation. Brands can use that information to run more effective advertising and promotional campaigns.

If mobile carriers, for example, can identify users that fit a specific profile – they are with a competitive carrier and have a device that’s at least 22 month’s old – that audience may be actively considering new mobile service options. An attractive promotional offer targeting this particular audience can be especially effective.


Targeting segments for customer acquisition

An intelligent analysis and segmentation based on all the apps used on a mobile device can also help attract new users. A segment that includes active users of WWE SuperCard and Wrestling Revolution, for example, would respond well to an offer for WWE Immortals or other wrestling games.


Identifying users likely to defect

Accurate segmentation of the full mobile environment can also identify the portion of the mobile customer base that is at risk of defecting.

For example, the publisher of Words with Friends” may see that a significant number of users are also active on “Letterpress.” By identifying this particular segment, they can specifically target this group of users with a special promotion to entice them back to “Words with Friends.”


Segmentation yields more value to publishers and advertisers

In each of these scenarios, intelligent analysis and segmentation has transformed an undifferentiated volume of data into more valuable segments that allow advertisers and publishers to make smarter decisions.

For advertisers, well-defined segments allow them to more accurately direct specific offers to high-value targets.

For publishers, they can charge a premium lift by offering advertisers a more valuable audience, and driving more value from their mobile customer base.

Smart marketers will try to learn everything they can about their most valuable customers.  They’ll collect key demographic information, purchase preferences, and anything else they can use to improve the experience for those customers.

They can capture most of that information by tracking what they do when they are inside the company’s own mobile app.

But there’s one giant hole in that picture of high value customers:  Marketers have no idea what those customers do when they’re outside the company’s app.

Pattern recognition and prediction

Once they analyze the complete constellation of apps installed by their best customers, marketers can detect a pattern.  They can identify a specific cohort of mobile apps that makes it possible for them to  “predict” which of their mobile users have the potential to develop into high-value customers.

Target high-potential segments

They could then target the segment of users that fit that particular pattern.  Instead of blanketing the entire population of mobile users, they can target a special promotion or offer to only those that are most likely to be valuable long-term customers.

To implement this pattern recognition and targeting requires that marketers use a solution such as the Apptient Mobile Segment Intelligence tool to see the complete picture of what apps users are running on their mobile devices.

Once marketers know what their ideal customers look like, they have a much better chance to find more of them.


When it comes to knowing their mobile customers, many companies have a bad case of tunnel vision.  And it’s a problem that costs them a lot of money.

Retailers, game companies, and publishers can see a lot about what a customer is doing when they’re inside their mobile application.

But they’re seeing only a small slice of the customer’s activity. They have no idea of what the customer does outside their app. Once they leave, what do they do, where do they go, what do they buy or play or read?


The apps they carry on their phone reveal a lot about a person



Companies can use that information to learn a great deal about that customer’s interests and behavior.

More importantly, not knowing what other apps are on your customer’s phone can be very costly.


You could be paying too much to acquire customers

If you don’t know what your mobile users are doing outside your app, you could be paying much more to acquire new users than you should be. If you’re paying $2, $3, maybe even $4 for each new user acquired from outside sources, you could be wasting a lot of money.

You could be acquiring those new users much less expensively. You could save yourself from writing a large check every month to Facebook, Twitter, Fiksu or another data broker.

How? You need to know more about your users and what apps they were running on their phones.


Run the numbers to prove it

Consider an example to compare the costs of acquiring a new customer through two different options:

  1. Buying a new customer from an outside broker
  2. Acquiring a customer on your own by better understanding their interests

Option 1: If you’re a gaming company looking to acquire new customers, you could buy those customers from an outside broker. For the sake of illustration, assume you pay a $3 cost per install (CPI).

Making some reasonable assumptions about conversions, a campaign targeting 1 million users might yield 15,000 new users. That means you’ll be paying the outside broker $45,000.

Option 2: But there’s a second option. Instead of buying users for your game from a third party data broker, consider acquiring them from your own existing users. If you could discover what other games are on their mobile devices, you could identify likely users for the new game. You could then cross-promote to these users through targeted ads or promotions, a much less expensive way to reach them.


Seeing all the apps on a device lets you target customers more cost-effectively


Estimate that is would cost $3 per thousand (CPM) to deliver an ad to those targeted users.   To reach 1 million users would cost $3000. That’s a fraction of the $45,000 that you would have paid an outside broker for those new users.

In other words, you’re paying 15 times more for new users than you should be.

Plug in your own numbers. See for yourself how much you’re overpaying.


Purchase new customers from outside broker Acquire new customers by targeting existing users based on their interests
Number of targets 1,000,000 1,000,000
% click through 5% 5%
Clicks 50,000 50,000
% conversion 30% 30%
Conversions to new customer 15,000 15,000
Cost per customer $3.00 CPI $0.003 ($3 CPM)
Total cost $45,000 $3,000

Customers using your mobile app reveal a lot about themselves.

They generate data about what they do when they’re inside your app: where they go, what they look at, how long they stay, etc.

Plus they generate data on what they do when they’re outside your app: what other apps are installed on their mobile device, are those apps complementary or competitors, are they used more often than your app, etc.


Your customer, but not your data

All that data – which could be extremely helpful to you – should be yours. After all, it’s all been generated by your customers.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t exactly work like that. You can get the data… but you need to pay for it.

The people collecting all that valuable information are the mobile ad networks and others that control access to mobile users. And they’d be happy to sell it back to you.


Why not collect the data yourself

For a time, buying back data on your own customers may have made sense.

But now there are other ways to learn what your customers are doing on their mobile devices. Solutions such as Marlin Mobile’s Segment Intelligence let brands collect that valuable data on their own.

Mobile advertisers can see for themselves what their users are doing, both inside and outside their application. They can use this information to better target their promotions and spend their mobile ad budget more productively.

And they can do without paying someone else for data about their own customers.



There are 1.19 billion reasons for mobile advertisers to like Facebook. That’s how many mobile monthly active users are on Facebook.

Almost one of every four mobile device users on Earth is active on Facebook. Somewhere in that vast population, almost any brand should be able to find their target audience.

Context on Consumer behavior outside of the Facebook app is needed

But size isn’t everything. No doubt, Facebook and others can provide mobile advertisers access to lots of users.

But what they offer in quantity, they lose in context. That is, they don’t reveal what the consumer is doing outside of the Facebook app.

While they can provide lots of targeting information about what those users do inside their mobile app, they can’t offer any insights into what users do outside their app.

Facebook has from tunnel vision. Brands get the benefit of targeting info that Facebook can collect within its app. But Facebook can’t capture data outside its own app. Therefore, it cannot give a full picture of the mobile user and everything that a user does on their device.

Facebook can’t tell advertisers certain critical details, such as:

  • What other apps is the user running?
  • Is the user spending more time with competitors?
  • Is the user active in apps that are complementary?

Without this complete picture, advertisers are missing an opportunity to get sharper, more accurate insights into their users.

The result: off-target messages and offers, lower conversion rates, and poorer return on the advertising investment.


Buy, don’t rent

There’s one other drawback for brands using Facebook to reach their mobile users:

Those users belong to Facebook; they don’t belong to the advertiser.

Brand advertisers can rent access to them, but they don’t own them. And renting has significant downsides:

  • Advertisers that need customized segments need to rely on Facebook or others to extract that information. It’s in an inaccessible black box.
  • The information is hard to connect to the brand advertisers’ other systems. It cannot be easily integrated into CRM, email, or other marketing solutions. Critical user data is stuck in a silo, and executing multi-channel campaigns is much more difficult.
  • Advertisers need to pay for access to their own users. Because Facebook owns the users, they collect a toll each and every time an advertiser needs to reach them. Mobile advertising becomes much more expensive.


The advantages of ownership

For brands that want to cast a wide net with their mobile advertising, renting access to their users via Facebook or other vast networks could be a good option.

But for those advertisers that want more control, more accurate segmentation, better integration, and lower advertising expense, they should consider solutions that let them own their user information instead of renting it.

Unfortunately, most publishers and advertisers don’t know much about their mobile customers.

Once customers leave the company’s own mobile app, they’re invisible.

  • Do they visit competitors’ apps?
  • Do they visit complementary apps?
  • Or are they doing something completely unexpected?

There’s a whole lot of information on customers’ mobile devices that can reveal their interests and behaviors… but most companies aren’t seeing it.

ESPN, for example, wouldn’t know that a reader also has the Boston Celtics and the New England Patriots apps installed.

Starbucks wouldn’t know which of their customers are also using the Dunkin’ Donuts app.

And Zynga probably can’t tell which “Words with Friends” players are also actively using Kayak and TripAdvisor.

More knowledge drives better results

If they had a full picture of which apps their customers were running on their smartphones and tablets, publishers and advertisers could deliver more appropriate content and better targeted promotions.

ESPN could deliver promotions relevant to Celtics fans.

Starbucks could deliver a special offer to Dunkin Donuts customers.

Or Zynga could sell advertising space on “Words with Friends” to companies that are targeting travelers.

Marlin Mobile Segment Intelligence reveals customers’ interests

Now, with solutions such as Marlin Mobile Segment Intelligence, publishers and advertisers can capture this kind of information directly from their mobile customers.

While protecting the identity of the customer, companies can better understand their interests and behaviors.

For the customer, it means more personalized content and offers.

For the mobile publisher and advertiser, it can help them acquire new customers, better engage existing customers, and win back customers that have defected to customers.

See how Marlin Mobile Segment Intelligence works and use the free trial to learn more about your own customers.