You Are What You App


To learn more about how marketers can reach consumers in app rather than just through mobile Web and search, Adotas caught up with Sabio Mobile CEO Aziz Rahim.

Q: What do you think are the biggest challenges around mobile advertising today?

A: The biggest challenge in mobile advertising is the lack of recognition and understanding of how diverse app usage is in the app ecosystem and our everyday lives. Time spent on apps is dominated by social apps because they are always on. This shows that we are social creatures and we want to be connected to one another. But it doesn’t mean other utility apps don’t play as important of a role. They might just not be on all the time. For example, OpenTable is incentivized to make your restaurant reservation as easy as possible. They want the app experience to be quick and efficient. The time you spend may be limited but that doesn’t mean it is not important or indicative of your lifestyle preferences.

Q: At Sabio, you talk about “You are what you app.” What does this mean, exactly?

A: It means that a person’s app profile says more about them than we realize. A person’s app profile reflects where they are at certain point in their lives. If I am a young, single, active lifestyle person, I will probably have dating apps, fitness apps, concert apps and restaurant apps. On the other hand, if I am married with kids, my app profile will be skewed toward kids apps, food delivery apps, family calendar apps. The life-changing events you go through are reflected more immediately in your app profile then even your spending behavior. You are more likely to add a car search app at the onset of your automobile search not midway or the end of it.

Q: How can brands predict consumer behavior? How can advertisers best reach their audiences?

A: One of the best ways to predict consumer behavior is by looking at the app profile changes on a consumer’s phone. The type of apps a person installs says a lot about their current life stage events. If you load an app that helps guide you through the various stages of pregnancy at the same time as a real estate search app, you are likely going through a life-changing event that requires the purchase of a new home. They should align the creative they produce with the profiles they are looking to target more closely. So for example an Auto brand may want to run a luxury SUV creative to a A consumer who has WSJ and CNBC apps on their phone and who recently loaded baby and auto search apps.

Q: What are marketers overlooking?

A: The mobile web is important but isn’t the best way for consumers to interact with brands. Consumers are using traditional Google search less and less, with apps being the primary destination for information. In 2017, average time spent per day by U.S. mobile users on the mobile web will be 50 seconds while time spent in-app is more than three times at 3 minutes 23 seconds, according to data from eMarketer.

We use Yelp for finding restaurants recommendations, Uber and Lyft for transportation, Amazon for retail and so on. Marketers should be thinking about how to reach their audiences in-app through contextual targeting versus mobile Web and Search. The amount of context that in-app provides vs mobile web is staggering. Obvious data points like location, store visit rates and consumer behavior patterns are easy to glean. Connecting the dots between location and various changes in a person’s app profile is even more powerful. When brands start recognizing how a person’s app profile is an indicator of purchase behavior and intent they can better customize their mobile marketing message. The ability of MW companies to provide any form of real targeting is compromised by the fact that cookies don’t work very well. Over 50% of all cookies are blocked by Safari alone as the default settings in IOS 10 and soon 11 does not to allow for cookie tracking by default.

In other words, it makes sense to serve pet ads to someone who has pet store apps and has a tendency of visiting pet supply stores versus someone who clicked on a funny YouTube pet video.

Q: What trends do you expect we’ll see when it comes to apps and mobile ads in the next year?

In the coming months, apps as we know it will continue to play a bigger role in our lives with voice recognition advancements. A lot of app functionality will be managed by voice and marketers and advertisers will need to prepare for that scenario. So instead of launching the Yelp app, Amazon’s Alexa will be able to look up a restaurant, provide ratings, and send some options to your TV or laptop for viewing. Improvements in AI (Artificial intelligence) will do a better job of anticipating what you need even before you know you need it. It will then use your app, and whatever pay function you designate to purchase, to order or reserve it. Marketers need to start thinking about how brands can turn their online consumers into app brand loyal ones to help them stay relevant in the future.

About Aziz Rahim

Aziz is the CEO of Sabio. He is an avid mobile evangelist who has held leadership roles with multiple media and telecommunications companies. As managing partner, Aziz is responsible for keeping the company and its employees focused on short and long term growth objectives. Prior to joining Sabio, Aziz was SVP at Opera Mediaworks where he helped foster revenue and product innovation. Other experiences include Director roles at AT&T’s Adworks and NBC Universal. On the rare days when Aziz is not traveling, you can find him in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter.



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