Recap: Boston App Strategy Workshop

The Apps Alliance was excited to return to Boston to host another App Strategy Workshop. With more than 120 people in attendance, industry experts and startup founders alike engaged the audience with insight on entrepreneurship, app store optimization, user acquisition, app monetization, and more.

The Art of App Entrepreneurship

From L to R: Marina Khaoust (AdtoApp), Greg Blackman (OpenX), Matt Barash (AdColony), Dave Bisceglia (The Tap Lab), Roger Juntilla (Qualia)

From L to R: Marina Khaoust (AdtoApp), Greg Blackman (OpenX), Matt Barash (AdColony), Dave Bisceglia (The Tap Lab), Roger Juntilla (Qualia)

Moderated by Marina Khaust of AdtoApp, the workshop kicked off with a discussion between Greg Blackman of OpenX, Dave Bisceglia of The Tap Lab, Matt Barash of AdColony, and Roger Juntilla of Qualia. Here are three key takeaways:

  1. Video, Video, Video. Native ads and videos are spreading like fire across the app ecosystem. As Dave Bisceglia noted, “There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. For example, autoplay video used to be bad, but right now it’s the hottest thing in advertising.” Greg Blackman commented that video and native are trending across the app ecosystem, and developers should use this to their advantage.  
     
  2. The Secrets of Engagement. “The best thing to do for mobile monetization ecosystems,” said Roger Juntilla, “is to test. Try different techniques with different users. Which design keeps users in the app the longest? At the end of the day, the app that engages the user the most wins.”  

    What exactly keeps users engaged? According to Dave Bisceglia, there should be a focus on optimizing retention (e.g. push notifications), but making an app more fun and compelling will go a long way in encouraging user engagement. “Gamification is a huge part of engagement,” noted Matt Barash, “especially in encouraging users to return to the app.”
     
  3. Ads and Monetization. Monetization is a big part of strategy—however, developers, publishers, gaming companies have different needs and shouldn't be afraid to use alternative ad options. Greg Blackman spoke up in favor of checking out competitors: What ad options are they using? What sort of success have they seen?   

    Roger Juntilla added that monetization is something developers should be thinking about starting day one. It's important to focus on user development and experience, but be thinking about how you're going to monetize, whether it be through ads, selling a product, in-app purchases, etc. 

Fireside Chat

From L to R: Meredith Flynn-Ripley (HeyWire), Bonnie Hommeyer (Millennial Media)

From L to R: Meredith Flynn-Ripley (HeyWire), Bonnie Hommeyer (Millennial Media)

Millennial Media's Bonnie Hommeyer sat down with HeyWire's Meredith Flynn-Ripley to discuss Ripley's journey of identifying and capitalizing on market opportunities—and lessons learned to ensure you're on the winning side of the mobile revolution. Here are a few of the lessons Ripley shared:

  1. Timing. “The number one success criteria for a startup is timing. We dove into the consumer space and didn't give up on the premise, so all we had to do was time it right.”
     
  2. Be shareable. "Make it super easy for people to share your app. Focus on a digital media mindset: SEO and ASO are really critical early steps. Arm yourself or your company with a business-oriented person to focus on user acquisition.”
     

  3. Learn from Your Audience. “Surround yourself with advisors who come from the space you’re trying to disrupt.”  

How Startups Collaborate with Corporate Partners

From L to R: Jackie McCarthy (CTIA), Angelo Pitassi (HealthID), Chris Hote (Pentalog)

From L to R: Jackie McCarthy (CTIA), Angelo Pitassi (HealthID), Chris Hote (Pentalog)

Our second panel convened experts from CTIA, HealthID and Pentalog to discuss the process of connecting and working with large enterprises to grow your business. Here are a few key takeaways:

1. Networking Pays. HealthID's Angelo Pitassi said, "You can spend years trying to figure out who to see; network constantly to get connected to the right person who can get you the inside track to the corporation." 

2. Know Your Limits. "The last thing you want to do is over-promise and under-deliver," said Pitassi. "You have to know what your product truly is and it must be demonstrable. If you can't show it in a way your potential investor can understand it, you won't go any further with them than that meeting." 

3. Test Across Devices. Pentalog's Chris Hote said, "As soon as you decide to develop a new feature, if you want to deploy your application, think about testing: how are you going to test within the app itself? Which devices will your users be utilizing?."

The ABC’s of App Promotion

From L to R: Matt Gross (Mobile Monday Boston/ Mobile First Software), Ryan Lessard (Pollen), Jack Foster (MIR Publishing), Randy Dailey (Localytics), Sean Casto (PreApps)

From L to R: Matt Gross (Mobile Monday Boston/ Mobile First Software), Ryan Lessard (Pollen), Jack Foster (MIR Publishing), Randy Dailey (Localytics), Sean Casto (PreApps)

Our last panel featured speakers from Mobile First Software/Mobile Monday, Pollen, MIR Publishing, Localytics and PreApps

1. User Tracking. Localytic's Randy Dailey said, "Look at the app-installed measurements: Which users came from organic channels? Which came from Facebook? How many are still there 6 months later?”

2. Find Your Niche. App promotion is situational. Developers should determine which strategy fits their needs best. 

Startup Showcase

Nexus 9 Tablet contest winner, Peter Tierney.

Nexus 9 Tablet contest winner, Peter Tierney.

Hosted by Millennial Media, our Startup Showcase featured demos from tntmedia, TrumpIt, and Quadwrangle. Our audience tweeted which demo had the best Design, Tech Infrastructure, or Concept for a chance to win a Nexus 9 tablet. Peter Tierney was our winner with the following tweet: 


We'd like to offer our thanks to our friends at Millennial Media, CTIA, OpenX, AdtoApp, AdColony, and Pollen for sponsoring this event. We hope everyone had a great time and look forward to seeing you at our upcoming events. Make sure to check out our photos from the Boston App Strategy Workshop below! 

PHOTO GALLERY