An Interview with Tal Futeran of StartApp, Mobile Advertising Company

A large part of becoming a stronger user experience specialist and marketing at WalkMe, requires listening and absorbing the knowledge of other bright companies in the hi-tech field. I’m always taken aback by the knowledge that is shared during my networking and eager to learn more from the more than talented workers that are boosting the world of disruptive technology today. With the shift of companies to SaaS and the trend of mobile, online advertising has radically changed in the past decade. StartApp has allowed tech geniuses, who have invested their time and money to create free mobile apps, monetize their apps and create a better user experience for their end-users. I took a deeper look at StartApp and requested to interview Tal Futeran to discuss the burning issues of user experience in the mobile advertising world. Take a look at her intriguing answers. Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background. I’m part of StartApp’s marketing team, in charge of StartApp’s marcom and social media, besides managing developer account. One of my main focuses is building and maintaining connections with developer communities around the world, from small meetups to international conventions. How did you come to realize that something is lacking in the “user experience” of mobile advertising? Standard ad placements tend to interfere with the app/game developer’s intended UX by both taking up space within the app/game which would otherwise be used solely as intended by the original design (for example a banner ad at the bottom of the screen).  Standard ad placements also change the look and feel of the app by adding colors that might clash with the intended color scheme and also moving flashing images which take away from the original design. By offering out-of-app monetization, StartApp allows users to get fully featured apps for free, while giving developers the opportunity to make more money by adding the superior search based monetization. Besides the UX benefits of our search monetization, many of our developers were making little to no money using the classic ad types and are now making real revenue allowing them to focus on improving their apps or creating even more great free apps for the users. Mobile advertising has radically changed the way companies reach prospects and market their business. What kinds of developments are you forecasting in that field in the near future? I think the future will bring many more ad types and monetization models. In a place where there is such a big need (i.e. developers need to be able to make money from their apps), there is no doubt there will continue to be new innovations, perhaps allowing them to interact, as opposed to redirecting them to another site. How can advertising effectively increase market awareness for mobile app developers? By choosing the right model, developers can make more money and in return invest budget on distribution efforts. Each developer needs to find the perfect monetization model to fit their app – banners for addictive and high retention apps, virtual currency for specific games, paid apps for unique services, search model for out of the app monetization, etc. What marketing challenges do app developers need to overcome in order to sustain growth? Have these challenges changed over the past 2 years?  The developers face 3 main challenges:
  1. Distribution – standing out in a market with more than 500,000 apps. Developers need to help their app get discovered, which is the only way to gain downloads.
  2. Retention – keeping your users active and engaged. Most monetization models simply won’t work if users download your app and then never go back to use it.
  3. Monetization – making substantial income out of successful apps.