Digital Advertising

Appia’s Jud Bowman on His Company’s Recent Debt Funding and Future

111 Jud Bowman is Founder and CEO of Appia, the leading mobile user acquisition marketplace, delivering mobile app downloads to over 700 million users across 200 countries. Ranked #22 on the Wall Street Journal’s 2012 Top 50 Venture-Backed Companies, Appia provides non-incentivized performance mobile solutions for developers, publishers and advertisers. The Makegood recently spoke with Jud about their recent round of funding and how Appia is different from its competitors, such as Facebook.

The Makegood: Congratulations on your recent debt funding. It’s indicative of your favorable position.

Thank you! We are in a great place right now and this news reflects that. This funding was unique in that we didn’t need the capital – it was opportunistic and solely an accelerated growth strategy. Debt funding is different than your typical funding; only mature companies with significant revenue scale are in a position to raise funding like this. Appia fits that mold. As mobile app usage continues to grow, Appia does too, and it’s very important that we continue to have a very strong balance sheet.

The Makegood: You carry the title, “the leading mobile user acquisition network.” What does Appia do to differentiate itself from competition and earn that title?

Appia’s success as a mobile user acquisition network can be attributed to several factors. We are a global mobile ad network, reaching one billion users across more than 200 countries – and growing.

What makes Appia unique is that our ads are highly targeted and non-incentivized. On that front, the consumers clicking our ads and downloading an app are doing it because they want to, not because of something incentivized like a reward or token. Ultimately, the quality and lifetime value of users acquired through Appia is higher than those from traditional mobile ads.

Of course, with more engaged, targeted consumers comes happier advertisers and publishers. We combine our targeted approach with a performance-based marketing on a cost-per-install (CPI) model and a heavy focus on ad optimization. And the results speak for themselves – we have a 95% customer renewal rate!

The Makegood: Mobile users are notoriously difficult to draw lifetime value from. How do you plan on making users acquired through Appia stick around and continue to bring value?

As I mentioned before, one of our biggest differentiators is our focus on driving quality installs. We do this by targeting users who are genuinely interested in an app. That alone drives a substantially higher lifetime value.

That being said, if a company invests significant dollars into user acquisition, but then has no post-install plan to further drive lifetime value, their efforts will prove to be fruitless. Appia partners with advertisers to ensure they are thinking through a plan from first-click through post-install.

It’s also important to remember that mobile campaigns are not one size fits all – a hyper-targeted user experience is key. Advertisers must map the right users to the right apps, and that is something we also help our clients achieve by ensuring only the most relevant ads are displayed on a site or app. High quality content results in an optimized user experience, leading to higher engagement and a healthier overall mobile ecosystem.

The Makegood: With the mobile app as saturated as it is with millions of apps, how does Appia make its clients stand out in the crowd?

It’s true – getting your app discovered is harder than ever with more than two million apps on the market, and this number will only grow. Our goal at Appia is to alleviate the app discovery challenge and connect our clients with the most relevant, highest lifetime value users.

We say it over and over, but proper targeting is crucial in the success of a campaign. Not only must you get in front of the right users, but get the right message to the right user at the right time. Targeting users based on location, time of day, channel, etc. will all have an impact on a user’s purchasing decision.

It’s also important to keep in mind that the type of ad will also make a difference. We encourage our clients to use a variety of ad formats – banner, native, interstitial, etc. – and help them understand the performance of one ad format against another. On a related note, creative optimization and testing is also crucial. We offer performance measurement that allows clients to test ads and pinpoint the creative that has the highest CTR. Engagement is key!

The Makegood: You are second only to Facebook in terms of a user acquisition network. Moving forward, what can you do to take first place?

We’re smaller than Facebook which means we can move faster.  Appia is in a great position right now and we’re only getting bigger.  As mobile usage rises rapidly, app discovery will only become more of a challenge. Advertisers and developers will continue looking for ways to get their apps noticed, and that’s where Appia comes in.

Appia offers clients an advanced variety of performance measurements that allow them to understand where their high value users came from, the behaviors that impacted acquisition, and what post-install tactics will help maintain current users and target similar ones.  We will continue to innovate with a strong focus on smart data and that helps make sure our clients are getting the best possible results every time.

The Makegood: Thank you, Jud