On the podcast we talk with Adam about when and why to use an MMP, which subscription events to track in your analytics, and why A/B testing doesn’t always work the way you think it works.
📏 Understand what your users are doing to help define — and then achieve — your goal
📈 Spreadsheets are a great start, but growing sophistication requires something more long-term
🔧 Turning events into actions is difficult but necessary
About Adam Landis
👨💻 Founder and CEO at AdLibertas
💪 Adam has helped hundreds of apps — including Crossy Road, Temple Run and Audio Mac — influence user behavior through data collection and analysis.
💡 “How do you make sense of all this data that's coming out of the app? How do you understand what users are doing? What is the impact? And then what is the outcome of the changes you make?”
👋 LinkedIn | AdLibertas
AdLibertas founder and CEO Adam Landis shares what a data platform is and why mobile apps need one. AdLibertas helps apps such as Crossy Road, Temple Run and Audiomack to collect user data from sources including Firebase, RevenueCat, mobile measurement partners (MMPs) and ad networks in order to analyze and influence user behavior.
Adam was inspired by the early ad wars between Google and Apple. “They sat in the middle. And I was like, Where do I start? I want to be involved,” he says. “The App Store was months old at that point.” He started the company with a view to providing more certainty for their customers about what users were doing and why.
The growing sophistication and progress of data mean that it’s crucial for apps to properly track user behavior. To that end, he discusses the value of using a spreadsheet early on, then tapping into more sophisticated data science tools down the line.
Adam shares insight into when to use an MMP and why to use one at all. “The purpose of an MMP is to understand where your users are coming from,” he says. No matter the size of the business, the most important thing is the why of user actions. Learning from failure and successes requires a deep dive into the data apps collect.
📏Understand what your users are doing to help define — and then achieve — your goal.
Don’t start with a tool that seems good without first understanding what it’s meant to solve. Regardless of their size, businesses need to clarify what they’re trying to measure. A better product requires tools to measure the current iteration.
A perfect, viral product on day one is very unlikely. Even if it is, analytics needs to highlight what users are doing and how they’re engaging with the app. Whether something is failing or succeeding, the why is most important.
MMPs come after buying traffic. “It depends on the goal of the company,” Adam says. “Then you work backward with this tool set in your stack.”
📈 Spreadsheets are a great start, but growing sophistication requires something more long-term.
Starting with a spreadsheet instead of an MMP works well early on when iterating, sorting onboarding, establishing product-market fit and looking at retention — all pre-ad spending.
“Today, there's this differentiation between products and marketing,” Adam highlights, “where product is all about the users and marketing is all about getting more users into the app.” But it’s a mistake to divide the two as if they’re independent from each other.
Once you start advertising, more questions mean more detail and complexity. Spreadsheets aren’t a perfect solution, and apps might outgrow them in the long run.
🔧 Turning events into actions is difficult but necessary.
For subscription apps, monetization events are obvious metrics to track. Knowing where the majority of subscriptions are coming from means you can pinpoint how to increase engagement and retention based on key drop-off points.
But it’s possible to go even deeper. Grouping user data by age and region enables apps to analyze and monetize more specifically. You can easily change outcomes, provided you have an overall view of the monetization journey.
“Turning these events into action is difficult,” Adam warns. “Data is a tool. But if you're not using the tool, it's completely worthless.”
[1:44] The OG of apps: At the genesis of the App Store, Google and Apple fought over ads — and that’s when Adam got started. AdLibertas was born just a few years later out of the need to understand the data coming from users.
[6:34] The progression of data sophistication: Brand new app developers are hungry for thousands of data points. But are those really necessary at the beginning? Adam dives into startups getting to 1.0, understanding product market fit and balancing product versus infrastructure.
[9:39] View from the data stack: Adam talks about minimum viability and the importance of understanding what your users are doing before anything else.
[15:27] Every app is unique, but data speaks uniformly: How do you do deep, complex analysis early? Adam offers a smart strategy on what metrics apps should track to garner the most valuable insights.
[24:16] Blending freemium and subscription is an art: Getting sophisticated and buying users means understanding their long-term value and the real sources of ROI.
[25:57] The essential MMP stack: Adam and David discuss the when, what and how of MMPs.
[31:56] SKANing: It’s the mess that no one wants to talk about. But don’t worry: It’s okay not to understand because no one knows what’s going on.
[34:36] All praise to A/B testing: When it comes to A/B tests, losing can be better than winning. Adam explains that the proper way to test is to set the boundary before the test and not look at the data during testing.
[40:05] CRM campaigning: Adam and David talk about getting the most out of CRMs in terms of retention and re-engagement.
[47:13] In with the old, in with the new: Do you focus more on product or marketing? It depends on how big you are.