108: Startup Swrve Reveals the Valuable Data Within Our Mobile Apps

Sep 14, 2016
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Recently, I have been reading about the need to prepare for a mobile-first world, but we’re already here. A few years ago every business rushed out to get a mobile app but they quickly neglected the responsibilities that go with it. Continuous updates are crucial to keep apps working on the multiple operating systems out there that are also frequently updating. But now there’s another problem being thrown into the mix and that is app fatigue.

We all have 50 plus apps on our Smartphone’s but if we’re honest we probably only use around 5 of them on a regular basis. How do brands build relationships with their customers who now live on mobile platforms? How do they orchestrate customer journeys? How do they segment and target the users? It seems mobile experiences are now paramount. I invited the CEO of Swrve Christopher Dean and the Director of Product Marketing Alan Tam onto the show tonight.

Can you tell the listeners a little bit about yourselves and what you do?

I’m Christopher Dean. I’m the CEO of Swrve. I’ve been here for two and a half years. Before coming to Swrve I was the Chief Revenue Officer at Urban Airship which was another mobile engagement platform. Before that, I was at a small company called Skype. I was the Chief Strategy Officer over there for three years.

My name is Alan Tam. I joined Swrve back in January. Prior to this, I worked at a digital marketing company which include Kenshoo which is digital advertising. I also spent a tremendous amount of time at Adobe focused on mobile enterprise.

Christopher Dean

Alan Tam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christopher, you have enjoyed senior roles at some big names, in particular Skype. Can you tell the listeners a little about your journey?

I think the really exciting and interesting part started when I joined Skype. I joined in 2008 and it was part of eBay before it got spun out and before Microsoft bought it. What was really interesting about our business was it was being completely transformed by this cool little thing called a Smartphone. What did the transformation and adoption of Skype on Smartphone’s mean for Skype’s user model, engagement model, monetization model and growth globally? Those were most of the major questions my team was asking.

Can you tell the listeners what Swrve is and what it does?

Christopher Dean: We handle 9-10 billion events a day for 2 billion devices and we have north of a couple million monthly active users on the platform. We have to react to an end user doing something on their app and we can then update a segment that user falls into for the brand. We can trigger some form of an action and we can deliver content back to the mobile application. We do that 9-10 billion times a day.

Swrve at its core is an engagement platform and it helps brands build relationships with their users. It does that by allowing us to help onboard new users onto the app and engage with them and retain them and ultimately monetize them and we do that with a range of tools.

A few years ago you discovered that 66 percent of mobile game players quit within the first 24 hours. Can you tell me a little about those findings?

Christopher Dean: That’s where Swrve came from. Swrve’s DNA and background was in the mobile gaming space. What’s exciting about the mobile gaming space is they were the first publishers on these Smartphone’s to crack the code “how do you get users engaged?”

A lot of users will quit when they keep getting stuck on a level. One of the key rules Swrve can build in our platform is when the player is stuck at level 4 for the third time trigger an in app message that pushes the player onto level 5 and gives them more coins, more points or more power so they continue to play and be engaged and continue to spend.

What’s next for you guys?

Christopher Dean: If you think about the millions of users we’re talking about the average customer at Swrve has one million monthly active users on an app. That’s way too many users to go at them one to one. You have to be able to segment them and find common segments based on behavior. You have to be able to help marketers work in this world in a more simplified way. We are always helping a marketer or product person (the person responsible for the app) to do their job in a simpler and easier way by using a variety of predictive marketing models and simplifying assumptions.

Building out more predictive models to predict when and how to engage with users, building out more simplifying assumptions and then continuing to drive our optimization models so we can help find better messages, better time and more compelling experiences are really where we’re taking Swrve to the next level.

For anyone who wants more information or to speak to a member of your team what’s the best way of reaching out?

Christopher Dean: We have a website that details everything that Swrve has. That is at www.swrve.com. If anyone wants to reach out to me directly I can be reached at cd@swrve.com.

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