Q&A with Dave

Dave Edwards is SVP of Revenue at Audiomack. Formerly a full-time music producer, Dave brought his passion for music to his mobile app marketing career. Dave now oversees all revenue streams for Audiomack—a top 10 music app helping artists share music and expand their listeners.

In your own words, tell us about the app(s) that you manage?

Audiomack is a leading music streaming and video content platform for Gen Z and millennials, who make up 93% of our global audience. It allows creators to share unlimited music and podcast content for free, along with tools to help them expand their audiences.

How did you get started in mobile monetization?

I got started really by chance—and unintentionally. In the early days of Audiomack, I was one of our first full-time employees. Everyone did everything, so I was no stranger to ASO, SEO, and overall strategic marketing for growing a mobile app.

If you could start in mobile monetization again, would you do anything differently? Why and what would you do?

Oh gosh, so many things. In hindsight, I can think of two things that are obvious best practices but that so many people overlook:

  1. Do your due diligence on vendors, especially mediation partners. Talk to as many people as you can. It’s always important to ask for references—but nobody will give a bad reference. You need to find ways to connect with other product users. The sales deck is always different from the product.
  2. Plan for the best case. Odds are, you won’t have exponential growth—but plan as if you will. Don’t sign 3-5 year deals with partners who take a large percentage of revenue. As you scale, you gain a lot of leverage in pushing those take rates down, so keep the contracts short or build in clauses for performance-based reductions in fees/take rates.

What does it take to succeed in mobile marketing?

I like seeing the results of successful marketing. Millions of people use an app every day around the globe. It’s rewarding to see ideas boom.

How do you balance a positive user experience with the monetization experience in your app(s)?

Understand your audience and build an ad experience that is unobtrusive in its timing/frequency, design and implementation. Figure out what formats your demographic is more likely to interact with.

What does it take to succeed in mobile monetization?

Lots of trial and error and failing quickly. Also, a willingness to constantly learn, as what works one year (or month/day) may completely change. It could be due to algorithmic or platform changes by Google and Apple. You never know.

In the past year, what is one tip you can share which made the biggest performance difference for your monetization strategy?

Test new channels. Although the industry’s behemoths are still useful for acquisition, we have had our best ROI on newer, non-traditional networks and apps.

What's a mistake you see that gets made all the time with mobile monetization strategies, even by smart people and smart companies?

Monetization experts should not take a one-size-fits-all approach to advertising—especially when your audience skews younger (anyone under 34). For this audience, the medium is the message. Ads need to speak the language and style of your user base.

If you have a very formal, polished UI, your ad UI needs to reflect that. If your aesthetic is Gen Z with a glitchy or fast-paced design, it’s the same idea. People often think carefully about product design but not ad product design. While most users may never love ads, there are steps you can take to make them more palatable and feel more native to your app.

Also, it’s essential to do a lot of testing around different ad formats, ad break timing, and duration. Find what works best for your specific user base and each audience within that group.

When you advise people on mobile monetization, such as “Do more of this” or “Do less of that,” is there one lesson you share over and over again?

Focus your energy on first-party data and contextual targeting. This is key to being competitive, especially in today’s world of walled gardens and content fortresses.

What are your top 3 go-to resources for keeping up with the mobile ad tech industry?

Digiday, Mobile Dev Memo, and AdExchanger