Q&A with AJ

AJ Wang manages app acquisition and performance optimization at Mynt. As a motivated self learner with expertise in performance marketing and data analytics, AJ is a part of the UA team where he focuses on their finance app – GCash – the leading mobile wallet platform in the Philippines. Passionate about the intersection of marketing, data, tech, and social good combined, AJ is building a career in the dynamic field of mobile marketing.

Read AJ's latest article: "3 Fundamentals of Marketing Mobile Apps"

In your own words, tell us about the apps that you manage?

GCash is a financial super-app. It's an all-in-one mobile wallet that makes financial services more accessible to the everyday Filipino, by enabling them to do almost anything from their phone. Need to open a savings or investment account? We've got partnerships with top digital partners with the highest interest rates in the country. Have far-away family members or friends you need to transfer money to? Do it anytime, anywhere, in an instant.

How did you get started in mobile marketing?

I actually had no idea what mobile marketing was coming out of college. I only knew that after graduating, I wanted to be part of a company focused on positive digital transformations. Knowing that I wanted to do something with tech, marketing, and data while following a solid purpose, GCash was the place to be. Immersing in the company, I had to quickly learn a whole array of skills, all of which came together in mobile marketing.

What do you like most about mobile marketing?

I love the complexity and the challenges that come with it. Being in mobile marketing requires you to understand everything from the most technical data terms to the most visceral human insights, for you to drive optimal customer delight at scale. Working in such a fast-paced and challenging ecosystem also demands that you keep ahead of digital trends and build a foundation of knowledge that is both deep and broad. It also helps that the community is so dynamic, and that everyone's just itching to learn and build the steps to the next big thing.

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What does it take to succeed in mobile marketing?

You need to learn really, really well. This means not just being a sponge for knowledge, but actively seeking out things that might be able to enrich your current skills and knowledge base. Mobile marketing is such an interdisciplinary field that it is impossible to extricate marketing from tech, and that means you will need to dabble in (and dive deeply into) both fields at once. Doing so enables you as a marketer to exist happily in that intersection—to turn consumer insights into data-driven strategies, and to extract human truths from abstract numbers.

What strategies work best to convert installs into engaged app users?

Given that GCash is a mobile wallet, we have learned that it is crucial to really convey the value of our product to our users, and to deliver on that promise. It means investing heavily in education and understanding how to best communicate with your potential customers, then transporting them into a seamless user experience. Being a financial alternative in a cash-driven country, we are naturally faced with high levels of distrust. So, the only viable option is to deliver clear values to engaged app users and to provide a kick-ass product that lives up to our marketing.

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

Always, always keep learning. Aim to really understand your performance. With UA being such a tech- and data-driven field, there are entire worlds of information in front of us marketers. It is crucial that you are able to navigate through that wealth of intel to really own your strategies. The UA field lies in the intersection of industry giants: marketing, design, tech, data, and more, and there is an infinity of lessons to learn from each.

Over the years, we have worked a lot more closely with external partners, such as ad networks and MMPs, to understand the machinery and marketing theories behind the ad tech industry. These discussions involved data architecture and API setups, and understanding these frameworks helped demystify the machine while giving us the confidence to push forward with more aggressive performance strategies. Because of this, we have been able to nail down the technicalities to comfortably scale our user base while maintaining quality and driving down costs.

How have you pivoted your app marketing strategy in response to the current climate as a result of the global pandemic?

The pandemic required everyone to stay home, which prompted a need for alternatives. Being that the majority of financial services—a lifeline that people needed to stay afloat in this crisis—were disrupted, the challenge and opportunity emerged for GCash to prove our product as a relevant and a reliable alternative. We had to show people that we were here to make their lives easier, so we shifted towards contextualized how-to's to help people pivot their transactions to our platform. We also doubled down on performance channels to maximize both the opportunity in the space as well as to expand our app's reach to whomever would need our services.

What’s your top tip when it comes to mobile ad creative?

Understand the ad format not just as a placement, but as an element in the customer's mobile or web experience. Does the ad look intrusive? Will a customer be in the right headspace when they look at your ad? What moods will the customer likely be in on these types of apps or websites? When you begin to assess things in that frame of mind, ideating on ads becomes a lot more fruitful.

What advice can you offer to help marketers combat mobile ad fraud?

Work very closely with a trusted mobile measurement platform to mitigate fraud and reduce financial exposure. It is important to get into the nitty-gritty to fully understand the risks that come with scale, and to keep clear lines of communication between you, your MMP, and your partners. Get comfortable with the technicalities and use statistics from your partners as a metric to judge overall UA quality.

What is your go-to resource for keeping up with the mobile ad tech industry?

I love reading articles posted by adtech leaders, such as Liftoff, Google, and AppsFlyer. It is amazing to see the wealth of information that these giants hold, but it is even more stunning to see that in such a numbers-heavy playing field, there is an open sense of community.

This bleeds into my next favorite resource: online communities, such as Reddit and Discord groups. You might be strangers by name, but being in the same niche is more than enough to get the conversations flowing. There is a beauty of anonymity in these communities–where the spotlight is on principles and strategies, and not results or companies.

But the smallest and closest communities you can form are with your actual partners. It is of paramount importance to be curious and to keep asking your partners questions, most of whom, if not all, are very keen to help. They can give you insights on their products, which could give you a glimpse of what the industry has in store. It is these questions and discussions that help keep pushing the ad tech industry forward—who knows, you might find yourself at the forefront.

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