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Brian Balfour

VP Growth @ HubSpot

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Founding Partners @ 500 Startups

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Mobile Apps Unlocked 2016

Mobile Apps Unlocked (MAU) is’s flagship mobile summit, a two day acquisition and retention retreat that brings together a powerhouse group of people who not only know what they are doing but share actionable content on and off the stage. In this, our third year, we are excited to build on the growth of our community and put together a lineup of excellent speakers, attendees, and sponsors. We are currently working to schedule the exact dates for the event so please stay tuned!

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August 26, 2015

Issue 53

Mobile Apps

Deep Linking’s Impact On Retention

This guest post on Techcrunch by Will Lindemann of Branch Metrics features some interesting aggregate data that suggests that users that enter an app experience via a “contextual” deep link are more likely to activate and remain active. It is an intuitive but meaningful finding, and is yet another reason companies should think seriously about their deep linking strategies beyond the basics. That said, I do wonder if there is the potential for selection bias in this analysis as users that originated via contextual deep links in this sample might be of an inherently higher quality, as a function of their original source/some other factor (for example, if many of the contextual deep link installs resulted from explicit peer to peer shares you’d expect those users to activate & retain at a higher rate relative to the average). Regardless, this is another great data rich post from Branch.


A Tool To A/B Test Your iOS App Store Page: SplitMetrics

This service creates a mobile web page that acts a proxy for your actual app store page You drive paid traffic to this proxy store page so you can test A/B test titles, screenshots, descriptions etc. Any winners end up getting pushed into the store itself. A really quick and easy solution.


Twitter Adds Video Ads, Lookalike Targeting + New Formats To The “Twitter Audience Platform” (aka MoPub)

The new “Audience Platform” is already available to some managed clients driving installs and will open up more widely soon. Across the entire network they are reaching 700m monthly users. Also, video is now available via the network which follows Facebook’s introduction of video to their Audience Network a few weeks ago.


Product & Design

How To Remind Users They Changed Their Password

An extremely short post, but in it a very practical UX tip. Why not remind users they recently changed their password rather than spitting back a useless, generic error message?


Moz’s 2015 Search Engine Ranking Factors Study

This is the annual, gold standard of SEO ranking/correlation reporting. This blog post summarizes and links to the full report (no download required!). A few highlights:

  • they continue to see lower correlations year over year from on-page keyword use and rankings
  • links are still crucial, as number of links to a page and overall links to a site show strong correlations to rank
  • using HTTPS has a very low positive correlation

In addition to the correlation report they also conducted a survey of 150 SEO experts regarding the factors they think are most influential in Google’s algo. That data is tacked onto this correlation data in its own tab.

Social Signals Do Not Directly Impact Google Search Rankings… But…

This is a transcription/synopsis of a recent Google Webmaster Office Hours session. An attendee asked if social signals had any impact on ranking and the response was: “Not directly. So it’s not that there’s any kind of ranking effect there, to the most part social networks also have a nofollow on the links that they kind of provide when they host this content, so it’s not the case where that would give you any kind of a ranking boost there.”

That said, if you read the report from Moz above you’ll find that they do find a positive correlation between total social shares and rank, but that it is likely due to secondary SEO benefits of sharing.

The Hidden Danger Of The Search Partner Network

If SEM is a serious channel for you this is worth reading. The gist is that search partner traffic can be a major drag on campaign ROAS because, by and large, the traffic is of a far lower quality. Unfortunately, Google makes it relatively difficult to factor that into to your bidding (in my opinion). The author suggests setting up a standard AdWords campaign in parallel to one with search partners turned on that is bid 30% lower. Another solution is to rely on Google’s real time bidding options (ex: CPA) and let their system sort it out.

Some FB Accounts Now Testing Paid GIFs

Facebook confirmed that a few pages/advertisers are testing paid GIF placements. They haven’t shared much detail yet, but it does seem like they are focusing this test on “brands” as opposed to DR advertisers (for obvious reasons!).

Issue 52

August 20, 2015