Q&A: ReachMobi’s CEO Matt Hoggatt on turning website visitors to subscribers

Here at ClickZ, we’ve been watching the battle of mobile web v mobile apps rage for years, with apps having the edge over web in terms of user engagement.

But according to Matt Hoggatt, CEO of mobile audience network ReachMobi, there are rich opportunities in the realm of mobile web, if only mobile companies knew how to realize the platform’s potential.

We caught up with Matt for a glimpse into the future of mobile web, and to find out what web push notifications have to offer marketers.

Content produced in association with ReachMobi.

Why has the mobile audience become so valuable, as opposed to the desktop audience?

In short, it’s because that’s where consumers spend most of their time. The shift to mobile has been happening for a long time, with mobile becoming the dominant platform a couple of years ago, so we’re past the time that mobile companies should be focusing primarily on mobile.

But it’s surprising that there are still many mobile companies that don’t have that mobile-first mentality. They’re still doing things the way that they’ve been doing them for a long time.

Are businesses struggling to engage with or monetize their users on mobile? If so, why do you think that is?

I think they are, especially when it comes to mobile web. You can think about the mobile landscape in two different buckets: there’s the mobile app side, and mobile web. And for a long time, mobile app really dominated that landscape, as that’s where most new companies have really thought about innovation and technology.

As a result, the mobile app ecosystem is fairly mature – there are lots of options for mobile app developers to build and engage their audiences. But when you come to mobile web, there aren’t as many options. This is because for a long time, people thought of mobile app as being the future. Fast forward to 2017, and we see that’s not exactly true. Now, many sites are seeing more unique visitors from mobile web than mobile app.

However, mobile app does continue to dominate with respect to engagement, and so users that do come from mobile app are far more engaged with your site; they’re spending more time on the site, and visiting more often. Part of our mission at ReachMobi is to close this engagement gap between mobile app and mobile web.

Is it tougher to optimize your offering on mobile web rather than on a mobile app? Why is that?

It is. The platforms that mobile apps run on – iOS and Android – provide a lot of features to app developers, giving them rich options to build, engage, and monetize their audience. By contrast, the entry point for mobile web is the browsers – Chrome, Firefox, Safari.

Those same features don’t exist on the mobile web, but they’re starting to come out. We’re starting to see the browsers waking up and realizing that if they provide more features or capabilities to mobile websites, then they can utilize those to improve engagement, and to drive more users back to their sites.

One such capability is the web push notification, a very powerful tool that mobile app developers have had for a long time, which allowed them to communicate with users outside the app.

Now web marketers can do this too: when a user comes to your site, and maybe they read one article, instead of that user leaving and you never seeing them again, you can now opt that user in to receive push notifications from your site, allowing you to establish an ongoing relationship with that user. In other words, it allows you to turn site visitors into subscribers.

That alone is very powerful, but we certainly don’t think that’s the only opportunity for mobile web. We think it’s just the beginning of other capabilities.

How effective are web push notifications for engaging and monetizing online audiences?

We’ve found them to be very effective. We’ve spent the last 12 months trying to understand how people interact with this technology, how people use it, and how we can add value and increase engagement.

Why should advertisers be aware of web push?

Advertisers are always looking for new ways to connect with consumers in relevant ways. We’ve built very niche and engaged audiences around web push and our other platforms, which is good for both the advertiser and consumer.

Our advertisers love web push because we are connecting them with huge mobile audience of potential customers. Our goal is to create a meaningful, personalized relationship with consumers through our engaging content. Through channels such as web push, we are also able to extend those meaningful relationships to our advertising partners.

What should businesses be doing to improve their understanding of mobile and its potential for engaging with customers?

We take an ‘experiment and learn’ approach to any new opportunities. It’s our job to figure out how mobile works and to better engage our consumers. With respect to consumer engagement, it’s crucial to have that ‘experiment and learn’ approach because it can be very difficult to understand and predict human behavior. You’ve got to take a very analytical approach.

A/B testing is a great way to understand how people are going to behave to different types of content, and different types of marketing in different ways. Try lots of things, and see how your audience responds. That’s the approach we’ve taken here. We also try to share with our partners the insights that we’ve learned through this experimentation.

The mission that we have for ReachMobi is to build one of the largest mobile audiences in the world around engaging content, in and around innovative delivery platforms.

Find out more about how ReachMobi builds, engages and monetizes mobile by visiting the company website.

 

Content produced in association with ReachMobi. Click here to read our collaborative content guidelines. Views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of ClickZ.

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