2016 March

Growth Hacking and Digital Marketing: what is the difference?

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Growth Hacking and Digital Marketing: what is the difference? Discover how Marketing can make your Company grow, even at 0 budget!

This article originally appeared in Italian on MD – Marketing Digitale Blog.

Growth Hacking and Digital Marketing are not the same thing. Both trending, both innovative concepts. Yet different. Not only because the former is younger (appeared only in 2013) while the other is more mature.

Google Trends

Source: Google Trends

There are other differences, that can be explained by understanding what these two activities are referring to.

The common question is indeed: “What do they exactly make?

It appears that the same mistrust about Social Media Managers being both professionals and useful professionals, it is now poured on so-called experts of “Digital Marketing”.

Digital is the new black” 😉 Meaning that it’s cool to be digital, first of all!

Digital Business is changing the game, and this is epochal. It therefore cannot (and should not) be underestimated by any Marketing Department, from that of SMEs to that of Multinational Companies. In this game, Growth Hacking can be defined as the transition point between Traditional Marketing and Digital Marketing.

It is useful to remember, to better explain what Growth Hacking means, the difference between outbound and inbound marketing: the first concerns all actions made to attract new customers, mainly in the traditional channels such as TV, radio, print, road signs, etc.; while the second relates to all the actions that help brand/product to be found by customers, as the right brand/product at the right time to the right person. The inbound marketing actions are all those that relate to SEO, SEM, blogging, content marketing, social media and so on.

Do not confuse Digital actions with Growth Hacking by any means, because even digital actions such as e-mail marketing for example, albeit made for digital channels, serve to attract users exactly how outbound marketing ones.

We can say that Growth Hacking lies somewhere in between Marketing and Technical knowledge.

The Growth Hacker is a Digital Marketing Manager experienced at technical level too, able to use new technologies for growth to ensure that the product/service can be easily found in digital channels, even with smaller budgets.

He knows how to work on Web pages to ensure that the user flow follows a certain path; he knows how to ask the right message at the right moment, and how to respond in a personalized way to not expressed needs that user may have at that moment. It’s an ambivalent figure: an expert of development and a marketing professional, able to customize and leverage digital technologies to enhance the product/service on the market and beat competition.

Recent studies show that the ROI deriving from inbound marketing is clearly beating the one generated from outbound.

This fact should prompt Managers, who had great success with outbound also thanks to availability of substantial budget, to understand that the market is changing rapidly and that the consumers have turned out very different. In particular, it should get them to understand that you can no longer just rely on budget, because that is not as efficient or effective as it was before.

A Guy Kawasaki sentence sums it all up:

If you have more money than brains, you should focus on outbound marketing. If you have more money than brains, you should focus on inbound marketing.

And this is especially true in start-up context, where resources are limited with no budget to be allocated on marketing activities, and energies are focused on product and growth first of all. If a Company can consider an annual 5% growth as a good result, a start-up has to grow by 200% in the first year if it wants to be successful on the market.

In the next article we will analyze some data to understand what evidence and results the Growth Hacking strategy has brought. We will see that the results in some cases are amazing, and it’s really exciting to have a demonstration that is possible to create Added Value by being creative, having new ideas, improving communication, transparency and listening to customers or prospects, rather than just using economic resources.

That is a Shared Value, not only to brand but also to users themselves, being more and more aware of Marketing and of their own consumer experience.

If you did not know what was the Growth Hacking, we didn’t know either! And we must say that we were delighted to find it out, especially because it has finally defined the type of Creative Marketing (driven more by ideas than budget) that we like the most. This is the reference guide.

Did you already heard about it or are you already using it in your marketing strategy? Write it in the comments! We’d love to hear about your experience.

Thank you!

Advertising and User Engagement on mobile games: a win-win situation

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Mobile advertising is not only a good way to make your Business grow, is also a great way to increase User Engagement and Retention in the App.

This article originally appeared in Italian in MD-Marketing Digitale Blog.

When it comes to User Experience for a mobile product, we’re not referring only to application design and UI (User Interface), but also to the experience as a whole: from searching to the graphics and textual presentation on the App Store, from downloading to all aspects that can stimulate the user to come back to the App in the future.

Advertising has taken a role of increasing importance in this matter.


Despite freemium model being the most popular and profitable (TOP 100 grossing Apps in the Overall category in US are all resorted to this business model, AppAnnie data), allowing an optional purchase of additional content and extra features, the use of advertising is still widely used and growing.

As a matter of fact, advertising is often considered to be intrusive, and it has become “invisible” to users and therefore ineffective. Furthermore, the decline in ad profitability (lower and lower eCPM) has made it less attractive.

The market has found a compromise solution by combining the different possibilities of entertainment offered by the advertising with new forms of remuneration, convenient for both developers and users. The growth of video and the subsequent spread of a new business model, Rewarded Ads, had allowed a form of advertising that users themselves are willing to look at to get a “prize” in exchange, such as an extra life in the game or a special content in the App.

Rewarded Ad help

All Right – Line Up! Get help through Rewarded Video Ad

This solution is certainly a win-win, since it is able to maintain high engagement, and, if the right mix of content and user’s interest is created, it increases retention and LTV (Life Time Value), while ensuring higher eCPM.

This is especially true for mobile games, where it has become the standard business model so far. But even if we think about other social apps and services, such as Spotify, we realize that we’re willing to see advertising to get the service for free.

Tap Galaxy rewarded Ads

Tap Galaxy – Rewarded Ads to get free resources

We could say rewarded ads in Apps are not different from the ads in free press newspapers, radio, TV, big web sites, adding the “NO ADS” option for those users who are willing to pay.

However, traditional advertising is becoming invisible, and it’s a reality for the majority of Ads on web pages, where the ad contents have a very low CTR and the quality of users is not always on target with desired one.

The mobile instead still leads to quality conversion and interest in the messages.

Mobile still manages to convey advertising messages in a way that generates Added Value.

According to a research conducted by Fyber, rewarded advertising can lead to a net increase in the ROI especially if delivered by mobile games. App developers can be reassured about the most common myths related to advertising:

  1. Will rewarded advertising cannibalize my IAP (In App Purchases)? No. The research has shown that when used in a significant contextual manner, it not only can be an incentive for spending, but may even lead to an increase of 100% of IAP. Users who interact with the Ad tend to remain longer active in the game. In particular, precisely the segment that had proven to be the least spending has responded better when exposed to the Ad content, spending between 40% and 100% more after interacting with the Ad (Source: Fyber’s homes study on “Complementing IAP rewarded with ads”);
  2. Are users who I acquire through rewarded advertising in target? If the Ad targeting is properly optimized and it’s contextually relevant for users, it will be successful. A good result could be around 60% of conversion to the desired action, and a ROI around 7-10%;
  3. Do the Ads reduce user engagement? No. The users who interact with the rewarded ads may have an increase in the user session time. The players that obtained a prize in the App are more engaged and active. An international Company leader in the mobile games and social games market has discovered that users who have watched the video ad at least once, were actually two and a half times more likely to stay active in the game during the following months;
Rewarded Ads

Color Switch – Rewarded Ad improves User Engagement

  1. Showing a lot of advertisements will make me earn much more. No. Spamming users does not keep them engaged. The mobile video advertising is driven by performance. In determining the right approach to monetization, it is essential to add elements of scarcity and rarity and show the most relevant ads to users at the right time, to make sure that you are hitting the most important KPI. For example, Next Games has been able to double the average eCPM of $ 10 to $ 20 for “Compass Point West” showing fewer ads. They also reached 60% of engagement with their ads, with an increase in average viewing to 4-5 videos a day and about 10% of users leaving a positive review on App Store by calling specifically the excellent work done with the rewarded video. Sometimes, less can be more;
  2. My games may not be the right channel for Brand Advertising. To dispel this myth, MediaBrix has designed its offering to ensure that the brand becomes an integral part of the user experience and a plus in the application. They offer brand Ads more or less in context and in the right moments within the flow stream. And the results, by their statistics, are surprising, achieving an average VCR (Video Conversion Rate) higher than 30%, an 80% increase in brand awareness and a 4% increase in engagement rate.

The right synergies are possible, and they can bring mutually profitable relationships. If the brand is willing to create a mutual exchange relationship with the chosen mobile channel, having full respect for user experience and trying to add value, it is then that advertising can truly achieve its purpose: connecting through a shared message.

What is your relationship with the advertising in your favorite applications and in our games? What would you prefer to get or what would you change in the advertising approach? Write it in the comments!

Thank you!