Get Sh*t Done! How To Find Success In a Competitive App Marketplace

On August 11, our San Francisco App Strategy Workshop had more than 250 in attendance for an afternoon of panel discussions and presentations on the fundamentals of building a successful app business. The program featured 20 industry experts to share unparalleled advice followed by a networking reception with an open-bar and appetizers.

Below are key takeaways from the workshop as well as the full-length session videos brought to you by AdColony. We hope you enjoy!

How to Boost Downloads on a Budget


To kick-off the workshop, this panel offered insights on the importance of user segmentation, tips on building a growth strategy, and effective strategies to promote an app. A few takeaways:

  1. When thinking about segmentation, start by thinking about what problems you are solving for a user.

  2. If you decide to use paid promotion, present your app’s features and content.

  3. It takes multiple hits to convert! Don't get discouraged. Think about all of your distribution channels.

Additional Resources


Improving Appstore Ranking: Best Practices & Tactics to Avoid by Amazon Appstore

Next, Peter Heinrich, Amazon Appstore developer evangelist, presented a compilation of helpful tips to improve discoverability inside the appstore, strategies to avoid that can harm a developer’s reputation, and advice on protecting the intellectual property for an app. 


Mobile Print: Disruption, Collaboration and Opportunity

Do you know how many smartphones are capable of printing? All of them! Mobile print is an underutilized function that can not only add value to your business, but greatly enhance user experience. In this quick presentation Patrick Chen, Senior Manager of Strategic Partnerships, Samsung, explored the opportunities for developers with mobile print using free Mopria Alliance solutions.


Show Me the Measurement: Monetizing Mobile Apps in Today’s Competitive Ecosystem

The next presentation, led by James Kelm, Senior Director of Product Management at Flurry from Yahoo, recognized that it’s a great time to be an app developer! Kelm presented a chart stating U.S. users spend 90% of their time using apps when they are on their mobile devices. He then presented why developers are making so much money, what types of ads are working best for apps, and advice on which monetization models and retention tools to use. 



Wrapping up the first half of the program was Pete Mastin, Market Strategist and Product Evangelist, Cedexis. Pete gave a quick presentation to discuss solutions for developers to optimize app speed and improve performance.




Maximizing Revenue: Tips for Improving User Engagement


After a quick coffee break, the next panel discussed use cases of successful user engagement, noteworthy third-party tools to use in an app, and the different monetization strategies and ad types. Key takeaways include:

  1. Not every app is the same. Test out different distribution channels and figure out what works best for you and your app. Don’t forget to get as much user feedback as possible.

  2. Deep-linking can not only make developers money but it can add value to your app.

  3. If you decide on using native advertising, plan with the ad placements in mind.

Additional Resources:



Virtual Reality & Real World Opportunities: A Look Into the Future of VR, Games and Monetization

Martin Price, VP of Product at Vungle, sat down with Bjorn Laurin, VP of Product at Linden Lab, to discuss the opportunities for developers in the VR space. Key takeaways mentioned by Vungle (via blog post):

  • VR development remains a highly manual and technical process.
  • Advertising in VR is still very greenfield.
  • The revenue model for VR advertising will likely be a lot different compared to mobile, and could potentially be more suited for a cost per engagement pricing model.
  • What will work in terms of effective advertising and marketing within VR is still being explored.
  • Video advertisements can easily be slotted into virtual environments
  • VR is nascent, but the market is maturing rapidly.

Read the full blog post by Vungle HERE.

I See Unicorns: Insights From San Francisco Investors


The next session shared insights from an investor's perspective including, what investors look for in a company, helpful advice to companies looking for seed funding, and which industry verticals are most appealing to investors today. Key takeaways include:

  1. Tell your story well, be concise, and work on something you are really passionate about.  

  2. You may not need VC-funding. Make sure to really think it through before seeking investment.

Additional Resources:

The 7 (Pitching) Habits of Highly Effective Founders [by 500 Startups]


[KEYNOTE] Startups That Don’t Suck! Expensify CEO Shares Secrets for Success

Last but not least, David Barrett, CEO & Founder at Expensify, closed the day with a lively presentation outlining his core tenets when building a business.

Blog posts about each tenet: 

And that's a wrap! A big THANK YOU to everyone who joined us in San Francisco, we can't wait to come back. In the meantime, here's a link to the official video page. Be sure to share the content with your friends!

Questions about the workshop or want to get involved? Contact


Workshop Photos

#AppStrategy was trending on Twitter in SF during the workshop! Check out hundreds of real-time comments, pics and quotes from the day here (select all).


Thank you to our amazing sponsors

AdColonyAmazon AppstoreVungleBranchFlurryAppnextMopria AllianceCedexisHyphenate.

Chelsea Andrews
Sr. Director of Marketing & Events