TapCommerce Insights

Thoughts from the TapCommerce team on how mobile commerce is evolving.

February is shaping up to be a busy month here at TapCommerce! We’ll be attending a number of industry events throughout the month, we hope to see you at one of them.

Apps World in San Francisco, 2/5 and 2/6

We’ll be at booth #124 in the main exhibition hall on both days.


Kochava Summit in Sand Point, Idaho, 2/5 and 2/6

We’re hanging with our friends at Kochava in their home town. If you’ll be attending their summit, let us know and we’ll schedule time to meet up.

Casual Connect in Amsterdam, 2/11 - 2/13

We’ll be hanging with the gamers for the largest European gaming conference of 2014. Swing by our booth or email sales@tapcommerce.com for an invite to our party co-hosted with HasOffers and Betable.

Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, 2/24 - 2/27

We’ll be out in force at the largest mobile conference of the year. Come by our booth in App Planet to learn about the latest trends in mobile re-engagement (and to pick up some tshirts). We’re hosting a few events during the evenings as well so if you’re interested in participating, drop us a line at mwc@tapcommerce.com.

It’s been an exciting year at TapCommerce. We’ve had an opportunity to work with some amazing brands like Fab, eBay and Jackthreads to help them connect with their customers on mobile devices. We’re now working with over 50 companies, including over 30 of the top 100 grossing mobile applications. To help fuel our growth as the leader in mobile retargeting, we’re excited to announce that we’re raising a new round of funding from Bain Capital Ventures and RRE Ventures as well as our existing investors including Metamorphic Ventures, ENIAC Ventures and Nextview Ventures.

We’re doing this because mobile is becoming a huge way for consumers to do, well, pretty much everything! According to eMarketer, mobile commerce is predicted to come in at $17 billion in 2013. According to a number of studies, mobile internet usage is set to surpass desktop usage in the next few months. Time spent on mobile has already surged ahead of desktop.

Despite these trends, mobile engagement is a big problem. The typical mobile user has over 30 apps on their home screen. Only 5% of consumers are still using a mobile app they downloaded six months ago. TapCommerce is helping to solve this problem by connecting companies with their customers where they’re increasingly spending time and money: on their mobile devices.

We’re actively looking for talented individuals to help us deliver on our mission, so if you you think you might be a fit take a look at our open positions: http://tapcommerce.com/jobs.html

If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help your business, contact us here: http://tapcommerce.com/learn.html

Thanks to our partners and investors for their support, we’re excited to continue to lead the way in mobile re-engagement in 2014 and beyond.

On Wednesday, TapCommerce hosted an event to discuss the changing mobile advertising landscape. For the last few years, marketers have been focused on driving new installs of their apps to cash in on the massive global adoption of smartphones and tablets. Now that there are 900,000 apps in the App Store and billions of installs, marketers have begun to think about how to engage with their audience beyond the install.

To discuss this shift, there was a presentation from Mark May, lead Internet Analyst at Citibank and two panel discussions.

State of the Mobile Internet

Mark May delivered a great presentation detailing current trends in mobile with a focus on advertising. He pointed out that there’s still a huge divide between time spent on mobile devices and advertising spend allocated to mobile. Based on his experience with the boom in desktop advertising, he expected the same thing to occur on mobile. He also pointed out that many leading internet companies, like Facebook, are seeing a growth in revenue per user on mobile that puts that revenue in line with desktop. Overall, his perspective was that it’s still very early innings for mobile advertising.

Mobile Marketing, CRM and Analytics

Panel participants included Jonathan Newcomb, Director of Acquisition @ Jackthreads, Joshua Heidler, Acquisition Manager @ Zulily, Peter Hamilton, CEO @ HasOffers and Brian Suthoff, VP, BD @ Localytics. The panel was moderated by Dan Gilmartin, Director of Mobile Marketing @ PayPal.

The panel discussion focused primarily on tactics and trends that the marketers and analytics providers were seeing in the space. From the marketer perspective, it was clear that price of an install/new user was steadily increasing on iOS. Both Joshua and Jonathan agreed that driving new installs will continue to be a focus, but that they’re increasingly concerned with quality and LTV.

On the analytics side, Peter Hamilton confirmed that while ~10% of HasOffers clients tracked engagement a year ago, over 80% do now. Brian mentioned that Localytics clients are interested in deeper data and he specifically focused on the perception that iOS has a higher quality audience when compared with Android. His theory (soon to be proved out on the Localytics blog) is that higher end Android devices like the Moto X or Samsung S4 show similar results to the iPhone.

Ultimately all panelists were encouraged by recent developments in the space on the marketing and analytics side as it’s allowing companies to be smarter about how they reach consumers through mobile advertising.

Trends in the Mobile Advertising Ecosystem

Panel participants included Paul Gelb, Head of Marketplace Development @ MoPub, Jesse Gillette, Executive Director, Ad Business Development @ Pandora, Sriram Krishnan, Mobile Product @ Facebook and Marc Theermann, Head of Mobile Platform Sales @ Google. The panel was moderated by Brian Long, CEO @ TapCommerce.

The main theme here was the adoption of programmatic across mobile and the rise of native ad units, specifically on Facebook and Twitter. Sriram discussed the rapid uptake of Facebook’s mobile, native ad units to drive installs. He emphasized that Facebook recognized the importance of looking beyond the install though as evidenced by their announcement earlier this week of a new ad unit type: Mobile App Ads for Engagement.

Paul agreed that native was important and, putting on his Twitter hat, mentioned that MoPub would be helping bring Twitter’s native mobile inventory into the programmatic universe. Marc argued in favor of banner ads mentioning that they are the “standard” and therefore scalable. Jesse agreed and also mentioned that she’s interested in the rise of mobile video.

Each participant agreed that the mobile advertising landscape is a rapidly evolving space and thought that the next few years would bring a tremendous amount of innovation as well as overall growth in spend from major advertisers.

On behalf of TapCommerce, thanks to everyone who made it out and we’re looking forward to making this an annual event starting in 2014!

On October 2nd, 2013 TapCommerce will be hosting its first major event to discuss current trends in mobile commerce and marketing.

Mobile performance advertising is currently stuck in the hamster wheel of driving installs of mobile apps. Marketers are increasingly fed up with spending higher cost-per-install fees while seeing lower actual engagement after the install.

How are marketers addressing this issue? What are the key trends driving mobile advertising in 2013 and beyond? These are the some of the topics we’ll be tackling at the Beyond the Install Summit.

Present will be 150+ C-Level executives, VPs and Directors of leading mobile-focused companies across a variety of industries. Some of the speakers will include:

Dan Gilmartin - Director of Mobile Marketing, PayPal
Jonathan Newcomb - Director, Acquisition & Retention Marketing at JackThreads/Thrillist
Paul Gelb - Head of Strategy at MoPub 
Marc Theerman - Head of Mobile Platform Sales at Google, Previously Head of Mobile at AdMeld 
Brian Long - CEO at TapCommerce
Mark May - Internet Analyst at Citi
Peter Hamilton - CEO at HasOffers / MobileAppTracking 
Brian Suthoff – VP Strategy & Co-Founder, Localytics

The Summit will include a mix of panel discussions on mobile performance marketing, analytics and insights from leading research institutions. There will also be networking opportunities throughout the afternoon and evening.

The event will be hosted in NYC at the Midtown Loft & Terrace, an event space in the Flatiron district with fantastic views of midtown Manhattan.

We hope you’ll be able to join us, please RSVP here: http://beyondtheinstall13.eventbrite.com/

From Branding Brand’s June 2013 Mobile Commerce Index
(via Inside Mobile Apps)

From Branding Brand’s June 2013 Mobile Commerce Index

(via Inside Mobile Apps)

Summary: View-through attribution should be more influential in mobile compared to desktop since viewability isn’t an issue.

For years there’s been an ongoing debate between performance marketers and advertising companies on how to appropriately value view-through conversions.  

For the uninitiated, let’s say you’re browsing the New York Times and you see an ad for a shirt from J. Crew. Two days later, you purchase something from jcrew.com. In many instances, that sale will be attributed to the New York Times and they’ll get some credit for influencing that sale.

Marketers frequently argue that that there might not be any positive correlation between that ad view and the eventual purchase. Even worse, according to one study, 54% of desktop ads are not seen at all. Because of this, last-click attribution is the gold standard for most performance marketers and view-through attribution is either ruled out completely or viewed on a fractional basis.

View-through attribution for mobile campaigns should not be rated the same way it is for desktop. The game is completely different in mobile primarily because of the creative types and screen sizes. 

In mobile, a substantial portion of the ad inventory is in-app. App developers frequently place their ads either at the bottom of the app screen or as interstitials. In both cases, the ads are “anchored” and therefore impossible not to view.

Even in mobile or tablet web, when the ads might not be anchored like they are in-app, viewability is higher than on desktop because of the smaller screen sizes. Smartphone and tablet screens dictate a more economical usage of ad units compared to desktop websites. This means more of your ads actually get seen.

Experimentation and testing is the key to success in performance marketing. We recommend that our clients remain flexible when it comes to attribution. Many have embraced the fundamental difference between the mobile and desktop contexts and have chosen to give us more credit for sales driven by views than they do for their desktop retargeting campaigns. 

We’re always interested to hear your thoughts, let us know what you think here or on Twitter: @tapcommercehq

Today we announced a funding round from four great institutional investors: ENIAC Ventures, NextView Ventures, RRE Ventures and Metamorphic Ventures. We also shared a bit more about what we’re up to which you can read about in TechCrunch.

Beyond the press release, we wanted to provide some perspective on what we’re doing at TapCommerce. Mobile devices have evolved from from simple communication tools to small computers that can enable all sorts of things. You can browse the web, book travel, play games and shop, in many cases more easily than you can on desktop computers.

Smartphones and tablets are enabling new ways to stay connected, but they’re also providing consumers with dizzying array of choices. In today’s WWDC Keynote, Tim Cook announced that over 50 billion apps have been downloaded on iOS since the App Store launched. According to Flurry, apps have an average retention rate of 5% after 6 months.

At TapCommerce, we’re helping companies re-engage their mobile audiences wherever they might be. We’ve built a powerful platform that can look at your app or mobile/tablet website users and allow you to reach them with timely and relevant messages.

We’re thrilled to be working with great brands like 1-800-FLOWERS, Jackthreads and Busted Tees. If you’d like to learn more about how we’re helping them re-engage their mobile audiences, let us know.

Last month, Twitter announced a new feature for developers called mobile app deep-linking that received less attention than it deserved. This feature allows app developers to enable links directly to their apps from tweets. To use one of Twitter’s examples, say you take a photo in Path and tweet it out. If deep-linking is enabled, a user who sees that photo on the Twitter iPhone app will be able to click right from the tweet into the Path app. If they don’t have the app, they’ll be taken to the iOS App Store.

This might not seem like that big of a deal, but before this feature was introduced by Apple in iOS 6, linking into apps was rudimentary at best. If you wanted to link to an iOS app you had to use the iTunes Store URL. This meant that users were led to the app’s iTunes store page which prompted you to open the app. Using the iTunes URL is fine if someone doesn’t have the app, but it’s far from ideal if they already have the app installed.

Apple decided to do something about this in iOS 6 with the inclusion of custom URLs. Buried in "Advanced App Tricks" is an implementation guide for custom URLs. Custom URLs allow developers to create customized deep links that take users to specific pages within your app. There are many great examples of how to best leverage these types of links:


Fab has enabled deep-linking in their mobile optimized emails. Any link you click in an email on your iPhone will go directly to the product SKU page within the Fab app.


Fab mobile email promoting the KeepCup


Direct link into the KeepCup page within Fab’s iPhone app from their email

Google Apps


Google recently announced perhaps an even more significant adoption of custom URLs within their mobile apps. Now, whenever you open a link in Gmail, you’ll be taken to that URL in Chrome if you have the app. Same for Youtube or Google Apps. This is clearly both a superior user experience and a way for Google to increase engagement with their apps on Apple’s home turf.




Facebook has opened many of the actions within their app to deep-linking as well. This is in many ways similar to Twitter’s adoption. If you’re an app developer on Facebook’s platform you can deep-link to specific pages within your app from Facebook’s iOS app.

Deep-linking isn’t just a tool that Facebook, Google or Twitter can use. Much like Fab, we’d recommend that all developers incorporate a custom URL structure into their iOS apps so that they’re able to provide a better user experience and allow linking directly into their app from email, Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere.

At TapCommerce, we work with many companies that are leveraging custom URLs for their mobile marketing programs. If you’d like to learn more about best practices, let us know!

Some great data from Flurry on the rise of shopping apps on mobile platforms. Here’s the money quote:

Overall, users spent 132 percent more time using apps over the past year. Shopping was the third biggest jump behind social (387 percent) and media & entertainment (268 percent).

(via Inside Mobile Apps)

Some great data from Flurry on the rise of shopping apps on mobile platforms. Here’s the money quote:

Overall, users spent 132 percent more time using apps over the past year. Shopping was the third biggest jump behind social (387 percent) and media & entertainment (268 percent).

(via Inside Mobile Apps)


Mobile revenue @fab. 3 slope changes: (1) Launch ramp 15% to 30%, (2) Steady 2012 33%, Dec 2012 - Jan 2013 to 40%+, and beyond. Our goal is to be 50%+ very soon.

Fab continues to see rapid mobile growth as a percentage of revenue. Perhaps a sign of things to come for a majority of e-commerce companies?


Mobile revenue @fab. 3 slope changes: (1) Launch ramp 15% to 30%, (2) Steady 2012 33%, Dec 2012 - Jan 2013 to 40%+, and beyond. Our goal is to be 50%+ very soon.

Fab continues to see rapid mobile growth as a percentage of revenue. Perhaps a sign of things to come for a majority of e-commerce companies?