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Your ads are part of the brand experience – interview with Maggie Flick, Head of Business Operations at Outbrain

Inspirational conversations about e-commerce are definitely our cup of tea. This time, we decided to drink it with Maggie Flick, who is in charge of business operations at Outbrain.

What do you do at Outbrain?

As Head of Business Operations, I am responsible for business operations in 13 countries across LATAM, APAC and EMEA. This includes increasing efficiency in and between individual departments and optimising cooperation between the regions. I am also supporting the introduction and scaling of new products. Before taking over the role, I was responsible for numerous global customers, especially in Performance Marketing.

What is your team responsible for?

We are responsible for the management and growth of international business and operations. A large part of the role is to analyse where we can support advertisers on a global scale, what the needs are and how new products can address them.

What is native advertising, and how can e-commerce benefit from it?

Native advertising is the use of paid ads that match the look, feel and function of the media format in which they appear. Native ads are often found in social media feeds, or as recommended content on a web page. Unlike display ads or banner ads, native ads look like part of the editorial flow of the page. The key to native advertising is that it is non-disruptive – thus improving the user experience and increasing the engagement. In an advertising world focused on social networks, native platforms offer new opportunities to scale your campaigns. We offer not only more reach than facebook in the key markets, but also more transparency and extensive targeting solutions. You would like to target specific interests of users, set up a sophisticated retargeting strategy including Lookalike Audiences or create a dedicated Black Friday campaign with pre-qualified audiences? You can do this with our platform at a very competitive price.

How to boost signups for mobile apps?

You need to pay attention to the specifics of the app download conversion funnel. Adjust your strategy and consider specific opportunities that arise with marketing apps. Even in the app marketing, there is no one-size-fits-all. We had marketers being extremely successful linking directly into the app store. This works well for gaming or entertainment. Other apps that require more explanation or solve a specific problem had much better results if they included content marketing like blog posts or press articles before leading the customer to the download page. You also need to pay extra attention to the above-the-fold elements of your landing page. The first look is decisive so try and test different creatives, headlines or positioning of elements. Even small changes like changing the font color can boost your conversions. Additionally, develop a marketing strategy that includes multiple channels and the right media mix.

What is the role of personalisation in advertising?

You need to find the right balance between personalisation and user experience. Keep in mind that your ads are part of the brand experience. Countless studies show that people don’t like to be followed by extremely specific retargeting like lists of products you checked out once in an online shop. At the same time, you have probably experienced that retargeting leads to much higher conversion rates. I would recommend being much smarter in the way you are personalising the ads for your audience. This starts with frequency capping and choosing the right creatives like fashion shots instead of product lists. More sophisticated marketers use content pages or press articles and retarget the readers of those less sales-oriented pieces to shop pages.

What is Outbrain’s case study that you are the proudest of?

We have many case studies of app marketers you can find at Two of my favorite are Blinkist and CBR Fashion Group. Blinkist is a very successful app company that is working with us for many years now. They show how successful app marketers need to consider the Life-Time-Value and continuously optimise and use new products to stay ahead of the game. We don’t only achieve 50,000 downloads a month, but also have a 20% conversion rate of people clicking on the app banner on the Blinkist content pages which speaks for our high-quality audience. These results show that you can achieve great results even if you include an extra step to educate your audience. CBR owns the brands Cecil and Street One and they have built a best practice when it comes to e-commerce and Black Friday marketing. They pre-qualified their audience and only had to retarget the customers that were interested in their products during the Black Weekend. They achieved a 66% higher conversion rate compared to Display and could increase their cost-turnover ratio up to 65%.

How do you think will the app marketing look like in 5 years?

Since users are already overexposed to apps, the quality will be key. The product will need to bring real value to customers and the marketing strategy will need to focus on these USPs. Diversifying your channels and finding the right ones will be even more important. Overall, app marketers will need to become more strategic in terms of targeting their audience and developing an ROI-positive marketing strategy.


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