Leading mobile measurement and deep linking platform Branch provides solutions that unify the customer experience and measurement across multiple devices, platforms and channels. As one of Parternize’s exclusive partners, we took the opportunity to chat with the company’s Director, Business Development, Michelle Lerner for this month’s Partner Chronicles. We discuss the platform’s technology and how this fits into cross-channel marketing, and the future of mobile measurement and why marketers should utilise this opportunity in the growing world of mobile and app marketing.
Before we get into the world of mobile tracking and how Branch drives increased efficiency and revenue, it would be great to hear about your path to your role there. Can you give us a quick overview of how you got to your current role?
Michelle: My career started in traditional advertising. I was working at an agency that focused on print, direct mail and signage at a time before digital and social took off. I was intrigued by all the innovation, technology and startups that were happening around me so I made the leap from agency to a social media platform startup. Once the social platforms started selling advertising inventory, I shifted from content management to working on the ads APIs side of things for social platforms.
There was always a question around measurement, attribution, cross-channel and cross-platform. Everyone was talking about it but no one had figured it out and I asked myself "why are people ok with not knowing this?" This is what drew me to Branch. I looked at it as "wow, finally there’s technology that can accurately piece together cross-channel and cross-platform management" and now here I am.
Can you talk about Branch technology and how it fits into cross-channel or omnichannel marketing?
M: Branch is in a unique place as we're able to measure across every channel, such as email, search, social adverts, and across mobile, app and the web. We're integrated with all the email service providers, self attributing networks, DSPs, affiliate networks etc, so no matter where you're trying to reach your customers, Branch is able to provide a seamless user experience through deep-linking capabilities, and more accurately measure attribution across each channel.
Why is measuring consumer journeys (that include apps) so important for e-commerce today?
M: It's not only the measuring that's important but also providing a good user experience on mobile, including apps, and these go hand-in-hand. We've all been there as consumers and users of mobile — when you click on an email and you have the app installed, for instance, you're taken to app’s home page or taken to the mobile website.
However, you may be blocked because you can't remember things like confirmation code, among other obstacles. These kinds of inefficiencies in the customer journey can have an effect on e-commerce in two ways: the user is going to associate the bad experience to the brand and the brand will lose out on that customer. Secondly, the brand is missing the opportunity for the customer to convert, so it's important to provide a seamless experience in the customer journey from email to app or ads to app, for example. This will also provide marketers with a better sense of what's actually working across these channels so they can make better-informed marketing decisions and have a more efficient path to conversion.
In your work with Partnerize, and other platforms and networks, how has comprehensive mobile measurement affected channel sales?
M: At Branch, we've seen up to a 30% increase in conversions due to the way we measure across channels and platforms. We use a deterministic way of measuring attribution and are therefore able to match a user with a mobile app with 100% certainty. So it's the increase in attribution and also increasing the channel coverage that provides this real increase value of a brands channel/sales efforts.
If you think about attribution marketing now, the organic bucket is so big. By using a more deterministic way to shrink the immeasurable or unattributed bucket down, it becomes more accurately distributed across your channels.
For those who aren’t familiar, can you explain the concepts of deep linking and deferred deep linking?
M: If you think about linking back to the days of only desktop, you would enter www.example.com and immediately be taken to the place you need to be. Then mobile came into play and now they're multiple browsers and apps, which has changed the entire linking experience. This made things nearly impossible for someone to get from one place to another, or carry any initial context across mobile and into the app. With deep linking, you're able to get from point A to point B in the app very easily. Meanwhile, with deferred deep linking, this carries the initial context from point A to point B even at post-install. Overall, it's making a seamless experience in the same way desktop used to.
What do you say to people who say they are interested in comprehensive mobile measurement, but that it is not their highest priority?
M: I'm inclined to ask them: what's holding you back?. It can be daunting to make changes to your marketing mix, especially if mobile is new, so you need to look at the impact where people are spending more time in apps as people are increasingly spending more time on mobile devices. If it's not a priority now, it will be eventually, so you might as well get a headstart.
From a product standpoint, what’s coming up for brands and partners from Branch?
M: We're going to see a continued shift of channel and partner sales to mobile and it's why we value our partnership with Partnerize because they're leading the charge and adapting to this market shift. I think we'll start to see the need for additional measurement capabilities, especially with ConnectedTV and OTT and new apps emerging on other platforms. We'll begin to see all of these elements take shape soon.
Lastly, what parting words of advice do you have for clients looking to fill their mobile measurement gap?
M: Don't wait for it. The longer you leave it and don't have a comprehensive strategy, the more money and time you're wasting as a marketer. You want to be making these formal decisions that will affect the bottom line but also the customer experience, so it really helps the brand to have this cross-channel and cross-platform coverage. Also, make sure you have the right tech stack in place to accurately and efficiently measure across multiple channels and platforms.
Looking at 2020, where do you see the mobile measurement strategy heading and what could we expect from Branch in utilising that strategy in the next 12 months?
M: We’ll be continuing to measure partnerships from app to app as I know historically from the affiliate side, this is where a lot of the channel sales are driven through. Also, we will continue to focus on app-to-app partnerships and the ability to link and measure appropriately across all of them. On the channel sales side, to be able to more accurately payout on those different commission structures. It's all part of the strategy as we become more aligned with the mobile-focused app-to-app world next year. We will continue to leverage great technology to fulfil the different partnerships and their needs while maximising Branch for those campaigns, which remains a recipe for success.