Welcome back to our Mobile Industry Exposed interview series! This time we spoke with Christian Owens, founder and CEO of Paddle, about the importance of creating your monetization strategy taking into account your user. He also touched upon ways to fight m-commerce cart abandonment and explained the direct value of measuring in-app metrics such as location, device and OS version.
Christian Owens is the Founder & CEO of Paddle.com. Paddle makes it incredibly simple for developers to sell & manage their apps from a single dashboard, with a range of tools for payments, analytics and more.
Q: Can you briefly present Paddle and its business model?
Paddle provides developers with everything they need to sell and manage their apps in just one dashboard. From managing their checkout and in-app purchases to trial versions and in-app analytics for desktop & mobile, Paddle’s range of tools make it easier for developers to focus on building awesome products.
Q: Which problems in the mobile industry are you trying to solve?
We want to make it easier for developers to manage their app analytics for desktop and mobile in one place, rather than managing several disjointed services.
There are plenty of dedicated analytics products for desktop and mobile apps, but none that really unify all that cross-platform data in an easy, manageable way. We want to fix that, and that’s why we launched in-app analytics for iOS and Mac earlier this year, with Android, Windows and even Apple Watch analytics coming very soon.
We also wanted to take away the complexities of actually setting up in-app analytics. While most solutions tend to be rather complex to integrate, Paddle’s SDK only requires 3 lines of code and it automatically starts pulling in data out of the box, like daily/weekly/monthly app launches, location data, devices used, OS breakdowns and more. There’s a ton of insight to be taken from those overarching metrics, but developers can also set up custom metrics for more app-specific data.
Q: What would be the main piece of advice you would give developers regarding in-app monetization? Is there a model to prioritize depending on your vertical?
I’d certainly advise developers to plan out how they intend to monetize their app as early on as possible. With so many monetization options like CPC & CPM ads, cross-promotion of other apps and in-app purchases, it’s important to decide (in advance) what model is going to suit your app the best, and provide the best return on investment.
For instance, where the freemium model with in-app purchases may suit a game, a niche utility app may be better off adopting the cross-promotion model which recommends complementary apps instead.
Personally, I’m a big fan of freemium models; providing upfront value through a free app and monetizing off of the back of that with additional functionality for a small fee. If you can provide enough value and build an engaged audience, it’ll become much easier to monetize.
Q: What’s currently missing for m-Commerce to take off? What can be done to change behaviors and lift the blocks to purchase? Is there as specific technology you’d like to see emerge or develop?
I think the problem is that most checkout flows have been designed for the web, and they haven’t necessarily transitioned well on to mobile. At Paddle we’ve tried to strip down the checkout experience to only include fields that are absolutely necessary to fulfil the order, streamlining the purchasing process on mobile.
In terms of technology, I feel like smartphones with fingerprint sensors will really help m-Commerce take off; it’ll give another layer of security and improve buyer confidence. The iPhone 5S brought it to the mainstream, and now we’re seeing more manufacturers incorporating fingerprint technology into their devices. Once it’s a commonality across devices, I’m convinced m-Commerce will benefit from it.
Q: What’s your main tip to fight basket abandonment on mobile? Does mobile provide an edge over other digital properties in this regard?
My main tip would be to create a simple and frictionless checkout experience. What I mean by that is: collect the minimum amount of information you need to complete the purchase, and make the checkout process as short as possible.
It can be tempting to ask customers for extra information (typically for marketing purposes), but the more fields you add to the checkout flow, the clunkier the experience — and ultimately that leads to higher abandonment rates.
Here at Paddle for instance, our checkout is tailored to single-product transactions rather than multiple products. We’ve found that by pushing customers into the checkout flow immediately, rather than giving them the option to navigate further, they’re more likely to complete the purchase; there’s less to think about. Of course this sort of checkout flow won’t be suitable for every type of product, but it’s perfectly suited to the app world where the customer is only likely to purchase one thing at a time.
Does mobile provide an edge over desktop? In many regards it’s harder to fight basket abandonment on mobile because of the limited screen sizes and security concerns. There’s always been a little bit of friction when it comes to actually purchasing on mobile, but considering the rise of devices with fingerprint scanners for instance, mobile has a strong chance of gaining an edge. That added layer of security — which will undoubtedly improve buyer confidence — should improve basket abandonment rates.
Q: Which are the underrated metrics that app developers don’t track but should- and why?
There’s so much value and insight you can take away from the most basic of metrics. To name just three: location, device and OS data for instance can be powerful metrics to guide your marketing & development decisions.
Location data for instance can dictate the languages you support in-app and on on your website, the default currency you use on your website & marketing materials, and the times when you communicate with your user base.
Is your iOS app getting neglected while the Android version is taking off? Knowing what devices your users are on can help you to decide where to allocate your development time, and where to spend more money promoting your app.
And of course, knowing what OS versions are being used will help you to decide how much time you’ll spend on backwards compatibility.
Q: Which new products can we expect to see on the Paddle platform in the coming months?
Having built what we think is the best checkout product out there for sellers of digital content, we’re focused on the next step.
We’re building out a toolkit to help sellers build their business and grow their revenue. We just launched a free in-app analytics product that allows developers and businesses to gain deeper insight into their customers and users than ever before. Over the next few months we’re working on several other tools to help with everything from marketing to retention, all available from within a single dashboard. It’s going to be awesome!