Making Your Product Marketable, Valuable, And Usable With Innovatemap’s Christian Beck

Christian Beck is an executive partner at Innovatemap where he focuses on growth strategy and design. He is also the host of the podcast Better Product.

While Christian doesn’t consider himself a marketer, he and I discuss design, user experience, and how marketing is tied closely to his role. Throughout the rest of our conversation, we also touch on how the scale of technology is outpacing human cognition, why that matters, and what making a good product is all about.

According to Christian, a “better product is marketable, valuable, and usable.” Since technology is evolving rapidly, companies must be intentional about sticking to the fundamental design principles—designing around human behavior. What can marketers learn from design and vice versa? Listen to the full conversation to find out.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How technology scale is outpacing human cognition
  • Why a better product is marketable, valuable, and usable 
  • The push for community in product spaces

Key Highlights:

  • [01:24] Why Christian doesn’t see himself as a marketer
  • [02:15] Why he started with design 
  • [06:20] Technology scale outpaces human cognition
  • [11:47] Who is Innovatemap? How did it begin?
  • [15:10] What makes a good product?
  • [18:36] How the Better Product podcast was born
  • [22:22] The push for community
  • [26:32] An experience that defines Christian makes him who he is today
  • [28:22] Christian’s advice for his younger self
  • [30:02] What marketers should be learning more about
  • [33:58] The brands and organizations Christian follows
  • [36:35] The biggest threat and opportunity marketers face

Resources Mentioned: 

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Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on opportunities around brand, customer experience, innovation, and growth. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine startups.

Fintech App Marketers Set To Spend A Record Amount On User Acquisition

In the last two years, financial technology (fintech) app downloads jumped 132 percent globally and 110 percent in the US alone. That’s according to AppsFlyer’s latest report on the state of finance app marketing, which details COVID-19’s impact on the industry.

Last year, fintech app marketers worldwide invested $3 billion to acquire new users and have already spent $1.2 billion in Q1 2021, reports AppsFlyer. US fintech app marketers commanded over 35 percent of worldwide budgets, investing $985 million on user acquisition in 2020. Latin America came in a distant second with a 20 percent share, followed by Japan and Korea and Western Europe.

Demand for finance apps is growing across the world. Between Q1 2019 and Q1 2021, as more people switched to banking and investing from home, non-organic (NOI) installs globally ballooned 172 percent.

AppsFlyer notes that 29 of the top 40 markets by app installs saw a 20 percent increase year-over-year (YoY). During Q4 2020 and Q1 2021, the top three markets by number of fintech app installs were India, Brazil and Indonesia, which altogether comprised nearly half of the global number of downloads.

AppsFlyer’s research also shows digital banking installs increased 45 percent in Q1 2021, while traditional banks saw a 22 percent rise in installs during the same period.

In the US, NOI doubled between Q1 2020 and Q1 2021, although the surge in cost of media in iOS made it harder for the average finance app to scale UA as much as Android, according to AppsFlyer. The report shows there was a 50 percent gap between the share of NOI installs on both platforms, mostly driven by investment apps.

Another result of the high demand for finance apps: a 34 percent jump in cost per install (CPI) between Q1 2020 and Q2 2020 to $12.4 average per app. AppsFlyer found that CPI dropped 28 percent in Q3.

Financial services lead iOS with a 37 percent conversion rate—nearly 70 percent higher than the runner-up, investment apps. For Android, digital banking apps came in first with a 33 percent conversion rate.

Lastly, AppsFlyer data show that app install fraud rates in the US have plummeted, with Android’s fraud rate dropping 80 percent between Q1 2020 and Q1 2021. Though the fraud rate was much lower on iOS, the decline in app install fraud on the platform was similar. Bots were the primary form of fraud attack on Android while click flooding plagued iOS.

AppsFlyer’s findings are based on an anonymous aggregate of proprietary global data gathered from 4.7 billion finance app installs. Among those installs, 400 million installs and 120 million NOI were based in the US.

Report: Mobile App Installs Up 31 Percent YoY In Q1

Mobile app installs were up by 31 percent year-over-year (YoY) in Q1, according to Adjust’s annual ‘Mobile App Trends’ report. The figure is a testament to the app economy’s uninterrupted ascent since the start of the pandemic — in 2020, app installs surged 50 percent YoY across all verticals, reports Adjust.

In its latest study, Adjust shares mobile growth trends in the gaming, ecommerce and fintech verticals including insights about installs, sessions, time spent in-app, and retention and reattribution rates globally.

Starting with fintech apps, Adjust found that installs grew 51 percent from 2019 to 2020 and are up again by 12 percent in Q1 YoY. Investing and stock-related app searches in particular surged 115 percent YoY, while crypto app downloads saw a 81 percent growth YoY.

Fintech sessions surged too, growing 85 percent YoY; they’re already up 35 percent in 2021, according to Adjust. Fintech sessions grew steadily with the largest weeks at early October (22 percent above average) and late November (24 percent above average).

Compared to gaming and ecommerce apps, Adjust notes that fintech apps had the highest number of returning users: 18 percent on day seven and 12 percent on day 30.

Gaming app installs overall increased by 51 percent in 2020 YoY— 26 percent for non-hyper casual games and 43 percent for hyper casual games. For the latter, the last week of March and first week of April was the best performing period, namely 51 percent above the yearly average. For hyper casual games, growth was strong at the beginning of 2020 though it decreased throughout March then stayed steady for the rest of the year.

In 2020, sessions for non-hyper casual games increased by 27 percent YoY, with sessions for 2021 currently down 9 percent below last year. Sessions for hyper casual games grew by 36 percent YoY, with current sessions down 21 percent so far.

As Adjust notes, last year casual gaming and sports gaming posted the highest session lengths at 21.19 and 22.77 minutes each. Hyper casual sat at 18.78. Overall, users spent 42 percent more time on casual games than on hyper casual.

Upon analyzing Q4 2020, the best performing quarter of the year, games retained best on day one at nearly 30 percent, followed by hyper casual at 27 percent. As per Adjust, hyper casual games must acquire the maximum revenue per user in the first two days of download as retention rates dip heavily after that — just 7.5 percent of users return by day seven and 1.75 percent return by day 30.

Ecommerce installs only grew 6 percent in 2020, but sessions saw a 44 percent surge, showing how deeply engaged users became. Still, 2021 is looking strong so far with Q1 at 11 percent above the yearly average, reports Adjust.

Ecommerce apps retained well, with 13 percent on day seven and 8 percent on day 30. Their reattribution rates hit their peak in Q3 last year at 1.22.

Getting into paid versus organic installs, Adjust’s findings reveal the highest overall share of paid installs took place in Q1 and Q3 of 2020, during which time there were 0.45 paid installs for every organic.

Hyper casual had the highest ratio of paid installs to organic installs, hitting 3.17 by Q4, while shopping saw its largest share of paid installs in Q1, at 0.85. Fintech, on the other hand, had a low share of paid installs — 0.1 to 0.13 for payment and 0.8 to 0.2 for banking, respectively.

At a median of $1.88 per install, Q4 was the most expensive quarter to acquire users. Hyper casual came in at $0.27 per install, gaming at $2.52 and ecommerce at $1.56. Adjust’s data show fintech had its priciest quarter in Q1 at $1.57 versus $0.53 in Q2.

These findings are based on a mix of Adjust’s top 2,000 apps and its complete dataset of all the apps it tracks.

Cannes Lions Awards Microsoft As 2021 Creative Marketer Of The Year

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity has named Microsoft its 2021 Creative Marketer of the Year.

The win comes after Microsoft has won Lions across a vast suite of products over the years, including Xbox, Microsoft Cloud, Microsoft Kinect, Windows 7, Windows Vista, OneNote, MSN and its Halo series.

“The accolade is presented to an advertiser that has amassed a body of creative and Lion-winning work over a sustained period of time, and has established a reputation for producing brave creative and innovative marketing solutions,” reads a press release.

Over the years, Ayzenberg has been proud to help tell the story of Microsoft’s initiatives for Xbox One X, Microsoft 365, Microsoft AI, Xbox Game Pass, Gears 5 and Minecraft Earth, among other campaigns.

Last November, Ayzenberg helped Xbox debut its new Series X and S consoles, respectively. And in February, Xbox launched its new wireless headset, the trailer for which Ayzenberg helped create.

“Watching Microsoft, the past few years at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity has been like watching one of the legendary sports franchises methodically build to preeminence. It starts with veteran leaders whose experience is only surpassed by a relentless pursuit of perfection. It builds on a deep bench of players exceeding expectations by the company in which they find themselves. But to reach the pinnacle of Creative Marketer of the Year, the team has got to get to the point that they are mission-driven and playing as one. Awards aside, you can feel that this has happened for Microsoft,” Matt Bretz, executive creative director, Ayzenberg, told AList.

In 2019 alone, Microsoft won 11 Lions, five of which were captured by McCann New York’s ‘Changing the Game’ spot for the Xbox Adaptive Controller, including a Grand Prix in Brand Experience & Activation and a Titanium Lion.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be recognized for our creative storytelling. Our ambition to amplify the voices of customers and changemakers—from kids who use the Xbox Adaptive Controller to trailblazers like 49ers Offensive Assistant Coach, Katie Sowers—help demonstrate how technology can bring us closer together and inspire meaningful, positive change in the world,” said Chris Capossela, chief marketing officer, Microsoft.

The Lions will honor Microsoft on Friday, June 25 during Cannes Lions Live, the first-ever virtual edition of the festival after last year’s edition got canceled. The fully digital experience will run from June 21-25.

This year, all Lions members will have complimentary access to Cannes Lions Live with their subscription fee, which includes awards results, analysis, commentary and a “creativity on demand” channel.

Why CMOs Love/Hate Data

Can data be fun? Ayzenberg VP of Product and Technology Chris Strawser believes so. He and Sepulveda Partners founding partner Ben Tiernan join Listen In to make the case that the golden age of data analysis is here—and we need not fear it.

Chris and Ben share the work they’ve put into Datarithm, their solution for making meaning out of the mess and complexity of data. They explain why it’s finally time for CMOs to shake of anxieties regarding data analysis, and to start embracing it.


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About Listen In: Each week on Listen In, Ayzenberg VP and ECD Matt Bretz and a rotating cast of hosts from Ayzenberg will interview experts in the field of marketing and advertising to explore uncharted territory together. The goal is to provide the a.network audience with actionable insights, enabling them to excel in their field.

Alternative Solutions To Third-Party Cookies With Xaxis’s Nish Desai

Nishant Desai, or Nish, is the director of technology and operations at Xaxis, the outcome media company. Nish has over 20 years of experience leading technical partnerships, integrations, and ad operations for thousands of brands, platforms, and partners. 

On Marketing Today, Nish unpacks the future of marketing without third-party cookies. With only a year before the change, Nish’s advice is, “Don’t panic” and look to alternative solutions. 

This interview touches on the events that lead to cookie death, alternative marketplace solutions, and what marketers should be thinking about as this new landscape comes into view. Listen in to learn more about the cookie-less effect on marketers and users.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why third-party cookies are ending
  • The benefits of a flock-based cookie solution
  • The future of a unified ID-based ecosystem 

Key Highlights:

  • [01:48] Nish’s path to advertising, MarTech, and AdTech
  • [02:40] How computer science helps MarTech and AdTech
  • [0316] The death of cookies 
  • [05:15] The difference between browser approach and universal idea approach
  • [07:44] Google’s proposals for browser cookies
  • [12:21] Roadblocks to a browser-based or FLoC based solution
  • [16:30] Survival of the fittest
  • [21:18] Which version is better for users
  • [22:30] Who will be successful in the new cookie world
  • [24:53] Will there be a growth of data stores?
  • [27:03] What marketers should be thinking about to move forward
  • [29:42] A defining experience that made Nish who he is today 
  • [30:46] Nish’s advice for his younger self
  • [32:35] Nish’s recent impactful purchase
  • [33:35] The brands, companies, and causes Nish follows
  • [34:53] What Nish says is today’s biggest threat and opportunity for marketers

Resources Mentioned: 

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Connect with Marketing Today and Alan Hart:


Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on opportunities around brand, customer experience, innovation, and growth. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine startups.

Marketers Say Creating Content More Efficiently Is The Best Use Of Automation

Marketers see automation in a whole new light thanks to the demands of the past year. According to Bynder and OnBrand’s State of Branding Report, last year 23 percent of marketers said branding can’t be automated; this year just 1 percent of respondents said the same.

Bynder surveyed 1,600 global marketers and creative professionals to understand the implications of digital transformation during the pandemic. The ensuing report covers the challenges and priorities of marketers when it comes to digital experience initiatives as well as creative output and automation.

First up, 50 percent of respondents report they’ve accelerated digital transformation and digital experience initiatives in 2021. Twenty-four percent are already fully digital, but 18 percent say that digital initiatives slowed or ground to a halt this year.

The top impact of digital transformation for 59 percent of marketers was creating more digital content and creative output. For 58 percent, the top byproduct was implementing new digital experience technologies and for 55 percent it was investing in customer data and analytics.  

With the volume of campaigns and content increasing by 41 percent from 2020 to 2021, respondents were forced to prioritize bite-size content and creativity even more than previously. Eighty-five percent of respondents reported an increase in demand for content in their company due to the pandemic and digital acceleration.

More than half (52 percent) plan to increase their technology budget to scale content creation and 48 percent plan to increase headcount to help address growing content demands.

For 80 percent of respondents, a digital asset management solution (DAM) is the answer to bolstering team performance. Yet, just 54 percent of companies consider DAM a critical part of their marketing technology stack.

Despite the surge in demand for content, 72 percent of marketers say they’re completely or very confident that they can continue to meet the demand. Nevertheless, for 25 percent keeping up with the creative and content requests is a big concern.

An even bigger 2021 marketing concern is reaching audiences on increasingly crowded digital channels. That’s why many plan to invest in tech and personalization, a tactic that’s considered one of the most effective ways of building consumer connections by 82 percent of marketers. 

Still, 45 percent of respondents say that, “making sense of inaccurate and inconsistent data” is one of the three biggest time-wasters for their marketing team. For 52 percent, the solution to efficient data aggregation and analysis means plans to increase investment in tech.

Bynder notes that there is a mismatch between how the content crunch is viewed by chief marketing officers versus marketers in video, design and creative roles. For example, 79 percent of respondents in CMO or vice president roles compared to 62 percent of marketers in video, design and creative roles report feeling “completely confident” in their company’s ability to meet 2021’s creative content needs.

Enter: tech and automation. Eighty-nine percent of respondents believe technology will help support their marketing department’s creative efforts. Nearly all (96 percent) of consumer goods brands say tech will help their creativity, more than any other sector.

Additionally, over half of respondents say automation will either increase efficiency, free up time for brand teammates to focus on more important tasks and/or improve brand consistency for their company. 

According to Bynder, for the second year in a row, marketers deem creating content more efficiently as the best use of automation. Overall, automation will increase the efficiency of marketers’ efforts, as noted by 55 percent of respondents.

Bynder’s findings are based on responses from 1,600 marketing and creative respondents —from the US, the UK, Germany, France and the Netherlands—who were interviewed during January, February, and March 2021.

What Radicalization Means To A Brand Marketer With Yonder CEO Jonathon Morgan

On this 249th episode of “Marketing Today,” I speak with Jonathon Morgan, the founder and CEO of Yonder, an AI company that helps Fortune 500 communication teams identify and counteract online disinformation about issues that matter to their organization. 

In this episode, Morgan talks about the power of groups with extreme ideals and how thought radicalization can mean something different for marketers. 

Our conversation starts with understanding Yonder’s mission and how the company originated. Early in his career, Morgan conducted internet research, advising the state department on how they could counter the impact of online radicalization worldwide. 

Morgan explains that the modern concept of the internet is based on a fundamental premise — “there is wisdom in the crowd.”  He soon found out, however, that “if you value crowds, you inadvertently value mobs,” and that someone who manipulates social platforms can have an immeasurable amount of power in swaying the crowd’s thinking. 

From there, Morgan provides insights on the pros and cons of social media censoring and how easily misinformation and extremist ideals can leak into mainstream media. Finally, he talks about how the idea of radicalization isn’t always a bad thing when it comes to brand marketing.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • The vulnerability of the internet and our social ecosystem
  • What contributes to the origins of radical groups and how misinformation can spread
  • The difference between good and bad radicalization
  • The importance of authentically communicating your company’s values
  • How to build a coalition for your brand and leverage communication better

Key Highlights:

  • [02:16] Yonder’s mission and how they got started
  • [05:46] How a person can have incredible influence on the way the public thinks
  • [07:44] Motivations behind a mob; looking at the riots on the Capitol
  • [11:17] The pros and cons of censoring on social platforms
  • [15:21] How radical ideals spread into mainstream media
  • [18:40] When radicalization isn’t always a bad thing
  • [24:00] Jonathan’s advice to brand marketers about building a network
  • [32:53] How taking a stand is complicated but essential
  • [35:02] An experience that defines Jonathon made him who he is today
  • [36:27] Jonathon’s advice to his younger self
  • [37:38] An impactful purchase Jonathon has recently made
  • [41:15] The brands, companies, and causes Jonathon follows
  • [42:38] What Jonathon thinks is the biggest opportunity for marketers today

Resources Mentioned: 

Subscribe to the podcast:

Connect with Marketing Today and Alan Hart:


Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on opportunities around brand, customer experience, innovation, and growth. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine startups.

Ashley Owen On Ayzenberg’s Marketing Science Principles

One valuable lesson the pandemic has taught brands is that constantly aggregating and applying usable consumer data can enable them to pivot on a moment’s notice. Research and data-fueled Ayzenberg’s marketing science department, MarSci for short, long before the crisis hit, but in the past months, an increasing number of brands have turned to the agency’s division to help identify the best ways to engage audiences and quantify performance.

Ayzenberg marketing science vice president of strategy, Ashley Owen, applied 2020 learnings to the department’s updated strategy, which comprises five mindset and behavioral shifts– including thinking audience-first rather than vertical-first, letting the problem guide the work, starting with the “so what?” and more. It’s her hope that these shifts will both empower the MarSci team to listen, create and share more effectively, as well as better serve their clients, in the ever-evolving industry.


Let The Problem Guide The Work

Owen encourages the team to not feel confined by their job titles, but instead to reorient how they view themselves—not merely as strategists and data analysts, but as collective problem solvers who explore new routes to reaching a solution. To apply this mindset shift, she suggests identifying the problem and spending time thinking about how to solve the problem first before jumping into action.

Think Audience-First, Not Vertical-First

Owen believes that narrowing MarSci’s expertise to a particular channel or vertical does the subsidiary a disservice. To create content that genuinely resonates with a brand’s audience, she encourages the team to think holistically of all the tools at its disposal. For example, applying creativity and storytelling to a dense deck, using more than the data readily available and applying a variety of strategic approaches and frameworks.

Leaders, Not Members, Backed By A Team

In replacing the old mindset of viewing members within a team or part of a department, Owen challenges each and every member to view themselves as a leader backed by their team. To apply this shift, Owen says the department is exploring different approaches to bi-weekly “Syncs,” where each person gets assigned one and brings something to teach, share or discuss. In addition, to embrace the messiness of problem-solving, she encourages the team to be open to sharing half-baked work, not just work that’s in progress, and reaching out for help and feedback whenever necessary.

Start With The “So What?”

When working under tight deadlines, it can be easy to lose sight of the big picture, but Owen cautions against thinking of deliverables as the end point. To continue adding value to clients, she says it’s critical for the team to think beyond the deck and start with a definitive point of view, or a “so what?” factor for each project or brief being worked on. Even if a client has only asked for a deck, basic metrics or a few slides, she believes it’s important for the team to share their point of view with clients every change they get.

Power The Agency With Inspiration, Not Information

Data is undoubtedly one of MarSci’s most powerful tools, but Owen believes that what they do with that data is even more important. She encourages the team not to call something an insight if it’s simply an observation. Instead, she urges them to “keep digging” and investigate the data until there’s an insight that inspires, as galvanizing others around that interpretation is when they’re most effective.

The Power Of Audio With Audioburst Founder And CEO Amir Hirsh

On this 248th episode of “Marketing Today,” I speak with Amir Hirsh, the chief executive officer and founder at Audioburst. This AI-powered audio discovery platform helps connect content consumers with relevant audio clips.

Our conversation starts with how people have a tendency to call Hirsh crazy due to his innovative and forward-thinking. Hirsh discusses how 2020 acted as gasoline on the audio fire and how “audio connects people much stronger and creates brand affinity.” In the last year alone, the podcast industry more than doubled in size as more and more people crave content that doesn’t hurl visuals at their eyeballs.

We then dive into Hirsh’s company Audioburst and how it has “built an AI engine that listens to that vast amount of content,” analyzes, and cuts it into short clips to make it more discoverable on the internet. Hirsh explains the massive opportunities that await marketers who can create or participate in their own audio content, as well as sponsor and attach their name to the audio content of others. The power of audio lies in the fact that “it can pretty much follow you throughout your day without interrupting whatever it is that you’re doing at that moment in time.” No matter how many people call him crazy, Hirsh sticks to the guiding principle that has gotten him here. “As long as you are true to yourself, you’ll be a happier and more contributing person in life.”

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today”:

  • As an entrepreneur that has spent his life in innovation and forward-thinking, Amir has been called crazy plenty of times. 1:13
  • 2020 saw the audio industry explode with more people connecting via audio and technology than ever. 2:20
  • Podcasting doubled to 5.5 million podcasts in 2020 alone as more and more time has been spent at home. 2:54
  • Consuming content through the ears rather than the eyes frees up the consumer to do so much more. 3:40
  • Though Amazon was a little bit late to the audio game, it has positioned itself to be the 800lb gorilla in the room. 4:27
  • Voice penetration through Alexa will allow Amazon to push audio content at an entirely new level. 5:36
  • It’s vital for marketers to think about audio as it becomes more available in all industries. 6:40
  • People can connect with brands at a much higher rate through audio than just being bombarded with visuals. 7:10
  • If you are not moving your ads into the audio dimension, you miss out on half of the consumers’ attention span. 8:00
  • Amir started Audioburst to help podcasts and other audio connect with internet searchers. 9:27
  • By adding as much metadata as possible to the audio clips, Audioburst makes audio much more discoverable. 11:00
  • Other than making it accessible, Audioburst aims to make audio easy to use on many different platforms. 11:42
  • Currently, Audioburst partners with the likes of Samsung and Hyundai to integrate into multiple industries. 13:31
  • Rather than answering questions with an automated voice, Audioburst provides an audio clip from an expert in that field. 15:15
  • Audio finds its power in its ability to follow you around throughout the day without interrupting your activities. 16:44
  • Brands and marketers should be open to opportunities both in audio and on audio. 17:56
  • Opportunities in audio involve brands and marketers creating their own audio content, whether producing or being interviewed. 18:24
  • Placing a brand around a playlist, podcast, or audio event is how brands can participate in audio. 19:28
  • Amir attributes all the ups and downs that created his personality as someone that remains true to himself. 22:00
  • Looking back, Amir thinks it’s important never to lose your inner child as you go through the ride of life. 24:26
  • It’s important to actively care about the world you live in and the people around you. 27:30
  • There’s still time for brands and marketers to get in on the audio pie, but the longer they wait, the more they risk missing out. 29:00

Resources Mentioned:

Subscribe to the podcast:

Connect with Marketing Today and Alan Hart:


Alan B. Hart is the creator and host of “Marketing Today with Alan Hart,” a weekly podcast where he interviews leading global marketing professionals and business leaders. Alan advises leading executives and marketing teams on opportunities around brand, customer experience, innovation, and growth. He has consulted with Fortune 100 companies, but he is an entrepreneur at his core, having founded or served as an executive for nine startups.