Finding customers is one of the single most challenging and important parts of running any kind of App. At the M14 Industries Conference, Facebook’s Vera Ivashchenko spoke about these issues, where we should be focusing now and the future, and how smart companies leveraging Facebook can really take advantage of the tools available to find growth.

Where do you see your company in 2020?

Facebook spend a lot of time thinking about the future. Specifically, they think a lot about emerging markets and changing demographics; those are the countries who will lead the way with the 6 billion people due to come online by 2020, most of which use mobile devices. Soon, 85% of the worlds’ connected users will come from emerging markets.

The shift to mobile devices is rapid, and huge. Within a few years the majority of phones will be mobiles (not land lines), which is a big deal. This is true in places like the UK and the US, but it’s even more dramatic in the high growth regions. If you’re not already targeting these areas, or at least thinking about them, you’re going to miss the boat.

Every company seems to start their journey in the USA. It’s a great market, there’s active users, they do everything online. But, when it comes to digital advertising, there’s a huge amount of competition which drives CPMs through the roof. The market is skewed overly towards the US. Vera’s suggestion is to try putting 50% of your market spend on other markets; you’ll get a much higher reach there, and it’s a reach to people who are keen to use your services.

Hybrid business models

Using advertising as a way to monetize apps isn’t anything new, but is a growing segment in the dating industry as we see more and more free apps enter the market. Alongside subscriptions and one-off payments, the suggestion is to add advertising as an additional revenue stream. It’s a good way to monetize those users who will never do anything useful.

But let’s be clear, we’re not talking about ugly banner ads. Nobody likes those. We’re talking more about native ads. In short; Facebook commissioned some research, and according to Vera, found that “native is the future”. It’s a better experience for users, it converts better, and the market for them is large and growing.

Messenger

Whilst we’re all focusing on video in the industry right now, the use of chat bots and Facebook Messenger should be on all of our radars for the near and long-term. Messaging is a cross-generational technology and provides a great new space to engage users. Right now there’s nearly 100m business pages using Messenger as a way to engage with users.

You can think of messaging users as an additional channel of communications with existing users, as well as a way to find and engage with new users. Vera gave the example of Meetic who launched their chat bot last year which on boarded new users without the user needing to leave Facebook.

Helpful Resources

Facebook IQ

Audience Insights