Measurement is broken, but that doesn’t mean performance is. That’s among the lessons from this episode’s podcast guest: Shamanth Rao, Founder and CEO of boutique growth marketing firm RocketShip HQ. Take a deep dive into creatives and data as we discuss the latest trends, useful tools, and effective strategies for the evolving mobile landscape.

Guest: Shamanth Rao


Full episode summary

Creatives in mobile UA

Current perspective on the state of mobile UA

  • Measurement is broken, but that doesn’t mean performance is.
  • Subscription apps have an edge right now for the reason that they are very SKAN friendly.  Despite the limitation that you don’t get a clear lifetime value, you still get a better picture of what’s happening in the first 24 hrs vs. free to play games where monetization is gradual.

Most effective creative trends from mobile UA

  • UGC (always fresh stuff, trend focused, and where creators are quite plugged in)
  • Satisfying and soothing videos such as ASMR (even used for shooting/strategy games)
  • Generated AI (intentional bad AI videos where the hook is it’s clearly weird AI)

Importance of creative as the focus of business

  • With measurements being broken, creative is an easy decision for a lot of marketers because creatives are more of a turnkey rather than a measurement
  • It’s also much more effective and it took priority as UA budgets get cut down

 Working with Tiktok creative exchange program

  • Lets advertisers get free creative on TikTok if they work with a TikTok partner and if they’re able to commit to a certain level of standard.
  • Easier to produce because of dialed in process, direct relationships with micro-influencers/actors, able to direct a shoot with precision.
  • Solves a lot of problem by getting free creative in return for committed ad spend
  • This initiative shows how much the data has panned out for tiktok, and that creatives can really turn around the campaign.

UGC Strategy

  • UGC does not have to look professional and staged, should be more candid and a combination of the way designers stitch the videos together.

Adaptation of TikTok’s style on different major acquisition channels

  • A lot of the fundamentals of creatives can’t be made into the tiktok style.
  • With games, you still need to consider the user motivations
  • What worked outside of TikTok can still be adapted.
  • The formula for TikTok ads is you take a non-TikTok ad and layer it with gameplay. 

How generative AI works in the creative process

  • Still a work in progress and needs more curation.
  • Marketers are more involved in the creative process because of this and because it provides them more language to speak and can give them clear visual reference for what they have in mind.
  • Still not very effective despite the beautiful statics you can generate. As it follows the best practices, it lacks some passion or clickability.

How AI tools and techniques are used in workflows

  • Used mainly for visual inspirations and brainstorming.
  • Generate ideas and images then hand off to designers.
  • Not yet a fully polished product or tool.
  • Not fully replacing jobs yet and mostly replaces batches of work.


Measurement methodology in the post-ATT/SKAN world

  • Use blended metrics as a source of truth and build your own models.
  • Reports are based on App Store Connect numbers.
  • We can’t get granular performance like before.
  • In any model, do a gut check against cash flows and be in touch with the finance team.
  • Lots of ad networks have different language and methodologies, and because of that using App Store Connect and blended is more reliable.
  • People must understand and embrace the complexity of how all this works and must learn to not compare multiple channels.

Mixed media modeling

  • Biggest part of media mix modeling is it provides a bridge between the multiple different languages that we have on the different platforms.
  • Use DIY implementation.
  • There’s many paths to success, strategies/models don’t have to be perfect now but it’s good to find a way through to favorable market conditions.
  • It’s fun to do UA for iOS once you get a viable strategy since CPMs are down and competition is lower.

Thoughts on SKAN 4.0

  • Not going to be very impactful. The first postback is still the most meaningful.
  • Implementation is marginal.

Thoughts on Google privacy sandbox

  • More transparent than iOS and has documentation.
  • Unsure how it’s going to be effective because it’s limiting.

Trends and developments

Thoughts on trying to ban TikTok 

  • Would be a huge disruption to everything in growth, marketing, user acquisition.
  • Tiktok’s already a critical component in the growth mix.
  • It will definitely pay off to master creative tactics that work on TikTok because these will still work on other platforms.

Trends to look for in 2023

  • Generating AI
  • TikTok
  • iOS


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