What it Means to Be a Tech-driven Mobile Growth Agency

October 10, 2022

When you hear the term ad agency what comes to mind? Your favorite episode of “Mad Men”? Nike’s “Just Do It” coined by Wieden + Kennedy? Or maybe “Got Milk?” created by Goodby Silverstein & Partners? In the digital era, you may think of Razorfish, RGA, or Essence Global. But what about mobile? Mobile is its own unique niche in the world of digital advertising. It’s often called the wild west — and traditionally it’s been just as lawless.

Although agencies have existed for nearly 200 years, mobile started making its way into the world less than 20 years ago. Intermediaries have found their way into the mobile media buying system in the ensuing years and for good reason; the ecosystem is complex, ever-changing, and continues to grow at hyper speed. As a result, the advertising industry has evolved alongside mobile.

A brief history of adtech

Since the 2000s, adtech companies have disrupted the traditional services offered at agencies. The rise of global self-attributing networks — like Google and Meta — allowed brands to develop in-house expertise in digital advertising.

Meanwhile, many large agencies pivoted their business model to include proprietary technology as well as expertise in various areas like mobile or search. To that end, these agencies sought to acquire adtech companies to scale their knowledge in this arena. Then, in 2014, mobile took over desktop as the primary traffic driver in the supply and demand side. As traffic grew in mobile so did theft and fraud, making anti-fraud features paramount to any adtech solution or agency service. Our company was born out of this era; we got our start with a commitment to addressing transparency and reducing fraud in the mobile ad space. We were fortunate enough to build our first technology alongside a well known brand with a sophisticated UA team.

Finally, since 2018, we’ve seen a rise in mobile privacy concerns, with the most recent being the deprecation of IDFA and the death of traditional attribution tracking as we know it. Now inventory prices are rising, and the need for expertise in a volatile market is climbing. Mobile-focused agencies are in high-demand as campaign complexity grows, which brings up its own set of questions.

What to look for in a mobile agency

When a mobile marketer asks us what to look for in an agency we think about a few things:

  1. What is the history of the agency and the makeup of its founders? Have they worked for marquee companies in mobile and do they understand the performance space? Their knowledge must go beyond data and acronyms; it should be inclusive of the strategy behind each vertical and each team — the unique actions and behaviors of their users — the issues that have only been introduced through hard collaboration and years of experience with many different brands in mobile.
  1. Does the agency have the ability to be nimble? Can they learn things quickly and, most importantly, adapt to changes that seem to be happening in mobile every few months? When ATT was introduced, it was said to be highly disruptive. While it’s true that mobile revenue was affected it’s also true that several players have risen to the occasion and taken iOS 14.5 as a new opportunity to build, break and start over again.
  1. What technical service does the team offer and do they have their own technology team in-house? It’s not enough to white label solutions; there must be a solutions architect constantly road-mapping new builds in lockstep with market research. While we’ve adopted many of our clients’ suggestions into our own technology platform, we’ve also aggregated comments across UA teams to come up with builds that better support their team and ours in reaching goals and scale.
  1. What does the agency specialize in and what services does the agency hope to grow? There are so many services in the digital space — and mobile is no different. Each brand will have a very unique problem; you may be experiencing diminishing returns due to the size of your brand, or you may just need to meet the growth demands of your stakeholders. Either way, you’ll need an expert to help you and your team plan your custom media mix, understand a variety of supply verticals, consult with your team on market conditions and various CPA prices, and have the technical expertise needed to understand the mobile landscape — from working with your MMP to configuring the nuances of the ever-changing privacy landscape.

  2. How transparent is the agency? “Transparency” as a buzzword may solicit eye rolls from many in mobile, but there are practical ways mobile agencies can be transparent. They should provide on-demand metrics to clients and more thorough explanations of the media source and type. They can educate, provide continued reporting, and identify transparent supply sources that continue to drive value to their clients.

  3. Finally, what is the company’s leadership like? Do they hire client-first professionals and are they willing to grow and learn with your team? You can tell a lot about an agency, and its people, just by looking at how the executives treat their own team. Yes, hitting your goals is important — but it’s just as important to sustaining a lasting relationship with a team that you think can be an extension of your own.
FeedMob is a new kind of mobile agency.

A new kind of mobile agency

As a marketer myself, I’ve worked with many agencies throughout my career — some good, some great, some not as effective as their pitch promised. As a business marketer with start-up experience, I will say definitively that it’s hard to market something I don’t believe in or —  even worse — a group of people I don’t believe in. I can honestly tell you that has never been a problem at FeedMob, where the team is responsive, transparent, and dedicated to client success. Whether you believe me or not, the principles I’ve outlined above were not a hard and fast set of talking points from a business plan — they were what I’ve experienced working at FeedMob over the last five years.

Today, we’re refreshing our identity in the marketplace as a mobile-first agency — complete with a new website that conveys our value proposition as well as our values. We’ve been servicing clients for nearly a decade and have used the principles outlined as our guiding force. I  look forward to providing the mobile community with even more thought leadership in this space through heavy collaboration with a group of experts I am proud to call my team.

Headshot of Vicky Sarmiento, FeedMob's Director of Marketing.

Vicky Sarmiento is a digital marketing and communications professional with 15 years of experience in the B2B and public sectors. She sits in leadership and is head of marketing at FeedMob. Vicky started her career in Wall Street, focusing her efforts on demand-based lead generation, search engine optimization, and email marketing. Before joining the startup world, Vicky worked in politics for former President Bill Clinton and was in media relations as press secretary to the IDC in New York. Vicky has emceed and co-produced TEDx, serves as a Burning Man NPO Board Member, and is a proud mother to both her toddler and fur baby.

Posted: October 10, 2022

Category: FeedMob News and Updates, Mobile Insights Blog


FeedMob Team

Stay Updated.

Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest resources sent to your inbox.