Tim McCloud

Director, Growth & UA
PlayKids by Movile


Q&A with Tim

Tim McCloud is the Director of Global Mobile Marketing for PlayKids by Movile. His background in mobile game marketing gives him a unique point-of-view in marketing a subscription-based app and building trust between the parents and children who are the ultimate end-users of the product.


Read Tim’s Mobile Heroes blog post on the differences between marketing a game vs. a non-gaming mobile app.

Read Tim’s interview with VentureBeat on successfully marketing a subscription-based mobile app.


Your market is clearly kids, and the parents, to a great extent. What does a quality mobile user look like for PlayKids?

A quality mobile user of PlayKids is basically two people. It’s the parents, who need to feel comfortable with the app, and then it’s the kids who are engaging with the app. A kid who is excited to engage with new content on a regular basis and is asking their parents to let them play with the app, that’s a high quality user. Ultimately, the goal is to find somebody who monetizes, but the first step is to make sure that content speaks to our target audience.

How important are installs?
Installs mean a variety of things, they influence the ranking in app stores, for example. On the gaming side it’s really important to drive scale and volume. On the non-gaming side, it’s a little different. Installs are meaningless. We need people who are engaged and who want to become customers.

What strategies work best to convert installs into engaged users?
It starts with simply bringing in a qualified user. If we have a purchase intender, whether that’s gaming or non-gaming, that’s going to help monetization happen much quicker in the funnel. User acquisition is basically the start of that monetization process. That’s where we found success: acquiring people who are relevant.

What are some of the most important KPIs as a mobile marketer?
When you think of the journey of the consumer from the beginning, the impression down to the click, the install and the conversion, those events are the primary KPIs, plus all of the in-app events that come below that. Sometimes, marketers are so focused on the conversion they forget that each piece of creative also have KPIs, such as click-through-rate and conversion to install. That’s really the beginning of that KPI story.

What’s the biggest challenge that you’ve encountered in user acquisition on mobile?
The biggest challenge I’ve encountered in user acquisition on mobile is really different depending on if you’re marketing a gaming app or a non-gaming app. On the gaming side, competition and saturation are significant challenges. On the non-gaming side, it’s basically scaling and then monetizing that user base.

What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in marketing PlayKids?
The biggest challenge marketing PlayKids is I have to convince parents first that they trust the app, they trust the content, and then I have to keep the kids engaged.

How do you feel about diversifying user acquisition channels outside of Facebook?
I feel really strongly about being too dependent on any one channel, including Facebook. This is something that marketers face, especially when you get closer to the peak holiday times, where CPIs go through the roof. It’s something that is a concern on anybody’s mind, whether gaming or non-gaming.

How important are the holidays to marketing PlayKids?
Holidays are very important. Any app developer knows, holidays mean new devices. My thoughts are that, as people get new devices, who’s going to get the old devices? It’s going to be kids. That’s why I think we’re going to see really, really intense competition this year, both in the terms of rates but also inventory availability. If history provides any guide, every time around November, we start to see CPIs start to increase dramatically. This is really apparent on Facebook and other platforms where the demand is high during the holidays.

What are some of the things that you do differently to market PlayKids during the holidays?
During the holidays, we take a very different approach to marketing PlayKids. Basically, it starts with the creative. It has to be completely different and it’s got to speak to the seasonality of the campaign. That extends all the way down into the targeting. We know that there’s increased competition and we know that prices will increase, so we have to be much smarter during that period.

What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made in mobile marketing?
The single biggest mistake I’ve made as a mobile marketer has been on the social casino side. My team ran a pretty large advertising campaign that included a sale as a part of the messaging and the copy. Unfortunately, that didn’t align with what was actually happening on the product side. You can imagine the confusion it caused for both new and existing users; it also caused anger, some negative reviews and a lot of unhappy customers. It was a learning lesson. Align everything that you’re doing on the user acquisition side internally with your external partners as well.