Targeting & Engaging With Younger Demographics with Peter Szabo of Mammoth Media

Jul 31, 2017

Mammoth Media’s CRO & Head of Partnerships, Peter Szabo, sits down with us to discuss the evolution of media, and how targeting and engagement strategies have changed through marketing to Cord-Cutters to the newer mobile-native Cord-Nevers of Generation Z.


MOBILE GROWTH: Hey, we’re here with Peter Szabo, the CRO in Head of Partnerships at Mammoth Media. How are you doing, Peter?

PETER SZABO: Great, how are you?

MOBILE GROWTH: Awesome! All right, let’s dive right in. You’ve had an interesting span of marketing experience from traditional media, to digital, to mobile. Why don’t you give us a quick recap of your current trajectory?

PETER SZABO: Sure! Yeah, so I started off back in my native Boston, when the internet was first getting going in the early 2000’s, doing content for two radio station websites in Boston for big radio stations, Kiss 108 and Jam’n 94.5. I was the lucky guy who got to go into the studio, and we had different artists come in and take pictures and put them up on the website, take the audio and put them up as interviews, and really just create a lot of content that our listeners wanted to see.

And that just gave me an amazing kind of insight behind the scenes of how people could consume…what really became the deeper internet and how you could put up different things to complement, especially an on-air radio strategy. So I loved doing that. Then I did some different things on the marketing side. I was able to be the marketing director of a radio station for a while, and learn the craft of marketing, and then [figured out] how you get a message out there, how you cut through. Then I got over to the sales side, and because I had the web experience, they came to me and said, ‘hey, you know this internet thing, can you help us make a couple bucks on it?’ And so I was the guy that had to go into Dunkin’ Donuts at the time and explain why Dunkin’ Donuts should be investing in our streaming properties as well as our terrestrial radio properties, and at first, that was a pretty interesting conversation, because Dunkin’ Donuts didn’t want to pay extra for that.

There’s a lot of other companies that didn’t at the time [either], but we had to show the value of why the internet was amazing at that time, and what the additional value was, and we were able to do some great things there. And then shifting over to LA: when I moved out here, I was lucky enough to be part of the audio sales team at Pandora, when they were really making a move from internet radio to just radio. It was the same type of consumption pattern that you saw, where you just listened to radio, and what it meant to advertise in that medium, and it was a much cleaner advertising environment than terrestrial radio, which still to this day has anywhere from fifteen to twenty minutes of ads an hour. Pandora even today has maybe five minutes of ads an hour. And how you work a marketing message into that environment was really interesting.

Then I got the chance to open the Shazam LA office and started off running the West Coast sales team, back when Shazam was first starting to get into advertising and creating revenue outside of downloads at that point. We ended up growing to run the full US sales team as well as building a global music partnership team on top of that. I did that for about six years, and had an absolute blast at Shazam. And then I just joined here at Mammoth, as this new type of media company built from the ground up for mobile, to entertain people in the time that they use to spend watching TV, that quite suddenly is now being occupied by mobile time. So we’re filling that time and working brands into it as well, so it’s been a fun – gosh, whatever that’s been, 20 or so years, but great to see how some things have changed and some things really haven’t. So it’s been a blast.

MOBILE GROWTH: Well, speaking about things that change, what stands out to you over that time from the fledgling website days to the more maturing mobile days that we’re in now?

PETER SZABO: Yeah, you know, the biggest one to me is great content wins. The same way I was describing that radio station in Boston – I remember we had The Backstreet Boys in the studio, and there were 300 screaming fans out front waiting for them to come out in the parking lot. We were able to take pictures and put them up on the website, and that was amazingly in-demand content at that time, because people wanted to see what was going on when the DJ was talking to them. So we got, at the time, hits, and views, basically, of those photo albums, and it was amazing to see that people wanted to see that.

You give ’em great stuff, they’re going to want to see it. And so we saw that there. We still see that here today at Mammoth. You put up amazing stuff that people want to see in an easy-to-use way. You know, back 20 years ago, go and watch the photo album of The Backstreet Boys, today it might be through Facebook Live or through one of our apps, but if we give people good content, they’re going to want to see it, and they’ll keep using it, too.

MOBILE GROWTH: Yeah, absolutely. So your talk at Mobile Growth New York is all about Mobile Native. Can you give us a quick summary of what that means to you?

PETER SZABO: For me, really, Mobile Native is this absolute explosion in how people are consuming various content on their mobile devices, and how there really isn’t a lot of content yet that’s produced exclusively for mobile. That’s really the Mobile Native part, building it from the ground up on mobile. Not shot with a camera and lights and crew and rigging and then formatted down to a smaller screen, but actually in most cases, shot on an iphone, a very intimate style, very ‘one influencer talking to that audience’ in that direct way, that’s what responds to our audience. And we see a lot more engagement and a lot more viewership when it’s produced on Mobile Native.

We See More Engagement when Content is #MobileNative - @pszabo on @MobileUAGrowth #podcast -… Click To Tweet

When it’s produced in the way that people want to consume it on that smaller screen, [there’s] a lot of vertical video, a lot of things that really play up to the way that you might see this content. For instance, how you edit something, it’s going to catch your attention in a feed as opposed to fade out from black in a very old-school, traditional video production technique. If you’re fading out from black and someone’s flipping by on their Facebook feed, you lost them in a second and a half, let alone three or five seconds that it might take you to fully start a video. So those sorts of things are really what we look at when we say Mobile Native, it’s really playing up the attributes of the mobile experience.

MOBILE GROWTH: So, in some of our own previous conversations before this podcast, as we were planning different things together, you mentioned cord cutters versus cord nevers; can you give our listeners a little bit of a breakdown as to who they are and what the differences are between the two?

PETER SZABO: Yeah, so, I think cord cutters have been getting a lot of press for the past few years, even six, seven, eight, nine years now, in terms of the options that have been coming up; in terms of, I used to have cable, but now I can have these other alternatives.

The cord nevers are fascinating because they grew up with the mobile device in their hand, their iPad in their hand, whatever the case may be, and they’re just used to getting what they want, when they want it, wherever the heck they are. And there is a fascination in observing that and seeing how you have to feed that beast in a new way, that you can’t jam in a 30 second pre-roll before you can get to any piece of content; they just will go somewhere else. And we were just talking about this ,where YouTube has done an amazing job of this in a lot of situations, where you get them watching content, and then you can keep watching content, and it’s good enough, why do you have to pay for some of these services?

Sometimes they do, again, if you put a good offering in front of them, but a lot of times, this cord-never audience is so used to getting these things in a very immediate, instant gratification way, that you better satiate that, or you’re just not going to be successful.

MOBILE GROWTH: Yeah, YouTube’s funny. I’ll start trying to watch a mobile video, then ten minutes later, you’re watching an orangutan smoking–

PETER SZABO: Down the rabbit hole! Like, what the hell happened?

MOBILE GROWTH: How did I get here?

PETER SZABO: There’s a lot of great learning in that algorithm to show that you like orangutans, and next time, you’re getting it again!

MOBILE GROWTH: What happened? So getting into marketing and advertising, let’s talk some monetization strategies. What are some of the more unique and emerging monetization strategies that you’re employing here at Mammoth, for your apps?

PETER SZABO: So one of the biggest things that we do at Mammoth is have a strategy that involves a couple of different pillars. And for us, being in the mobile world, we can play in the subscription world, we can play in the advertising world, and we can play in the in-app purchase world.

And having all three of those is incredibly important because it means we can diversify how we’re going to bring in revenue to correctly fund the business. There’s a lot of companies that are starting these endeavors and say that they’re going to make a lot of money through advertising. And certainly you can, and I’ve been in companies that have been very successful and we were able to generate a lot of revenue through advertising, and that’s been a great way to do it. There are so many advertising options these days, that to get your company to stand out, to tell a unique story, is more difficult than it ever has been, and to be able to have revenue coming in from a couple of different sources is incredibly important.

The other piece that I think is worth mentioning is the subscription piece, in that if you can make the payment of quality content easy for the user, they will do it – if they like the content. We’re seeing that with our Yarn app. Yarn is this short form chat fiction app that didn’t exist two months ago, that today is a runaway hit, it’s been Top 20 in the App Store for the past month. It’s absolutely amazing how many people have downloaded and how many people continue to use it, and then how many people pay when they hit the paywall. So you got some stories for free, you enjoy that, and then after a while, it’s going to ask you, hey, would you like to keep reading? And ask you to pay a nominal fee.

Our team is amazing in making sure that those fees are in line with what someone will actually pay for that, and so we’d rather take a couple short form payments from a lot of people versus trying to get $50 from a few people, for instance. That’s very important to us, to have this strategy where we’re able to do a couple different things to be able to generate revenue again upon the business, and then I mentioned in-app purchases, which is something we’re going to be getting into as well. So, again, as long as it’s easy to purchase, it’s easy to transact, and it’s a quality environment that you want to get more content from, we’ve seen great success in being able to generate revenue that way as well.

MOBILE GROWTH: Now, you say make it easy to make a payment, easy to make a transaction, what’s some of the ways that an app publisher can make it easier?

PETER SZABO: One of the most fascinating ones that I’ve come across recently is the UN World Food Program, of all things. They have an app called ‘Share the Meal,’ where you can donate money in their app by authenticating through your Apple wallet. And because it’s already tied in to your credit cards, already there, when you go to donate, all you have to do is put your thumbprint on that screen, and you donated the money. It’s the easiest way that I’ve ever seen to actually donate or even purchase, because the same thing can be used for purchase.

When we started making TV commercials, Shazam, back in the day – one of our first campaigns, our biggest campaign early on was with Old Navy, where their TV commercial actually said, ‘Shazam’s a Shock.’ It was a brilliant campaign, amazing execution, until you actually had to purchase something, because we were still early days on mobile purchase, so it basically was a desktop experience reformatted for a smaller screen. You had to manually input your credit card information, manually input your billing address, manually input your shipping address, and you can bet that most people didn’t bother to do that, because it was a high bar to come over.

The fact that now, people like the World Food Program and others like it are tying in with the features of mobile, the fact that the credit card’s already in there, the fact that you can authenticate with PayPal if you have a PayPal account, obviously Amazon wallet ties in with a lot of this as well, it’s so much easier when you can take advantage of those things versus trying to get someone to start a new subscription, a new billing address, a new credit card, that stuff’s hard. Use what’s already on there, and it’s great to see some companies taking advantage of that now.

MOBILE GROWTH: Now, I wonder if – I might be going off on a tangent, but I wonder if some app like Venmo, do they have to make a direct connection with Venmo to make a consolidation there, or do you think they’d be able to authenticate?

PETER SZABO: Yeah, I think that PayPal has their SDK integrated into a lot of these. I’m sure Venmo will have similar strategies, I don’t know those guys very well, so I can’t say for sure, but to make that an option, to easily authenticate – and again, where you have a Venmo account, of course, use that. If that’s the easiest way to get you to pay for something, fantastic. I think about my life, and I’ve got my Eat24 account, my Uber account, my Lyft account, all these accounts that have my credit – so many of them, whereas my one credit card is in my Apple wallet. If they can pull in through that, it’s going to be a lot easier.

The other thing with the World Food Program I think that’s interesting is, it’s the frictionless way to donate, and you brought up a good point when we were talking about this earlier: you didn’t have to register. So that means they don’t have your email directly. So, it’s a trade-off. But, if you get – and I would venture to guess that they get a lot more donations this way – if that’s the ultimate output, you get more money donated, then it’s worth it. And the same thing in these other situations. If I just want food delivered to my house, let me use my Apple wallet and just give me my food! Don’t make me fill out a brand new account, yet another email to remember, just let me pay with Apple pay and let’s move on with this and bring me my food, hopefully 20 minutes later.

It’s amazing to see that consumer value trade-off, and how companies are really realizing that. I want to make it easier for consumers, because I’ll get more business that way, versus forcing them into registering for yet another account.

MOBILE GROWTH: So I think maybe if you can onboard them using like Facebook Connect or something like that, then you would have their information; then it should be easy to track who you monetize out of that.

PETER SZABO: There’s a lot of work that’s been done on, is it better to do Facebook Connect, because it’s less friction, versus a simple onboarding, versus a more complex onboarding, and they’re having surveys that show that a slight amount of friction in the beginning means you’re going to retain longer. So there’s all sorts of science behind that, and I don’t mean to dispute, I’m not even in that world, but I’m literally just saying, when you can purchase something, if that’s the thing that you’re trying to do right then and there, let me purchase it, make it easy for me, and I will be more likely to come back. And I will show you that, by buying four things from you in the next month, versus you having to email me 62 more times to try to remind me of it. You know, put that consumer journey first and see how easy it is to show your consumers how easy it is, and then hopefully reap the rewards. I know I’ve done that quite a bit with companies that have made it easy for me.

MOBILE GROWTH: Definitely. So, I actually want to backtrack a little bit, because you just mentioned Yarn being in the Top 20, what specific steps did you take to help get that to the Top 20, pre-launch and post-launch?

PETER SZABO: So Yarn is in this category of short form chat fiction, which is this very quickly emerging category of a way to consume stories, and it’s chat bubbles that come out one bubble at a time, and it’s just – the story evolves. When we launched it, we did a little bit with our influencer base, where we have different properties within Mammoth that are social video based. We did some cross promotion with our wishbone app, and we did actually a fair amount that way to use our own assets to promote Yarn.

We also did some paid user acquisition, and we have an amazing team in-house that can target the right audience in the right ways, get them to convert with traditional methods, to download other apps. We went after it in certain genres, so we have a couple of different ones that perform really well. There’s a new franchise that we’ve created called ‘Mystery Dog,’ which is more of a suspense/horror type that translates really well, in that sequential unfolding story-telling way. Our writers are amazing because they will always have a cliffhanger at the end of one “episode”, and I just did air-quotes, which no one listening will hear or see, but each episode is structured to be about a four minute read, with something leaving to be desired at the end, and so you’re going to want to read the next one, until it pulls you back into the next one, what’s going to happen next, what’s going on with this character, are they alive, are they dead?

Some of these suspense-oriented things worked really well. And that actually led to sell well, to short videos that we can post in different places, get people interested, have them come in, and download it and then start experiencing it themselves. So we did that both with our own network, and we actually worked with some influencers off of YouTube as well that love the concept and actually started reading it in some of their videos that they posted on YouTube, they were reading some of the stories as they were unfolding, and then we’d immediately see an uptake in people downloading it to check it out themselves.

MOBILE GROWTH: Awesome! So moving on, back to advertising. In what ways can advertising stay relevant, as these mediums evolve? Is there a better way to reach the generations that are coming up, like generation Z, etc.?

PETER SZABO: Yeah, it’s a question that fascinates me, as my journey has come through. Web, desktop, mobile, all of that. And basically, from what I’ve seen, and our experience working with the newer gen Z’s especially, is that the advertisers frankly have to work a little bit harder to get their message through in a way that doesn’t feel like an ad.

Coming from radio, I always make the joke that the kind of 60 second barking radio commercial, in the same way that a TV commercial can blast at you for 30 seconds, is very antiquated in feel for this audience. They don’t want to have a 30 second preview before they get to their video, as I was saying earlier. There really is a huge difference when you can work the brand message or even just the brand into a video, and more of that influencer’s style. We see this a lot with our Beauty Bible shows, where this audience is watching these women who are the hosts of these shows that are watched by 20 million girls, really, 15-30 every month. As long as they’re showing products that makes sense, the audience responds to it.

And especially, when you’re doing fashion and beauty shows, there’s all sorts of products that make sense. And so, with brands in that way, you’re not going to be able to drive home a 20 second read of something and really have it forced and feel like you’re barking it out at them, but you can certainly talk about the benefits of that product, and you can get that message through in a different way. The reason I say work a little bit harder is, you’ve got to be a little bit more creative with that. We used to write radio ads and there were different tactics to do that, and when you had 30 seconds, you could do certain things; when you had 60 seconds, you could do other things.

We have seen it, and studies have shown this again and again, that this younger audience tunes out ads, ignores them completely, skips them, runs Adblockers, all of those things. When it’s just an ad over here and content over here. When it’s blended, that’s when they can pay attention to it. And by the way, they actually appreciate that, in a lot of cases. We see this with Wishbone – things like iced coffee. We see Dunkin’ Donuts, we see Starbucks, we see Taco Bell, for food. We see them in there all the time, and they’re not brands that are advertising, they’re brands that this teen base uses all the time and loves, so they have no problem talking about them. So it’s interesting to see brands like that who are able to evolve with the teen subset to put their products in a good light with them, and basically just amplify it for the audiences that are using them.

MOBILE GROWTH: It’s kinda like what you said, like what’s new is old and what’s old is new, because they’ve been doing this with product placement in film for decades.

PETER SZABO: For sure, for sure! And we were just having this conversation this morning about the James Bond side of things, where Vodka Martini, shaken and not stirred, and people are shocked to hear that was a product placement years ago. And he drinks Heineken, and you want to know why he drinks Heineken? Well, Heineken was involved in that script, and picking a beer for James Bond and again, you’re in a bar, you’re going to drink something, why not drink a Heineken? Why not drink a Vodka Martini, shaken, not stirred?

Those things stand out, you know. If James Bond were to be drinking a pink martini, I think that might be a little bit different and cast some raised eyebrows, but as long as the product makes sense, I think this is, again, where as producers, you have to be smart about this, too. You don’t want to just have things that stick out like a sore thumb, and then it feels – I hate that term, ‘authentic,’ it’s thrown around so much – but it feels ‘inauthentic’ when it is different, and so as long as it fits the show you’re doing, the story you’re telling, why not mention something, if it makes sense?

MOBILE GROWTH: Let’s talk about brands for a second, and brand marketing. In this fragmented mobile world where users are accustomed to skipping ads on TV and ignoring ads online, how should brands best focus their outreach to remain ubiquitous to their target audience?

PETER SZABO: A fantastic question! I think again, it’s working a little bit harder to be where this consumer base is. Social strategy has evolved so quickly, and there’s so many social networks, but one of the things we see is, you know, be relevant in the right way to the Instagram community if you’re going to maintain your Instagram account. Be relevant in the Twitter universe if you’re going to maintain your Twitter presence. Be relevant on Facebook. Do the right things for each of those mediums. If Snapchat doesn’t work for you, don’t just go after Snapchat because it’s the next shiny thing. Make sure you’re going to have the right people producing the right content that goes out there in the right way.

I think that’s one of the biggest things. There’s different ways that these audiences are consuming their content and are being entertained. You’re never going to be at all of them, so just take that out of the equation right from the start, and do the right ones in the right way that makes sense. And I think this kind of quality over quantity, brands really have to focus in on; we can do a few of these really well versus trying to do all of them, as social networks are really growing, I think there’s a lot of thought on we have to be everywhere, brands were sent, and we got to have this presence and that presence and we’ve got to have our Pinterest and our Tumblr and this and that.

They’re all very relevant and valuable for the right reasons, and as long as you know why you’re doing it and you’re going to maintain it and you can attract those outcomes, that’s great. The other point I think worth mentioning is what success looks like for each of those. We’re in a lot of these conversations now where, you know, likes and views are nice, but does it actually mean anything? Now that you can track over longer periods of time. You can start to track brand lift, sales lift, purchase intent, the typical core metrics of marketing, and that’s a great thing, but you can also measure smaller things with it, you know, as you launch a new product, to the Instagram strategy where you show behind the scenes clips or pictures help you, and did the Facebook strategy help you? You can really look at those in a much more sophisticated way than you were able to before, because of the tools that are available to track that as well.

MOBILE GROWTH: Yeah, I think it’s important for a lot of brands to recognize that just because something is popular, that if they don’t know how to play in that world, each different social app is a different personality, and if you don’t play right, you’re going to feel out of place and inauthentic.

PETER SZABO: A hundred percent! And you can turn off a potential audience just as quickly that way, too. I had someone ask me the other day, you know, how many times should we be Tweeting? And I said, honestly, the answer depends so greatly on what you’re trying to accomplish. If you have someone on your team – and by the way, it depends on your brand voice. If your brand voice, you’re trying to be witty, and you can do that, there’s some amazing things you can write in 140 characters at a time. But if you don’t have that, don’t do that.

If you want to be more educational, just share something interesting on a daily basis, if you’re able to, and just build your presence that way. But don’t force yourself to do something that doesn’t feel right just because you think you should.

MOBILE GROWTH: So, in a shifting landscape where now we have multiple generations using mobile devices, what KPIs are you tracking to identify what campaigns are working best these days?

PETER SZABO: It’s going to depend on the social outlet and the social platform, but we’re seeing a lot of shift from views and likes to engagement. You know, what type of sentiment is in those comments, what are they talking about? What action did they take? There’s a lot of buzz around last click attribution, and so the blending of not just last click attribution, but some of those more upstream things where if you watched a social video and you got educated on a product, and maybe didn’t purchase it immediately, that still gets factored into the equation, and again, there’s great tools out there that are able to track these things. Because when it gets left to last click, that’s really myopic to be able to say that only one thing contributed to something.

With some of our apps, there’s some great conversion that we can factor in with other avenues of where people might’ve seen something, and so we do a lot of tracking behind the scenes. Our team’s amazing at making sure that we track multiple points in that interaction, and especially if it’s one consumer, because we can monitor their phone a little bit and see what they’re interacting with and see what that user journey was throughout, and not just that we saw the ones for this, and we don’t know what happened with them. You know, Apple’s able to track some different things that go along with that to be able to give a little bit more insight into what that consumer’s are doing.

MOBILE GROWTH: Interesting. Are you able to segment data out to super target different audiences, or are we still in the wild wild west of mobile, where you’re just not sure who exactly your users are?

PETER SZABO: There’s certainly certain segments that you can do a lot more for, and that’s a real interesting one, so back to, you know, what we were talking about earlier with subscription plays in some of our apps versus even advertising in some of our apps. The fact that within Yarn, we know people have subscribed, that’s an amazing behavior that we can know about someone, that they purchased something on a mobile phone. That’s probably going to mean they’re more likely to purchase other things, whether it’s Amazon or whether it’s a Netflix subscription. So we can do a lot of interesting things for companies to say, hey, we already know that these are people that have purchased something on mobile, so they’re even more likely to purchase your product.

Within Wishbone, it’s a different audience. We don’t know that they’ve purchased anything, they are using this advertising supported app and they’re more likely to respond to advertising, so we can put different messages in front of them in different ways. The other big thing is, we do this a lot at Shazam too, but based on the behavior of what they’ve done – you know, in Shazam, what songs did they Shazam? What type of genres of music, what commercials did they Shazam when we built user profiles that way? Same thing at Mammoth, within Wishbone. If you voted on romantic comedy movie cards, and you voted on this type of music, and you voted on this type of place to vacation, that’s really interesting.

Back to the iced coffee example – if you voted on three iced coffee cards, and Starbucks wants to start testing what type of new flavor to put out there, it’s a really interesting subset of an audience for Starbucks to go back to and say, you know, we’ve got whatever the number is, two million people that have voted on an iced coffee survey in the past, oh my gosh, what a great place to start, knowing that they’re coffee intenders. And so there’s all these sub-pools that can develop behind the scenes, as long as you’re tracking the data properly.

MOBILE GROWTH: Awesome. Let’s get a couple of questions in about Facebook Live, because I know that you’ve done a lot with Facebook Live here at Mammoth. Are there some key learnings that others can benefit from, from that channel?

PETER SZABO: It’s been amazing. We have two full-time social video producers who, over the past six months, have done about 200 Facebook Live shows seen by over 180 million people. And they have tested and learned from Beauty Bible about fifty different show formats that are now ten full time shows that we produce on a weekly basis, and those guys just have so many learnings from the work that they’ve done.

The one that sticks out to me the most is the way that you shoot for Facebook Live, and for Beauty Bible, which is a fashion and beauty channel with these hosts that we have. When they shoot it, with a handheld iPhone in front of their face, talking directly to the camera with their face occupying the majority of the screen on vertical video, it performs way better than anything shot with the camera and lights and crew and rating and zooming in and out and all the normal production techniques.

This younger audience, and again, we’re talking, you know, fifteen to thirty year olds here, they want to see their influencer up close, they want to feel like they’re talking to them, that’s a huge piece of it. So, I don’t know what that means for the production industry as we sit here in Los Angeles, and Hollywood is known for amazing production, but again, different screen sizes, different mediums are going to translate differently. For Facebook Live especially, in that vertical video space, you know, shot hand-held on an iPhone makes a lot of sense.

And then the other thing I’d say is the utilization of live commenting in Facebook Live. It’s such a big play. We have shows that we produce live-live, so that you can have interaction, and the audience feels so much more connected as a result. The host will ask questions, the host will ask for feedback, and people can actually say, ‘oh, I love that hair color,’ or ‘what if you did this differently?’ or ‘why did you do that?’ and the host can respond right away to the ones that make sense, as part of the show. And so there’s this immediate interaction that comes from it. That’s great.

The third one I want to add is the utilization of data in terms of who’s watching what. And coming from old school radio, this is the part where it just feels amazing in terms of the quality information you’re able to get back. So let’s say we have a twelve minute Facebook Live show that we’re doing. Our social video producers actually get to watch and know exactly when people tuned in, when more people tuned in, and when people tuned out. And the metrics that can come from that actually get reported back to the show host to say, hey, when you switched topics, and you went from this topic to that topic, you lost 25% of your audience! It’s a big jump, let’s be careful how we switch topics, let’s be careful to maybe stay on this topic or avoid that topic.

The insights that come out of that are absolutely fascinating when they’re used properly, and our guys are on this watching those live shows in real time to track those sorts of things, and that is just an amazing production technique to be able to utilize with the host for the next one as well.

MOBILE GROWTH: That’s extremely important data, seeing where your dropoffs are, and it makes your live broadcast more and more engaged.

PETER SZABO: Yeah, and data and also knowing what to do with it. Because, you know, big data is out there as well, and it’s funny, at Shazam, our product team always loved to quote that we collect a billion data points a day, and we have similar things that our engineers say here at Mammoth.

My running joke with those guys is, if you don’t have the actual insights that come out of them, it means nothing! Billion data points sitting in a warehouse doesn’t mean anything. Same thing here. Social video – if you can get the dip and you can set the algorithms to detect these things, pinpoint when there was that 20% plus audience drop, from one minute to the next, what happened there? Then, go back and look at that and figure out what to do about that next time. That’s the actual intelligence that I think people are craving, and there’s so many better ways that you can actually pull those things out of these big data clouds that we have right now.

MOBILE GROWTH: I think when you mentioned that Facebook Live gets better engagement and interaction rate, when it’s just the subject holding the phone, I think that’s why Snap was so big, because people follow people on Snap because they feel it’s more personal.

PETER SZABO: Absolutely.

MOBILE GROWTH: And I think that’s why the “lesser production” kind of feels better on those medium.

PETER SZABO: You feel like you’re in the living room with these people, yeah, absolutely.

MOBILE GROWTH: As an aside, for those listening that actually do this, make sure your subject doesn’t just sit there reading the questions to pick one out or have them be talking – have them talking the whole time, because it is a production, even if it’s going to be more personal. I’ve seen that a few times on Facebook Live, they just sit there like quietly reading the screen, and when you’re talking, when you’re answering a question, look at the camera, not the screen! That’s also a good thing. Okay, so, moving on… On Facebook Live, did you find a Facebook Live and other live broadcast channels are best for UA engagement, or other, or all of the above?

PETER SZABO: We view our social broadcast, which is the term that we call these live shows that we can put out and it doesn’t have to be channel 250 on Direct TV, you can just watch it on Facebook, these social broadcast vehicles as really overall awareness and content testing. So, those 50 shows that I mentioned, you know, very low budget for us to be able to test those, gauge feedback, again, monitor when people are watching, monitor when people stop watching so we can test concepts, we can test themes, we can test show formats, show lengths, times of day to post them, you know, amazing tests to actually utilize…the user acquisition part of that gets interesting.

When there’s something relevant, we can mention it, and so some of our hosts mentioned Yarn, and that made sense in that realm, but we do it a lot more for overall awareness to utilize for testing concepts as opposed to direct response. In terms of other live platforms, our team has seen a lot of success with Lively, and some great things that have come out of that, especially for a younger audience. We do certain things with Musicly, we do certain things with Snapchat, we also do things with Instagram, but again, the key is to put the right themes for the right reasons on those. And some have more of a direct response element; Instagram is a shorter clip, you can get a message across, and then suggest something else for them to do or something else to engage with, makes a lot more sense.

When it’s Facebook Live, that might be a longer format – and by the way, longer these days means five to ten minutes! Not the older school thirty minute TV show that it was a while ago. Even at that length sometimes people are watching for longer, they’re in a different mindset, versus some of these shorter increments, and again, just being smart about what you put out for each of the different lengths and formats and mediums.

MOBILE GROWTH: Awesome! One more question: if you’re suggesting the best actions, which have the most ROI for brains trying to break the consciousness of those cord cutters and cord nevers, what few things or areas would you suggest which should have the greatest impact for their efforts?

PETER SZABO: That’s a fantastically loaded question. I wish there was a simple answer to that. Honestly, it involves knowing your audience, who you’re trying to reach, and what success looks like for you. Because I think they’re honestly, you know, they’re still trying two methods that work. You know, search – Google works really well for certain situations, don’t shy away from those. Facebook is so tuned in right now with the metrics and the different data they can provide that you can optimize for your campaign. But then the surprise of social influencers, I think that’s the biggest one in terms of the new shift from five years ago to now, the way that these influencers relate to their audience.

Find the right micro-influencers, and by that, not the one who has five million followers, but maybe five hundred thousand or fifty thousand, but has the right micro-segment that works for you, that, you know, portrays your brand voice, that talks in the right style, that you can have a relationship with. And very, very cleanly, you can go out of a deeper relationship, rather than just throw someone a couple bucks and say, hey, would you mention us? Get the right ones, invite them into your office, have them come talk to you, and have them guide you to what works with their audience, because this is a completely different type of, I don’t want to use air-quotes again, but broadcast. And the way that they can broadcast themselves on Facebook Live is so new and brands, I think, from my three months here, I have this running bit of a joke that a lot of the brands that we talk to are worried to scare bleepless, that they’re missing out on communicating with this younger audience.

A lot of them think, oh, well we can run TV, and that’s fine! Most of them are realizing you can’t just run TV to reach this audience. So, work a little bit harder to get educated on these new trends, find out the right influencers, have your team look into it, or just spend some time there yourself, just start looking around, start searching for different things, see what comes up, see what works. We’re blown away by some of the native production that comes into Instagram, and some of these views that go into the hundreds of thousands of millions very quickly. It’s absolutely amazing, and brands can be a part of it as long as they welcome that sort of influencer and host into their world and don’t try to use too much of the old school metrics to say, well, this is what I used to get, how do I get it here? Just go into it with an open-ended conversation, this is what I’m looking to accomplish, I need to sell more of this, I need to launch this brand, I need to do this, and then work together to craft that into the right medium with the right people.

MOBILE GROWTH: I think that’s common sense: instead of spending, say, $50,000 with one influencer, if you can spend $5,000 with ten, you can have more specific audience reach and you’d have more channels to see which one works better, or which few.

PETER SZABO: I think it depends on your staff, and if you can onboard ten of them, absolutely, I think that’s great and we’re big fans of–

MOBILE GROWTH: It’s just a number.

PETER SZABO: Yeah, we’re big fans of test-to-learns here at Mammoth. Our parent company Science has built their business on that in the past four years, and so of those ten, as things typically work, three will be amazing, three just won’t work for whatever reason, and the others will kind of be middle of the road. But then you can go back to those three that really worked, and really fine-tune relationships with them, and if you’re able to do that, especially cost-effective wise, it’s amazing when you go to some of these influencers and just reach out and say, ‘hey, you want to do some stuff with us?’ They’re very much open to it, because they don’t make a lot of money in this right now. But if you offer them the right revenue in the right way, with again a brand that fits for them, there’s some great things that you can do.

MOBILE GROWTH: All right! Well that was very informative, thank you so much for taking the time to talk!

PETER SZABO: Thank you for having me!