On Mobile: Philippe Meriaux, COO, happn (Interview)

Continuing Swrve’s On Mobile series, we spoke to Philippe Meriaux, COO of happn, one of the world’s leading dating apps.

What does a mobile moment mean to you?

Philippe Meriaux: It's that moment when you are doing something with your mobile that you wouldn't be able to do any other way.

What is your big prediction for this year on mobile?

PM: What I'd like to see happen is mobile marketing becoming a little bit more conscious/savvy. We've never had as much data as we do now. In the mobile world there is much more data available than there ever was in the web time, and we are doing less with it. We are crunching it, we are doing a lot of stuff with it, but I think we could be drawing more and better conclusions from it. Let me give you one basic example: the mobile world is fighting about attribution, the window of attribution and its size, and of course powerful marketing networks want to make it as long as possible...anyway. Four years ago in the web industry we were talking about how attribution is dead and it's all about contribution. We were doing this under the influence of Google, even though Adwords was the last click in only 20-40% of orders generated in ecommerce, but we know that it was involved in 90% of buying processes from the first research to the moment you purchase something online. So many specialists were pushing towards this idea of contribution and I think it is progress. Unfortunately mobile is way behind. In a way I see it as a jungle. And I believe it has to make progress, to be clearer, to be more honest.

How do you see mobile overcoming that?

PM: The technology is available. I think it's just a matter of unlocking this industry and having more professionals on the side that pays - people with more experience. I mean, have you ever had a CV that says it's from somebody with 12 years experience in mobile? We're all growing in experience in this industry, and progress is made because the ones who pay become more conscious of the stakes and their influence on the way it works. And as the ones who pay get more experience they're going to get more serious and have more requirements and we're going to move towards something more squared, in a way. I think the lack of experience is a worry, but it’s also an opportunity. If you think you are the smartest person in the room that should totally be an opportunity for you.

What does success on mobile look like to you?

PM: In general...it looks like a big image on a screen that flashes, and that tells you you've succeeded! Just like we do when you have a crush on happn, we take the whole screen and tell you that you had a crush. Like when you buy something on the Amazon app, the screen becomes this green screen that says you've completed your purchase and it has been validated.

So that’s success for a user; how about for your business?

PM: Well, we are continuously trying to improve it. But it’s not just us. Every app has a purpose, and several of them are lucky enough to have 90% of their users chasing the same goal. If a user is on happn, he/she wishes to meet new people and date; if he/she is on Citymapper, he/she is going somewhere. So you are analysing user behaviour, you are building your product, you are creating CRM campaigns to improve your engagement. And if you have to change your product because the world has changed and now users believe it sucks, well do it! happn has 25 million users, and we spend a lot of time looking into what they do with the product (nothing too personal!). At some point it's about believing that they are right. So if you have a feature that is used by 2% of your users, you should drop it. The screen is not that big and the pixel is not cheap. If something doesn't make sense to your users, then it doesn't make sense at all. So yes, it's about using data. In this world it is your main insight into your users.

 

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