At MGS 22 Las Vegas we were excited to honor some of mobile’s most important women. Catherine Connelly won Mobile Growth Leader of the Year for 2021 (as we finally got to honor last year’s winners in person). As a co-founder of MeetGroup, Catherine has had a long career in mobile, and has weathered many changes in the mobile industry which changes rapidly, to say the least. We could not be more thrilled to see her honored as one of the top Women in Mobile! Learn more about Catherine, her career, and her predictions for what’s to come in mobile growth in this Q&A.
Q: Tell us a little about your first job in the mobile industry. How has the industry evolved since then?
A: I co-founded what is now The Meet Group in 2005. It began as myYearbook, a website for meeting new friends. In the 17 (wow!) years since the industry has changed enormously. We first launched our MeetMe mobile apps in 2010 and back then there was hardly any focus on mobile monetization at all. As a company with a growing mobile product, we knew monetization would come – and it did! Now, The Meet Group’s apps (MeetMe, Skout, Tagged, and GROWLr) earn most of their revenue from in-app purchasing through our very popular live streaming products. We also power live streaming and creator economy solutions for 7 of the top 50 social apps in the world.
On the marketing front, a lot has changed in the industry as it relates to user targeting, ad tech, and privacy changes. We have always been focused on LTV (Lifetime Value) and ROI (Return on Investment) and now an increasing number of partners are able to optimize well for downstream events beyond installs and registrations.
Q: What has been your biggest professional challenge?
A: One of the larger challenges early on was rebranding myYearbook to be MeetMe. We had been myYearbook for 7 years and our members loved the name, but we knew that we would need a name we could grow with that better described what we do. I tested the name and collected feedback through testing with paid ads, internal and external surveys, and working with our team to land on MeetMe. We had a very careful strategy to introduce the name through a fun contest, collect and use member feedback, and change the name with minimal disruption at the time of the name change so that we could message “nothing changes but the name.” The rebrand went well and positioned us better with prospective new members. It was a big project at the time and challenging, but also, being the founder it was a very clear mark into a new era of the company.
Q: A lot has changed in mobile over the last couple of years. What has surprised you most?
A: For many years, people’s lives had been getting increasingly mobile but the global pandemic accelerated that shift. Our live streaming business, which we had begun working on in 2016, had been doing well, but the pandemic brought the future forward in terms of people’s comfort with the technology. As people spent time on Zoom, it became acceptable (and safer) to expect a virtual date before meeting in person. No one could have expected a pandemic to rock our entire lives, but it’s inspiring how such an awful, common stressor has also built such strong communities, relationships, and friendships on mobile.
Q: What advice would you give to someone just getting into the mobile industry?
A: Never stop learning. The space is constantly evolving and to stay ahead you must be hungry to learn more and follow the trends. A trend in one area of mobile, such as gaming, will also be of
relevance in others like social, fintech, etc., and so it is best to stay apprised of the industry as a whole to be flexible and ready for change.
Q: Tell us your prediction for how mobile will continue to morph in the coming years.
A: Privacy will continue to be a focus in the coming years on both platforms. Additionally, as our lives become increasingly digital, Trust & Safety responsibilities within organizations will become less siloed and more fully integrated. We pledged to follow Oasis Consortium’s User Safety Standards, which are a first of their kind blueprint to creating a better and safer internet for all.