Please tell us more about yourself, what you do, and how long have you been in the app business?
I currently head the user acquisition team at Lingokids, a mobile app that teaches English to 2-8 years old children in a fun, game-like way. I work in digital/performance marketing since early 2013 and have been focusing solely on mobile apps since early 2015.
Looking at app life-cycles, at what stage do you suggest the growth teams to take steps back and hyper-optimize everything or send the product back to the lab before the next push?
I believe this is an ongoing cycle that is very much organic. For example, there are no specific points in time, whether we are speaking about the actual time or hitting some benchmarks, where the teams need to gather together and hit a reset button. For constant innovation, there needs to be a loop of information and feedback exchanged between the teams and the product needs. Today, there are new apps appearing every day. If you launch an app, you may be the market leader today; however, without updates, you may find yourself to be obsolete the next month. Your Competitors may implement the tweaks you were not able to update. The app world is extremely competitive and fast-paced. Both product and marketing need to be under constant “hyper-optimization” and in conversation to exchange vital insights. In digital business, everything is interconnected. Marketing gets valuable user behaviour information from the product that they can apply for better targeting and, vice versa, the product can estimate feature impact and adaptation by marketing prototypes, etc.
What are 2 or 3 tips you would give to growing apps?
Do not fixate on the idea of what or how your app should be; instead, focus on what the market responds to and how it affects your product and marketing. Continuously question yourself, your team, and your users (i.e. survey your users). Keep innovating and adapt to where the largest pain point/demand lies for your niche. Additionally, test every detail and continue to test as you grow. In an acquisition, you will often find 1-2 killer concepts that effectively spend 90% of your budget. If you wait on looking for new angles until your top performers start running out of their juice, you’re too late. Test new concepts regularly (with different approaches) and keep iterating on the ones that show good results. Last but not least, my favourite, data, data, data! It is easy to get lost in opinions and assumptions. While you are conducting your tests, make sure you document all of the relevant data. It is crucial to establish your own internal benchmarks in addition to the industry’s benchmark. It is equally easy to get lost in all the “big data” we are surrounded by today. Therefore, pick your top 5 KPIs that is crucial in determining whether your experiment has been a failure or success. Most importantly, have fun while at it!
What KPI do you look for when determining if an app is healthy?
This is always a mix of different variables, depending on how well established the app is. For example, how long has the app been around? Generally I am on the lookout for the following: – Organic vs paid ratio (and how it developed over time) – Growth curve – Retention/churn (the critical points are Day 1, Day 7 and Day 30) – Conversion rates throughout funnel – Ratings & reviews – ROI (what’s the break-even point and how has this developed over time thus far)
What do you think are some top trends in mobile app growth?
The mobile space is moving very fast and always has lots going on. Personally, I see that ASO is becoming an increasingly important topic. This is driven both by continuous algorithm changes from the App Store and the ever increasing importance of organic growth. UA professionals are now more than ever aware of the fact that focusing solely on paid performance will not provide sustainable future growth. Other than that, the biggest topics in the industry are tackling attribution (especially when it comes to omni-channel and also multi-device), data measurement (what KPIs matter), automation (reporting & channel optimization, allowing the humans to focus more on the strategical level) and personalization (clustering your customer base).
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