Expert tips by App Growth Advisory Board:
Thank you Peter for taking the time out to interview with us.
Please let us know more about you. How did you first enter the App Business and what do you do?
I am a growth marketer with a forte in social media advertising and creative strategy. To this date, I have managed around $30MM of ad budgets efficiently through multiple digital marketing channels for various mobile apps, e-commerce, and local businesses. My first encounter with the app business was in my second semester of junior year in college, where my friends and I created a crowd-sourced calendar app with the initiative to help fellow students to keep track of their deadlines and mid-term schedules. Since then, I’ve been specializing in digital marketing and user acquisition for various app companies as I saw this field as a golden opportunity where I can tie in analytics with deep intuition from my international background.
In your opinion what are some of the top trends related to mobile app growth?
I see many apps these days adapting the freemium service model. Users install the app for free and are provided with basic features of the app. The users who find value and use for the product, can then pay the premium for more product features. As it is a free app, there is low intent to try and use the app. For users who get hooked on the product’s service and find the need, it eventually becomes a part of their lives and a necessity. For users that have not yet converted, they can be retargeted for discounts. Since the free users have already tried the app before, this is a much more seamless model for converting low-intent users to become high-intent in-app purchasers.
New App developers seem to all want to focus on organic, but that seems to be hard to hack with low budgets unless super creative viral tactics or products. What is your philosophy here?
Viral strategies and tactics may be great ways to save money, but I believe that creating a growth loop is more sustainable for long-term growth. It is critical to configure “virality” into growth loops where users receive value and can create value themselves. It is a holistic approach to growth, as the product, acquisition, and monetization have to work together to form a system where each cohort of users acquires leads to another cohort of users. Understanding how to adapt this growth loop will pay out in the long run, as this system will create a compound effect versus viral strategies which focus on short-term growth.
Looking at App lifecycles, at what stage do you suggest the growth teams take steps back and hyper-optimize everything or send the product back to the lab before the next push?
I’ve come across the problem with “growing too fast” multiple times. It can be quite tempting to scale up budgets when we see our target cost per installs being hit. Users that are acquired earlier in the adoption curve are likely to be cheaper than the ones acquired throughout the curve. And because of the natural drop in retention, it is crucial to have product and monetization tightened before we make any quick judgment on scaling paid campaigns because the early adaptors are likely to be high LTV users.
What KPI do you look for to determine if an App is healthy?
I see retention as the main KPI to determine an app’s health. Especially D1 retention, because churn is inevitable and we want to be at a high D1 retention percentage as it impacts the overall retention curve. I would say retention has to be at a healthy level before any paid growth is initiated. If users are not coming back to the app, that user is a dead user. It will cost more to resurrect that same user since we are starting from the negatives as we have already paid to acquire them.
If you were to give 2-3 final tips to Growing Apps, what would those be?
Creatives, creatives, creatives. As many paid social channels move into automating the user buying process, creatives has become a key driver in reducing cost and delivering performance. There are an art and science to creatives and to be a successful growth marketer, it is crucial to know and understand how to tie the two together. It revolves around interpreting creative data, analyzing, and strategizing for further creative iterations and optimizations.
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