Idea• No magic bullets here• Get started and iterate – You will start with A and end-up with B (always!)• Browse top lists; look for apps after the top 25 – Why aren’t they in the top 25? – Can you make them better?• Less competitive categories• Lifestyle or venture-backed business• Consumer vs Enterprise – Consumer GTM (go to market) is via the App Store but enterprise is now following the same suit (bottoms-up sales) – B2B (business to business) custom apps is a big business but not usually organic• Mobile first or is mobile an extension – If the latter, create the audience at the web and provide mobile to increase stickiness – Some use mobile the other way; mobile as their customer acquisition channel but primary use is at the Web (eg Expensify)• Ultimate goal is often high DAU (daily active use) which translates into high revenue ($$$)
Product• Dave McClure’s AARRR as a guideline – Acquisition – Activation – Retention – Referral – Revenue
Product - Acquisition• App store will represent the majority of your downloads – Users may discover your app via the website or PR, but most will then open the App Store, search for your product and download – Direct search will represent 50%+ of your product (and thus why PR is important)• SEO/SEM is now a science; ASO (App Store Optimization) – A/B testing of keywords, icons, app title – Descriptions and even sample images now have a format• Different categories have different models of use – Games tend to have high acquisition but high bounce / drop-off and lower MAUs (monthly active users) but high revenue – Business and Productivity categories (to contrast) have lower acquisition but higher DAU• Some apps can benefit from paid acquisition especially if you can calculate the LTV (lifetime value) of your user – Unfortunately, it is still difficult to track ads to actual app usage since cookies can’t carry into apps• Product UX is key – High delight apps will have higher retention early-on – Path users like the animation but don’t know what the app is for?
Product - Activation• Activation is the on-boarding experiencing (the first time use)• Mobile users are fickle; the killer app is the App Store itself (download, use and disappear)• The activation experience needs to be finely tuned – A/B tested to the extreme, from button placement, language and more – Count clicks – Be transparent with the data you are collecting• Social login (eg login via Facebook) vs registration vs no registration – Each have pros/cons – Logging-in via Twitter/Facebook etc is no magic bullet for virality
Product - Retention• Retention is always hard (mobile or not)• If not gaming, are you a replacement app or a companion app (useful or fun?) – Replacement apps are hard but can have high reward – Companion apps are new use cases or more vertical• Combination of gaming-like mechanics, psychology, clever CRM, social mechanics and other to keep retention high – Game mechanics such as vanity, gamification of stats, social obligation and other can get a user hooked – CRM works well in-app; create a communication channel to your user like Twitter is to your audience• Can your app benefit with additional platforms (web or other devices); benefits across platforms and a universal ID?• Use push notifications to alert the user but don’t get too noisy (sensitivity to noise has skyrocketed)• Updates is a great way to get the user re-engaged – Analysis around app updates; every 18 days?
Product - Referral• How do you achieve unfair customer acquisition?• Can you make your app viral? – Virality = frequency X reach X yield (Sean Parker’s virality formula) • Frequency = How often does the user perform a viral action • Reach = How many people does that action reach • Yield = What % of the reach converts to a new user• Can you make your app social? – Does it drive vanity? – What is the benefit if my friends use this app?• Paid acquisition only makes sense if you have a good understanding of your user’s LTV• Cross-promotion is very effective and more valuable then even advertising revenue – Heavily used in gaming (critical mass moved among games)• WOM (Word of Mouth) can work but not often – An experience that hasn’t been seen (usually from very delightful UI) – Incredibly useful – Games your buddies play
Product - Revenue• 5 major business models in the App Store – Free (just for fun or I don’t care about revenue) – Paid (usually a life-style business since 1-time paid plateaus in the few M / year range (max) – Advertising (definitely a life-style business; ad revenue is not substantial to the individual publisher unless you have 10s if not 100s of apps or are in search) – In-app purchase (the model of choice within gaming; effective but requires a lot of tuning) – Subscription (often requires a multi-platform strategy since the sub is converted at the desktop b/c of the mobile App Store tax; usually self-selects certain categories like Productivity, Health or Business)• What do you want to be and what are your goals?
Product Defensibility (Esp. Mobile First)• Software mobile apps have become too easy to develop• Very successful apps often have 10s of copycats in a matter of weeks (2 kids in a garage)• Ways to increase defensibility – Use custom UI/controls (as opposed to native controls/widgets) although this will eventually also be copied (it will take more time) – Collect user data and create benefits in the app with user data (is your app learning or personalized to the user) – Create app benefits or capabilities with scale where being first- to-market helps – Unfair partnerships – Unfair go to market (offline created brand etc)
Platform• iOS or Android is the first debate• No right answer; depends on your goals• iOS makes more money• Android has more users and it’s growing even faster• Android easier to develop on early-on; harder to develop on later (b/c of emerging fragmentation)• Blackberry or WinPhone7
Tools• User analytics (Flurry, Google etc) – Great for seeing what activities in your app drive usage to A/B test – Can perform basic cohort analysis and iterate• Bug tracking (Crittercism, Crashlytics etc) – Locating bugs can be tiring; these tools can help with stack traces and more• Customer service (Zendesk etc) – Good comments go to the App Store and bad comments go to you – Channel feedback and respond to users directly
Partnerships• Mobile ecosystem is wide and deep• Handset manufacturers (OEMs), operators, 3rd party app stores, chipset providers and many others• Unfair go-to-market channels based on your app category – Enterprise apps can leverage MDM (mobile device management) providers to penetrate large enterprise – Game apps do well in 3rd party app stores as well as operator app stores (because they are revenue generating and operators want revenue) – Replacement apps can often be pre-loaded with work to the OEMs (eg Samsung wants an alternate mail app)
Summary• Lots of stuff to think about• Many will be answered as you go along• Get started and start iterating; you will learn along the way and you will zig-zag before figuring it outRaj SinghCEO @ Tempo AIraj@tempo.ai@mobileraj