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💎 Growth Gems #83 - PR and Monetization
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This week I’m sharing gems on:
These insights come from Ekaterina Gamsriegler, Jakub Remiar, Felix Braberg, David Barnard, Melissa Cash, and Félix Boudreau.
🥇 TOP GEM OF THE WEEK
Monetization: paywall, localizing, combatting churn
I went through Mimo’s first-time user experience a while ago and thought it was well done.
So I was excited to see that Shamanth Rao (Co-founder at RocketShip HQ) invited Ekaterina Gamsriegler (Head of Growth and Marketing at Mimo) to discuss How to use monetization experiments to drive dramatic LTV improvements for subscription apps.
The conversation did not disappoint!
💎 Build a spreadsheet with your revenue-related metrics: top-of-funnel metrics, trial opt-in rates, average revenue per subscription, LTV, and payback periods of different subscription durations. Have these metrics as variables and linked to each other. Try changing values to understand where you should focus and the kind of impact you can make.
⛏️ Going Deeper: I reached out to Ekaterina to learn more about the spreadsheet she uses, and she was kind enough to share her template.
💎 For personal development apps, user motivation is the highest at the beginning of the journey and gradually decreases. So a big lever to improve LTV is to increase the trial opt-in rate to help users commit early on and at full price rather than rely too much on post-paywall discounts.
💎 The “Blinkist paywall” (free trial timeline and notification to the user before the trial expired) increased the trial opt-in rate by 100%. It also decreased the cancellation rate within the first 24 hours by 25%.
🤔 My 2 cents: I’m almost tired of hearing about it, but what I find more interesting is how Blinkist got to the realization that they needed to change something: an email survey. I’ve also seen some apps implement a post-paywall survey, which is pretty brilliant (it doesn’t have to be on 100% of your traffic).
💎 Use a cancellation survey to uncover the main reasons people cancel. Example of cancellation reasons for Mimo: price and not finding the pro features valuable enough (there is a lot of free content available for free).
💎 There are multiple things you should display during the paywall experience: a list of features, an explanation of how the free trial works, social proof, a comparison of basic vs. pro plan, etc. This can be done through a long scrollable screen or a multi-screen paywall. At Mimo, the multi-screen option led to a 60% increase in the trial opt-in rate.
🤔 My 2 cents: it’s good to mention the features but lead with the benefits/outcome.
💎 Differentiate the price based on the user segment to monetize a segment with a low conversion rate or a high trial cancellation rate. Example: Mimo offers a 50% discount to some user segments that cancel their trial.
💎 Combat churn by doing “value nurturing”: constantly remind users of the content you keep adding to the app. You can communicate this via in-app messages, push notifications, in-app events, etc.
💎 Localizing your app for a highly-requested language can lead to better engagement and retention, which leads to higher retention and, therefore, better virality and monetization. At Mimo, this localization drove retention improvements from 25% to 100%, which helped with their referral loop and led to a +30-50% increase in trial opt-in and purchase rates.
💎 To choose which language to start localizing in, look at quantitative and qualitative data because localization's benefits are not necessarily obvious, like better app ratings and feature opportunities. Example: French and German users were very vocal about getting the app in their language and were giving low app ratings, yet their app engagement and conversion were in line with the English-speaking users.
💎 For education/learning apps, help users share their progress and success. Monitor your brand searches after implementation to try and assess the impact. Example: Mimo uses many gamification techniques so learners build a habit, and also lets them share their progress and success on social media (buttons on important learning moments).
Ad Monetization (for apps): ad mediation, formats
The challenge with subscriptions regarding monetization is: high floor, low ceiling.
Not everybody is willing to pay. So how do you lower the floor?
Ad monetization for subscription apps is a hot topic, yet only a few people share insights about it. The gang from the two & a half gamers show decided to tackle this in Deconstruction of App businesses from UA, GD & Admon perspective.
💎 Subscription apps will need to switch a little bit more into what Duolingo is doing with ads because, with just subscriptions, you’re still not monetizing around 90% of your users.
💎 If you’re using GAM (Google Ad Manager) for your mediation, you’re missing out on gaming demand, which means lower eCPMs (lower than AdMob). To open up to the gaming inventory and get +10% to 20% higher eCPMs, start with AppLovin, Unity, ironSource, and Facebook:
On Google Ad Manager, via SDK, add a yield group.
If you have a big app, you can also set up a buyer network via DSP and connect to a programmatic deal to get ads through Google Ad Manager mediation, which will have a slightly higher cost
💎 Experiment with both interstitials and banners in your app. Start running A/B tests showing ads a day or two after peak subscription time (e.g., Day 3, Day 5) to see how it affects retention.
🤔 My 2 cents: this approach seems sound, as you don’t get in the way of users subscribing.
💎 For banner ads in your app, use a refresh rate of 15 seconds. It’s pretty “aggressive”, but it’s good to get the revenue app and is pretty average for gaming. Adjust the banner refresh rate based on how it impacts retention.
💎 There are two ways to go about balancing ad monetization and retention for interstitial ads:
You set an eCPM floor, so you only show an ad if you get a minimum eCPM.
If you have multiple ad-trigger points in your app, you can also cap the number of ads you show to users to be below a certain imp/DAU so that you can keep eCPM higher since ad networks pay less for impressions when they've already shown that user impressions during the same session.
⛏️ Going Deeper: the downside, in both cases, might be lower fill rates. Felix shared he prefers the first option because it lets the “open market” decide the value of an impression.
💎 To implement rewarded ads in a subscription app, you have to give up something that’s behind the paywall or unlock a new feature. Remember that rewarded ads are widely common in gaming, so users have seen them before.
💎 Facebook makes it hard to show rewarded ads from their inventory in an app. You have to meet several criteria to be compliant. Send an internal email through the general contact link, send pictures of your placements, etc. The best way is to have a Facebook rep.
Organic acquisition: long-term vision, PR
In this Why More Apps Need To Be More Than Just Apps episode of the Sub Club podcast, Melissa Cash (Co-founder & CEO at Pok Pok) and Félix Boudreau (Head of Growth at Pok Pok) share insights on several topics.
To me, the most relevant were the ones on building for the long term and PR.
💎 Think beyond being just an app: think about what’s possible with physical products or other experiences.
⛏️ Going Deeper: Melissa (maybe due to her Disney+ experience) talked about the fact being a digital-first brand doesn’t mean you can’t think about a future where you branch out to other experiences to increase LTV.
💎 Pok Pok has a part of the company that focuses on long-term things: PR, organic marketing, etc. They’re trying to be as multidimensional as possible.
💎 Share your app with people like journalists as early as possible, and even ask them for feedback. It will help make them feel like they’re part of the journey and amplify it when the time comes.
💎 People not in the app business have no idea who makes apps. You have to make people care about who you are and why you’re building this. Lift the curtain. Example for Pok Pok: they’re also parents. This is especially true for Millenials and Gen-Z.
⛏️ Going Deeper: they recommend following journalists on Twitter who are relevant to your business, as several ask for “leads” on things they’re writing. Before pitching, try to understand what they write about and who they are: if they have kids, dogs, etc. Pay attention; they’re human too.
💎 Beautifully crafted in-app events tied to updates that make sense for your app increase your chances of being featured by Apple.
💎 Be extremely critical of what you’re pitching to journalists. Make sure it’s different from what others might be pitching.
And before I leave, here is a quote on the impact of creatives on the entire customer journey:
“The message that a creative broadcasts will determine the final behavior of users in your product” - Anton Kuzmin (User Acquisition Group Head at AdQuantum)
See you next time. Stay savvy!
How to use monetization experiments to drive dramatic LTV improvements for subscription apps on the Mobile User Acquisition Show
Deconstruction of App businesses from UA, GD & Admon perspective on the two & a half gamers show (session #46)
Why More Apps Need To Be More Than Just Apps on the Sub Club podcast