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💎 Growth Gems #89 - Acquisition, Product Growth, and Retention
This is a free newsletter where I share the key insights from the best webinars, podcasts, panels, and talks on growth. Try it below👇
Before we get started, I have a treat for you: a PDF with my favorite gems on Google UAC, that I just posted on LinkedIn. You can access it directly below, and if you find it valuable, please like/comment/share 🙏
Now onto this week’s gems:
These insights come from Lea Samrani, Moshe Demri, Tanya Saboo, Nathan Hudson, and Oliver Lemarié.
🥇 TOP GEM OF THE WEEK
Retention: predicting churn, customer insights, reactivation
“Fixing the leaky bucket” is a never-ending task for all subscription apps.
It’s hard to impact retention, and it’s even hard to measure the impact of retention efforts. And I’m always looking for new perspectives.
At the last App Promotion Summit London, Hanna Parvaz (Founder at Apperture) led the panel Supercharging your App Engagement and Retention with Lea Samrani (Product and Growth Consultant), Tanya Saboo (Global Marketing at Laundryheap), and Moshe Demri (EMEA VP Revenue & General Manager at Optimove).
💎 Apps built to build a habit usually have long subscription periods (e.g., yearly). On those products, if you wait for your users to churn (i.e., they stop using the product), it’s too late.
💎 If you offer long-term subscriptions, try to predict churn early. Focus on shortening the feedback loop by leveraging users’ behavior insights. Identify the specific periods (e.g., within the first five days of subscription) where users stop using the app so that you can hypothesize, test, and assess results.
💎 Identifying when users stop using the app after subscribing also allows you to contact users for customer interviews.
💎 Subscribers of an app are very different. The definition of active vs. churned users is often “30 days of inactivity”. Instead, look at the average usage frequency of each customer vs. the time it has been since they were last engaged. This gives you the churn factor ratio. If it’s < 1, you’re not in the red zone, but once it goes up, you want to apply retention tactics.
⛏️ Going Deeper: customers all have their own frequency cycle, the same way they might experience value differently and at different times.
💎 Even if you can’t send personalized notifications/emails and different messages to each user, you can integrate GPT into your system to take into account that customers are consuming different types of content. This allows you to send what looks like a personal recommendation and bring value because it’s relevant content. Example at Uptime: if a person bookmarked “Start with why” and didn’t read it, they could send a notification with a direct insight from the book. Each user also received different notifications over time. It brought value to the user, was scalable, and reduced churn.
💎 Democratize user insights. No matter who you are at the company, you need to have touchpoints with your end users and understand their pains, goals, etc.
⛏️ Going Deeper: Lea recommends making it very easy for people to provide you with insights. Don’t make it hard to contact you from within the app, and don’t have a “no-reply” email. Share customer insights across the company: it can be a Slack channel, a folder on Google Drive, etc. Finally, be proactive and train yourself on how to conduct interviews.
💎 In-person customer interviews allow for deeper conversations. You can better connect, which leads to other discussions around culture or daily habits that typically don’t come up with online customer interviews.
💎 Rather than sending long surveys, you want to try simple questions that have quick responses. This can be embedded with one-click answers in emails. Asking questions within the app is also underrated.
💎 Treating re-activated customers “as new users” works really well. People don’t necessarily remember your product, and you’re not top of mind, etc. Make sure you apply the tactics you usually use on new customers.
Product: product-market fit, minimum viable test
A few more gems from App Promotion Summit London, this time from Nathan Hudson (Founder & CEO at Perceptycs, previously SPOKE).
Nathan discusses finding product-market fit, prioritization, and Minimum Viable Tests for early-stage companies.
💎 If you’re pre-product-market-fit, you have to battle on what you’re focusing on: product engagement/retention or getting more people top of funnel. You don’t want to build a house on sand.
⛏️ Going Deeper: Eric Seufert wrote a great article on this dilemma called The Growth Trap, which brings a more nuanced perspective. Excerpt below:
💎 You need to obsess over the actual customer’s problem AND the customer’s possible problem(s) with your product. You need to work on your product and implement feedback while maintaining a high-level view of the key customer problem.
💎 You need brutal prioritization. As brutal as Mike. This means you might get an idea you’re very excited about but don’t have the resources for it (and therefore, you should not move forward).
💎 When prioritizing and focusing on something, commit to high-impact initiatives and do a Minimum Viable Test. You have to put your best foot forward and give it everything you have. If it fails, then you stop. Example: testing campaigns on Meta.
⛏️ Going Deeper: in Growth Gems #75, Yuriy Timen (Advisor, Ex-Growth at Grammarly) was commenting on this for acquisition and saying, “The only thing worse than a channel or tactic not working is when you did not give it a fair shot and prematurely concluded it doesn’t work”.
Product Growth & Acquisition: creatives, influencers
I’ve known Olivier Lemarie (VP Growth at PhotoRoom) for many years and always enjoy our chats.
The growth he and the PhotoRoom team have managed to achieve is impressive.
So I was excited when I saw him appearing in How to grow a subscription app business and its user base globally on Purchasely’s Subscription League podcast.
💎 Make running experiments as easy as possible for anyone at the company: the machine learning team, the developers, the brand team, etc. Everybody should be able to understand a tool like Amplitude and set up their own tests.
⛏️ Going Deeper: for this, Product Growth members at PhotoRoom are attributed a different lifecycle area: onboarding, paywall, and home tab. They also have separated markets between the US, “strategic” geos, and more.
💎 Particularly if you have a visual product (e.g., Photoroom’s “remove background” feature), build a network of content creators on TikTok and leverage their content for your ad creatives.
⛏️ Going Deeper: Photoroom now has a network of 100+ creators in various countries. It started by finding people posting with their hashtags, then they also reached out to people in particularly relevant niches (e.g., Tattoo sellers, Shopify shop owners, etc.). They are focusing on micro-influencers.
💎 Think international. As a utility app, it’s pretty easy to be available worldwide. Several apps focus on the US and iOS because it’s the most mature market, but many other huge markets are also worth looking into (Japan, Taiwan, etc.). The culture barrier is high, but most needed modifications are around the FTUE (First Time User Experience).
⛏️ Going Deeper: Olivier recommends starting by looking at your data to assess the potential of a market and optimize the parts that need to be optimized. Then revisit six months later.
In Growth Gems #83, I shared insights from Ekaterina Gamsriegler (Head of Growth at Mimo), who advises to also look at qualitative data.
Finally, this resource might be helpful: The AppsFlyer Performance Index: Country Edition. You can understand high- and low-performing markets for gaming and non-gaming categories.
💎 Within the company roadmap and strategy, give clear ownership to your team members and give them the tools to act as fast as possible. For example, at Photoroom: one person from Product Growth works directly with a developer, and they can do what they want (e.g., remove the onboarding).
And before I leave, here is a quote on the impact of creatives on the entire customer journey:
“Just because a user is inactive doesn’t mean they’re no longer interested” - Megan Patrylak (Senior Director of Sales, EMEA at OneSignal)
See you next time. Stay savvy!
PANEL: Supercharging your App Engagement and Retention at App Promotion Summit London
Achieving Product Market Fit Whilst Growing 20% MoM at App Promotion Summit London
How to grow a subscription app business and its user base globally on Purchasely’s Subscription League podcast