1. Mobile First
As a brand you want to make sure that your customer recognises your brand consistently cross-platform. You’ve probably heard about the expression mobile first? In short it’s to start designing for the smallest screen, strip out the unnecessary and go bigger to the web.
It’s a lot more difficult to go from big to small. If you have ever been involved in scaling a large website down for the mobile screen you would have quickly realised how difficult this really is.
Taking cues from the start up movement especially with the importance of building Minimal Viable Products (small low tech-tests) to see if there’s adoption of the initial product or feature set. If you measure and see improvement you know there’s something in it. Do this in small short cycles – build, measure, learn, build, measure, learn… this of course is absolutely key.
Acquisition = Getting educated and well targeted installs for a low price.
We track if they stick around for longer using cohort analysis and number of sign-ups putting trackers in the beginning of the app experience)
Activation = the % of happy first time users.
We track this by tracking the ratio of people coming into the app for the first time vs. how many open up an event overview in that session.
Referal = number of friends referred in average per user (K-factor)
We track this by taking out all our campaign related installs and estimated organic growth from those in an excel sheet and calculate the trend. >1:1 = exponential growth.
Retention = the % of people coming back after 7 days
We track this using cohort analysis meaning what it says on the tin.
Revenue = Average revenue per users (Lifetime value)
These 5 KPIs could potentially be tracked for optimizing a physical store, just as well as an e-commerce site or m-commerce app.
2. M-commerce is growing up
Which means it’s getting extremely harder and harder to raise funding for a mobile app. You need to have at least a steady revenue of €50.000 / month, 100.000 installs or around 40-50% of your users that are coming back on a regular basis to be appealing for a series A round.
We are betting that the mobile infrastructure (e.g Visa, PayPal and Mastercards payment APIs) finally will enable us to create an amazing check-out flow without Apple or Google taking 30% of our cut. The whole landscape is forming around mobile with everything as great analytics products, to marketing platforms and better production and management tools that are making the business around mobile easier. We’re in a maturing process and it can only get better.
3. Bring the AHA-Moment early
All products and services have an AHA-moment. It’s where the user goes – AHA! that’s what it’s for. Remember that potential investors, employees & journalists are just like you and me – Human. Make them understand it quickly – and don’t lead them into a new funnel telling them what it is! Give them your best experience with a smile on your face. Just as you would do in a store.
4. Get your app discovered is hard
If you released an app 2 years ago, the buzz around it could take you to 100k downloads over night.
Today there are nearly 1m apps on App Store and Google Play respectively and unfortunately it is not as easy anymore. But there are marketing platforms especially for mobile where you can go with a budget and get your downloads. However bidding against heavy m-commerce and games with high ARPUs (average revenue per user) can be costly, is different with computer games, where you can afford to buy the games and objects for your games online, and there are even guides for games as csgo so you can see this is how you rank in csgo. This has a backside to it. We will see less and less nice utility apps that are well designed and makes your life easier, because if an app is not making that much revenue – it will never be able to outspend the sharks, like apps or sites for online bets with slotocash available all the time. Apple is trying to make sure indie platforms (such as Vamos) can push trough the clutter with their algoritms, unfortunately they are not even there yet serving the top layer of premium apps on the market. We have to monetize our service or get stuck in no-man’s land – meaning linear growth around 40-50 downloads / day. This is the message we want all mobile developers to think about: Monetisation from day one! And iAds are not a monetisation strategy.
5. Beta test until it’s perfect
For us it all started with 3 people who had an idea and worked evenings and weekends. We organised a hackathon together with 30 friends and met with Jens – our CTO. After the event we put the app on all the phones of the people participating using Testflight. This is a great tool since it allows you to speed up development and the release cycles. We had around 30 iterations over 5 months of the app before we released in the app store. During that time we travelled around in Europe and met up large groups of friends to get their inputs and to get the ball rolling. When we had around 1000 people on the waiting list to get access to the beta it was time for us to release. It is like getting a pan of water to start boiling. When you reach 99 degrees, then you release with full force! However in hind site, we could have waited a little bit more, since getting someone to invest in your app is important. Nothing ruins the story for an investor like bad numbers. Getting the first investment will take you to your first 100k downloads if you spend it on performance based marketing (where you aim to get highly educated users for a low CPI). So make sure to get your marketing mix right. Forget about print and TV – non mobile platforms are only good for awareness and hype, you won’t get any downloads from it.