Software engineering notes

Mobile Growth meetup 9/21/17

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Branch runs a nice mobile growth meetup I’ve attended a couple times. The one last night was in the Microsoft office (formerly Yammer) in the Twitter building.

Credit to Prakhar for asking questions about these notes that led to more clarifying detail.

Notes

Intro

What’s worked?

  • Using a wait-list to alleviate cold start; complete profile to advance in list
  • Providing VIPs with promo urls that point at their profile. This drives downloads and enables warm signup
  • Targeting individuals for trip-appropriate travel ads based on their check-out dates
  • Providing teen demographic with feedback features, eg "likes", increased retention by 5%

How to get users?

  • Maximize free, organic stuff first, as opposed to buying keywords, then layer "marketing mix" (paid marketing channels) on top (to get "halo effect"), ie pr > ads
  • All news is good news in early days. Being exclusive is ok. People complaining is ok
  • Facebook ads accounted for 20% traffic
  • Have 2-3 marketing channels to account for fluctuating performance. Continuously try new channels

What didn’t work?

  • Test performance of pics on app store listing
  • Celebrities are well known, so using their pics is tempting, but usage without permission implies endorsement and they may take action

Reengagement & overlooked metric?

  • App quality [1]
  • Minimize registration requirements. How much info can you capture later? Reducing one field can have a big impact. Prioritize input hints and assistance before paid marketing
  • Try requesting push earlier; not first, but not last, eg so you can push "We didn’t mean $3.99. We meant $2.99"
  • Ask for easy things first, which will help people feel invested and more likely to grant hard things later

Metrics to obsess over?

  • Product quality
  • Predictive churn
  • Make it hard to cancel, eg at least ask why

Thoughts on iOS 11?

  • In-app purchases process is better
  • Live photos, which are easier to produce than video and more compelling than still
  • Getting featured in app store is no longer make/break for business

Cause of FB acquisition performance change?

  • This was regarding "How to get users?" answer above mentioning performance fluctuation
  • Unclear, but timing corresponded with new FB interstitial when exiting app, eg to app store

Snapchat ads?

  • To early to tell

Google’s UAC campaign?

  • One panelist didn’t use Google ads because FB CPI is lower

How to reengage users who don’t create account?

  • Low involvement indicates low intent and will be expensive to reengage
  • Request push earlier in registration
  • Collect retargeting info on app install and then use ads to drive registration completion

How to AB test frequently?

  • This was regarding Laughly’s two-week experiment cycle
  • Only test one thing at a time. Literally, only one variation in the app every two weeks (to reduce noise) [2]

Top recommendation?

  • Experiment & fail fast
  • Prioritize feature requests from users
  • Test new marketing channels
  • Acquisition & retention are the same

Footnotes

[1]: There wasn’t a specific metric mentioned. The general idea was: invest in app quality before driving traffic to app, ie if an app’s unusable, no amount of growth tuning will retain users.

[2] This was my top takeaway. Presumably this also reduces engineering complexity and improves UX consistency. The pitch was purely about logical correctness in experiment construction, but the person who asked the question mentioned their experiments take months to run, which would seem to indicate a significance (or quality) concern. I also appreciated the conceptual simplicity. I suppose a follow-on requirement is to have a smaller eng org, so folks don’t feel blocked by limited release opportunities. In my experience, we tried to scale eng by running multiple experiments simultaneously, but the tech required to support this was complex, to the point where I’m now looking back and wondering if we should have just done less 🙂

Written by Erik

September 22, 2017 at 4:22 pm

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