Sometimes, even if the product is right, it will not reach the customer if the startup or the team never focusses on distribution
5 May, 2017E27.CO
The first challenge any app product manager would face after product launch is getting customers. 90 per cent of any app downloads comes from App Store search. That was enough revelation for me.
Product managers, CEOs, and COOs of a startup or any company are in so much love with their product or the idea that they fail to see what’s the concern is or where the problem is. They think magically product will take off, will go viral and will be downloaded by hundreds of customers, if not millions. This doesn’t work — sometimes what we think doesn’t sell the product, but it is usually what we are not thinking of that does.
Sometimes product is right, but doesn’t reach the customer, since the startup or the team never focusses on distribution. But once you get your product all right, the product manager will have to work on distribution. And it is not just product manager but everyone in the company.
As a rule, when you develop an app, focus 50 per cent on product and 50 per cent on distribution. 90 per cent of apps fail not because of the product, but for the lack of distribution.
When we started with our apps on the Play Store, we knew we had to focus on getting the product right and focus on distribution at the same time. Since 90 per cent of any app downloads comes from app store search, I wasn’t worried too much about the app downloads. The experiments had to happen on the Play Store or the App Store only. I knew ASO — or app store optimisation — is by far the most important thing I will do for the app. This is true for anyone.
ASO happens with extensive experimentation. Any growth is the result of multiple experiments which should improve your results by 10, 20, or 30 per cent, and so forth. Not every experiment will succeed, and you will have multiple failures — but don’t stop experimenting. At one time for us, a small change spelt a disaster, and we had to roll back the change. It also took us some time to recover, but we didn’t stop experimentation. The idea is to grow a little more than the last time. Keep improving and never stop.
The next most important thing is the speed of execution. In a few days, you will get to know how your consumers are behaving. Thus, how fast you bring the change in ASO is key to your success. We usually relied on five days of results. If something worked in five days we implemented it blindly.
At times, this is not a great method to rely on, and one should wait for few more days. However, for us in numerous experiments, we realised that a 5-day behaviour is a good window to judge how the customer is going to take the experiment, and the results after the 5 day period more or less remained the same.
When focussing on the growth of app, list the persona of your target customer. Know what the customer is looking for and what activities they will do to search the app. List the right keywords for the app. Never — and never — generalise your app for everyone. Not everyone is going to download your app. Not everyone who downloads is going to use the app. No point selling to everyone; thus, always stick to your target segment. The app will grow faster.
Since we managed hosts of apps on the App Store, we had the opportunity to experiment more and target various consumers. We grew from 2,000 to 10,000 downloads per day day in 8 months. Thereafter we kept it stable with numbers between 10K per day to 16K per day. The downloads in the first year reach 2.5 million. And in the second year, it kept the high momentum.
Keep a note that ASO includes screenshots or your app, and if you don’t excite here, you might not entice the customer enough to download the app. You cannot have a great screen shot unless you have a great design. The design is most important factor for your app retention but it is also a key factor in app downloads. The innovative design of your app will bring a good number of wanderers and also target users just by looking at screenshots.
Growth for App may include a host of other factors. However, All the other factors may cost your marketing dollar and may not bring the best results. ASO will not ask for investments in terms of money, but it will bring the most of the returns for the company.