Leave a comment
Get the GH Bookmarklet

AMAs

I’m Stuart Hall, founder and Chief Bot @ Appbot. I'm a coder and growth hacker. I've created several apps that have reached multi million downloads including 7 Minute Workout which I created in one night as an experiment and later sold. Appbot is an online tool used by many of the worlds top app product managers and developers to track and analyse their user sentiment through app reviews. Follow me on Twitter at @stuartkhall or Appbot at @appbotx.

  • AS

    Adriaan Stellingwerff

    over 4 years ago #

    Lately a number of indie developers have written about how they feel it's getting impossible to be sustainable on the App Store as an indie. What are your views on this? How do you feel the App Store has changed and how do you think indie developers should or could adapt to that?

    • SH

      Stuart Hall

      over 4 years ago #

      Hi Adriaan,

      I think it is really tough, but all business is tough. As indie developers we need to be really careful about selecting a market with there is demand, getting a product out as fast as possible to start getting feedback from users to pivot it into something people want.

      But most of all we all need to learn how to sell. I still see so many indie devs with great products who submit apps to the store and think it should all just happen.

      The App Store has definitely become more competitive, but the number of customers also keeps growing. It's hard but we need to find our little profitable section.

      • AS

        Adriaan Stellingwerff

        over 4 years ago #

        Thanks Stuart, that makes a lot of sense.
        I think you used to be able to get away with "just building great products", but that was a special time in a new market. Now that the market is much more mature, as a developer your approach needs to mature with it.

  • DL

    Dylan La Com

    over 4 years ago #

    Awesome to have you on @stuartkhall we had a great conversation on the site recently about jumpstarting growth for a new mobile app. What's your take on this question? What would be your go-to strategy for getting download traction right off the bat?

    Thanks again!

    • SH

      Stuart Hall

      over 4 years ago #

      Thanks for reading Dylan!

      I think like most things it's never one thing but the combination of a number of things coming together at once.

      My tips are:
      - Start building an email list as soon as you can, the more people you can email at launch the better.
      - Contact Apple a few weeks before you launch telling them your app is coming, if they don't reply just keep trying.
      - Like Apple reach out to the press early and let them know the app is coming. Keep in constant contact with them, you never know which email they might read.
      - Make sure you have a clear plan on launch day and all the copy (like emails) ready to go. If you don't have a plan things will get missed as you start talking to press and handling the onslaught.
      - If you budget allows launch a Facebook app install campaign, test out many different ads.
      - If you have the right moment in your app where the user has completed something and they are on a high give them the opportunity to share, maybe when they complete a workout, finish a level or complete a set of tasks.

      Most importantly make sure you have a great story and don't try and sell you app with a list of features.

      • DL

        Dylan La Com

        over 4 years ago #

        This is great thanks @stuartkhall!

      • HW

        Hannah Wright

        over 4 years ago #

        You mention keeping journalists posted before launch. Could you tell us more about your PR strategy? Especially curious about:

        - How you determine which journalists to pitch
        - Strategies and tips for pitch emails: Do you have a specific process?

        • SH

          Stuart Hall

          over 4 years ago #

          Hi Hannah,

          - I normally try and find the journalists that have written about similar apps previously.

          - Cold pitching I find is almost impossible, unless you have raised millions of dollars. The journalists that tend to write about my apps are ones that have written previously. I've in the past managed to connect with them in some way, usually by helping them with a question on Twitter or sending some clarification on something they have written. Relationships are probably the single most important thing in getting press.

          Saying that I think your pitch needs to tell a great story on why your app is so amazing. Journalists need an angle to come up with a story, if you can give that to them they are much more likely to write about you.

          Hope that helps!

  • SH

    Stuart Hall

    over 4 years ago #

    From one 'SH' to another, what's your fav creative idea you've heard recently for mobile app user retention?!

    • SH

      Stuart Hall

      over 4 years ago #

      Hey Stuart, great name and question!

      Unfortunately this may sound a little boring, but it's really overlooked in the mobile app world. Emails lists are such a great way to keep users engaged, even after they have uninstalled our apps. We all use this to great effect on our websites and blogs, but for some reason people really overlook it in mobile apps, but it can still be really effective.

  • SE

    Sean Ellis

    over 4 years ago #

    How much time have you spent optimizing app onboarding? Are there any tools that are particularly important for this?

    • SH

      Stuart Hall

      over 4 years ago #

      Hi Sean!

      App onboarding is extremely important. The App Store is so competitive that if you have managed to get a user to download an app you need to treat them like royalty once they are in your app.

      Tools such as TestFlight, Twitter's Fabric and usertesting.com are amazing tools to get your app into hands of users before you release your app.

      TestFlight and Twitter's Fabric allow you to distribute your app to beta users, while usertesting.com allows you to look over a testers shoulder as they see your app for the first time.

      • SE

        Sean Ellis

        over 4 years ago #

        Thanks Stuart! Another question.... Outside of ASO, what tactic do you think is most commonly effective for new customer acquisition for mobile apps? Would it be something like built in sharing (invite a friend) functionality or something else like Facebook or Google?

        • SH

          Stuart Hall

          over 4 years ago #

          I believe it's definitely network effects, I actually blogged about this yesterday http://blog.appbot.co/building-sustained-app-downloads/

          To get people to want to show your app to their friends it needs a wow moment, think the amazing animations in Clear, the beautiful design of Flipboard or the convenience of Sunrise.

          By using a lot of apps you start understanding what these moments are. I also like to ask people which apps do you show to your friends and why?

          If you have the right moment in your app where the user has completed something and they are on a high give them the opportunity to share, maybe when they complete a workout, finish a level or complete a set of tasks.

          • JS

            Jared Smith

            over 4 years ago #

            Do you see a high proportion of users sharing their achievements or is it a small percentage?

            • SH

              Stuart Hall

              over 4 years ago #

              Hi Jared,

              With 7 Minute Workout when someone completed a workout there was a number of actions that would be prompted depending on their segmentation and status. Things such as an upgrade prompt, sharing prompt, review / feedback prompt. The engagement here was 1-2%, so low but still significant over enough uses.

              • JS

                Jared Smith

                over 4 years ago #

                1% is a pretty decent percentage. Do you run any metrics that allow you to see a person has shared your app x many times, or people seem to share more frequently after they have done 3 similar interactions? basically do you have heuristics on your users actions?

              • SH

                Stuart Hall

                over 4 years ago #

                Yeah I did just through Google Analytics events. The major stand out finding was that if people shared they would often do it each day. A group of people would post the completed workout to Facebook or Twitter every day to brag or keep progress.

                Before I sold the app my next plan was to add more awards and achievements to encourage this more.

  • MB

    Morgan Brown

    over 4 years ago #

    Thanks for doing this AMA Stuart!

    There's a lot of talk about AppStore Optimization lately--everyone seems to have an opinion on it. What's the one thing you believe is critical to appstore visibility and what's maybe one piece of advice that's off the mark?

    • SH

      Stuart Hall

      over 4 years ago #

      Thanks for asking me Morgan!

      I believe App Store visibility is very similar to SEO, the top of the funnel must be something where there is a strong demand and then things such as your icon, descriptions, screenshots and app reviews are all extremely important in converting potential customers.

      The piece of advice that I think is off the mark is saying that just building a great product is all it takes, all steps of the funnel are extremely important. Building and submitting to the App Store is only the beginning.

      • MB

        Morgan Brown

        over 4 years ago #

        Thanks Stuart. That makes sense.

        Can you tell us a little bit about Appbot and what it does and how it helps w/mobile growth?

        • SH

          Stuart Hall

          over 4 years ago #

          With Appbot we are all about trying to bring you closer to the customer and understanding what it is they are saying about your app.

          We provide tools to monitor, report and analyse the sentiment of your mobile reviews. We also have libraries that you can drop into your own apps to provide FAQs, review workflows and more to get better app reviews, more sales and best rankings.

          At Appbot we strongly believe that listening to customers and driving your roadmap based on what they want is key to success on the App Store.

  • JM

    Jason Meresman

    over 4 years ago #

    Thanks for being on the AMA Stuart!

    Do you think paid app installs are an effective way to get the word out about an app? And if so, have you seen any correlation between paid app installs and organic downloads?

    • SH

      Stuart Hall

      over 4 years ago #

      Hi Jason,

      I haven't had a lot of success with paid app installs myself, for a pure cost per install vs revenue the numbers don't seem to add up anymore as the competition increases.

      Saying that I have seen a number of apps use it to great effect. In fact a competitor 7 Minute Workout app has managed to use this to great effect and stay in the top paid apps. I believe they use paid up front to offset the cost of acquisition and then in app purchases to supplement.

      Where we are starting to see apps really succeed is where they are supporting product to a SaaS platform, think things like Spotify, Netflix, Pandora and so on. In this case where there is a subscription model and lifetime value is much higher I am sure the numbers stack up a lot better.

  • AS

    Adriaan Stellingwerff

    over 4 years ago #

    Hi Stuart. In your recent series of blog posts around the 7 Minute Workout app you recommended spending half your time on building the app and half your time on developing your story. Do you have any tips or techniques to pulling yourself out of maker/developer mode to work on the product story?

    • SH

      Stuart Hall

      over 4 years ago #

      That is really tough, as a developer myself I understand how much comfort there is just jumping back into Xcode and build the next feature when things aren't going right.

      I like to segment my day up, I find I code best in the mornings and then the afternoons is better for marketing and ASO. The key really is when you start seeing the results of your efforts, so if you can set aside part of your day to focus on it you start really enjoying it.

  • DL

    Dylan La Com

    over 4 years ago #

    Another question :)

    What are your thoughts on Apple Watch and how it will affect mobile app engagement in general (for better or worse)?

    • SH

      Stuart Hall

      over 4 years ago #

      Another great question :)

      In my opinion for some apps it's going to be great to engage those of us that love to be hyper connected. Chat apps I think are really going to love it.

      I think if someone is using your app via an Apple Watch it's still great engagement so you'd call that a win.

      On the flip side I think it will probably reinforce the trend we see now where a small number of apps really dominate the App Store. I'd be recommending to anyone to be seriously considering having a Watch Kit app ready at launch to help maintain your market share and hope to get some features from Apple.

  • JM

    Jaysen Munsami

    over 4 years ago #

    Hey Stuart,

    How do you think a 'wow moment' should be created, how far along the process should the user be? Eg. On level one, or level 20?

    • SH

      Stuart Hall

      over 4 years ago #

      I think that's really dependent on your app and what you are trying to achieve. Are you trying to wow people by amazing design, by making their lives so much easier or by a nice animation?

      Hopefully if you are a level based game there is a wow moment in every level to get people to want to play the next one.

  • JS

    Jared Smith

    over 4 years ago #

    What has been your greatest challenge with app development?

    • SH

      Stuart Hall

      over 4 years ago #

      It took me a long time to realise that coding and submitting an app to the store is only the start.

      Learning that things like:

      - engaging with customers
      - iterating based on customer feedback
      - tweaking screenshots, descriptions, icons
      - doing PR

      are all as important as the product took me a long time.

      Then understanding that all of the above is not just about listing features but about creating a story around what people want to become took even longer.

      I'm still learning.

Join over 70,000 growth pros from companies like Uber, Pinterest & Twitter

Get Weekly Top Posts
High five! You’re in.
SHARE
40
40