Leave a comment
Get the GH Bookmarklet

AMAs

Deepak Abbot is a practitioner of data-driven growth, especially in the mobile space. He has been a proponent of a small screen since 2006 and always believed in the power of a mobile device. He has been developing products including games from last 10 years. He currently leads product at Paytm and drives growth for the mobile wallet, which already has a whopping 200 million users onboard. He was part of the early team at Paytm in 2012 much before it became a Unicon and had less than a million users. 

His expertise lies in growth, analytics & product. He has over 18 years of experience building products, games & Apps. Prior to Paytm, he was developing @getsmartapp for iOS & Android to save mobile costs for users worldwide. It reached over 2mn installs at zero cost. He has led mobile growth at Times Internet, UX at Satyam Computers & led product at a gaming company Zapak in his earlier stints. He shares his learnings at growthbug.com

You can follow him on Twitter: @deepakabbot

He will be live on May 2nd starting at 11 AM PT for one and a half hours during which he will answer as many questions as possible.

  • AM

    Aditya Maheshwari

    over 2 years ago #

    What did you do to bring together data from multiple sources? Did you build a pipeline and push it to a cloud DB? Or something else?

    Context - Marketing data is all over the place. With pre-visit data on advertising channel, post visit on analytics, LTVs on CRM, marketers use spreadsheets to bring everything together. Yes, no, maybe?

    • DA

      Deepak Abbot

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi Aditya- for a large organization like Paytm, we have invested heavily in collating data and building our own dashboards. We track millions of data points and have dedicated teams to create custom dashboards for various stakeholders. However, a smaller startup may not have the tools or resources to build something similar. So my answer is simple - just focus on 4-5 key metrics and ensure that you get all the data you want from all the sources in whatever format - csv, excel, GA, push tool, email, tickets and analyze. Also in smaller organization, every individual should be responsibile for their own data analysis. App developers should look at crash reporting tools, PMs should focus on core analytics tools, marketing team should go deep into their attribution & marketing tools for all the data. If each individual apply back that knowledge then the format of data is least of the concerns.

      • DA

        Deepak Abbot

        over 2 years ago #

        If you are good with analytics, you will spot your problem area fairly quickly with the available data. We leave that to an individual on how they address those problem areas. Sometimes cross reference is required for data and we use few tools including Tableau for better visualization and data representation

      • AM

        Aditya Maheshwari

        over 2 years ago #

        Thanks, Deepak. This is helpful.

        Dashboards mostly give an overview of things so then how do you drill down and figure out problem areas? Do you use tools like Tableau, Looker for data exploration?

  • MB

    Menajem Benchimol

    over 2 years ago #

    Hey Deepak, as a student how can I land a summer internship in growth?

    • DA

      Deepak Abbot

      over 2 years ago #

      Thanks for writing in. To get into growth marketing, you need to be comfortable with numbers, data and analytics. To land a summer internship, pick few companies and see if you can make a growth pitch to them. You may be off the mark but as long as you put in a good effort, you will get noticed. All the best

  • RT

    Rohit Tikmany

    over 2 years ago #

    What's your forecast for the likely mobile-web:native-app:desktop-web platform split (Indian consumer internet only) at the end of calendar 2017?
    What do you base that on?

    • DA

      Deepak Abbot

      over 2 years ago #

      As far as my research says, current split is 30:50:20 for Mweb:Native Apps:Desktop and by end of 2017, I see desktop continues to fall because absolute numbers on smartphones would increase 60% so we can safely assume that ratio may be 30:60:10

  • GH

    Glen Harper

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Deepak, thanks for being on the AMA. Regarding your success with @getsmartapp, getting 2mm installs at zero cost must have taken a lot of testing. Could you go into your road map of where you started out with your testing, to where it took you, to finally how you hit on the right tests to get you to that large install base? Thanks!

    • DA

      Deepak Abbot

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi Glen - we had a very small team (12 people) but we ensured that we have a qualified QA person on team. Each developer wrote their own test cases which made it easier. We were little unorganized initially as we wanted to hit the market fast. Soon we realized that half tested product is more damaging than a poor product. Being a small team, some people wore different hats and did contribute in QA after we end the coding sprint. Much later we started the process of automation but till 2mn we were doing it manually

  • SJ

    Sanjay Jain

    over 2 years ago #

    Can you tell us more about how you marketed @getsmartapp & what advertising strategy is the best for SMEs in India?

    • DA

      Deepak Abbot

      over 2 years ago #

      We relied a lot on all organic ways to get traffic. Initial beta run gave us good word of mouth followed by extensive seeding in various forums, blogs & so on. We focused big time on ASO, referrals, word of mouth, app reviews initially. It was a slow progress but was worth the effort

      • DA

        Deepak Abbot

        over 2 years ago #

        We used every platform extensively incl growthhackers, medium, linkedin, facebook, twitter, producthunt, quora, stackoverflow (yes that too :), tech blogs in India, mainstream newspaper for App reviews. We use to see spurts on the day we tried a new platform and then traffic would slowly build over a period of time. So everything put together kept giving us new userbase

      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        over 2 years ago #

        Do you recall which forums, blogs etc that you did seeding with, led to the biggest number of biggest number of signups?

  • AL

    Arsene Lavaux

    over 2 years ago #

    Bonjour Deepak,

    And merci for doing this AMA.

    1) Paytm now has 200 million users and many products and services being sold. How did it all start, was it that broad in the beginning in terms of offering?

    2) For mobile growth, do you have any favorite mobile attribution and mobile engagement tools?

    3) For mobile product-market fit, how do you recruit a statistically significant sample of users?

    Thank you for sharing your expertise with us, Deepak.

    • DA

      Deepak Abbot

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi Arsene,

      1. Paytm started as an experiment within a large B2B organization. It was our first foray into B2C. We started small. Paytm was a mobile recharge App for several months. We slowly started adding more services like bill payments. So we moved gradually to where we are currently. It was all sequential

      2. I have used several tools and believe me there is no perfect tool out there. You need to make it work for you with whatever limitations most tools have around discrepancy, wrong integration, delayed data, missed attributes & so on. I have used Appsflyer, Apsalar, Clevertap, Mixpanel to name a few

      3. There is no direct answer. Utility app may have wider audience so sample size may differ vs a payments App which needs a different set of audience. However, of all the Apps I have worked on, a beta sample base of 200 active users can give you tonnes of understanding on how are you doing

      Thx

  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    over 2 years ago #

    Hey Deepak - great to have you on!
    Does Paytm have a dedicated growth team?
    If yes, how is it structured and where does it belong organizationally?
    If not, why not?

    • DA

      Deepak Abbot

      over 2 years ago #

      At Paytm, there is no central growth team but we have several growth managers. Overall the culture of growth is well integrated into the system. We have growth managers aligned with business heads for each verticals. Most of these growth managers are actually product managers who are also responsible for building a product and driving its growth. Hence, all the PMs that we hire has to be analytically strong and should have a strong understanding of consumer behaviors

      • DA

        Deepak Abbot

        over 2 years ago #

        Interviewing someone for their analytical capabilities is an easy one. For starters, we have some complex spreadsheets and we ask some pinpointed 2 questions the answer for which is hidden in those numbers.
        Secondly, some of my question involves around giving day to day problems like traffic, office seating arrangement, building elevator algorithm, shopping online etc and expecting interviewee to come up with some creative answers to the given problems.
        I generally ask questions providing less data so I really like people who first collect all the data. If you jump into the answer then it is a big no for me. Secondly I only focus on edge case handling. I immediately hire people who straightaway catch edge cases

      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        over 2 years ago #

        How do you test/interview for strong analytical capability and understanding of consumer behavior?
        Do you have a set of questions you ask to give you a sense of this? If yes, can you share those?

  • JP

    John Phamvan

    over 2 years ago #

    Hey Deepak - thanks for being here.

    I noticed that you'll recently launched in Canada.
    a. Can you talk more about why Canada and not any other country? What was the specific opportunity and how did you'll identify it?

    b. Also, in general how are you'll thinking about international expansion - specifically what it would take to launch in the US?

    • DA

      Deepak Abbot

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi John - Paytm had a Canada office to support some of our mission critical products. We hired lot of data scientists there to support our initiatives in India. The team there took an initiative to test waters by launching first in Canada as they understood the market and it became a test ground for our international expansion. We will continue to expand in other countries but for now our focus is to grow in Canada and see what all we need to be equally successful outside of India too

      • DA

        Deepak Abbot

        over 2 years ago #

        KPIs are simple - more transactions and high retention. Market doesn't matter

      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        over 2 years ago #

        Given that Canada and India are very different markets - do you have different KPIs for each or is it all the same? In either case, why is it that way?

  • BV

    Bipin VK

    over 2 years ago #

    Can you share a few thoughts on the idea of "creative simplicity" in marketing?

    • DA

      Deepak Abbot

      over 2 years ago #

      I strongly believe in this concept. There is so much clutter in our life all around. Simplicity is always superior under any situation. It can reflect on anything from a product name (iPhone 7 vs Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime) to branding to user communication.

      • DA

        Deepak Abbot

        over 2 years ago #

        At Paytm, we have over 50 verticals and some 1000 use cases but we always kept our marketing communication extremely focused around simplicity. We never used jargons or tall promises, never focused on offers/discounts etc in our marketing campaigns. For first 3 years we just had one tag line to define Paytm - Simple & Incredible. We stayed away from explaining each product use case for so many years and just built a self explaining product. Thankfully it worked for us

      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        over 2 years ago #

        What in your mind are the best examples of this - other than the ones you mentioned?
        Also, how - if at all - has Paytm implemented this?

  • NH

    Nihal Hassan

    over 2 years ago #

    Paytm works with a lot of local business and SMEs who are from different backgrounds and speak different languages. How do you educate them or communicate new features to them effectively?

    • DA

      Deepak Abbot

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi Nihal - it is actually not an easy task in a country like India where several languages are spoken in different regions. Especially now when lot of Tier3 & 4 towns are coming online, communicating them in the language they understand is extremely critical. We ensured that Paytm App is available in all Indian languages. We rely a lot on SMS and IVR for our merchant networks as they find those channels convenient. These 2 channels are purely in local languages. We have a big outbound calling team to help our merchants and new users alike

  • MS

    manpreet singh

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Deepak
    a. how did you reach 2mn users at zero cost in getsmartapp?

    b. what are the best practices or growth hacks to reach your target user base in most efficient manner?

  • JD

    James Dunn

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Deepak,

    a. What would you say is the level of knowledge of growth hacking and being data-driven with your grown in India? What is that assessment based on?

    b.What do you think it would take to increase the level from what it currently is? How can anyone, including communities like this, do to play a part with this ?

    • DA

      Deepak Abbot

      over 2 years ago #

      I have been attending local events, meeting lot of people in the industry, taking interviews for product & growth roles and I have seen that culture of growth has developed significantly in later half of 2016. In 2015, Indian startups were flushed with funds and marketing was an easy way to grow to lot of PMs and growth managers were complacent. Things changed early 2016 when everyone had to find ways to grow without much money. So necessity led many to go deep and learn it. Now when I meet people, they are much more comfortable talking about all the organic growth experiments they did weather failure or success.
      Also, it is an ongoing effort. We all need to embrace the culture of growth and we have to realize that not only a dedicated growth manager but every PM, Tech lead, QA, Customer Support staff be aligned with the growth vision. I have seen this happening in India now and future looks bright

  • TN

    Tri Nguyen

    over 2 years ago #

    From what I can tell, a majority of consumer purchases are still made in cash in India. Can you elaborate on what strategies you've found most successful to help move people to Paytm? Also, from here on out are there any additional strategies beyond what's already been tried that you're considering that will significantly move the needle?

    • DA

      Deepak Abbot

      over 2 years ago #

      We always focused on 2 things early on - ease of use and security. Lot of our early users and alpha users became our brand ambassadors. It was a slow progress towards digital but worth the effort because once they got use to the convenience of digital cash, there was no going back.

      Next thing we did was to significantly enhance the acceptance network. If you see Paytm logo at every shop, chances are you would be intrigued to try it out. Most credit card & debit card needed a pos machine and it was never easy to expand that network as compared to our DIY QR code network.

      Plus to make digital popular, we carried lot of targeted marketing campaigns, ran lot of targeted offers for new users and so on. Plus demonetization drive in November helped us further when there was shortage of cash in India. We saw that even after cash came back to circulation, our usage continued to grow because attrition on Paytm is extremely low

      • DA

        Deepak Abbot

        over 2 years ago #

        We do analyze lots of data around user attrition and beside obvious reasons like tech issues, we saw people leaving due to inefficient customer support (no timely reply, irrelevant reply, closure not in their favor etc). Also, India is attracting lot of new smartphone and first time internet users so another pattern is App tourists. There are plenty of them in India. Paytm is a transactional App yet many install and just uninstall without even trying anything meaninful. It's a big number and affects our overall uninstall ratio negatively. But we hope this will change in future when the newcomer % stablizes.

      • AA

        Anuj Adhiya

        over 2 years ago #

        For people that do stop using Paytm, have you been able to find patterns on why? And are these insights gleaned from quantitative data, qualitative data or both?

  • DH

    Dani Hart

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Deepak,

    Great to have you on today!

    Are there any processes you attribute to helping to grow the products you've worked on at such a low cost? How do you high impact opportunities for growth?

    Looking forward to hearing what you have to say!

    Cheers,
    Dani

    • DA

      Deepak Abbot

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi Dani - the only process we follow was to constantly iterate. Learn from data, ship faster, ship a stable product and let users give you feedback. We were mad about customer support and user feedback and I would suggest that every single person in the team should be customer centric. Rest everything falls in place

  • DO

    Danielle Olivas

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Deepak,

    Thanks for spending time with us today!

    What is the biggest misconception US based marketers have about marketing in India? How would you advise they learn more about how to market and grow a product in India from all the way over here?

    I look forward to your response!

    • DA

      Deepak Abbot

      over 2 years ago #

      India is a complex market and fast evolving. We here sitting in India are also learning everyday and understanding market dynamics. Biggest mistake a global company can make is to market in India without setting foot in India or without engaging local knowledge. All big global products with local teams are super successful in India. Few misconceptions about India are the size of actual internet market (too many conflicting numbers hence on-ground knowledge is important vs buying an expensive research report), size of middle class in India, spending habits of india and so on

  • SK

    S Kodial

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Deepak

    What is your conversion & analytics stack at Paytm?
    Why did you pick these specific tools over the other alternatives?

    • AM

      Aditya Maheshwari

      over 2 years ago #

      Tools like builtwith.com, Ghostery and Apptopia can help you figure out the tech stack, pixels etc. Deepak can help you understand why they chose these tools.

    • DA

      Deepak Abbot

      over 2 years ago #

      we use several external tools but as I have mentioned above, we track millions of data points from various touch points including Apps, servers, emails, push, marketing tools, ad tools etc using several leading 3rd party SDKs coupled with some home growth tools. I can't specifically name the 3rd party SDKs we use.
      We picked these tools after evaluating at least 2 or 3 in the same category. Our selection criteria includes ability to handle our scale, ease of integration, support staff & of course cost

  • MD

    Mark Anthony de Jesus

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Deepak! Thank you for doing this! A couple questions... With the rise in your user base, what are the biggest customer success challenges you've faced? Can you refer to specific strategies or tactics with respect to worked best so far to ensure that customer satisfaction stays high (or increases)?

    • DA

      Deepak Abbot

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi Mark - At Paytm, we like to play at scale. We have over 200mn users and growing fast (3-4mn a month). We need to ensure that our infrastructure supports us. We need to handle our peaks really well. Paytm is now a currency and any downtime severely affects millions of users everyday. Even a few mins fluctuation can affect hundreds of thousands of transactions (we do 10mn a day). Plus we are getting lot of first time not so savvy digital users so biggest challenge we face is to keep it simple for all and usable for all. However, we realized that despite our best tech & product efforts, we will have several cases of users not able to get desired results with Paytm hence customer service is an extremely important measure for us. We spend heavily on building a good customer support technologies. We constantly find ways to improve our NPS which means every single department needs to keep customers happy and ensure that any challenge faced by them is promptly addressed. Fast TAT and clear communication is the key to drive customer satisfaction. We may not be perfect there but we are trying hard to improve every single day

  • JF

    Javier Feldman

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Deepak!

    To the extent that you can talk about it, how do you foresee taking on the challenges of Uber thinking about creating its own payment wallet and now Jio money now in play?

    • DA

      Deepak Abbot

      over 2 years ago #

      Hi Javier - I can't specifically comment on these, but my opinion is that India is a huge country and it needs all the participants to grow the digital ecosystem in India. If multiple players can bring more people online, make them do digital transactions, it will grow the market further. Obviously we want Paytm to be at the forefront so we have to be on our toes and ensure that our product is constantly evolving and we are listening to the market demands and serving them appropriately

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

Get Weekly Top Posts
High five! You’re in.
SHARE
55
55