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I've been hunting for insightful articles on mobile acquisition, and I haven't found many.

After some thought, I’ve decided that I’m going to jump in and create my own mobile app. In addition, I’m going to share everything I learn. I'm going to focus quite a bit on the marketing aspect, as I'm outsourcing development.

In short, I'm going to learn a ton of stuff, and I'd love if you followed along with me.

  • MS

    Michael Sarlitt

    almost 6 years ago #

    Good stuff @lukethomas. One of the big reasons people say app marketing is hard (including me) is the lack of attribution. In other words, where the hell are my downloads coming from?

    It's much different from the web world where you can see a clear picture of referral sources and their conversion rates.

    Two reasons for this:

    1) The App Store / Google Play is like a black whole that cuts off the conversion funnel. You know how many people reach your landing page/ad and you know how many people download your app on a given day, but there is no connection between the two. You can, however, use third party tools to bridge this gap in certain scenarios (more on this below).

    2) The inherent problem of people discovering your app on the desktop web, then pulling out their phone, searching the App Store and downloading it. Same goes for natural word of mouth growth (i.e. friend tells them), but this isn't exclusive to apps.

    The acquisition scenario you CAN easily track with 3rd party tools is mobile-to-mobile. This means someone taps on your landing page/ad on their device, follows it to the App Store, and downloads your app.

    You need to use an attribution tool from a company like mobileapptracking.com or appsflyer.com to do this (note: MAT does NOT work with Facebook). They provide a redirect URL to the App Store, which fingerprints the user's device before and after they download. This lets you build a funnel from acquisition through final conversion after the download (i.e. an in-app purchase).

    Hopefully this helps. I plan to write up a longer post with more detail soon.

    Somewhat related to this is setting up "deep links." This lets you direct new and existing users to specific pages of your app, something that isn't built in out of the box. Posted an article about this on GH last week:

    http://growthhackers.com/what-is-app-deep-linking-and-how-it-supercharges-growth/

  • ET

    Eva Tang

    almost 6 years ago #

    Hey @lukethomas the app looks great and kudos to you for sharing your experiences. You have the whole GH community to provide feedback, help iterate and give advice along the way - best of luck!

  • ME

    Marc Eglon

    almost 6 years ago #

    Love the app idea - quirky enough to get my attention. My gut says your transparent content will be a decent driver for feedback and early traction too. All the best.

  • KV

    Kyle Van Pelt

    almost 6 years ago #

    This is pretty cool. This type of transparency always seems to do well.

    I disagree with charging 99c for the app, will create too much friction, IMO. So many users will say "this is cool! oh, it costs money.. I'll get it some day." and forget. Make it a frictionless download and find a way to do in-app purchases.

    Stay authentic.

    • LT

      Luke Thomas

      almost 6 years ago #

      I'm not sure what "staying authentic" has to do with charging money, but I strongly disagree.

      I don't have piles of other people's money sitting in my bank account, therefore I must do things different than conventional startup "wisdom." My goal is to learn how to acquire paying customers, and to break-even if possible. Having ____ number of users is not my goal.

      This app can give people their time back, and that's invaluable. Time is something you can never get back. Therefore, I will charge for the product. I've invested time, and I'm paying a developer to build it.

      Along the vein of in-app purchases, I've thought about it. I'd pursue that only if I could recoup my investment. I'd think about adding something like the ability to block certain applications. Not now though.

      • KV

        Kyle Van Pelt

        almost 6 years ago #

        The stay authentic was supposed to be separate from what I wrote above it, that's my bad. I just re-read it and it didn't come across how I wanted it to at all.

        The "stay authentic" was supposed to be a compliment. So again, my apologies there. Love your passion!

        IF you're that passionate about doing the 99c thing, maybe you can make it work. I'm excited to follow along with ya.

        • LT

          Luke Thomas

          almost 6 years ago #

          No worries, we'll see what happens. I'm going to give it a shot, but either way, we'll both learn a thing or two :)

          • DD

            Daniel DAlonzo

            almost 6 years ago #

            Digital Detox app will increase my quality of life.

            So, yes I would definitely pay $1 for it.

            Great idea.

  • JG

    Jorge Giuffra

    almost 6 years ago #

    This sound cool, and very awesome idea share your experience!

  • EM

    Elia Morling

    almost 6 years ago #

    Awesome idea, Good luck with your project!

    • EM

      Elia Morling

      almost 6 years ago #

      Btw don't hesitate to share outsourcing insights

      • LT

        Luke Thomas

        almost 6 years ago #

        outsourcing with be my next post. I'll dive into a ton of detail. I'm getting my first dev build later today, and it's a little nerve-wracking :)

  • HK

    Hristian Kambourov

    almost 6 years ago #

    Hey Luke, it's always nice to see someone writing and keeping a blog of their experience accomplishing a task.

    A few questions based on my experience:

    - Have you thought about actually charging more for the app? Start with $3.99 or $4.99 After all you want to target people who value their time. These same people earn average or more likely above average salaries.
    - Why lower the price at the beginning? The first week of the release is when you are going to get the most downloads. No real upside of charging less.

    Best of luck and keep us posted.

    • LT

      Luke Thomas

      almost 6 years ago #

      Hristian,

      I'm not sold on the price point, I just know I will charge something for it. I guess part of it depends on how well the app turns out. I'm certainly not opposed to charging more.

      Also, I'd prefer to have early adopters receive some type of a discount, simply because if I drop the price in the future, people who have paid more might get upset. I'm going to do some beta testing and see what people think. I'll make sure to document it.

      • MS

        Michael Sarlitt

        almost 6 years ago #

        Good call. Don't fall for the "must be free" arguments! There are many benefits for charging up front (aside from immediate revenue), such as lower competition for being feature in Apple's top charts. This has been a trend with photo apps lately. Just know that people expect a lot of value and polish from anything paid, even if it's $0.99.

  • DG

    David Gregory

    almost 6 years ago #

    Like what you're doing here @lukethomas , it's a great way to get feedback and users.

    From what little I've found on app customer acquisition, I've found it differs greatly by market and industry so is not always relevant (especially if there is nothing else that currently exists).

    If the app audience is targeted at the those who are looking for this info then it's a content marketing no brainer:)

    The guys at Groove worked this out and seem to benefiting from this strategy.

  • LS

    Laurent Sabbah

    about 5 years ago #

    @lukethomas interesting app for sure. My two cents would be to build it on a freemium model, offer the app for free and limit some of it's features which users can unlock for $0.99 or $1.99, it's extremely hard to get someone to purchase an app without trying it first.

    The transparency is great though, and I'll definitely be reading your blog.

    Noticed there's a bug with your links, they don't look so good in Chrome, not sure how to attach a screenshot here though...

    Good luck!

  • MF

    mack flavelle

    about 5 years ago #

    This is a REALLY neat idea. Lots of people will learn from your journey- which is cool.

    Check out this article from our blog, seems VERY relevant: http://blog.tapstream.com/post/56479534419/growth-hacking-apps-michael-patzer

    Have lots of questions I want to ask you about marketing and growth but don't want to spam GH- so will email you separately.

  • SS

    Sean Shapcott

    about 5 years ago #

    This is great. I'm going to follow you and I think i'm going to do the same when i start marketing my app :)

  • RL

    Roger Lightfoot

    about 5 years ago #

    Love this @lukethomas . I think you have made a really good decision to make a big deal of marketing. I should have got started earlier on this with our business.

    Idea: How about the app senses a speed of 10mph or more and automatically puts the phone in quiet mode?

    That would cover cycling, driving and even fast running! A great safety feature.

    You may need an option to overide this for trains and planes though ;)

    Good luck - I will follow with interest (and I will buy the app)

    Roger
    Co-founder, Fabmin

  • CN

    computer newman

    almost 5 years ago #

    Awesome idea and thanks for sharing. Will definitely be keeping up with the journey!

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