10 Lessons For App Marketers: From On-Boarding To Successful Launch

Stefanie Hoffmann

Stefanie Hoffmann is a founding member of the MLOVE advisory board, honorary judge at the Lovie Awards, and Europe´s leading mind in Facebook companion apps. She recently launched an iOS application called Gabi, backed by a small international team of media celebrities. She spoke at at the App Promotion Summit in Berlin on the subject of 10 Lessons For App Marketers:  From On-Boarding To Successful Launch . Her talk included the following topics:

  •  Before Launch – Setting Yourself Up For Success
  •  Launch – Gaining Rapid Traction And Boosting Marketing
  •  Post-Launch – Evaluating, Monitoring And Improving Your Position

We’re now able to share this presentation with you in a number of formats including video, audio/ podcast and the full transcript.

10 Lessons For App Marketers:  From On-Boarding To Successful Launch Video

10 Lessons For App Marketers:  From On-Boarding To Successful Launch Audio/Podcast

10 Lessons For App Marketers:  From On-Boarding To Successful Launch Presentation

’10 lessons for app marketers’ – Stefanie Hoffmann at App Promotion Summit Berlin from App Promotion Summit Conference

10 Lessons For App Marketers:  From On-Boarding To Successful Launch Transcript

Stefanie:  Yeah, I first wanted to give you a little overview what I have done before, and I have a little journey.  I started in ’97 and there, I was already responsible for publishing a little bit in the digital space and the science space.  We were the first, basically, sold little pieces, articles already, and in the early, in the end of the ’90s and we were earning money with it.

After this I was going to Berlin, and in 2006, I started my first start up, Aka-Aki.  It is, basically, like, a pre-Foursquare grinder thing, and we were making a very successful iPhone app.  We had around a million downloads, and there I learned a lot about mobile advertising, how to create big traffic, and how to work on a product.

I’m also with Harald, where’s Harald, actually?  Oh, isn’t here?  Well, Harald is from MLOVE, so I’m very involved in the MLOVE space.  It’s a mobile conference in Berlin.  A year, and looking into the future of mobile.

So, and then I made a couple of apps and really had the different things.  So, I bought a lot of traffic.  On the other hand, with Gabi, I launched this last year.  We created, like, 150,000 downloads without any kind of mobile advertising.

And now, on the other hand, I help a lot of big media companies and little apps, how to promote their app and how to go into the app store.

This is, actually, the newest app I will publish.  I waited, actually, on the app submission.  It’s a photo book application, and that was really the question.  I was, like, how to make the best photo app on the market for the iPad.  Okay, mission accomplished, hopefully this week, and now I start, basically, to promote the app.

Why I do this, like, more, yeah, makes the best app for, like, think about even, make a much better experience than normal apps.  It’s, the good news is there are a lot of apps getting published, and there’s a lot of room for new apps, but the bad news is there’s a lot of stuff doing on.  So basically when you go with your app in the app store, then you have, really, a lot of competition, and for this, I really think don’t publish ten apps, publish one app, but really create an amazing experience.

So, what I, actually, the big challenge is when you make an app, say, okay, create an amazing product, be visible, lots of people coming back to your app, because, as we talk a lot about promotion, how to get a lot of users, but actually, for what I need in users, they have to create revenue, they have to come back, they have to use my app, they have to buy something, or at least, they have to spend their attention.

Yeah, when I want to spend less money I should have, like, some of the viral features to have in the end of the day, a really, a kind of user lifetime value.  I don’t know how many people here are really making those calculations for your app.  We need to see “Okay, I spent X, I will earn Y, and this is what I have left at the end of the day.”

So, it’s actually, for me, I really want to say, it’s really, first, about only one thing, and one learning.  The product is really the most important part of the app marketing.  It’s like I have a marketing background, but I tell you, the app is really the most important stuff and the app is what makes you successful or not.

So, some of the learnings, first, like, actually marketing features in an app, like, hidden marketing features. So one thing is, like, have an app moment, I call it, like, an exciting moment Apple would put in his ad video or actually, this is when you promote, when you show the app to a friend and say “Wow.”  This wow moment.  Think about something 3D, something visual.  So even, you make a [inaudible 00:04:02] app, make something that’s blowing up the mind of the people.

Yeah, it’s like, I really am, with my marketing background, I have, and a degree in strategy and movie making.  So, with my first app, Aka-Aki, what we did, we did, first, a movie.  Before we started developing, we had a little movie about it, and this was showing the whole user lifetime story.  So what do people stream when they wake up in the morning, what they do with the app, what’s really, make it really visual, and then, even for the developers, it was amazing because we only had to say, make this possible.

So, with the retention, it’s one thing, but first, it’s like, signing up.  I see with a lot of clients, the biggest problems that clients have is the sign up process.  It’s like people asking for telephone numbers, emails and whatever, and you lose, I saw from 85 percent losing, until like 30, 40 percent is supposed to be normal, that people lose the very expensive users just in the beginning.

So, a really important learning from me is create, first, an amazing experience before you ask anything.  I think the social discovery apps, the dating apps, are really the best.  Learn from them.  It’s really, they show a lot of faces, sexy girls, or whatever, and then see what the people have to pay for.

Push notification’s very, very nice.  It still works.  In America it’s going down.  A lot of people using push notifications, but you really can increase, though, a lot of your retentions through that.  I met just last year with Gabi we were using intensively push notifications and it works brilliant.

So when you have good content, think about what is the content you can deliver to the people, places first, and your push notification in the end, and you will see it really increases your numbers.

So, think about it, what is not, don’t use push notifications for promotion.  Don’t tell them that you’re so great, or whatever.  Tell the people what they are excited about, themselves and their friends.

It is a boring topic.  Everyone hates it.  When I come to a company say “What are your KPI’s?” Yeah, but what is your f**king business, you know?  You have to know it, and you have to measure it.  So, this is the first thing you should do in the app store even before you design it, before you make, actually, the first mockups of whatever, the question is how you want to make money, how you want to measure it, and then how much costs the user will get for it, and make this whole thing sense.

Okay.  A lot of tools, I think, in the morning, you were talking about numbers, I use Google Analytics but Flurry is fine too, and it’s frustrating sometimes when you see people, “Oh, people are disappearing.  Oh, okay, I have only, in the end, after four weeks, I have only seven percent left.  So what the f**k I did wrong?”  I have to change my product.  It’s really when you are a product manager you are the product marketing person too.

So, I think it’s a big problem in the companies that they split these two positions.  You have one person spending the money and the other person should take care of the product.  I think this is really wrong.  It’s like, actually, a team, and they share the hard work together and see this is working, the system is working.

Yeah, it’s like, this is a very interesting chart, it’s for me.  It’s average numbers, but you should know what you can expect from your business, from your area.  So, what is the retention number?  You can say it’s average for the scene.  So what I have to achieve minimum.

So, I often say “Okay, go to market.”  You really should look at all these topics.  So from your onboarding optimizations, push notifications, the user experience, the viral features, and your KPIs should be defined before you put it to the market.

And I have one example here. They have totally optimized it for iOS7, and they did very, they did extremely well.  It’s really beautiful.  It’s 3D.  It’s, like, a lot of fun to use it, and they do this too, for Apple, because when Apple sees “Wow, this makes fun.  This looks good,” it’s like “I will feature you.”  It’s like, all the apps I ever did were featured by Apple because they really love a beautiful design, and they really, when you do a good job they will take care of you, not only when you spend $5,000 in ads.

So, yeah, then is coming the whole marketing, with our advertising thing, but what I do first is normally I make a silent launch.  So I look, minimum, a week or two weeks in the market, what is happening.  “Are the KPIs really okay?”  I put a little bit of money in advertising.  I see what is happening with the first traffic.  Is everything really fine?  And then, a really important thing is then really concentrate your actions.

Then don’t act like a normal marketing, piece by piece.  Really concentrate it on one moment and one time to get a lot of traffic, get a lot of natural traffic on top, and then keep on going, and then really define points.  Like OS, when you update a new version, push the app a bit more, make content use lead traffic a bit on top of it, but then concentrate when you make an X.2.

I don’t know how I am on time, Andrea.  Okay.  Yes, like, this is only okay, what you have in place, what you have is necessary, what do you have to think about before you launch, actually, have we done all your homework, from really, put everywhere, the app downloads, the icon on top.  It’s like, I really see people, in Facebook timeline, I was yesterday, checked, no one, even the big companies are placing their Apple download button, even if they have [inaudible 00:10:41] apps.

It’s, like, ridiculous.  It’s like, people really forget to promote their own app.  It’s like, I don’t know which internal battles they have with the Facebook timeline picture, but really, wherever you make an email marketing or whatever, place it inside.

So yeah, it’s actually the most, some of the tips, and I think, actually, I have too many slides anyway.  So, what I saw with [inaudible 00:11:05], some of you can make up to 5,000 downloads.  Mashable, I had two Mashable features.  Mashable’s really amazing.  So when you make an international app, try to get an exclusive.  You can have up to 2,000 to 4,000 downloads, and then it can get viral, because The Business Journal, the World View Journal, all copy and paste all from Mashable.

So, when you have to decide, TechCrunch, The Verge, and Mashable, Mike Arrington will kill me, then choose Mashable.

Okay, so, yeah, TV is awesome actually.  I have to say that I know that an app was creating 30,000 downloads with being in tough, like, promoted.  This was really amazing, and this is your goal.  This is, actually, my list I created with Gabi last year.  So you need this, and then place it everywhere.  When you speak on conferences, put it on top of your app review text, wherever you can promote it, because when you’re even fresh, when you don’t have a brand, this is super, super good.

Yeah.  So, this, yeah, when you have a website, very important rule, when your app is better than your website, promote your app like crazy.  When your app is not so good like your website, don’t do it.  Make an amazing video and, oh gosh, I think I get quick.  We have not enough time.

Optimize your, this is really important, optimize your name and your keywords.  I don’t know if I talked a lot already about it, but it’s really good.  It’s like the app store is hyper sensible about the name, and so keywords, and you can get a lot of traffic through that when you do it right.

There are millions of tools I use.  A very nice one, CentoTower, I do pretty well with this to in the end to create the right keywords here, if you can see.

Anyway there, Facebook is amazing.  Make Facebook advertising and the general learnings are test, test, test.  Like, try all the different channels we have, and see what is really fitting the best for you and always try new stuff.  So I never stick to my old learnings.

In 2008, I only did advertising.  I spent at one million in two years.  I would not do this now.  I would work with, like, someone like together, and spend the money all over channels and make Facebook advertising and try, really, to identify my best performance channel.

Yeah.  That’s it.  I’m sorry.  I was planning for 30 minutes, so, that was a bit too much.

Andrea: No, it’s good.  Thank you very much.

Stefanie: Thanks so much.

Andrea: Thank you very much.

Thanks to Stefanie for doing such an interesting talk.  You can find out more about App Promotion Summit here