What I learnt from paying close attention to the app metrics

28th Oct 2015
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Two out of 10. That might be the number of startups which come out in public to reflect and share the learnings from their endings. I recently stumbled upon an article: The Rise and Fall of Everest (The App). It helped me understand why an app which impressed a lot of people went down eventually.

To the uninitiated, Everest is a goal-setting app. It has been widely acclaimed for the design and for the founder’s ability to raise funds from the likes of Peter Thiel just with a pitch deck, despite having no technical co-founder and no working product prototype.

In the article, the founder of the app retrospects and considers tracking the metrics only after eight months from the launch to be one of the primary reasons for the failure of the app.

At Styl, we thankfully haven’t made this particular mistake. We focussed on the relevant metrics early on and also have had a few great learnings along the process. We thought we’d let the community know what worked for us by listening to signals from data.

First, a little context. Styl is a mobile app (currently live in Bengaluru) that lets users book salon appointments and pay for the services in under three minutes. The Styl Feed feature in the product lets them explore current style trends.

As it is becoming clearer, getting users to install the app is not as biga challenge as engaging them is. Being their go-to app for the need is the primary motive. App engagement goes beyond great design and great features.

We made use of multiple channels to get in touch with users, engage them, explain the benefits and get them hooked.

Here are few things which worked for us

As nearly 22 per cent of the downloaded apps aren’t used more than once, we realised the importance of registering the purpose and increasing the ease of use. For everyone who has installed the app, we send a nice on-boarding mail. After a lot of iterations we realised sending the email after eight hours upon installation gave us better results.

A coupon is provided to the user in the mail which explains the benefits of the app. The email works well in reminding the user of the app they installed earlier in the day.

Initially, when we started sending out these mails, the call to action was implying to the user to book a salon appointment right away. After observing the metrics on the click and conversion rate, we made changes to the call to action and the message in the welcome email. The new prompt made users add coupon to their account immediately so that they do not miss out on the discount while booking.

Here’s our first version of the welcome mail

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And here’s the most recent one

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Styl App User On-boarding Mail

The change in the call to action from 'book now on Styl' to 'add coupon on Styl' resulted in an increase in the click-through rate from 2 to 5.51 per cent and also doubled our conversion rates.

The idea was to make the user add the coupon into their account so that they could avail it whenever they are booking a salon service. Our stats have shown that the users who add coupon to their account had lesser tendency to uninstall the app.

Pushing at the right time.

Based on our research, we figured that the time gap between users' salon visits is 23 days. For every user who has booked a service through Styl, we send a reminder as a push notification to book their next service. The CTR for this particular push notification is over 34 per cent and we actually see 46 per cent of people coming back to book a service again.

Nudging the user to rate the app at the right time (i.e after the booking) has also given us good results. An in-app notification asking to rate or review the app was pushed to every user who has booked a service through us.

It looks like this:

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Styl App Rating Notification

In this notification, we don’t ask the user to rate us five stars but subtly put the idea to rate 5 stars with the text and the five star image. Though we are still experimenting with this in-app notification to improve the numbers, the initial conversion rate is at five per cent.

The life after uninstall

As said earlier, getting a user to install is only job half done. The uninstall rates are turning out to be a major worry for many app companies. At Styl, we have kept these uninstall rates below 38 per cent. Apart from that, we wanted to keep the user who has uninstalled also engaged via other medium.

We send the below email to the user after they uninstalled the app:


styl_gif

The stats for the uninstall mail were highly encouraging. The open rate is at a staggering 81 per cent (a good amount of credit to our subject line 'Srikanth, 2 things I’d like to tell you') and the best part is that the users respond to our mail with specific reasons. They even give us an assurance that they’d use Styl whenever they want to book their next salon appointment. All the feedback from these mails in turn has been channelled to our tech and sales team who act on priority. There were also a good amount of praises for the content in the mail from the users.

A couple of them below:

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Styl App User Feedback

In addition to the above practices, we are pleasantly surprised to see how a small change in the product and funnels highly impacts our conversion rates.

We are continually focussing on the metrics and what they imply to better our product. A recent experiment based on Nir Eyal’s Hooked is already looking good in terms of stickiness and referral and engagement. More on that in a separate blogpost.

About the Author:

Srikanth Ch, is Co-founder of Styl. The app lets you book salon appointments & pay under 3 minutes. The app lets you choose your favourite salon, stylist & service. Styl is currently live in Bangalore.

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