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How to get and keep an audience

January 2016 • Nick Sunseri

How to get and keep an audience

This is a guest post from Nick Sunseri who has been working on growth at Facebook for 7 years, and currently leads a Growth Marketing team.

How to get and keep an audience

Even the biggest apps need to constantly work to keep building their customer bases. There’s a lot of competition out there – apps, devices, ads, promotions – all vying for our attention. As a developer, it’s more important than ever to understand and follow an organized plan for growth and retention. Sure, you want to get your audience to download your app, but more importantly you want to build a loyal fan base that will keep coming back.

So, how do you do that?

It’s less growth hacking, and more about growth engineering. Make your product one that is inherently going to grow. Let’s take a look at some ways to make that happen.

Appeal to people through a great product with market fit

The first step, of course, is to build a great app – something that people will be drawn to and enjoy experiencing. It needs to be high quality and fulfill a need. Whether it’s a fun, lighthearted game or a productivity app to help people stay organized at work, your app needs to have market fit. From graphics to ease of use and functionality, having a great product is key.

After you’ve built your app, how do you know if it’s actually a “great product?” It’s all in the numbers. Do people keep using your product? Take a look at your Facebook Analytics data, and be sure to focus on retention. This metric goes beyond how many people you’ve acquired and actually examines how often they’re coming back, and how long their attention is focused on your app – days after they’ve downloaded. Retention is a key metric for determining how well your app is resonating with people – if you have stable, steady retention rates, you’re already well on your way to growing.

retention chart

Retention chart in Facebook Analytics

Fight for success

This may seem like a no-brainer, but in order to grow, you need to actually be focused on growth. Getting the right product out there is crucial, but without putting it in front of the right users at the right time, it’s not going to mean as much.

mousetrap cartoon

You can’t simply build an app and expect an audience and success to follow – you need to constantly be building momentum, monitoring wins (number of downloads, retention, engagement rate, etc.) and analyzing what’s working and what’s not. That's where an analytics tools like Facebook Analytics can help you understand how well your app is performing and discover opportunities for improvement. Then, you need to improve the overall experience based on your findings. Keep listening to the data, keep optimizing.

Set your team up for success

It’s important to realize that success is also what you put into it. Explosive growth is much like starting a fire, you need the lighter fluid (your winning strategy and data to back it up), and embers (a great product and group of innovators) in order to spark and catch fire. Once you bring all those components together, your app will be a blazing success.

Use better targeting

Use Facebook Analytics to go beyond demographic data to connect with the right people, in the right place, at the right time. In the old way of targeting, someone selling razors might target “Men Age 35-55.” Targeting behaviorally, based on what someone is doing, is always better than targeting solely on demographics. For example, we looked at ways to re-engage with page admins who started to fill out the form to create an ad on Facebook, but – like any form online – they abandoned it. We followed up with a personalized promotion that took the image they’d uploaded, the targeting they’d chosen, and invited them to finish their ad. This resulted in a 12% lift in conversion rate of that flow. This was a successful example of behavioral targeting, and one that you can adapt to any form you have on your website or in your app.

Promote growth in the right place, persistently

Take a look at behaviors to better reach your ideal audience, and see what engages them. Then, deliver your content persistently, with strong calls to action and personalization. This will drive people to your app and help them feel more strongly connected to it.

Personalization always wins

Online, you have tools not available to traditional advertising – you have the ability to personalize. A great example of this is a Facebook ad credit promotion which we sent to page administrators encouraging them to advertise. Just by adding some personalized details to the email – the number of people who like your page, page name, number of recent new connections – we drove 40% lift on people claiming the coupon.

Is growth navigation and button placement? Is it promotion? Yes, it’s all of this. Successful growth teams think about the whole product and what they need to do to optimize it. Start thinking like a growth engineer instead of a growth hacker, and choose an analytics tool like Facebook Analytics to Apps to watch your app grow!

Author

Nick Sunseri
Growth Marketing Manager
Facebook Analytics