How We Got 100K App Users For smartapp In Just 25 Days With Zero Paid Marketing

How We Got 100K App Users For smartapp In Just 25 Days With Zero Paid Marketing

With this post, I am coming out of the self imposed hiatus on all my social interactions. I was off Twitter & Medium for last 2 months because something more exciting kept me busy.

We launched a new app called smartapp which analyzes the usage patterns on your Android phone and helps you save money by creating a combo pack on prepaid. This app’s algorithm quickly scans through all the available prepaid plans in the market and instantly serves you the most optimum combination which is guaranteed to save money for prepaid users.

I am happy to announce that we touched 100k users in less than a month without spending any money on paid marketing. However, we used a referral program which gave away referral bonus* to users who brought their friends.

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Source: Google Analytics

Things that worked for us:

Extensive Beta Testing — We kept the App in closed beta for two months and thanks to over 600 testers, we were able to fix a lot of bugs and had a very healthy live release


Play Store Dashboard Allows a seamless way to beta test the app

Double Loop Referral Program — Get your friend to transact and earn 10% of her first order as a bonus. This has been our only out of pocket expense, but our cost to acquire an online transacting user is so low that if it was a norm, it would have probably forced Google to pivot to a Food tech or an Ecom company or whatever was hot back then ? This referral program went viral and generated some 100k clicks from 11k links shared across Twitter, Whatsapp, SMS & Facebook.


Power of a neatly built referral program

We created a highly personalized referral experience with painstaking attention to detail. Download the app from to experience the referral.

Reviews & Coupon Sites — We were happy to see positive reviews on several blogs post our launch and then subsequently our referral program getting listed on several coupon sites. It delivered us hundreds of users, which then brought in thousands thanks to our referral offer.

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Again, pure organic traffic got generated from here

Shamelessly Poking Friends — We have a small 15 member team and we ensured that everyone spammed their contacts & get at least 50 installs each. We were jointly able to get some 500 installs. Sorry if you got spammed by me in the process ?
I also used my personal contacts & took favors from people I knew (running startups or digital companies) who could deliver some free clicks. Every single free click was important so I ensured that I get the link placed by anyone who agreed.

Featured by Google Play Store — This was a clincher. We got noticed by Google and with several rounds of feedback & reviews, they decided to feature us on Play Store. Tip — Follow the best practices, keep the app bug free, use latest libraries, show initial traction and you may get this lovely gift from Google

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We are featured as the 1st app under New & Updated Apps

Word of Mouth & Positive Feedback — While we are still at an MVP stage, we got a very positive feedback on our App from the majority of users. We learnt a lot from negative reviews and quickly fixed issues at a rapid pace.


4.4 may not be a stellar rating, but those 144 negative reviews helped us bring positive experience for others

Distribute Everywhere — We didn’t restrict ourselves to Play Store. smartapp is available across several app stores, including many stores offering APK downloads. We consciously decided to let these stores distribute APK as long as it is not altered. As a result, we got 25% of our installs from these stores which was a nice bonus.


Get users wherever they come from

Excellent Team — I am extremely lucky to have a small yet fantastic team of young & talented engineers, exceptional UI designer & intelligent product managers. Can’t thank them enough for all the effort they have put into building smartapp. Some guys in my team are so young that they were not even born when I took my first job ?

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A shot taken at 2am on 21st November 2015 after pushing the build to production

And the cherry on the cake was our daily order count. The numbers look extremely exciting and we will be making a healthy six digit revenues (not GMV baby!) in our first month itself.

Note: The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views held by Inc42, its creators or employees. Inc42 is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by guest bloggers.

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