Most early-stage consumer internet startups aim to get to a million users. That would be a dream come true, wouldn’t it? But, how do you start on this humongous task? I think my experience at QuackQuack — the fastest growing dating app from India with 3.5 Mn users and growing at 4,000 new signups per day — can come handy for those willing to take the plunge. I’ll list out a few easy-to-use pointers that can help you reach your goal. Here we go…
Some stats about QuackQuack
Ride on free traffic
Target competitors for initial traffic
When we started QuackQuack, we were looking to get feedback from users and also some initial traffic for free. We figured that users who are already on dating sites would be a potential audience for this. We created profiles on various dating sites and invited such users to download QuackQuack. The insights gained were quite intriguing and we got our initial set of users. It was a win-win.
PS: If you’re looking to do something similar but unable to find a competitor to target, it would be better to target a related audience. For example, if you’re a fintech company, you can target users of mutual funds, insurance, loans, etc.
Ride on free SEO and ASO traffic
If your service or product has a good search intent, I’d recommend investing in search engine optimisation (SEO). For example, most of the traffic on ecommerce sites comes from search intent such as “buy iPhone online”, “price of iPhone in India” etc. At QuackQuack too, we invested a lot of efforts in this and are finally bearing the fruit of our efforts. We currently drive 60% of our traffic from SEO.
PS: You should know that SEO is time-consuming and requires experts to put in the right efforts. Depending on the competition, it can take anywhere from six months to even years to start driving traffic from SEO.
Not only SEO, if your product is an Android or iOS app, you can leverage app store optimisation (ASO) by doing some simple research on search intent keywords that can be added to your app title and app description. This can help drive installations through ASO. At Quack Quack, 15% of our traffic on Android is thanks to ASO, without which reaching our 2 Mn app installs would still be a dream.
Ride on referrals
Alright. What else can you use to ride for free? Well, the customers you just gained can help you get free referral users without having to spend any money. If your product is good, your users will be more than willing to recommend you. And if you have a win-win referral mechanism in place, they would be even more than willing to recommend you. Reward your customer with some benefits related to your product (not cash!) and see the magic happen. At QuackQuack, we’ve been able to bump up our referral userbase by up to 10% with a good referral mechanism.
Get non-organic traffic the right way
Measure ROI on ad campaigns
Most campaigns you do on Google, Facebook, Instagram, PPC have to be measured for ROI. A lot of people consider them as branding campaigns, which, tbh, (to be honest), is a myth. While branding campaigns can’t be directly measured, if you’re driving traffic to your site/app, make sure you define your success metric. Once you have defined your KPI, measure this with your ad spend. If your ad spend justifies the KPI and you see an ROI on the campaign, go ahead and scale it. If your ad campaign doesn’t deliver on your KPI, it’s time to stop and think afresh.
Know user demography
We’re a country of 500 Mn Internet users. You can’t and should not target everyone. Based on the initial traffic, you’ll figure out who your best customers are. Narrow down this user demography based on age, location, gender, etc, and target those specific users to increase ROI. Once you start getting better at this, you can start broadening your audience.
Define user personas
Split testing is your friend
Understanding user behaviour is an art. And the best way to understand user behaviour is to conduct split tests extensively to get better user engagement. At QuackQuack, we’ve been A/B testing with our UI to improve our metrics, be it to acquire users or to improve user engagement.
We have toyed with our landing pages by changing the colours of our call-to-action buttons, played around with our taglines, and even changed pictures of models to find the best converting landing pages. With all these optimisations, we were able to improve our signups by 95% while spending the same amount of money. So, while our competitors were busy burning money, we were acquiring users at lower costs.
Improvements in conversion rates thanks to A/B testing
I earnestly recommend having a focus on UI and UX if you are into consumer Internet products. A good design goes a long way in creating variations for testing. It not only helps build trust for your product, but also improves engagements massively.
Be where your users are
QuackQuack is available on desktop and mobile browsers, iOS App Store, and Android Play Store. In fact, we’re the only dating app that is available on all platforms. And the reason why we are not ‘app only’ is because we understand that our users may want to use a different method or device to access us depending on time and location. They might want to use our desktop site when in office, they might switch to a mobile browser when on the move or maybe use the installed apps. Plus, acquiring users becomes easy when you’re available on multiple mediums.
QuackQuack’s users can sign up on any device and use it on other devices helping us retain customers longer
The learning here is not that I want you to build for all platforms, but to be available where your user needs you first. For example, if you’re building a product where you need to generate leads, why build an app when a user is fine with simply filling a web form?
Focus on the core
Our product roadmap has shown that lesser features yield more engagement and more features yield less engagement. If QuackQuack, as a dating app, helps users find a mutual match, that would make users way happier than giving 10 additional features that don’t help them at all! ‘
A simple example would be of Google’s home page. It does what it’s supposed to do, no frills, yet you use it all the time. While we stripped down our app of any irrelevant features, we are also the only dating app which is ad-free, making it even less cluttered for users whose maximum attention is driven towards finding a match rather than seeing an ad.
How our app has evolved with a focus on the core functionality