Growth Without Paid UA

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14

Esther Shatz (VP Consultancy & Product Marketing at Storevamen) and Dora Trostanetsky (Director Growth Marketing at SoundCloud - music platform) discuss the audio platform's amazing journey to the top of the charts, without even spending money on UA.

Source:
Growth Without Paid UA
(no direct link to watch/listen)
(direct link to watch/listen)
Type:
Podcast
Publication date:
January 20, 2021
Added to the Vault on:
March 14, 2021
These insights were shared through the free Growth Gems newsletter.
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💎 #
1

For a “content” app like SoundCloud, listening time is the number one engagement metric because it proves users are finding value.

02:40
💎 #
2

Optimizing by including very relevant keywords to the app’s title and subtitle fields on iOS has brought a great increase in “semantic dictionary” for generic keywords but also traffic from similar brands.

08:42
💎 #
3

If you test a new keyword or keyword combination and you don’t rank in the top 5 (min Top 10), then you might want to reconsider.

13:15
💎 #
4

Give your new keywords or keyword combinations a couple of weeks to make sure that the information has been picked up.

14:12
💎 #
5

After a couple of months of testing you have a very stable keyword set where 70% of keywords bring you really good traffic. Use the 30% remaining to keep experimenting to optimize.

15:07
💎 #
6

Things can change so if you’ve made progress you can try again new keywords that haven’t worked in the past.

17:21
💎 #
7

Look at your browse and search traffic in the iTunes Console (especially because Apple use to misattribute between the two) to understand how your traffic is evolving to understand the impact of your organic traffic.

19:55
💎 #
8

Work closely with the paid marketing team to make sure that the journey is pretty seamless between the ad that the user sees and the screenshots on the App Store.

21:12
💎 #
9

SoundCloud worked with an agency and the CRM team to put in place an onboarding where they ask people to tell them more about their music preferences and the genres they like. This enables SoundCloud to serve users very personalized messages (genres, recommendations).

23:07
💎 #
10

SoundCloud users are very knowledgeable in terms of music and do not like to get guided, and they might get impatient and skip onboarding. This will always happen, but you want to monitor user drop off at each step.

25:25
💎 #
11

To reduce the onboarding skip rate, SoundCloud added a screen before the questions to explain to users what’s in it for them. They tested 5 or 6 value propositions and it completely killed the conversion.

26:55
💎 #
12

It can be much faster to execute and iterate with CRM when it comes to onboarding and proving if it makes sense or not. You don’t necessarily need development resources and only actually build something if results are good.

29:27
💎 #
13

Don’t bother power users with too many messages because they know what they’re doing already. Don’t disrupt the experience or get in their way.

34:43
💎 #
14

Go and read a lot online, especially if you’re getting started. There are many amazing resources and it will allow you to learn a lot. Ask questions in the community.

36:33
The "gems" from this resource are only available to premium members.
  • Unlock access to gems from over 130 mobile growth resources
  • Define your preferred categories and receive new relevant gems directly in your inbox
  • Discuss key insights (and any other mobile growth topic) in the members-only community.
Upgrade Your Plan
💎 #
1

For a “content” app like SoundCloud, listening time is the number one engagement metric because it proves users are finding value.

02:40
💎 #
2

Optimizing by including very relevant keywords to the app’s title and subtitle fields on iOS has brought a great increase in “semantic dictionary” for generic keywords but also traffic from similar brands.

08:42
💎 #
3

If you test a new keyword or keyword combination and you don’t rank in the top 5 (min Top 10), then you might want to reconsider.

13:15
💎 #
4

Give your new keywords or keyword combinations a couple of weeks to make sure that the information has been picked up.

14:12
💎 #
5

After a couple of months of testing you have a very stable keyword set where 70% of keywords bring you really good traffic. Use the 30% remaining to keep experimenting to optimize.

15:07
💎 #
6

Things can change so if you’ve made progress you can try again new keywords that haven’t worked in the past.

17:21
💎 #
7

Look at your browse and search traffic in the iTunes Console (especially because Apple use to misattribute between the two) to understand how your traffic is evolving to understand the impact of your organic traffic.

19:55
💎 #
8

Work closely with the paid marketing team to make sure that the journey is pretty seamless between the ad that the user sees and the screenshots on the App Store.

21:12
💎 #
9

SoundCloud worked with an agency and the CRM team to put in place an onboarding where they ask people to tell them more about their music preferences and the genres they like. This enables SoundCloud to serve users very personalized messages (genres, recommendations).

23:07
💎 #
10

SoundCloud users are very knowledgeable in terms of music and do not like to get guided, and they might get impatient and skip onboarding. This will always happen, but you want to monitor user drop off at each step.

25:25
💎 #
11

To reduce the onboarding skip rate, SoundCloud added a screen before the questions to explain to users what’s in it for them. They tested 5 or 6 value propositions and it completely killed the conversion.

26:55
💎 #
12

It can be much faster to execute and iterate with CRM when it comes to onboarding and proving if it makes sense or not. You don’t necessarily need development resources and only actually build something if results are good.

29:27
💎 #
13

Don’t bother power users with too many messages because they know what they’re doing already. Don’t disrupt the experience or get in their way.

34:43
💎 #
14

Go and read a lot online, especially if you’re getting started. There are many amazing resources and it will allow you to learn a lot. Ask questions in the community.

36:33
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💎 #
1

For a “content” app like SoundCloud, listening time is the number one engagement metric because it proves users are finding value.

02:40
💎 #
2

Optimizing by including very relevant keywords to the app’s title and subtitle fields on iOS has brought a great increase in “semantic dictionary” for generic keywords but also traffic from similar brands.

08:42
💎 #
3

If you test a new keyword or keyword combination and you don’t rank in the top 5 (min Top 10), then you might want to reconsider.

13:15
💎 #
4

Give your new keywords or keyword combinations a couple of weeks to make sure that the information has been picked up.

14:12
💎 #
5

After a couple of months of testing you have a very stable keyword set where 70% of keywords bring you really good traffic. Use the 30% remaining to keep experimenting to optimize.

15:07
💎 #
6

Things can change so if you’ve made progress you can try again new keywords that haven’t worked in the past.

17:21
💎 #
7

Look at your browse and search traffic in the iTunes Console (especially because Apple use to misattribute between the two) to understand how your traffic is evolving to understand the impact of your organic traffic.

19:55
💎 #
8

Work closely with the paid marketing team to make sure that the journey is pretty seamless between the ad that the user sees and the screenshots on the App Store.

21:12
💎 #
9

SoundCloud worked with an agency and the CRM team to put in place an onboarding where they ask people to tell them more about their music preferences and the genres they like. This enables SoundCloud to serve users very personalized messages (genres, recommendations).

23:07
💎 #
10

SoundCloud users are very knowledgeable in terms of music and do not like to get guided, and they might get impatient and skip onboarding. This will always happen, but you want to monitor user drop off at each step.

25:25
💎 #
11

To reduce the onboarding skip rate, SoundCloud added a screen before the questions to explain to users what’s in it for them. They tested 5 or 6 value propositions and it completely killed the conversion.

26:55
💎 #
12

It can be much faster to execute and iterate with CRM when it comes to onboarding and proving if it makes sense or not. You don’t necessarily need development resources and only actually build something if results are good.

29:27
💎 #
13

Don’t bother power users with too many messages because they know what they’re doing already. Don’t disrupt the experience or get in their way.

34:43
💎 #
14

Go and read a lot online, especially if you’re getting started. There are many amazing resources and it will allow you to learn a lot. Ask questions in the community.

36:33
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Notes for this resource are currently being transferred and will be available soon.

Main KPIs

Basic one but also “vanity metrics”: Monthly Active Users (MAU)

Other ones that go deeper

  • Stickiness and how many of daily active users are coming back (DAU/MAU ratio)
  • [💎@02:40] For a “content” app like SoundCloud, listening time is the number one engagement metric because it proves users are finding value.

SoundCloud has had millions of downloads, with US, UK and Western Europe being the biggest markets. But it’s also a very international product.

Up until today SoundCloud has been relying on organic and has now started experimenting with paid channels. Because it is a very competitive market, especially if you include apps like TikTok, YouTube, etc.

Reason SoundCloud could grow organically

It’s easy to track online efforts (e.g. sharing) but hard to measure what’s happening offline (word of mouth like people going to school, finding new artists, etc.).

SoundCloud is a place where you find artists that are just starting. People are going to the app to find something really new and unique before it hits the charts. That’s their unique value proposition.

How to market an app that people already know

When she joined, there was no ASO in place. There were a few broad and high volume keywords SoundCloud was already ranking very well for, and she was worried optimization would not really move the needle.

[💎@08:42] Optimizing by including very relevant keywords to the app’s title and subtitle fields on iOS has brought a great increase in “semantic dictionary” for generic keywords but also traffic from similar brands.

They started ranking a lot for competitor brand searches and “similar apps” (apps you might also like).

Even though it’s hard to convince people that are looking for a competitor to download your app, it has brought great results.

Competitors have been very aggressive with paid acquisition, which makes it hard to rank high in the App Store where the most important is the volume (and velocity) of downloads.

Practical keyword optimization advice

It’s trial and error.

[💎@13:15] If you test a new keyword or keyword combination and you don’t rank in the top 5 (min Top 10), then you might want to reconsider.

Try to go for the biggest keywords. For some of them it works, for others it doesn’t. As much as a keyword is relevant it doesn’t make sense to keep it if you’re not ranked well.

[💎@14:12] Give your new keywords or keyword combinations a couple of weeks to make sure that the information has been picked up.

Dora tried to let some keywords run for longer than a couple of weeks and sometimes it worked, but probably due to other factors.

[💎@15:07] After a couple of months of testing you have a very stable keyword set where 70% of keywords bring you really good traffic. Use the 30% remaining to keep experimenting to optimize.

At one point it becomes more like maintenance.

Moving from 40 to 30 doesn’t make a real impact, but 4 to 3 does. And some keywords are just hard to break into.

[💎@17:21] Things can change so if you’ve made progress you can try again new keywords that haven’t worked in the past.

Measuring the impact of your keyword strategy

SoundCloud relies on AppTweak and monitors generic vs. brand vs. similar brand keywords and volume. This is how they understand the app’s trend.

There is also an App Visibility score which is an indicator of how strong your brand is.

[💎@19:55] Look at your browse and search traffic in the iTunes Console (especially because Apple use to misattribute between the two) to understand how your traffic is evolving to understand the impact of your organic traffic.

[💎@21:12] Work closely with the paid marketing team to make sure that the journey is pretty seamless between the ad that the user sees and the screenshots on the App Store.

Activation after the install

Depending on your product you have different onboardings (some do not even require any).

[💎@23:07] They’ve worked with an agency and the CRM team to put in place an onboarding where they ask people to tell them more about their music preferences and the genres they like. This enables SoundCloud to serve users very personalized messages (genres, recommendations).

Once users start listening to the content, they educate users on how to use the product: like, building your library, etc.

[💎@25:25] SoundCloud users are very knowledgeable in terms of music and do not like to get guided, and they might get impatient and skip onboarding. This will always happen, but you want to monitor user drop off at each step.

[💎@26:55] To reduce the onboarding skip rate, SoundCloud added a screen before the questions to explain to users what’s in it for them. They tested 5 or 6 value propositions and it completely killed the conversion.

Why work with CRM for onboarding optimization?

[💎@29:27] It can be much faster to execute and iterate with CRM when it comes to onboarding and proving if it makes sense or not. You don’t necessarily need development resources and only actually build something if results are good.

How to improve retention?

SoundCloud has buckets of users. Not only different genres but also different frequencies of usage. They’ve run a lot of cohort analysis to try and find patterns.

Usage is spread all around the place, which makes it hard to find an engagement metric. 

[💎@34:43] Don’t bother power users with too many messages because they know what they’re doing already. Don’t disrupt the experience or get in their way.

Tips when you get started

[💎@36:33] Go and read a lot online, especially if you’re getting started. There are many amazing resources and it will allow you to learn a lot. Ask questions in the community.


The notes from this resource are only available to premium members.
↘ At this point, you know what to do ↙
Upgrade Your Plan

Main KPIs

Basic one but also “vanity metrics”: Monthly Active Users (MAU)

Other ones that go deeper

  • Stickiness and how many of daily active users are coming back (DAU/MAU ratio)
  • [💎@02:40] For a “content” app like SoundCloud, listening time is the number one engagement metric because it proves users are finding value.

SoundCloud has had millions of downloads, with US, UK and Western Europe being the biggest markets. But it’s also a very international product.

Up until today SoundCloud has been relying on organic and has now started experimenting with paid channels. Because it is a very competitive market, especially if you include apps like TikTok, YouTube, etc.

Reason SoundCloud could grow organically

It’s easy to track online efforts (e.g. sharing) but hard to measure what’s happening offline (word of mouth like people going to school, finding new artists, etc.).

SoundCloud is a place where you find artists that are just starting. People are going to the app to find something really new and unique before it hits the charts. That’s their unique value proposition.

How to market an app that people already know

When she joined, there was no ASO in place. There were a few broad and high volume keywords SoundCloud was already ranking very well for, and she was worried optimization would not really move the needle.

[💎@08:42] Optimizing by including very relevant keywords to the app’s title and subtitle fields on iOS has brought a great increase in “semantic dictionary” for generic keywords but also traffic from similar brands.

They started ranking a lot for competitor brand searches and “similar apps” (apps you might also like).

Even though it’s hard to convince people that are looking for a competitor to download your app, it has brought great results.

Competitors have been very aggressive with paid acquisition, which makes it hard to rank high in the App Store where the most important is the volume (and velocity) of downloads.

Practical keyword optimization advice

It’s trial and error.

[💎@13:15] If you test a new keyword or keyword combination and you don’t rank in the top 5 (min Top 10), then you might want to reconsider.

Try to go for the biggest keywords. For some of them it works, for others it doesn’t. As much as a keyword is relevant it doesn’t make sense to keep it if you’re not ranked well.

[💎@14:12] Give your new keywords or keyword combinations a couple of weeks to make sure that the information has been picked up.

Dora tried to let some keywords run for longer than a couple of weeks and sometimes it worked, but probably due to other factors.

[💎@15:07] After a couple of months of testing you have a very stable keyword set where 70% of keywords bring you really good traffic. Use the 30% remaining to keep experimenting to optimize.

At one point it becomes more like maintenance.

Moving from 40 to 30 doesn’t make a real impact, but 4 to 3 does. And some keywords are just hard to break into.

[💎@17:21] Things can change so if you’ve made progress you can try again new keywords that haven’t worked in the past.

Measuring the impact of your keyword strategy

SoundCloud relies on AppTweak and monitors generic vs. brand vs. similar brand keywords and volume. This is how they understand the app’s trend.

There is also an App Visibility score which is an indicator of how strong your brand is.

[💎@19:55] Look at your browse and search traffic in the iTunes Console (especially because Apple use to misattribute between the two) to understand how your traffic is evolving to understand the impact of your organic traffic.

[💎@21:12] Work closely with the paid marketing team to make sure that the journey is pretty seamless between the ad that the user sees and the screenshots on the App Store.

Activation after the install

Depending on your product you have different onboardings (some do not even require any).

[💎@23:07] They’ve worked with an agency and the CRM team to put in place an onboarding where they ask people to tell them more about their music preferences and the genres they like. This enables SoundCloud to serve users very personalized messages (genres, recommendations).

Once users start listening to the content, they educate users on how to use the product: like, building your library, etc.

[💎@25:25] SoundCloud users are very knowledgeable in terms of music and do not like to get guided, and they might get impatient and skip onboarding. This will always happen, but you want to monitor user drop off at each step.

[💎@26:55] To reduce the onboarding skip rate, SoundCloud added a screen before the questions to explain to users what’s in it for them. They tested 5 or 6 value propositions and it completely killed the conversion.

Why work with CRM for onboarding optimization?

[💎@29:27] It can be much faster to execute and iterate with CRM when it comes to onboarding and proving if it makes sense or not. You don’t necessarily need development resources and only actually build something if results are good.

How to improve retention?

SoundCloud has buckets of users. Not only different genres but also different frequencies of usage. They’ve run a lot of cohort analysis to try and find patterns.

Usage is spread all around the place, which makes it hard to find an engagement metric. 

[💎@34:43] Don’t bother power users with too many messages because they know what they’re doing already. Don’t disrupt the experience or get in their way.

Tips when you get started

[💎@36:33] Go and read a lot online, especially if you’re getting started. There are many amazing resources and it will allow you to learn a lot. Ask questions in the community.


The notes from this resource are only available to premium members.

The detailed notes taken for a resource are an easy way to see the gems in context to get a better understanding. They also include any relevant visuals from the source.
↘ At this point, you know what to do ↙
Request Access

Main KPIs

Basic one but also “vanity metrics”: Monthly Active Users (MAU)

Other ones that go deeper

  • Stickiness and how many of daily active users are coming back (DAU/MAU ratio)
  • [💎@02:40] For a “content” app like SoundCloud, listening time is the number one engagement metric because it proves users are finding value.

SoundCloud has had millions of downloads, with US, UK and Western Europe being the biggest markets. But it’s also a very international product.

Up until today SoundCloud has been relying on organic and has now started experimenting with paid channels. Because it is a very competitive market, especially if you include apps like TikTok, YouTube, etc.

Reason SoundCloud could grow organically

It’s easy to track online efforts (e.g. sharing) but hard to measure what’s happening offline (word of mouth like people going to school, finding new artists, etc.).

SoundCloud is a place where you find artists that are just starting. People are going to the app to find something really new and unique before it hits the charts. That’s their unique value proposition.

How to market an app that people already know

When she joined, there was no ASO in place. There were a few broad and high volume keywords SoundCloud was already ranking very well for, and she was worried optimization would not really move the needle.

[💎@08:42] Optimizing by including very relevant keywords to the app’s title and subtitle fields on iOS has brought a great increase in “semantic dictionary” for generic keywords but also traffic from similar brands.

They started ranking a lot for competitor brand searches and “similar apps” (apps you might also like).

Even though it’s hard to convince people that are looking for a competitor to download your app, it has brought great results.

Competitors have been very aggressive with paid acquisition, which makes it hard to rank high in the App Store where the most important is the volume (and velocity) of downloads.

Practical keyword optimization advice

It’s trial and error.

[💎@13:15] If you test a new keyword or keyword combination and you don’t rank in the top 5 (min Top 10), then you might want to reconsider.

Try to go for the biggest keywords. For some of them it works, for others it doesn’t. As much as a keyword is relevant it doesn’t make sense to keep it if you’re not ranked well.

[💎@14:12] Give your new keywords or keyword combinations a couple of weeks to make sure that the information has been picked up.

Dora tried to let some keywords run for longer than a couple of weeks and sometimes it worked, but probably due to other factors.

[💎@15:07] After a couple of months of testing you have a very stable keyword set where 70% of keywords bring you really good traffic. Use the 30% remaining to keep experimenting to optimize.

At one point it becomes more like maintenance.

Moving from 40 to 30 doesn’t make a real impact, but 4 to 3 does. And some keywords are just hard to break into.

[💎@17:21] Things can change so if you’ve made progress you can try again new keywords that haven’t worked in the past.

Measuring the impact of your keyword strategy

SoundCloud relies on AppTweak and monitors generic vs. brand vs. similar brand keywords and volume. This is how they understand the app’s trend.

There is also an App Visibility score which is an indicator of how strong your brand is.

[💎@19:55] Look at your browse and search traffic in the iTunes Console (especially because Apple use to misattribute between the two) to understand how your traffic is evolving to understand the impact of your organic traffic.

[💎@21:12] Work closely with the paid marketing team to make sure that the journey is pretty seamless between the ad that the user sees and the screenshots on the App Store.

Activation after the install

Depending on your product you have different onboardings (some do not even require any).

[💎@23:07] They’ve worked with an agency and the CRM team to put in place an onboarding where they ask people to tell them more about their music preferences and the genres they like. This enables SoundCloud to serve users very personalized messages (genres, recommendations).

Once users start listening to the content, they educate users on how to use the product: like, building your library, etc.

[💎@25:25] SoundCloud users are very knowledgeable in terms of music and do not like to get guided, and they might get impatient and skip onboarding. This will always happen, but you want to monitor user drop off at each step.

[💎@26:55] To reduce the onboarding skip rate, SoundCloud added a screen before the questions to explain to users what’s in it for them. They tested 5 or 6 value propositions and it completely killed the conversion.

Why work with CRM for onboarding optimization?

[💎@29:27] It can be much faster to execute and iterate with CRM when it comes to onboarding and proving if it makes sense or not. You don’t necessarily need development resources and only actually build something if results are good.

How to improve retention?

SoundCloud has buckets of users. Not only different genres but also different frequencies of usage. They’ve run a lot of cohort analysis to try and find patterns.

Usage is spread all around the place, which makes it hard to find an engagement metric. 

[💎@34:43] Don’t bother power users with too many messages because they know what they’re doing already. Don’t disrupt the experience or get in their way.

Tips when you get started

[💎@36:33] Go and read a lot online, especially if you’re getting started. There are many amazing resources and it will allow you to learn a lot. Ask questions in the community.