How We Increased Retention by 70%

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6

Anja Obermuller (Head of Product Marketing at Training, Adidas Runtastic - running app) talks about how they increased the app retention by 70%

Source:
How We Increased Retention by 70%
(no direct link to watch/listen)
(direct link to watch/listen)
Type:
Presentation
Publication date:
April 1, 2020
Added to the Vault on:
April 6, 2020
These insights were shared through the free Growth Gems newsletter.
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💎 #
1

Even though the retention metric is what you want to optimize on, it is not tangible enough for optimization. You need a proxy metric that corresponds to an essential activity and that correlates with the retention metric. 

08:28
💎 #
2

Once the team was clear on which was the proxy metric needed to be optimized everyone came up with creative ideas on how to do so. 

11:17
💎 #
3

Launched a "featured workout" coming from a content management system. It is not hardcoded in the app so they can release a new one any time they want (independently from app release).  

13:30
💎 #
4

Launched another dynamic feature called challenges that pushes people to do something like staying active for 2 hours for the next 2 weeks. Worked great during the coronavirus crisis. 

15:10
💎 #
5

They created a "growth squad" with people from UA, CRM, product marketing and campaign management focusing on the same thing: getting users to finish their first activity (proxy metric). 

17:00
💎 #
6

Integrated in-line in-App messages to take over some of the communication within the app and talk to their users a better way. It collapses if no messages but if there is it can deep link anywhere within the app. 

17:40
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💎 #
1

Even though the retention metric is what you want to optimize on, it is not tangible enough for optimization. You need a proxy metric that corresponds to an essential activity and that correlates with the retention metric. 

08:28
💎 #
2

Once the team was clear on which was the proxy metric needed to be optimized everyone came up with creative ideas on how to do so. 

11:17
💎 #
3

Launched a "featured workout" coming from a content management system. It is not hardcoded in the app so they can release a new one any time they want (independently from app release).  

13:30
💎 #
4

Launched another dynamic feature called challenges that pushes people to do something like staying active for 2 hours for the next 2 weeks. Worked great during the coronavirus crisis. 

15:10
💎 #
5

They created a "growth squad" with people from UA, CRM, product marketing and campaign management focusing on the same thing: getting users to finish their first activity (proxy metric). 

17:00
💎 #
6

Integrated in-line in-App messages to take over some of the communication within the app and talk to their users a better way. It collapses if no messages but if there is it can deep link anywhere within the app. 

17:40
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💎 #
1

Even though the retention metric is what you want to optimize on, it is not tangible enough for optimization. You need a proxy metric that corresponds to an essential activity and that correlates with the retention metric. 

08:28
💎 #
2

Once the team was clear on which was the proxy metric needed to be optimized everyone came up with creative ideas on how to do so. 

11:17
💎 #
3

Launched a "featured workout" coming from a content management system. It is not hardcoded in the app so they can release a new one any time they want (independently from app release).  

13:30
💎 #
4

Launched another dynamic feature called challenges that pushes people to do something like staying active for 2 hours for the next 2 weeks. Worked great during the coronavirus crisis. 

15:10
💎 #
5

They created a "growth squad" with people from UA, CRM, product marketing and campaign management focusing on the same thing: getting users to finish their first activity (proxy metric). 

17:00
💎 #
6

Integrated in-line in-App messages to take over some of the communication within the app and talk to their users a better way. It collapses if no messages but if there is it can deep link anywhere within the app. 

17:40
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Understanding the metrics and current state

Started by asking themselves how often users naturally use the app to understand if the product is built for daily usage, on-demand product or somewhere in between → looked at daily vs. weekly retention.


What makes users stay?

Examples:

  • FB: users who added seven friends in ten days
  • Dropbox: it's not about creating an account. It's about users who drag at least one file into their Dropbox folder


Runtastic created their own framework for this.

  • [💎@08:28] Even though the retention metric is what you want to optimize on, it is not tangible enough for optimization. You need a proxy metric that corresponds to an essential activity and that correlates with the retention metric.


For Runtastic, it is crucial to get users to do their first activity as fast as possible (on day 0 even). It makes them much more likely to come back.


How they improved their Install to Activity rate

[💎@11:17] Once the team was clear on which was the proxy metric needed to be optimized everyone came up with creative ideas on how to do so.


User-facing changes in the product to motivate users to do their first activity:

  1. Unlocked the workouts tab that used to be behind a paywall. This created a nice bump in retention rate.
  2. Created new training plans: shorter plans for beginners, winter plans, etc.
  3. [💎@13:30] Launched a "featured workout" coming from a content management system. It is not hardcoded in the app so they can release a new one any time they want (independently from app release). Enables to give users new content as well as respond to demands from the market (e.g. family workout during coronavirus crisis).
  4. [💎@15:10] Launched another dynamic feature called challenges that pushes people to do something like staying active for 2 hours for the next 2 weeks. Worked great during the coronavirus crisis.


Accompanied product changes with product marketing:

  • They connected product, devs and marketing through agile technique. Marketing was never part of the tribe before.
  • [💎@17:00] They created a "growth squad" with people from UA, CRM, product marketing and campaign management focusing on the same thing: getting users to finish their first activity (proxy metric).
  • Communicate every feature launch through CRM, one of their best channels. This even allowed to reactivate some of their dormant users and created a spike in their retention rate.
  • [💎@17:40] Integrated in-line In-App messages to take over some of the communication within the app and talk to their users a better way. It collapses if no messages but if there is it can deep link anywhere within the app.
  • Adapted the onboarding messaging journey to the new goal. Before they were more premium and revenue focused. Now they focus on providing users the content they need to become active.
  • Optimized UA campaigns on first activity finished. They now barely see any difference between quality of organic and UA traffic in terms of retention.
  • Launch new content and communicate frequently


As a byproduct, they also increased their user ratings.

Q&A

  • Is there only a squad to focus on something specific (get people to first activity) or is it more permanent?
  • For the training app they have a training tribe with 3 development squads (product, product design, developers, test managers) that each have their own metrics and the growth squad helps wherever is needed (CRM, etc.).
  • How do you measure retention?
  • Still stick to industry standard "app session"/cohort size even though an app session is not that relevant for them. So they have their own retention rate of "sports activity"/registration.
  • How do you leverage CRM?
  • They have 2 kinds of CRM:
    One is focusing on CRM core services: collaboration with partners using Emarsys and newsletter.
    Second one are CRM managers in the squad and is focused on anything app-related: push messages, in-app messages, notifications, inbox, etc.
  • Which effect on monetization once you unlocked workouts (no more premium)?
  • It now takes longer to subscribe so they are seeing a delay for new users to purchase subscriptions and lower numbers but the focus is now on engagement.
  • Any improvements in store rankings for organic results or CPI?
  • Did changes to the app last year when became Adidas training which had a positive impact. They also invested into improving vitals which had a huge impact. After they dropped the hard paywall they also recovered their store ratings which gave them a boost and they became more eligible for features on the stores.
  • Is personalization helping you increase retention?
  • They are still at the very start of personalizing content. Right now they added questions during onboarding so they can better target them with specific content. It is something they want to look into more.
  • For in-line app messages, do you use a tool?
  • They are working with Pushwoosh which is their tool for push notification and one of their developers created an HTML template in-house to fit the UI.
  • What got into establishing the first activity as main event?
  • Pulled a lot of data to search for correlation but initially did not find anything. But she kept on going and found that first activity. They also started working with AI and now have a data scientist to build better models.
  • Which SDK do you use to analyze user activity?
  • They use their MMP Adjust and make heavy use of custom events that they use for UA but also for CRM and reporting. They also use their internal data team that provide them with more via a tool called "Click" and business/marketing now have more access to data.
  • How do you win back churn users?
  • Whenever they make big announcements, it helps them win back churned users: example with new training plans that they launch together or challenges. For dormant users new challenges work better than new feature launch.


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

Understanding the metrics and current state

Started by asking themselves how often users naturally use the app to understand if the product is built for daily usage, on-demand product or somewhere in between → looked at daily vs. weekly retention.


What makes users stay?

Examples:

  • FB: users who added seven friends in ten days
  • Dropbox: it's not about creating an account. It's about users who drag at least one file into their Dropbox folder


Runtastic created their own framework for this.

  • [💎@08:28] Even though the retention metric is what you want to optimize on, it is not tangible enough for optimization. You need a proxy metric that corresponds to an essential activity and that correlates with the retention metric.


For Runtastic, it is crucial to get users to do their first activity as fast as possible (on day 0 even). It makes them much more likely to come back.


How they improved their Install to Activity rate

[💎@11:17] Once the team was clear on which was the proxy metric needed to be optimized everyone came up with creative ideas on how to do so.


User-facing changes in the product to motivate users to do their first activity:

  1. Unlocked the workouts tab that used to be behind a paywall. This created a nice bump in retention rate.
  2. Created new training plans: shorter plans for beginners, winter plans, etc.
  3. [💎@13:30] Launched a "featured workout" coming from a content management system. It is not hardcoded in the app so they can release a new one any time they want (independently from app release). Enables to give users new content as well as respond to demands from the market (e.g. family workout during coronavirus crisis).
  4. [💎@15:10] Launched another dynamic feature called challenges that pushes people to do something like staying active for 2 hours for the next 2 weeks. Worked great during the coronavirus crisis.


Accompanied product changes with product marketing:

  • They connected product, devs and marketing through agile technique. Marketing was never part of the tribe before.
  • [💎@17:00] They created a "growth squad" with people from UA, CRM, product marketing and campaign management focusing on the same thing: getting users to finish their first activity (proxy metric).
  • Communicate every feature launch through CRM, one of their best channels. This even allowed to reactivate some of their dormant users and created a spike in their retention rate.
  • [💎@17:40] Integrated in-line In-App messages to take over some of the communication within the app and talk to their users a better way. It collapses if no messages but if there is it can deep link anywhere within the app.
  • Adapted the onboarding messaging journey to the new goal. Before they were more premium and revenue focused. Now they focus on providing users the content they need to become active.
  • Optimized UA campaigns on first activity finished. They now barely see any difference between quality of organic and UA traffic in terms of retention.
  • Launch new content and communicate frequently


As a byproduct, they also increased their user ratings.

Q&A

  • Is there only a squad to focus on something specific (get people to first activity) or is it more permanent?
  • For the training app they have a training tribe with 3 development squads (product, product design, developers, test managers) that each have their own metrics and the growth squad helps wherever is needed (CRM, etc.).
  • How do you measure retention?
  • Still stick to industry standard "app session"/cohort size even though an app session is not that relevant for them. So they have their own retention rate of "sports activity"/registration.
  • How do you leverage CRM?
  • They have 2 kinds of CRM:
    One is focusing on CRM core services: collaboration with partners using Emarsys and newsletter.
    Second one are CRM managers in the squad and is focused on anything app-related: push messages, in-app messages, notifications, inbox, etc.
  • Which effect on monetization once you unlocked workouts (no more premium)?
  • It now takes longer to subscribe so they are seeing a delay for new users to purchase subscriptions and lower numbers but the focus is now on engagement.
  • Any improvements in store rankings for organic results or CPI?
  • Did changes to the app last year when became Adidas training which had a positive impact. They also invested into improving vitals which had a huge impact. After they dropped the hard paywall they also recovered their store ratings which gave them a boost and they became more eligible for features on the stores.
  • Is personalization helping you increase retention?
  • They are still at the very start of personalizing content. Right now they added questions during onboarding so they can better target them with specific content. It is something they want to look into more.
  • For in-line app messages, do you use a tool?
  • They are working with Pushwoosh which is their tool for push notification and one of their developers created an HTML template in-house to fit the UI.
  • What got into establishing the first activity as main event?
  • Pulled a lot of data to search for correlation but initially did not find anything. But she kept on going and found that first activity. They also started working with AI and now have a data scientist to build better models.
  • Which SDK do you use to analyze user activity?
  • They use their MMP Adjust and make heavy use of custom events that they use for UA but also for CRM and reporting. They also use their internal data team that provide them with more via a tool called "Click" and business/marketing now have more access to data.
  • How do you win back churn users?
  • Whenever they make big announcements, it helps them win back churned users: example with new training plans that they launch together or challenges. For dormant users new challenges work better than new feature launch.


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↘ At this point, you know what to do ↙
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Understanding the metrics and current state

Started by asking themselves how often users naturally use the app to understand if the product is built for daily usage, on-demand product or somewhere in between → looked at daily vs. weekly retention.


What makes users stay?

Examples:

  • FB: users who added seven friends in ten days
  • Dropbox: it's not about creating an account. It's about users who drag at least one file into their Dropbox folder


Runtastic created their own framework for this.

  • [💎@08:28] Even though the retention metric is what you want to optimize on, it is not tangible enough for optimization. You need a proxy metric that corresponds to an essential activity and that correlates with the retention metric.


For Runtastic, it is crucial to get users to do their first activity as fast as possible (on day 0 even). It makes them much more likely to come back.


How they improved their Install to Activity rate

[💎@11:17] Once the team was clear on which was the proxy metric needed to be optimized everyone came up with creative ideas on how to do so.


User-facing changes in the product to motivate users to do their first activity:

  1. Unlocked the workouts tab that used to be behind a paywall. This created a nice bump in retention rate.
  2. Created new training plans: shorter plans for beginners, winter plans, etc.
  3. [💎@13:30] Launched a "featured workout" coming from a content management system. It is not hardcoded in the app so they can release a new one any time they want (independently from app release). Enables to give users new content as well as respond to demands from the market (e.g. family workout during coronavirus crisis).
  4. [💎@15:10] Launched another dynamic feature called challenges that pushes people to do something like staying active for 2 hours for the next 2 weeks. Worked great during the coronavirus crisis.


Accompanied product changes with product marketing:

  • They connected product, devs and marketing through agile technique. Marketing was never part of the tribe before.
  • [💎@17:00] They created a "growth squad" with people from UA, CRM, product marketing and campaign management focusing on the same thing: getting users to finish their first activity (proxy metric).
  • Communicate every feature launch through CRM, one of their best channels. This even allowed to reactivate some of their dormant users and created a spike in their retention rate.
  • [💎@17:40] Integrated in-line In-App messages to take over some of the communication within the app and talk to their users a better way. It collapses if no messages but if there is it can deep link anywhere within the app.
  • Adapted the onboarding messaging journey to the new goal. Before they were more premium and revenue focused. Now they focus on providing users the content they need to become active.
  • Optimized UA campaigns on first activity finished. They now barely see any difference between quality of organic and UA traffic in terms of retention.
  • Launch new content and communicate frequently


As a byproduct, they also increased their user ratings.

Q&A

  • Is there only a squad to focus on something specific (get people to first activity) or is it more permanent?
  • For the training app they have a training tribe with 3 development squads (product, product design, developers, test managers) that each have their own metrics and the growth squad helps wherever is needed (CRM, etc.).
  • How do you measure retention?
  • Still stick to industry standard "app session"/cohort size even though an app session is not that relevant for them. So they have their own retention rate of "sports activity"/registration.
  • How do you leverage CRM?
  • They have 2 kinds of CRM:
    One is focusing on CRM core services: collaboration with partners using Emarsys and newsletter.
    Second one are CRM managers in the squad and is focused on anything app-related: push messages, in-app messages, notifications, inbox, etc.
  • Which effect on monetization once you unlocked workouts (no more premium)?
  • It now takes longer to subscribe so they are seeing a delay for new users to purchase subscriptions and lower numbers but the focus is now on engagement.
  • Any improvements in store rankings for organic results or CPI?
  • Did changes to the app last year when became Adidas training which had a positive impact. They also invested into improving vitals which had a huge impact. After they dropped the hard paywall they also recovered their store ratings which gave them a boost and they became more eligible for features on the stores.
  • Is personalization helping you increase retention?
  • They are still at the very start of personalizing content. Right now they added questions during onboarding so they can better target them with specific content. It is something they want to look into more.
  • For in-line app messages, do you use a tool?
  • They are working with Pushwoosh which is their tool for push notification and one of their developers created an HTML template in-house to fit the UI.
  • What got into establishing the first activity as main event?
  • Pulled a lot of data to search for correlation but initially did not find anything. But she kept on going and found that first activity. They also started working with AI and now have a data scientist to build better models.
  • Which SDK do you use to analyze user activity?
  • They use their MMP Adjust and make heavy use of custom events that they use for UA but also for CRM and reporting. They also use their internal data team that provide them with more via a tool called "Click" and business/marketing now have more access to data.
  • How do you win back churn users?
  • Whenever they make big announcements, it helps them win back churned users: example with new training plans that they launch together or challenges. For dormant users new challenges work better than new feature launch.