In our Campfire Stories, we spotlight Appi Campers and share their stories in their own words. In times like these where we are adapting to new circumstances every day, we invite you to get to know us and lean on our community- the app marketing experts and your camp friends- as we continue to grow, step forward, and learn together as a community.

Louis Tanguay's Campfire Story

Louis Tanguay is the Founder & Managing Director of App Growth Summit. Founded in 2018, App Growth Summit is an invite-only global conference series aimed at attendee experience in a VIP setting, rather than the larger, crowded sales conferences or trade shows. App Growth Summit events are currently being produced virtually until it is safe to return to in-person events. Louis currently lives in Austin, TX with his English Bulldog, Palu.

3 New Growth Strategies for App Businesses in 2021...and Beyond

With IDFA deprecation, GDPR, CCPA, and more privacy laws designed to protect user privacy (in some cases) and/or siphon off market share and additional revenue (in others), the hard truth is that user-level targeting will be completely different moving forward. Actually, it’s not “completely” different. We're actually going way back to the way things were before we were able to target individual users…and the world somehow still had successful businesses. We, as an industry, will be fine. 

Here are some future-proof strategies which will stand the test of time…because they already have.

1. Marketers Have to be Better Communicators. Period.

In the old school days of traditional ad agencies we had to create copy lines, imagery, and value propositions which resonated to our core audiences. Marketers are going to have to either get better, or we’re going to see a number of agency-based traditional and digital marketers get hired as heads of marketing and growth for apps who have the ability to drive traffic from the right people, through old fashioned connection and communication.

Those marketers who were data and spreadsheet monsters will have a tough go, because we’re going to have to shift from Left-Brained Marketing to Right-Brained Marketing. AI is going to be more Artificial and speculative, and I even see a (at least temporary) resurgence of the agency as an aid to apps, games and brands looking to maximize their app products’ efforts.

2. User Experience, Especially Onboarding, is Paramount.

This should have been something that every app considers as the key to growth…but sadly few do. The sexy metrics have always been User Acquisition, whether it’s paid (Ads) or organic (ASO). However, even when we could super-target the best Users, it doesn’t matter if that perfect User has a negative experience (especially first experience) with your app product.

Understanding that first-time and new users think and behave differently, and knowing what your core features are that are most attractive to retention, will help you improve your Day 0 and Day 1 Retention.

Most Growth professionals stop at Step 1 (acquiring users), give little consideration to Steps 2 & 3 (Onboarding, User Experience), and expect to jump straight to Step 4 (monetization) without considering the very important links in between. If you love Volkswagens (bare with me here), and want to buy a Volkswagen, but you can’t locate a dealer and when you finally show up to a dealership the experience is horrible….you can’t find where the door is, there are no sales people around, they don’t have all the models on the lot to show you, etc….you’ll probably not buy one, or at least consider going elsewhere. Same with an app. Acquiring your best users, but giving them a sub-acceptable experience, will result in what essentially will be loss of growth, efficiency, and ultimately revenue.

A User’s first time experience is currently not given the attention and weight it deserves, and far too many apps are stunting their revenue and growth opportunities by not recognizing this missing link to expansive app growth.

3. We Grow Together…or We Die Apart.

Building off my previous points, the mobile app industry has been greatly silo’ed for far too long. Paid UA (Ads) hardly speaks with Organic UA (ASO), and almost never does “that side of the download” ever speak with the CRM, Retention, or Monetization sides. All while the UX/UI team is in their little colorful corner of the office.

This started, because of the nature of early-industry fund-raising and goals. Acquisition of Users equaled if an app business was successful. This is similar to all flawed business models. You SPEND money to get users to try out your app product. However, you MAKE money by keeping your UA promises (every acquisition effort essentially is “promising” the user something, ie fun, utility, information, etc), and having a solid revenue generation strategy. This is basic Business 101, but far too many apps and games die because they had a flawed strategy from the beginning, or they Instagram themselves out of it by selling to a bigger company that changes the product for all the original users.

Apps who are looking to grow now and into the future need to be better at internal goal-sharing and information/strategy conceptualization. If your UA team knows which ads to create, or language to use to reach your best users, and your entire team is working together under specific Brand Integrity guidelines, then your entire user experience evolves into having a brand feel across your app from pre-install, to Day 7+ Retention…and beyond.

Whatever your business is, whether it’s an app, game, or brand, you have to have a holistic view of your brand, and growth strategies in order to sustain growth over time. These days, with many short-cuts and crutches removed, we have go back to the tried and true days of creating brands, great experiences, and communicating how our users should feel when interacting with our apps…and then we all continue to experience growth…and our companies are stronger for it!