How to Grow Your App Business Organically with Ankit Chandra

May 22, 2017

Jeet: Hi everybody, my name is Jeet Niyogi, and I’m the Marketing Director at Playtika Montreal. I manage the marketing for World Series of Poker, and I have today with me, Mr. Ankit Chandra from Sensor Tower. So tell us a bit about yourself, Ankit, and the company, please.

Ankit: Thanks, Jeet, it’s a pleasure to be here as well. So, I work for Sensor Tower, I’m the Director of Customer Success. So, what we do is, we’re one of the leading mobile app development data platforms, so what that means, and without the jargon, is basically, we give developers – large, smaller, medium – different data sets with which they can use that to help inform strategic decisions to acquire users.


Ankit: So that could be anything from, hey, I need to make my play store page or my app store page more appealing, I need to figure out how to get myself found, or how do I benchmark against the competition, what – if I’m primarily in the US, and I want to enter into, let’s say, the UK market, what do download and revenue estimates look like for my competition, what about UA, how do I optimize my UA, especially as, across the board, you know, CPA’s are going up, so what kind of share or voice do my competitors have, what creatives are they running to make it, you know, successful, and then our newest product, we’re just going into beta, and is usage.


Ankit: So that answers the question of who’s using my app, for how long, you know, what type of person are they, so on, and so forth, so–

Jeet: Great, great. That’s excellent, that’s excellent. Obviously, Sensor Tower is a big name in this space, and the whole mobile space, and we work with you guys and a ton of other companies too, very successfully. So tell us a little bit about the industry, what are the main challenges for an app developer, today?


Ankit: I think what you’re seeing now is something we like to refer to, internally, as the third wave of the app store, right? So the first wave of the app store was sort of like fart apps and jokes and things that nobody really took seriously, and then with the advent of things like, you know, Farmville moving over, Candy Crush starting, games really started to push apps into the consciousness, right, and then Apple’s marketing campaign, “There’s An App For That,” things like that, right? So now you – what you’ve ended up with, just like many other markets, is an extremely fragmented app store. So the challenges boil down to two very simple ones.


Ankit: How do people find me, and what do I do to get them to not only download my app but keep using it, right? And so, those challenges encompass a number of different areas within, you know, a developer’s business. Marketing is obviously the main one, but the one that I like to focus on because everybody talks about marketing is really the product. So, the product is extremely important to get right, unlike web pages, right? If you think about the advent of growth in the web, you can gain the system, you can have a – there were a lot of Geocities webpages when I was growing up, pretty bad web page, and you could get like, here, here’s the difference:


Ankit: With apps, there’s no – almost no switching cost, which means uninstalling your app is free and easy to do to switch to something else that is actually delighting you. So, focusing on your product market fit is really, really important, right?

Jeet: Right.

Ankit: And so, that encompasses – and the reason that it’s so important is, unlike the web, if you have a crappy product, I’ll just be blunt, you’re not going to have user adoption, unless – the only exception here, is unless you’re tied to a service that’s already embedded in the user’s life, so think, banking apps, right? Bank of America could have the worst app ever, nobody would use it, but nobody would quit Bank of America because it runs too many of their other parts of their life and their business.


Jeet: Right.

Ankit: But that’s a very small fraction of the total app store. So, really, you know, the challenges are, how do I get a good product market fit? So that means, how do I delight my users? How do I make them want to spend more time in the app? Um, and a lot of that is – is, you know, understanding the – the competitive landscape to see which features are coming out faster, but also really understanding you’re – your target market.

Jeet: So, as you know, I’m part of the Mobile Growth Fellowship as well, and I run the Montreal, the Canada chapter, and we have done a few of these events successfully in Montreal, Canada, and you guys have participated. So, it was great that you guys put up a talk with Uber and so, let’s get down more to the marketing space because that is my interest and my field of interest. What are the main challenges with the paid acquisition costs going higher, all marketers want to know the secret sauce to grow organically in this space?


Ankit: So, I think that there are two or three main answers, I might just highlight two of them.

Jeet: Sure.

Ankit: I think the number one thing, as you see, is… understanding brand recognition within your users. So that applies to both search behavior and your product line, as I mentioned before. So Playtika’s actually very famous for this. Playtika was one of the first companies overall in the gaming space, the casino gaming space, that had a multi-app strategy, right? So now you start to see more and more people move towards that. Uber is an example of that, they have Uber, Uber Eats, Uber Rider, you know, we’ve heard tales of Uber Freight, but they’re all secretive, things like that.


Ankit: So, a lot of it, in terms of marketing, is having the ability to have a lot of product lines that you can move people towards. The other is really focusing on understanding your user as it applies to the algorithms, so what we call App Store Optimization, so, that’s simple, but tricky things, like getting the icon right, getting your name right, keeping up with your keywords. Also being able to really take a look at the way that the experience of your app store pages, or play store pages look and incentivizing reviews at the right time, so just a quick example, that Playtika, you know, will be very familiar is, is Apple just announced the ability to prompt in-app reviews, instead of having to go to the app store, right? So you can now capture people at the moment they’re having an exciting event. That’s how, you know, I’m starting to see more and more review trends, if you look negative to positive, with people utilizing this, being massively positive after an update, because they’re timing that.


Ankit: And one of the – the, you know, just make a call out, one of the people that were doing this, way before Apple did this, was Reddit. If you look at the Reddit app reviews, it’s consistently always positive reviews after an update, because they’ve really understood their user. They didn’t just port something from the internet over, they built a product that delighted their users and was able to incentivize them to take a look at it.

Jeet: Right, no, absolutely, all core points, reviews, ratings, so important for an App Store Optimization. So, those are the questions that I had for you, thanks again for doing this and having a chat with me about – about where app developers can grow, and how, and the future challenges, so thank you again, Ankit.

Ankit: Yeah.

Jeet: A mobile industry expert who is also the most well-dressed man in the mobile business.

Ankit: I swear to God I paid him to say that.

Jeet: Thank you.

Ankit: Thank you. My pleasure.