Stuck on your product and don’t know what to do next? Follow this!

Often, while building products we get stuck. We believe we did everything we could still, it didn’t work. I have come across this situation multiple times while building products. Hence, I decided to create a framework to help surpass the situation.

All situations mentioned below are real examples of different apps I have worked on. This will be very useful for people who are building products in consumer space.

Situation 1: How to improve the Onboarding drop off funnel?

Only 60% of the users are entering the home page.

For one of the apps, for every 100 users that installed the app, only 60 users were landing on the home page of the app. 40 users were dropping off at various points in the onboarding. When we did the analysis, we saw a 15% drop off in the OTP verification. 10% drop off while entering their details. Another 10% drop off while selecting interests. 5% drop off at the launch itself.

Things we did to improve the funnel:

  1. Reduced the number of steps to land on the home page

  2. Improved the designs of the onboarding screens

  3. Change the OTP service to ensure OTP gets delivered on time.

After releasing the revised version, we saw a minor 10% improvement in the data. Still, a 30% drop off was huge.

We got stuck! We had to do something opposite of what we were trying.

Re-Work:

  1. We worked on the narrative. We did text changes. We made it ultra basic for any damn user to understand what the app does.

  2. We used some hacks to reduce the drop off at OTP verification. We used to auto-detect the phone number, show that as a pop-up for users to choose from. Once the user tapped on any number, we marked those as verified. We removed the OTP verification process altogether. Our hypothesis was, if users were choosing the number from the pre-emptive pop-up (a google service), it’s unlikely that the number chosen is wrong.

  3. We brought the core proposition of the app in the front. For eg — This was an English Learning App. At the onboarding itself, we gained the trust of the users by putting up a short interactive action-based reward loop of how quickly they will learn English.

Action: Select a word

Reward: A tutor speaking how to pronounce that word.

Result: Trust on the method of how my (user) English is going to improve.

Situation 2: How to improve the D1 retention of the app? D1 retention was 12%.

Out of 100 users who opened the app on Day 0 (the day they installed the app), only 12 users came back the next day to use the app.

Things we did to improve this number:

  1. We talked to the users.

  2. We set up notifications for D1 users (users who installed the app one day before)

  3. We improved the D0 feed

After doing the above changes, we saw a 4% increase in D1. Which wasn’t good.

We were out of ideas. We couldn’t figure out why people won’t come the next day?

Re-Work

  1. We downloaded 5 other apps in the same domain and tried using it for a few days. We started tearing it down. The onboarding, new user interactions, the notifications one receives the next day, the social proofing. Everything. And we kept a note of what they did uniquely.

  2. Then we started tearing down our application. And started working on the changes. What’s the source of the users and accordingly, define the user journey. For example, if the source of the user is coming from some specific UTM category, we started landing the user directly to that category. What’s the onboarding experience. Onboarding doesn’t stop number verification. It’s the entire experience of the user on the first day of using the application. We didn’t unlock all the elements of the app at one go. We changed the designs and unlocked different features as and when the user found the need for such features. For example, we had an option to set an alarm. We didn’t show that option until the user finds the need to explicitly set the alarm.

  3. What were our power users doing? We observed the behavior of our power users who were coming on the app on D30 and tried to understand the path they follow. We brought that experience at the front of the app. For example, we saw a majority of the power users discover content by going to a particular category and then deciding what content to consume. Though, in our designs category view was hidden. We decided to change the designs and have the home page as just a view of all the categories.

Result: We saw the D1 retention moving to 35%. This was remarkable.

Situation 3: How to improve the D30 retention D30 retention was 5%.

Out of 100 users who installed the app on Day 0, only 5 users were opening the app on Day 30

Things we did to improve this number:

  1. We thought if we keep improving our D1, minimize that drop of 100 to 35, we will automatically improve D30. So we kept improving D1.

  2. It reached to 50% but D30 improved only by 1%. We had set a target of 10%.

This time, we had seriously nothing. No ideas. We didn’t know how to bring the users back on the app repeatedly.

We started thinking from first principles.

Re-Work

We observed three things that were bringing our users back on the app:

  1. Notifications

  2. Content

  3. Alarm or reminders

We dived deep into all these three things and tried tearing it down further. We asked questions like:

  1. Are the notifications getting delivered to all the users?

  2. What’s the shareability ratio? (share/view ratio)

  3. Is the alarm or the reminder working properly? Are people finding it useful?

To answer these questions, we started going deep into data.

Observations:

  1. Notifications delivery rate — 56%. Which means, 44% of the active user base was not receiving the notification

  2. We had a very low shareability ratio avg 0.01.

  3. 61% of the users were using the alarm/reminder feature on D1. It dropped to 17% by Day 15. And we didn’t know how useful it was.

Actions

  1. We started working towards improving the delivery rate. For most of the Chinese devices, notifications were not getting delivered. We figured a hack where we were able to increase the penetration to 87%.

  2. We set up a new target for the sharability ratio. We had to increase that by 100%. So we started working on the content.

  3. We launched a feedback pop-up on the app asking users how useful they found the alarm/reminder feature? And if they are faced with some issues with the feature. We got a whopping 933 responses. This helped us conclude that the alarm/reminder feature was extremely useful and there were some feature requests with respect to an alarm that a majority of the users asked for. We launched with necessary changes.

Result: New Day 30 retention — 12%. Isn’t that awesome?

I strongly believe, if you continue to ask the right questions you can achieve the business goals for your company.

Are you stuck? Happy to chat :)

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