ASO optimization in practice: How a game I made over the weekend amassed 2 million downloads

A couple of years ago, I wanted to turn my theoretical app store optimization (ASO) knowledge into a working skill.

So I decided to develop a mobile game. My goal was to validate the hypothesis that in the super-competitive mobile gaming market, you can launch a product that will grow into something large solely through organic traffic.

Let me say right away that I did validated this hypothesis: A mobile game we created over the weekend ended up amassing over 2 million downloads, and received over 30,000 new users per day at its peak, all through organic traffic.

But the path to success looked nothing like the original plan.

Here is the story of how the project evolved and how one small change increased the number of downloads by 200%.

If you want to learn how data can help you build and grow products, take a look at GoPractice! Simulator.

ASO optimization in practice (App Store Optimization)

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To reduce your product’s churn rate, first find out why users stay

Most of us have learned to think about products in terms of user churn at specific steps in the funnel. We keep asking ourselves “Why do users leave?” and then we try to find and fix the reasons for this. We assume that solving those issues and removing friction will improve the key product metrics.

Funnel optimization surely is a good approach to improve key product metrics. However, it doesn’t work in all situations. And when it does work, it usually only brings incremental improvements, not fundamental changes.

Today, we’re going to talk about a different approach when examining your product. This approach can boost your product, and sometimes it can take your product to a completely new direction.

I suggest posing the question “Why do users stay?” before “Why do users leave?”

If you want to learn how data can help you build and grow products, take a look at GoPractice! Simulator.

To reduce your app’s churn rate, first find out why users stay

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We launched an app with $500,000 annual run rate—and then Apple killed it and launched a similar feature

I didn’t write this article. My wife, Luba Vyaznikova, did. Luba is currently a product lead at Badoo. However, before taking this position, she had launched a very successful product. Below, she shares her story.
–Oleg

Two and a half years ago, a spark of inspiration and the passion to create something new guided me down a path to create an app with a $500,000 annual run rate.

And then, last September, Apple deleted our app from the App Store after adding its features in the new version of it iOS operating system.

But let me start from the beginning…

If you want to learn how data can help you build and grow products, take a look at GoPractice! Simulator.

We launched an app with $500,000 annual revenue—and then Apple copied and killed it.

* The app’s monthly revenue since its launch (source: iTunes Connect)

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Reading between the lines: What Slack didn’t disclose in its IPO filing

Slack Technologies, the developer of the popular namesake team collaboration messaging app, recently applied for a public offering on the stock market. This is not a classic IPO, but a “direct listing,” also known a “direct public offering.” This means Slack is not raising money by directly selling shares and instead allows early investors and employees to sell their shares in the public offering. Music streaming service Spotify held a successful direct listing last year.

This story caught my attention for a simple reason. In August 2016, I joined the team developing a still-undercover product called Workplace by Facebook—a direct competitor to Slack. I worked on the product for 2.5 years. Back then, I dreamed of having an opportunity to look inside Slack’s business metrics.

It may seem that Slack has revealed a lot of data about the business in their S-1 filing, a document that is almost 200 pages in length.

The reality is, they haven’t. The company had already disclosed in various ways much of the information compiled in their report.

But if we combine the data disclosed in S-1 filing and the experience I gained while working on Slack’s competitor, we’ll be able to uncover interesting details that will paint a more holistic picture.

I must say that this article contains my personal thoughts on the matter, jotted down while going through their S-1 filing, and should not be considered as investment advice.

If you want to learn how to use data to build and grow products, then take a look at Simulator (an educational product by Go Practice).

What Slack didn't disclose in its IPO filing

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