How to understand who your users are (Part 1)

May 29

How to understand who your users are (Part 1)

How to understand who your users are

(HINT: Its not getting their email address)

Its a common problem that most App developers launch and hope that the usage just “hockey sticks”. The reality is that never happens and it takes a lot of learning to get scale/traction/growth.

As a basis for the post, I’ll start with 3 myths:

3 myths about Mobile App users

Everyone will love my App You release your App with a backlog of assumptions. The constraints of Apple beta testing capabilities and market speed means you have virtually zero data about how users respond to your App. My first few Apps were ridiculously complex and assumed people will love it.The worst assumption is not targeting a specific user audience – thinking “Everyone will love my App” compromises design decisions into vanilla, bland choices.
Users who stop using my App are losers Wrong.They are your most valuable source of information as to how you can make your app more relevant.
Users MUST login to know them As they say in the classics, “the first step in solving a problem is admitting you have one”.
Its a fact that only profiling users who have a login is examining the smallest part of your retention funnel.- myth about what “who” means
– don’t need a login
– behaviour matters not demographics

Why myth #3 is a killer

Have you had the experience when you go into a shop to buy a bottle or water and at the cash register person asks if you’d like to join the loyalty program?

Once I said “yes” and they dragged out a clipboard with a long form to fill out with lots of personal stuff. I then said “no”. Its an insult to waste someone’s time to drag information out of them and forgets a most important reality.

Actions speak louder than words

When an App demands upfront that the user logs in when they start to use it they are asking the user to surrender something personal even before they’ve gotten to know the App.

This is ridiculous…the user should be able to play around with the App, get some value from its utility and then (if they like it) create an account to keep their data or preferences.

The problem is that hugely funded or already hugely popular Apps perpetuate this belief that “first lets grab their email address” (what they say) is more important than letting them use the App.

On a phone your App does not need the email address initially, the install of the App IS a unique identifier. You can then understand (anonymously) a lot about that user (what they do)

So: “Actions speak louder than words” becomes:

How they use the App is more important than who is using the App

[h2]How to start to understand[/h2]

By not demanding a login, you now have more users to measure and understand – FANTASTIC. Using the “install ID” you can capture data against the phone until such time the user registers and logs in. This lays the foundation for Segmentation.


Two Basic Segments

“The Unregistered Segment” and “The Registered Segment” are two distinct groups that might behave differently.

Four Basic Segments

Now lets say you have an on boarding tutorial that people can OPTIONALLY view. Now you have four segments:

Registered Un-registered
Viewed Tutorial 7% 36%
Did not View Tutorial 9% 48%


So you already have valuable insights into 4 SEGMENTS of users. Now is is possible to statistically
track which of these segments results in more ACTIVE or RETAINED users?

Next time we’ll dig into how to combine these segments with other important segments like Power Users, Zombies or Whales.

We’ll also talk about how you might have a segment like “Left Handed Squash Players who Drive Yellow Fords in SOMA”** who are actually your most active and virally helpful users.


*** Thanks Mick!

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