Here's what I learned growing my mobile app to 2,000 users in a month

Hey, Indie Hackers.

A month ago, I launched my first mobile app. Now, it has grown to around 2,000 users. I want to share what has worked, and what hasn't so that you can learn from my mistakes.

The Good

There are a few strategies that have really helped me with user acquisition. The first is to try and provide value to the communities I share it with (like this). Sometimes it doesn't work out, but I have mostly found success. It may not sound obvious to try to help others to grow your product, but good deeds and intentions are usually reciprocated in some way. Even if they don't reciprocate, you still get the benefit of having helped someone, which is good in and of itself. Here is an example of me trying to provide value to others:

I Made a Mistake that Cost me 612 Users

I tell them my mistake so that they don't make the same one. Not only do I help others, but I also received advice on how to improve my app! Trying to be helpful to the community has only been a positive for me, and I can't think of a downside.

The second strategy is an obvious one. Find the right communities to share your product because they're out there. For example, I have had a lot of success on Reddit:

Posting to r/ReactNative (250 upvotes)

Posting to r/SideProject (200 upvotes)

Posting to r/androidapps (200 upvotes)

Finally, I try and tell good stories about the process of building an app; it's something people want to hear if you tell it right. My biggest uptick in users is when my blog post, "I Made A Mobile App for my Significant Other (And She Won't Use It)" made the front page of HackerNews. Notice that I'm not directly promoting my app, just telling a good story.

The Bad

Facebook ads. $50 spent, 3,000 impressions, 64 link clicks, and 1 download. Awful.

This is compared to twitter and reddit where I've likely amassed more than a million impressions without spending a single dollar. It does take a lot more work, but in my case it has worked so much better.

Thanks for Reading

I hope you find this helpful. If you wanna stay up to date with me and my progress you can follow me on twitter

  1. 2

    It's important to realise there's lessons in the good and in the bad. While I think you can consider the facebook ads a simple experiment and that you can try again differently, it's good to see Twitter and Reddit work well.
    On Reddit, why did you decide to focus on these particulars subreddits and not like r/Entrepreneur (for instance)? Do you feel you're getting better engagement results?

    1. 1

      Thanks. You're absolutely right.

      On reddit, I have posted to these subs because they are interested and engage more. I've consistently gotten over a hundred upvotes (and still find themselves enjoying my app)

      I would love to post to r/movies, but the one time I did, people responded that this was not a place to advertise. I'm still trying to find the film communities and a way to present it to them in a way that they would enjoy.

  2. 2

    Honestly, the FB spend of $50 is not bad at all.. it's an experiment. You tried it, learned from it, and refocused. I think the only feedback I'd have is to say try to learn why it didn't work, and what you would do differently next time.

    1. 1

      I hear you. Thank you for that.

      I probably could have had a better ad in all honesty, and narrowed my market down more than 20-30 y/o movie lovers. Thanks for pushing me to reflect, learn, and move forward

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