I'm not going to ask you to use it, the app is for Tamil language speaking audience, and my native language too. So you can safely continue to read with the guarantee that I won't be pitching it at the end :p
So far I have only spent on servers and not a $1 on marketing, even my spends on servers are covered by Digital Ocean's credits so literally I got 3,238 users by spending only my time and efforts
Two months back I was exploring the funding options for this project on IH here. At that time and before that, I always found posts like how i made x, how i sold x, these posts were not only interesting but motivated me to do more. Now, I'm finally happy to do my part in it...
When I launched my app I had good many questions in my mind, store presence, copy, content inside the app, scaling, marketing, and so on. As it started, my launch didn't go well, I uploaded it to Play Store early by calculating their time to approval, which usually is 5 - 10 days, so averaged out 7 days and planned to post content in my app while it awaits approval. I uploaded. Exactly 9-hours later it gets approved and my app is sitting there without anything in it. It's like a book full of white pages, no print!
Knowing after 2 days it will start showing up on search and organically in feeds, I jumped right in to find and post content to it. I curated the most engaging piece and just went with it.
If you're wondering what I added, it's just videos: dance, lip-syncs, comedy, acts and more. Crovl is a short-form video sharing app for Tamil language speaking audience.
After 7-days or so, it had enough content that one would enjoy watching, I started to work on getting downloads, the very first downloads were my family and close friends, I listened to their feedback added and removed videos. Tho I could have sent it to my connections abroad, as I knew they would help reviewing my app, it just didn't make sense to send in something they won't even understand.
I started sending out to more of my friends by personally writing messages to 600+ contacts on my WhatsApp I was not only able to hit 50 downloads, followed by 100 downloads in a few days, I enjoyed small chats with my old friends. Many were supportive enough to share it on their profiles and stories. But their shares didn't help much and only added a very few downloads.
This is where the magic happened. I ran a contest, the contest being, Upload videos to Crovl videos app, the highest video uploader wins only rule was Videos should be your own. The prize was ₹250, like $3.43, that was about it, and it went semi-viral. Initially it had no effect in downloads but I kept reposting the same with little changes to the creatives each time. I didn't even use heavy graphic elements, it was just green and blue text on plain white background I typed using Instagram, something the audience are familiar with and have used.
5 days passed, only now I could see my contest working, I started seeing numbers. This is when I started reaching out to micro meme pages on Instagram and requested posting memes about Crovl or about my contest. Few agreed, and a few agreed but requested me to post about their pages on my profile with 450+ followers. Most of these pages had between 900 and 5000, small but the audience of these pages were mostly friends and much connected resulting in higher engagement. I stayed away from paid promos and pages with huge following. They could definitely help but Crovl just wasn't ready for it.
Contest ends here but still the downloads continued. Shortly, before 4 the downloads started going down, this is when I changed the creatives in the Play Store and optimised the listing overall. I believe this hugely helped me getting new downloads.
I announced the winner. A user uploaded 59 videos and topped hugely from other users that participated in this contest, at the time of this writing this user's videos was at 97. After this announcement post Crovl saw some downloads.
After this there is a decline in the number of daily downloads but still it's decently growing. The decline is also because I'm not focusing much on the app as I spend more time on the community I'm building.
Stats so far
681 new accounts
2,596 active users
$3.43 operating costs
$2.17 overall in Admob revenue
I'm close to becoming profitable. Thanks for reading.
Update: Crovl is now SOLD. Met an amazing person who was interested in taking the project forward.
I shared about the growth beyond 3K users, i.e 3K to 15K users on a post on Medium.