In a market where the average app loses nearly 70% of its users within one week app marketers are on a rollercoaster ride, struggling to plug the leaky bucket, not just fill the top of the funnel. The challenge (and the opportunity) is to re-engage users early in the retention cycle, and we learn best practices around ways to ignite frequent use and deep loyalty when our host Peggy Anne Salz welcomes Jessica Osorio, Growth Marketing Lead at Mozilla, the not-for-profit behind the Firefox browser on mobile and web. Jessica, whose bold mantra is to “never stop optimizing,” lifts the lid on the channels and vendors she relies on to make users come back to the app. She also debunks marketing myths and shares approaches marketers across all app verticals can adapt to up their game.
So, let me welcome our guest today, Jessica, Jess Osorio, she is Growth Marketing Lead at Mozilla. Jess, great to have you here on Mobile Presence.
Hi Peggy, thank you so much, I’m glad to be here.
Absolutely, I love the mantra, “Never stop optimizing” because that’s what you need to do to get the full marketing funnel correct, you know, it’s not about just filling the funnel, it’s about watching that leaky bucket, it’s about optimizing to keep people coming back to your app. Tell me a little about Mozilla. I mean, it’s not the type of app that you would think needs to be focused, you know, only on the top of the funnel, you’re obviously looking at retention, retention marketing is your thing, that’s what we’re going to talk about, but how did they approach it at Mozilla?
Yep, let me just give you a quick background. Mozilla is the maker behind our flagship product, Firefox, so Mozilla, we have a very clear mission, it’s basically to ensure that the internet is a global public resource open and accessible to all. If you want to know more, check out Mozilla.org, there’ll be a full, you know, sorry, if you want to know more, check out mozilla.org where you can find out more about what our foundation side of the house is up to but I work on the corporation side on Firefox, the mobile app.
So, when you think about Firefox, a mobile browser, you know that’s a little different for folks and for the general consumer, they might not even be aware that they have the choice to go outside of the default browser that comes stocked with their Android or their iOS device but that’s what our job is, right? To make sure that the general consumer knows (a) you have a choice, and (b) why are we the better choice? Because we’re the mobile browser that is again fighting for your right to an open and accessible web, we’re not here to collect your data and sell it to advertisers or to any other partners, we’re here to make sure that you have a safe and private and secure experience on the web.
So, that’s what I’m working on, I’m working on the Firefox mobile apps. How did we start focusing on retention? That’s a great question. Being that we’re Firefox, we are a globally recognized brand. Our acquisition is actually quite healthy from an organic perspective, we don’t necessarily have to be investing all the time on paid acquisition but if we’re not going to be fighting that fight, you know, paying for our acquisition, we want to make sure that we’re investing where we know we can see some impact which is retention.
And I’m really surprised to meet more and more app developers or app marketers that are really focused on just that funnel that we’re all aware of, awareness, bringing them to the app page, the app store product page and then that moment of install with a huge focus on the conversion from you got to the app store page and now I need you to install, but then there’s a drop off, right?
Absolutely, it’s a huge drop off by the way. I was going to say that, you know, I’m seeing data that says basically roughly speaking, I’ve seen some benchmark data – I would say by day 14, and that’s a long way away, but for an app like yours, we have a lifetime sort of contract when I, you know, when I buy into Firefox, it’s not a one-time thing. Something like 70%, 65-70% by day 14, so that’s a plummet, that’s like by that time you’ve lost most of your users. What days do you focus on at Mozilla? I mean, when do you say to yourself at Firefox, “Here is where the real work starts to make certain this is continuous engagement”?
Absolutely. You know that’s a great stat to call out, Peggy, an even more shocking one is that...
They are shocking.
...is that apps are facing deep drop-off on day one, 24 hours after install looking at 70-80% drop-off depending on your app. So, for, yeah, I mean, think about that – if you’ve invested so much money in bringing people through that door but only 10-20% are sticking around a day or two or three days later, that’s a loss, right, that’s where we – a lot of folks think of the leaky bucket earlier on, right, I’m spending money but they’re dropping off at the install. Well, there’s a leaky bucket post that install, right, there’s people coming in and dropping off again.
So, for us, focusing on increasing retention early on, there are studies that show if you increase retention on day one, you’re likely to see that follow through to day seven, day thirty and beyond. Another way to think about it is, you know, if you are a product manager or an app marketer who’s focused on your audience, existing users, new users, keeping them there, for one segmenting your audience and understanding where people fall is critical, right? That’s where you’re going to know how many people are falling into my dormant bucket and how many people are falling off by day seven?
So, for us, focusing on day one retention, we’re able to then measure, alright, one, are we increasing day one retention by any percentage? Of course, the goal is always again to keep optimizing, if it’s up 1%, get it up to 2% and beyond, but if we see retention increasing earlier on, what we’re seeing is a decreasing of folks ending up in those buckets we don’t want them in, lost, dormant, however your organization refers to those folks who are completely leaving the app or abandoning it. So, it’s really critical to focus earlier on, not just for the sake of, hey, I’m increasing day one retention, day seven, I’m also decreasing the amount of folks ending up in those buckets that we don’t want them to end up in.
So, in a nutshell, what are you using because there’s a number of things. You know, you can do your push campaigns, absolutely, you can do email, you can just tell people about new features and not even really address them, just like, “Hey, guess what, something new”. What are you finding and we’ll continue this into the next section or after the break as well, but in a nutshell, what are you finding works for you?
Yes. A great way to think about it is new users, it’s all about onboarding and activation, and onboarding is think of it as like that’s the problem we’re solving for but the tactics that you use to go about it could be a variety of things depending on what’s at your disposal at your company. The most apps opt into onboarding cards or slides, right, every company calls it something different but the way that looks for the user is you’ve installed, you open for your first session and your app is kind of taken over by a full screen of like, welcome, you know, card one, card two, this is what you need to know, card three, and then you can dismiss onboarding and now you’re in the app.
We call that onboarding cards or slides, that’s one thing that you could try but there’s actually reasons, Peggy, that show this may or may not be impacting day one retention at all or any retention that you’re measuring, but how do you find out if it’s working for you, you’ve got to test all things, it goes back to optimizing – you can’t optimize if you’re not testing, right?
So, it’s never stop optimizing, it's exactly going back to your motto, yeah?
Right. So, test if onboarding works for you, it may, it may have big impact, it may not, so that’s one thing to think about. Another tactic, folks, to look into is more of an interactive type of onboarding and for that, yeah, you’re going to have to team up with your engineering team because it might look something like, depending on your app, right, you come in and you want to highlight the settings menu or you want to highlight a certain feature and having those kinds of interactive maybe animated experiences, sure, the brainstorming and the thoughts and the UX could start off with your marketing and your design folks, you’re going to probably have to team up with engineers to make it come to life.
There are third-party software partners that you could look into, we currently use Leanplum but there are great options out there like CleverTap, Braze. They help marketers automate that type of work and make it a lot more turnkey, right, you want to dream up an onboarding experience, they might make that easier for you. It might cut out the need to like work so closely with engineering.
But anyways, onboarding, right, you could try out an interactive experience, you could try out cards, some folks gate their app experience with an email sign-up, that might mean that they’re going to carry onboarding on outside of the app in your email inbox, some folks try that. There’s never a silver bullet, that’s something I tell everyone, I’m talking paid acquisition, retention or engagement, for marketing, for the full circle of it, there’s no silver bullet for everyone, there’s a variety of tactics we should all try but, again, test it, does it work for me and if it does, optimise it, see if you can make it better and better.
So, it’s one thing we look at when it comes to onboarding.
I was going to say, I’m just curious, I was asking around at Mobile Spree in San Francisco, it’s like, “So how many things are you doing simultaneously?” We always say, “Well, test, do your AB testing”. Of course, what do you do when you come up with a test and you sort of have an inconclusive result, sort of like a 50/50, and it’s sort of like, okay, intuition or flip a coin or something. How much testing do you think you’re doing or how much testing is a marketer doing? Is it normal to like be testing 50 things at once or over 50? I mean, I’ve heard people say if you’re not testing 50 different campaigns at once, there’s something wrong. I don’t know, I look at then the data I see about the average sort of marketing/UA team, you know, 10 and under in most cases, not 10 and plus. So, how much do you think is what the marketers should put as a goal?
That’s such a great question for a marketer considering looking into engagement and retention. It’s a very different ballgame than your paid advertisers.
Like you said, I’ve heard UA managers talk about hundreds, even thousands of campaigns going out at once because they’ve, you know, they’re working with great AI tools that are helping them automate those type of things. That doesn’t exist yet so even if you are partnering with someone great like CleverTap, Braze, Leanplum, you’re going to have to – someone needs to build these campaigns, right?
So, for us, we’re actually a larger team compared to others that I’ve heard about, we’re about 6 marketers that have access to the tools. We’re trying to have at least 3 to 5 tests running at every stage of our general user lifecycle, so 3 to 5 tests in the user bucket, 3 to 5 tests in our existing users both, you know, across high, medium and low engaged, and have 3 to 5 tests running at all times for our stagnant users, that umbrella covers those that are showing signs of leaving the app, they’ve left the app or they’re very gone, dormant, that’s what we call dormant.
So, for us, it’s a matter of every single quarter, we absolutely prioritize, we’ve got to have tests in market because just because this was working last month doesn’t mean it’s going to work this month, going back to optimize, always optimizing, but it’s also about the path to scale. Like you could be testing all day but if your marketing team or whoever, you know, your growth team isn’t showing that the testing is resulting in at scale wins, then there’s really no big takeaway. So it’s about prioritizing testing and always prioritizing some path to scale all the time. So we work in sprint so we have around 3 to 4 sprints a quarter, so you’re going to see from our team 3 to 4 graduated scaled-up campaigns, that’s always the goal, right?
Well, obviously you’re striving there always to have a positive impact on engagement, on retention. We’re going to talk more about this after the break, so never stop optimizing and never stop listening in to Mobile Presence, we’ll be right back after the break.
And we are back to Mobile Presence. I’m your host, Peggy Anne Salz. We have Jess Osorio, she is Growth Marketing Lead at Mozilla and I’m enjoying this, Jess, because you do this daily, this is what you do, this is your job over there at Mozilla and you also have, you know, we’re all working on sort of like the formula but you’re further along the most in understanding this and I’d like to understand with retention, you know, it’s all about testing but it’s also about understanding first of all which users are at risk, where do you need to test more energetically than others, where you need to maybe mix it up. So the big question is, what does an at risk user look like to you?
That’s such a great question. Before you can start testing, you’ve got to dig into what’s gone on. So if you have access to your analytics tools or if you have a partner at work that’s an analyst from the analytics team, that’s a critical part of the testing process. I always say audit, then plan, make a data-driven decision, a hypothesis, test it, throw it out there, learn and then repeat, right, rinse and repeat. So, absolutely we had to dig in to our existing user data to understand how many folks are in all these buckets that we are understanding as there’s new, you just came in, day zero – we have defined our new users as one whole week, that makes sense for our app, I’ll elaborate a little more on how it could be very different depending on the app.
For us, an at risk user, for us we’re looking at daily to weekly usage, if you have not been in the app for even, again, we’re focusing on day one retention for several reasons, but if you haven’t been in the app for seven days, a whole week, zero activity, that’s showing us signs of you being at risk of lapsing, right? That’s showing us this person isn’t having, they’re not realising what the app has the potential to do to be your everyday browser, this is where you can search any questions you have, you know, that you need to put out there in the internet.
If they’re not realizing that that’s the power of the app, there is a disconnect and so that’s where we would leverage things like push notifications or email to remind users, “Hi, remember us? You came to use for a reason, let me remind you why we’re different, let me remind you want we can help you do” and try to bring you back into the app with that. We can also explore cross-selling different features, new features, if a new feature comes out, it gives us even more content to come back to stagnant users – that’s like a win back tactic.
But essentially, when we are looking at those who are on their way out or out, you know how we talked about onboarding for new users? Now, we’re talking about win back and churn prevention, right?
So that’s a great point that you’re making, you know, you’re looking at users who are at risk or lapsed and that works for you because that’s the type of app you are but of course every app has sort of, I would imagine its own natural behavior, its own retention curve. I remember a healthcare app telling me, you know, hey, it’s not working for us, one day, three days, seven day, fourteen day – people aren’t sick all the time, they shouldn’t be, we don’t want them to be but we have to do things to fill those gaps. So, with that in mind, is there something you can offer around examples or advice to those companies that have a different retention curve?
That is an important call-out. Basically, like I was mentioning, what works for us may not work for every app. A good place to start honestly for – I would advise this to any marketing team or growth team – talk to your engineers. What use cases did they start with to build out certain features, right, because that’s usually how engineering works. They’re writing user stories, what user need am I trying to meet, right, and that’s going to start having the team think about, well, if the user need, and here’s an example – like the healthcare app, I’m not sure what exactly the healthcare app was striving to do but if I think about my healthcare app, it’s like I have to check in probably once a year when I get my appointment from my doctor, right?
So, what can that app do to keep me coming back? Well, they know that I'm probably only checking in once a year, so the app – their key metric is definitely not going to be daily active usage, weekly active usage – that would be unrealistic. But they can build in other features that might have me come back to maybe for healthcare preventative, proactive, they could start positioning maybe healthy recipes to keep you at a healthy weight or whatever else healthcare may want to be a thought leader in, they can provide that content.
I’m a little more familiar with the example of Zillow, for example. They also can’t be going after daily active usage and weekly active usage always, right, but they’re going to know when you’re in the app and you’re doing certain actions like you download, you’re probably going to say I’m looking for a house and you start searching the app for houses for sale in a certain area – you’re most likely going to be a very heavy user during that time period and they’re expecting that, they know they’re meeting that need. Okay, we’re helping our user to find a house, they’re buying one, we’re good, we serve that purpose but how do we stay in their lives?
So one feature Zillow, for example, launched later on was the Zestimate and it gave you a reason to come back and check in on the value of that home that you purchased with their help and I know I just recently heard at Mobile Spree there was a speaker there from Zillow, said they’re launching a ton of other features that kind of stay with their users along for that home purchasing journey. I can’t remember exactly what they were but it sounded like maybe you remember, Peggy, but as far as mortgage maybe, I don’t know...
Yeah, yeah... it was finding the house, it was financing the house, it was really the life – like the lifecycle of house buying from finding it to getting the mortgage, which is great because it seems at some level actually if you think about it, Jess, that the way to really be a high retaining app is to go deeper and deeper in that journey. So it’s just like we don’t just do one thing, we do a number of things, because you’re right, we can’t just rely on daily active or monthly active, it’s going to be sort of lifecycle active, you know?
And following them longer. I’m just curious about the metrics because now that we don’t, you know, the thing is that everything came from gaming, I know a lot of gaming apps marketers, we have them here on the show, the performance marketers, the pioneers – they brought us daily active, weekly active, monthly active because you play games quite often. But these don’t work for us – what kind of metrics are you watching?
So, for us, given that we are a browser, we believe that if you’ve reached that ah ha moment with us, I’ve downloaded this browser, I’m going to use it as my default browser because I believe that Firefox has my back and I’d rather do all my internet searches here within Firefox, typically internet searches are happening two to three times a day, so if we’re aggressive, we’re going after a daily active user but given that we are the underdog and that we’re up against the biggest guys in the game, right, Chrome, Safari, we’re being a little more realistic in going after weekly active users because it’s a little bit more natural and we’re up against a big challenge, right, we’re up against things like not even being an option for default on iOS. Yes, we have that option on Android.
So again, for us, we have to kind of be realistic, we have to understand the natural use case for our users that we’re targeting but we also have to be a little aggressive, we can’t just say, “Well, let’s just take a back seat and go for monthly active usage because we’re the underdog”. No, you’ve got to be somewhat aggressive and challenge the team.
So I guess the question here, well, actually not the question, the takeaway here with you, Jess, is just do not follow what other apps are focusing on, you have to think about the metrics that are definitely for your app and they’re not going to be the vanity metrics for everybody else perhaps.
100%. I talk about this with my peers and my colleagues outside of my company so when I get to go to these great conferences like Mobile Spree or Mobile Growth Summit, when we meet with each other, we have realised there’s zero risk with sharing our strategies with each other and our tactics because we’re not in the same industry, we’re not in the same category for apps, so what works for my colleague in gaming or my colleague in healthcare or my colleague in, you know, productivity or whatever, it’s not going to be the same for us.
So, we’re actually starting – and I love this about the community of mobile marketing and growth – we’re starting to share more, we’re learning from each other and we’re not, of course, we’re probably not going to share our secret sauce with our direct competitor, no-one does that, right, but at least in the mobile app space, we can share strategies and tactics and try them out. It goes back to there’s going to be a plethora of tactics to pick from, start testing them out, go through them and see what works for your app.
I have to say I love what you’re sharing so far, Jess, I mean, you know, we’re talking about optimizing for healthier retention, you are sharing a lot of tips I think a lot of our listeners appreciate so don’t go away, we’ll be right back after the break.
And we’re back to Mobile Presence. I’m your host, Peggy Anne Salz. We have Jess Osorio, Growth Marketing Lead at Mozilla, Firefox. Jess, been great having you on the show, I’m actually going to do it more often, I’ve made that decision already during the break. I thought to myself this is practical, this is hard-hitting, this is what our audience loves. So, we’re going to leave them with a couple of things, you know, some people are on the same page here and other people have a lot of convincing to do when they get back to the office on Monday. It’s like, hey, I heard that we have to fill the funnel but we also have to keep people and that’s not an easy argument because it’s not there yet. So, with that in mind, what can you give them as some Monday morning bright and early advice, what do you take back to the office, how do you do this, maybe even just very simple how do you rally your team around retention?
Yes, that’s such a great question. And rallying can be very different for different audiences within your org, right, so if you’re thinking about making a case to leadership, the C-level suite, it’s really keeping it at the core high level takeaway which is, I can guarantee you, no matter what app you are or tech product, you’re going to have retention challenges, we all have them, it’s just a matter of digging into the data and realizing what your challenge is.
Is it a 50% drop-off, 60, 70, at what point are people dropping off and if nothing is being invested in in terms of engagement or retention for those folks, that’s a huge opportunity for you to show up as a growth leader that’s thinking beyond the install to show that there’s more opportunity that we’re leaving money on the table, we’re leaving opportunities on the table, and I say money not from our perspective, because again our app is free but if you have an app that’s monetizing or it’s related to sales, there you go, that’s a case to be made to your C-level suite. Everyone who lapses or we lose or doesn’t come back, that’s dollars that are going through, like, we’re missing out on sales opportunities.
Again, there’s a good quote out there, “It is more cost-effective to win back users who have already come through that door than to acquire new ones”. Make the most of those people who are in your app, you know?
And when it comes to product marketing or engineering, this is a good win with them too – hey engineering team, hey product management team – you guys are building this awesome app, how can I help you retain the users that you’re trying to get in to use your app anyway?
So, it really starts to build this awesome opportunity to build relationships with your peers across the org and of course make that case up to leadership as to why we should invest in the first place. But I think it’s really clear cut – the organization, your company is investing and building the app, why not invest in keeping people in the app, right?
You’ve also invested, I saw this at Mobile Spree, great talk as well, by the way – you’ve also defined a special model for Mozilla. We won’t talk about it because it was up on the stage, I think I took a picture and maybe possibly tweeted the pic but, you know, should people be thinking also about defining the model for their app? They go back in on Monday and say, you’ve got new user, existing user, at risk user – figure out the segments, figure out the criteria, the mindset – you’ve done a lot of work here – should they be doing that or is it too early to do that? Is that more of like a mid-term thing?
I think 100% even if you’re not at the stage where you’re ready to invest in a strategy or tactics or tools to help you actually engage, right, because it takes money to build in-app messages or to send emails – if you’re not there yet, there’s absolutely – at this point, if you have an app, you have the data, it costs zero to get in there and start making use of that data. I always say you can’t retain a user you don’t know, you have to know what’s going on with your audience in the app. It’s like you’ve invited people to your house and you want to know how many people are there and how can you cater to them and how can you help people find what they need.
You absolutely should think about the segmentation model, it doesn’t have to be perfect – again, never stop optimizing. When we started with ours, it was a work in progress, it was just based on, well, we know there’s new and existing and then stagnant but how do we start thinking about how they meet the criteria and the criteria was also guessing at first. Well, we believe it’s 2 to 3 sessions within 7 days might mean medium or high engaged – that’s what it means for us. Just start somewhere, we call it the theoretical segmentation model, just start by building up the basics, we know we have new and then we have existing. Under existing, we’ve got active and then we’ve got inactive, and come up with your own definitions.
Some organizations get really fun with it, they call it like sleeping dogs, I heard at Mobile Spree, someone said – the titles for your segments can be fun and the criteria that defines that segment is up to you and your team and what makes sense for your app but there is definitely a reward to understanding your audience. That in itself shows value within your org that you’ve said here’s our app and here’s who’s in it and here’s how we break them down and understand who they are and where they are in their lifecycle.
Well, Jess, you talk about rewarding, I have to say I’m going to take that as a segue – it has been rewarding having you on the show. I’m excited to have you back but of course in the meantime, you know, listeners, they might want to keep up with you, you’re obviously sharing what you’re talking about, very open – what’s the best way? LinkedIn, Twitter, how can they get in touch?
I’m very active on LinkedIn, you can definitely find me there, just Jessica Osorio, Mobile Growth Lead at Mozilla, and I do check Twitter every now and then but I’m not very active there but my Twitter handle is @jessosorio100.
Okay, and we’ll have those in the show notes as well and listeners, if you want to keep up with me throughout the week or find out more about how you can be a guest or sponsor on Mobile Presence, then you can email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, Mobile Groove is where you can find my portfolio of content marketing and app marketing services.
And so my friends, we come really just too soon, I’d like to have another half an hour with you, Jess, but we’ve got to go. My friends, it’s a wrap of – yeah, I’m sorry but we will have you back. In the meantime, of course you can check out this and all earlier episodes of our show by going to webmasterradio.fm or you can find our shows on iTunes, Stitcher, Spreaker, Spotify and iheartRadio simply by searching Mobile Presence. So until next time, friends – remember - every minute is mobile, so make every minute count. We’ll see you soon.