Every business is different. And every business can benefit from data. I could write a generic post about the usefulness of data and hope that you know how to apply those principles to your own business. But, that’s not what you want. You want specific, targeted ideas that you can walk away and action immediately and that are relevant for your business and your market.
Writing that post would be impossible, I’d have to write 1,000s of them. So, let’s launch a business together.
I’ve always wanted to build an iPhone app – something I’m sure many of you have thought about. So, let’s do it. Together.
In telling this story about my fictional iPhone app, I’m going to talk about a scenario that I think is common in most businesses. And in the process I’ll demonstrate (with real examples) some key principles about how you can use web data to transform your business.
Maybe I should have told you this before we went into business together, but I can’t actually build an app. Whoops. But, let’s pretend that you can.
You build the app and I’ll do the what I’m good at. Using a couple of 10 minute growth hacks – featuring web data – I’m going to organize and pull off a successful app launch that gains us millions of users and rockets us to the top of the app charts.
How? YouTube reviews.
The untapped power of YouTube
In my opinion, YouTube represents one of the largest untapped organic audiences on the web. Here’s some stats:
- More than 1 billion users
- 300 hours of video is uploaded per minute
- Number of hours people watch per month grows by 50% every year
That’s all great news for us. Lot’s of people and increased usage. What’s even better is that a lot of YouTube content producers (ie people who upload a lot of videos) have more that 20,000 subscribers.
A study last year found that YouTube stars are more popular than mainstream celebs among US teens. YouTube stars also scored significantly higher than traditional celebs on characteristics predictive of purchase.
YouTube celebrities are perceived to be more engaging, extraordinary and relatable. This means that there is a large community of influencers who – if I can win them over – will basically do my marketing for me.
Hack #1: Find the reviewers
My plan is to find all of the iPhone app reviewers who we are going to ask to review our app. To do this I go you YouTube’s channel section and type in “iphone app reviews”.
I take that URL and put it through Import.io’s Magic tool and get a spreadsheet of the first page of iPhone app reviewers on YouTube.
YouTube has a nice URL structure for each page. I know this because I can see each URL ends in “page=X”. In a Google Doc, I use this formula to generate all the URLs for the rest of the pages.
I run that list of URLs through my Magic API using Bulk Extract…
…and I end up with a big spreadsheet of all the iPhone app reviewers. Once I sort this by number of subscribers, I can see who the the most influential people to target are.
You could do this same thing with any YouTube search. Even if there aren’t influencers on YouTube reviewing products in your space, you can use this method on lots of sites to generate a big list automatically.
Hack #2: Design & execute a communications campaign
The first step is to follow them all. My goal is to get them to follow me back. Then I can @message and direct message them to tell them about our app.
I’m not going to just sling marketing material at them either. I want to try and engage them in a conversation. Even if you automate this, make it sound personable (Matt Ellsworth from 500 Startups has some great tips). I usually like to test my messaging by hand a few times to see what works before I start automating it.
Then I simply ask them to review the app. Socialbro is a fantastic tool for Twitter messaging campaigns. If you have budget you can also offer to pay them.
When I run this campaign, I want to consider my timing. Ideally, I want all the video reviews to all come out at the same time. This builds momentum in the app store and helps us get promoted. Wherever trending is concerned, velocity matters.
It’s not just about total installs but installs over a recent period of time. Otherwise Google maps would always sit at top of app store and #lol would always be the top trending hashtag!
Hack #3: Measure your progress
As my esteemed business partner, I need to be able to prove to you that what I’m doing is working. We should have our own stats around downloads, reviews, active users, etc. but we need to know what we are aiming for.
For this I need to know what category we’re in. Let’s say we built a travel app.
We can get data on all the top apps from the app store using an Extractor and Bulk, just like we did for the YouTube reviewers – turns out we’re competing against more than 70,000 other apps!
Now, I don’t have the install data for those apps, but I can use the number of reviews as a good proxy measure.
Using an Extractor (and another XPath) I can pull the review number and star rating from an app’s profile page. Then, I take my list of travel apps, run it through my star Extractor and end up with a list of the top performing apps by review rating and review count.
I actually did all this work, even though I don’t have an app and I just want to share a few things I found interesting.
- Low rated apps do appear in the most downloaded (they’re mostly airlines)
- Skyscanner is the only one with a perfect score
- Google earth is the most reviewed
The most important thing I learned, though, is that there is room for a new entry – if our velocity plan works!
Want more hacks?
Now that we’ve built and launched a successful app together, it’s time that I level with you. It took me less than 10 minutes to come up with the idea for this article. I am not a genius. Or a growth hacker.
I just see the web as data. And once you do that, everything changes!
This article is adapted from a talk given by Import.io CDO, Andrew Fogg, at Extract 2015 in London.
For more great talks, check out Extract San Francisco on Oct 30th!
Extract is one full day jam-packed with data stories that will entertain, educate and inspire you. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted to know about data, told by the people who know it best. Our speakers hail from some of the most successful and innovative companies in the business. You’ll hear data-driven talks on everything from beating the competition to creating the next unicorn. And our workshops will showcase the best of the best in data tooling. You’ll get an exclusive look at some of the latest technologies and pick up first-hand tips on implementing new strategies.