There comes a time when the question of whether an app is ready to scale comes up. Like most things, there is a time and place for everything which means that getting your ducks in a row before even scaling is very important.
Before you scale your user base to new levels, there are a few things you should be doing in order to get the most out of the growth phase. Below are 5 ways to improve your app before scaling, and yes this stuff might give you a headache. Do this stuff right, and you will be better off than your competitors. Let get into it.
1. Set KPI Targets and review Analytics
It’s always important to track your KPI goals. Here are a number of KPI goals that are important to track in order to effectively monitor the health and growth of your app.
- Retention rates: Measures how many users return to your app.
- User lifetime value: Helps explain monetization, virality, and retention together. It also explains user engagement over time between the first install and when a user no longer uses your app. Future retention rate and projected ROI can be predicted using this metric.
- App ratings and review analytics: In many cases ratings will make or break your app as well as how you communicate with users when rolling out updates based on their feedback.
- Monetization: The amount of money the average user spends on your app until they no longer engage with it.
2. Roll out KPI focused updates
This is an iterative process where you identify KPIs (such as the ones listed above) and make small cost-effective improvements in order to bring those KPIs to a point where you find to be acceptable before scaling. Paying attention to customers and conducting UX research can be a great way to gain insights on the parts of your app that are holding you back.
It’s important to figure out potential UX pain points and eliminate them while improving your app concept. Done consistently and will eventually be reached and you will be able to scale your user base to epic proportions.
3. Execute user acquisition campaigns
It’s better to test your marketing strategy while your app is small. Once you scale, ironing out the kinks in your strategy become much harder. Getting your first pool of users to interact with and test your app is extremely beneficial which is why you should invest in a limited user acquisition campaign. Keep in mind that the behavior of acquired through advertising and organic users will most likely differ, and you might discover that your initial target market was slightly off.
4. Create a monetization strategy
Putting all debates aside, there are two ways to go about this generally. One is the route where you focus on growth despite the fact that you aren’t generating any revenue. This requires some calculations to make sure you can execute a growth campaign while not abusing the burn rate constraints.
Let say you are generating revenue, and you want your users to pay for the growth costs that are associated with scaling. Then you need to understand your customer. Specifically, you need to measure the user lifetime value to make sure that users will generate the income needed to cover the costs. Here’s a quick example:
Consider this equation: Monthly User Revenue * Margin (%) / Churn Rate = User Lifetime Value (LTV)
Your LTV is amount of money you will be able to spend to acquire a new user. It’s important to test this in advance to see how the variables change when you scale.
5. Prep the Development Team
With a larger user base comes more complex challenges. Bugs become mission critical because every minute costs your money where you don’t fix broken functionality that frustrates users. You need to make sure that your team is capable of meeting the demands of a scaled user base.
There are a few scenarios that you need to consider, this is NOT an exhaustive list:
- How well can you train new developers that you bring on your team? Who’s job is it to manage them?
- What is your bug management process? If you use Agile, how do you allocate time to track and assign bugs to developers.
- Do you have guidelines for new developers to contribute consistent code that matches the current codebase?
- Can your code hold under an increasingly larger userbase?
Paying attention to these principles before scaling your app will protect you from assured destruction. Your app is a precious asset and should not be wasted on frivolous decision making that lack reporting.