6 months of Customer Development at ClipMe

This post was originally posted by me on clipme.co.

When we beta-launched ClipMe in February 2014, there was one thing we wanted to find out: The unique value proposition of ClipMe and what segment of the market truly need this new way of creating and sharing. We wanted to avoid the “build it and they will come” prayer and we also knew our “first shipping didn’t mean we understood the customer or how to sell to them”. In essence, we had the mindset that over the next 6 months, we will have to learn from our data and all possible interactions with our users. So as we prepare for a major update in the coming days, we thought some of the lessons we learned are worth sharing.

Customer focused research
Initially, our data showed us who users are, what type of videos they make, who they collaborate with, how often they come back to the app and how the demographics changed over time. But these data were inadequate in providing insights into what triggers the use of ClipMe and the reward users get from using it. So to dig deeper, we segmented users into 3 different cohorts — Monthly Active Users, Inactive Users and Users who have had no previous interaction with ClipMe. Obviously, the users from the first 2 cohorts were easier to recruit compared to the last which was an adventure for our customer development team. We stormed the different juvenescent scenes of Helsinki, talking to urban youth millennials and utilising ClipMe app plus previously formulated questions as interview tools. The interviews were conducted face-to-face and via virtual conferencing tools such as Skype. While our users were spectacularly responsive to our calls, the entire process was an insightful experience for establishing the empathy of ClipMe.

Findings in brief
The outcome of the research shows the unique value proposition of ClipMe lies in the collaborative functionality that enable users co-create videos from anywhere compared to other video apps that allow users to singly create and share videos. Such insight helped us fine tune our messages and ensure we communicate the unique value proposition of ClipMe effectively. Furthermore, 100% of the active users we talked to mentioned the importance of having ClipMe across several platforms in order to maximize the collaborative attribute of ClipMe. Since ClipMe was only on iOS, it was a big barrier we needed to remove. Moments created or shared with friends are not often within users’ geographical location where mobile broadband could be accessible. As a result, users started requesting for a feature that could enable them upload pre-recorded videos and invite friends to add clips.

Apart from establishing compelling empathy metrics, we also committed to identifying insightful patterns in our acquisition, engagement and retention metrics and how to improve them regularly. For instance, instead of looking at our average retention over a period of time, we started looking at “1 day, 2-day, or 3-day…comeback” of “users that downloaded versions 1.0, 1.1 or 1.3…” of the application. Such exercise helped us identify how our product optimisation had influenced our retention rate per app version. And at one of our learn/iterate weekly meetings, we realised the initial engagement of users was not good enough. When users come to ClipMe, we want them to make a video with friends or alone, like an existing video or comment. How do you make a video with friends who are not on the application? So we integrated a step that enable users instantly find Facebook or Twitter friends who are already on ClipMe or an option to invite them before completing the sign-up process. At another meeting, we realised the percentage of users that sign up with Twitter compared to Facebook and email is dispensable compared to the amount of work it requires to maintain the signup API.

Taking action on these insights
While we have delivered features in response to some of these insights over the summer, the main updates and new feature releases from our customer development will be announced tomorrow and will be shared as a sequel to this blogpost for those who want to see the details.

Our customer development approach is inspired by a combination of Steve Blank’s resources and Google Venture lean analytics workshop delivered by Alistair Croll in this video. Also as part of Nestholma media startup accelerator, a week without customer development activities is not complete. So, customer development approach at ClipMe is not a one time shot but a major part of our internal processes.

And to our development team that has spent sleepless nights turning ideas to features, we say thumbs up!

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