Maker Hunt’s AMA with Stuart Hall from Appbot

We have Stuart Hall. Stuart is Chief Bot @ Appbot where they help turn app store reviews and customer feedback into actionable insights for your mobile app, automagically. Stuart has made several mobile apps that have reached millions of downloads, including 7 Minute Workout that was acquired by Wahoo Fitness. So if you want to learn about how the App Store works, how to hack it for skyrocketing your downloads, and the tools to use to propel your mobile growth, this is the AMA for you.

You can introduce yourself and we can get started. The floor is yours.

Hi everyone, thanks for having me! I’ve only been in the community for a couple of days and I’m blown away by how great it is.
Eric’s description nailed it pretty well, I’ve been a developer for many years, I made Discovr Music with Dave Mckinney where we got to 4 million downloads, sold 7 Minute Workout after 2.3m downloads and now I run Appbot.

Q. I’d love to know your best growth hack for acquiring new users, already read your story about how you boosted 7 Minute Workout app and it was pretty impressive. — Evan

Great question. Not sure if it meets the Growth Hack description perfectly, but all the apps I’ve had some level of success with is because people have told their friends about them. The best way I think to make an app that people want to tell their friends about is to make something really simple, really engage the early users and find what they really love about the app. Then focus in on that to create a wow moment people want to share.

Q. Did you primarily focus on organic growth? What are your thoughts on paid installs? — Eric Willis

I did primarily focus on organic growth. I really tried to concentrate on making something really simple to use and something people will get immediate enjoyment from. Building up a lot of downloads over time really and getting lots of 5 star app reviews helps with search rankings. Then having an app people are searching for really helps.

I spent a lot of time experimenting with screenshots and descriptions. ASO (App Store Optimization), like SEO, can been extremely effective. Now that Apple have launched analytics we can actually measure the results of this.

Q. I really enjoyed your app experiment blog series. Have you found being so transparent with sharing the process and your thoughts of 7 minute workout worked well for appbot? — Miles Burke

For sure, initially it was a 5 part series on my own personally blog at http://stuartkhall.com which really helped generate a lot of leads for Appbot.
Sharing on Medium was the huge win:

It’s had 140,000 reads there with over 2K recommendations. The leads for Appbot have been great, I’m actually looking at writing up the results with my co-founder Claire.

Q. What’s your favourite podcast? — Paul Kemp

Haha, yours of course! I was just listening to your App Store Launches podcast, it’s fantastic. I love hearing stories of indie developers that have done well, gives hope to all of us.

Q. In your Medium post you mention hardly spending time on design, but my intuition and posts from other devs (namely Dan Counsell of Realmac) talk a lot about how important design is. How much of an impact do you think a better design could have had? — Fabio

It’s extremely important, I was lucky and leveraged FlatUIKit and managed to get quite a unique look for the app. Although there were a number of really well designed 7 Minute Workout apps launched after mine that didn’t do so well.

So I think design is extremely critical to the success of the app, but good design is when it suits the end user. I think sometimes we get mixed up and start to think good design is about trends.

But great design is a really important piece of the puzzle, with great engineering, marketing, support and so on.

Q. How important is to focus on optimizing app onboarding? Do you spend a lot time on that at the pre-launch state? — Ben Tossell

App onboarding is really tricky, we spent so much time at Discovr trying to get it right. Like a website first impressions are everything.

It’s another reason that I believe feedback from your early adopters is the key. If you can find what makes them go wow, and what frustrates them you can really focus in on what to build, turn around changes quickly and win people over.

I really love https://www.useronboard.com/ and the teardowns on there if you haven’t seen it.

Q. This might be a question for Claire. :simple_smile: How do you determine what works with your lead generation? Is most of it from content marketing? What’s the trick to getting good blog content? — Miles Burke

We measure all that pretty closely and report on leading indicators. Content marketing is definitely our second best lead source, behind word of mouth ☺. We see someone from a company sign up to Appbot, then often a few days later there will be 3, then 10 by the end of the month.

I don’t have a good way of generating good blog content. I try and research what I am really interested in, experiment and then share the results. I generally know which ones will go well because at the end I think to myself “wow, that’s really interesting, I learned a lot from that”. If I try and force it then nobody reads it, I guess it’s obvious ☺

Q. Whats your take on Facebook ads for Apps? Do you think, it works to get initial 1000 users? — Nachiket

I’ve only tried them a few times with limited budgets with very limited success. That’s not really my expertise, there are others out there with better knowledge and deeper pockets than me. I could never get the numbers to add up.

Q. You seem to juggle multiple projects. Do people ask you how you handle multiple things at once? How do you handle them? — Ross Currie

I used to juggle a lot of projects. It’s really tough, but generally a few go a lot better than the rest and therefore grab your attention.

Now I am 100% focussed on Appbot, and just play with a few apps on the side, but I haven’t touched them for months.

My suggestion to people is to try a lot of different things and see what sticks, then double down and focus on the ones that are achieving some level of success.

Q. Is it practial to do Landing Page Test / Validation for app, before actually buidling the app? Have you tried such approach? — Nachiket

I haven’t, I tend to try building a small MVP of the app in a day or two to test / validate like I did for 7 Minute Workout. I think a working app is a much better way to validate.


Thanks a lot!

Thanks Eric. Thanks for the questions everyone


Next AMA is with:

Christian Owens — British. International man of mystery. Founder of paddle.com. — 3pm EST 21st May


If you liked this AMA please Recommend ☺. Keep an eye out on our Twitter — @MakerHunt for details/updates.

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