Stories by Gus on the Go: Month One

Long before we launched, I planned on writing update posts on how our new app Stories by Gus on the Go is doing. The last few days, though, I have been dreading writing the first of these. Downloads have been far below our hopes and expectations. And like most people, I would love to only report good results. However, we can learn just as much from the bad as we can from the good, so let’s do this.

Just a refresher – Stories is our sequel app to Gus on the Go. It is a children’s educational game that teaches kids a new language through simple stories, lessons, and mini games. At the time of writing, the app is only available in Spanish.

First a graph:

First two days of Stories downloads

Pretty good, right? What am I complaining about? Stories was downloaded over 1,000 times in the first two days.

When we got the results of day two, we were ecstatic. Our hard work had paid off and we felt vindicated. And fairly quickly, too. Especially after a disappointing 57 downloads on day one.

After a little bit of celebrating and not being able to leave well enough alone, I dug into the reports. My heart sank when I noticed a single line in the report that showed an educational institution had downloaded 1,000 copies using a desktop computer.

Now this might not sound terrible, but you cannot count on a different school downloading 1,000 copies each day. Additionally, analytics showed that our daily active users (DAU) for day two was 37. Clearly, someone had downloaded a bunch of codes and never used them.

Removing these bogus downloads, here are our numbers for the first 30 days.

First 30 days of Stories downloads

With these numbers, if we can get our conversion rate up to 5%, we are looking at making a whopping $1.337 per day.[1]

(573 downloads / 30 days) * (5 IAPs / 100 downloads) * 2 dollars / IAP * 0.70 = $1.337 / day

Sigh. At least that’s after Apple’s cut.

Press Coverage

We assumed that due to our experience, getting coverage of our app would be much easier this time around than it was 3 years ago, when Gus on the Go launched.

This, however, was not the case. We discovered that the mommy blogger industry has changed quite a bit. Despite also hiring a marketing agency, we are having trouble getting the amount of coverage we expected. NOTE: We are still working with our marketing agency, so I will not go into specifics about that experience, yet.

Here is a list of coverage we have gotten so far, some of which were sponsored:

Sponsored or not, this coverage is ultimately important for our SEO. The long game, as we found out with Gus 1, is to improve our SEO to drive people to our website. Once on our website, it is up to us to encourage them to download the app.

How do we fix this?

We had to remind ourselves even though we hoped to start with a bang, it looks like we will be taking the Gus on the Go route again – slow and steady.

After feeling sorry for ourselves the first two weeks, Alice and I sat down and started seriously discussing what we can do to improve the situation. Here is what came of that:

  1. New languages – Stories is currently only available in Spanish, but we designed the app to be easy to create new language versions. Using our sales data from Gus 1, we can make informed decisions about which languages to tackle next. New languages will appeal to different people, effectively increasing our market base and, hopefully, brand awareness.
  2. Site and podcast sponsorships – Find some websites and podcasts we can sponsor to improve brand awareness. As I mentioned in my offsite backup post, this kind of sponsorship is effective. At least on me.
  3. Experiment with ads – Google, Facebook, Twitter; Experimenting is key. And not just with ads…
  4. App Store Optimization – Since we plan frequent, small updates, we can experiment by tweaking the app store description, keywords, and title.
  5. Localization – Even though Gus 1 Spanish was sold mostly in the US, Stories has more international appeal so far. This is possibly because it is free. Localization should help expand this further and will be necessary when we release other languages, anyway.
  6. Improve website conversion – Use analytics to help us tweak our website to increase the number of people that download the app.
  7. Viral marketing – Create a funny video showing how easy it is to learn a new language using Stories. NOTE: I know counting on viral marketing is a fool’s game, but this is all about experimenting.
  8. Schools – Work with schools to showcase Gus in a classroom setting.
  9. Travel agencies, hotels, and airlines – Work with international travel agencies, hotels, and airlines to promote the Gus apps for young travelers.
  10. Microsite – Create a separate, fun language quiz site that acts to market Gus.

The moral of this blog post is that we are not going to complain and feel sorry for ourselves. We are going to do something about it and improve our business.

If you want to chat with me about anything in this post, you can find me on Twitter. I’m @yonomitt. I’m always open for discussions. I’ll also post there when I have updates.

Have a nice day,

  1. For Europeans who swap the meaning of a comma and a period in numbers, that is one dollar and 33 7/10 cents. NOT one thousand three hundred and thirty seven dollars.  ↩