Customer Spotlight

File Sharing App AXEL’s Secret to Doubling Retention Rates: Smart User Segmentation

In our mobile growth series, we sit down with cutting-edge companies that have mastered growth marketing in hypercompetitive industries to learn their strategies for success. Today we spotlight one of the leading file storage and sharing services: AXEL.

Today’s consumers juggle work and personal computers, phones, maybe even a tablet or two. Important files end up being stored everywhere except where you need them to be at the time you need them.

Founded in 2012, AXEL (formerly StoAmigo) pulls those files into one place, so users can access all their stuff from any device, wherever they are, without compromising data privacy or security.

Last week, I spoke with Joshua Shorter, Director of User Engagement at AXEL, about their successful user engagement strategies.

Hey Joshua, thanks for speaking with me today. I look forward to hearing how AXEL is applying the latest mobile marketing techniques to attract and engage users.

Hi Hiral, it’s great to see CleverTap featuring these discussions on mobile growth. The app industry is growing and evolving so rapidly, and there’s a tremendous amount we can learn from each other. I’m excited to share what’s worked for us at AXEL with the larger mobile and growth marketing community.

We’re excited to have you! Before we get into the details, can you describe your role at AXEL, and what defines success for you? What are the key metrics or KPIs that you’re working towards?

As the Director of User Engagement, some key areas of focus are increasing user sharing, file transferring, and inviting activity. For our business to succeed, we need to look beyond acquisition campaigns and generate strong engagement to grow the user base naturally. One strategy we’re using to do that is running campaigns that prompt users to share, transfer files between devices, and also invite friends to the platform.

As a file transferring and sharing solution, the main KPIs that we track for every campaign are the number of shares, transfers, and invites. We look to see if those campaigns are resonating with users and if they are completing the action we want them to take.

I usually start my day by looking at my CleverTap dashboard, where I can get a quick overview of how campaigns are performing, how many users are converting with each in app event and more.

Then when I want to do a deeper dive, I’ll go to the Engage menu to look at specific campaigns and see all the stats. I love how CleverTap lets me see conversion percentages for each in-app event influenced by the campaign. Many times, I’ll see that people are launching the app due to these notifications but are also sharing, transferring files, and inviting others. Being able to dig deeper into how campaigns are performing helps us decide which campaigns to keep running and where to tweak things.

That sounds both interesting and challenging. Given your current growth objectives, what were the main business challenges you were looking to solve when you first went looking for a technology solution?

Like most apps, we really wanted to drive activation of new users, as well as engage and retain current users.

We started to run acquisition campaigns through Google and saw our numbers go up tremendously in terms of new users. But we didn’t want to acquire users only to see them fall off. In order to ensure our marketing dollars were spent well, we knew we needed a solution that helped us effectively activate, engage, and retain them.

We also wanted to create an effective growth strategy that will open avenues for monetization, since simply acquiring new users doesn’t help us meet our business goals. Getting an accurate picture of the number of invites and optimizing the sharing process were some of our top objectives.

So what are the CleverTap features that you as a mobile marketer have found useful for meeting your acquisition and retention goals?

CleverTap helps ensure that we make marketing decisions based on data, not intuition. Being able to analyze behavioral trends and create detailed user segments is essential to engaging users with timely, personalized messaging that enhances their user experience with our app.

Here are a few of the CleverTap features we rely on the most:

Automated Segmentation with RFM Analysis: Automated Segmentation really allows us to be able to target users who are proven to be the most active or target them based on their level of inactivity.

Automated Segmentation

I love how CleverTap enables you to do RFM for a specific in-app activity. I’ll run one for sharing users, for example, and it will automatically split out the number and percentage of users that fall into each segment based on frequency and recency. Then I can easily click on a segment and launch a campaign targeted for these exact users.

One thing that we’ve seen is that targeted campaigns to our champions, loyal customers, promising, and new customers generate the highest ROI and results. It generates activity beyond just app launch — we’re seeing file transfers, shares, and invites with these segments. And with hibernating or about to sleep users, from the testing we’ve done we can actually gauge what types of campaigns will work. We can predict what their responses will be so that if a certain segment is likely to have more uninstalls than in-app activity, we can avoid sending them a message.

Journeys: Journeys has really been helpful for us too. I love the logic and the sequencing of it, being able to see every aspect of the campaign laid out. It’s been especially helpful for our new user Journey that we’ve seen great results with.

I love the option to build fallback sequences. That way I know that if the push notification doesn’t work, I can automatically send a fallback email or in-app message. You can easily tweak messaging, frequency, — I love that you can set one up today but launch it at a later time if you want to give others on your team time to review it before deploying it. That flexibility is great.

Dashboards: The Today board is the first thing I look at when I come in each day. It’s so helpful in setting priorities, because it lets me know what kind of activity I need to focus on generating. For instance, if I notice that the number of file transfers is significantly lower than the number of app launches, that lets me know that a lot of people are coming into the app but not performing the desired action or converting. That means I need to come up with some campaigns to send out to targeted segments to get those numbers up.

Then there’s days I come in and the number of files transfers is 2x that of app launches. So that lets me know that people are really engaged. And that gives me a window of insight to say let’s run that type of campaign again. Or we see how many visited a UTM that day that was associated with a campaign. It’s just a great way to get an initial window for what to do next for your day.

Being able to compare today and yesterday versus a week ago has been so helpful in identifying times when we surpass previous records for user activity. I can get a sense of whether invites are significantly higher today than yesterday and also higher than it was a week ago, so I can identify trends over time and really refine our engagement strategies.

Can you share some specific tests or analyses you’ve run that have been successful for you?

We recently launched a new UI and UX for our app. With insights from CleverTap’s analytics, we could understand what aspects of our previous functionality were working, and which weren’t.

Prior to the new UI, we took note of how much time it took users to go from launching the app to creating a new account. New users were taking 3 minutes to get from app launch to new account creation. We used those initial insights and funnel analysis insights to refine our interface and make it easier for people to access those features. After the new UI and UX, the time it takes new users create an account has been reduced by 33%.

Seeing how many people are completing key actions — and how long it’s taking them to get there — has been instrumental in perfecting our user experience.

Those are really impressive results. Can you share some successes you’ve achieved through your engagement campaigns?

Cohorts

We’ve seen significant increases in all of our key in-app events: file transfers, sharing, and invites. As of this month, we’re seeing a 238% increase in shares, a 138% increase in folders created, an 85% increase in files transferred, and a 76% increase in new user invites.

We’ve also been looking at day 1, day 3, and day 7 retention.

These numbers are very exciting! What’s next for AXEL? How do you see CleverTap helping your team to further drive activation and engagement on your platform?

We already use the Today board extensively, and we’re looking forward to creating custom dashboards for new metrics to see campaign and business goals in one place. It will be instrumental for us to be able to have easy access to these numbers, and be able to track them in real time.

We’re very pleased with CleverTap and it’s been a great asset for us. We look forward to continue using it as you keep adding more cutting-edge features.

We wish AXEL continued success. Thank you so much for sharing your insights with us and the greater mobile marketing community!

It’s been my pleasure! Today’s consumers have sky-high expectations for mobile apps, and what worked to impress users a few years ago is no longer enough to keep them hooked.

Data-driven, personalized engagement campaigns are really key for long-term retention and mobile growth. It’s all about adding value to your users’ lives and creating a seamless user experience. Once you can crack that code, the sky really is the limit.

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