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How Cleartrip Drives Hyper-Growth Using CleverTap’s Mobile Marketing Platform

As part of our ongoing series on mobile growth, today we are excited to have Pallav Singhvi, Head of Growth at Cleartrip.

The use of data to drive growth has been the mantra of marketers over the past couple of years, but very few brands have been able to apply data-driven insights to build effective user acquisition and engagement strategies. One brand that has seen success is Cleartrip.

Cleartrip is an online travel aggregator website for booking flights and train tickets, hotel reservations, and holiday packages. In 2018, it reported annual revenues of $45M. With over 10M app downloads, Cleartrip is a favorite among users who want a hassle-free way to to book travel. The brand has also partnered with Google Flights for its flight search application and is seeing huge traction there as well. Cleartrip’s success can be largely attributed to a culture that fosters experimentation, innovation, and data to support phenomenal growth and stay ahead of the competition in a highly competitive market.

Hi Pallav. Very excited to chat with you and learn Cleartrip’s growth story. The highlights of your journey will definitely help mobile marketers build a powerful approach to sustained growth and revenues.

Hi Almitra, it is great to see CleverTap driving this effort and publishing the learnings to the broader community. The app economy is growing at an exponential rate and there is so much we can all learn from each other.

The online travel sector has emerged as a leading driver of growth in the overall travel industry, touted to be worth $1,091 billion by 2022. With a plethora of mobile apps available to users, mobile travel service bookings as a share of total global online bookings have skyrocketed by over 230% between 2015 and 2016 alone. There is definitely no one-size fits all, and instead of reinventing the wheel, marketers can share knowledge so not only seasoned professionals but early-stage brands can have some quick wins.

As you know, CleverTap helps us solve most of these challenges and I am excited to discuss how we use your marketing platform to convert data into insights and use those to drive customer engagement. We have all seen this with Netflix — data can be a sustained competitive advantage, if mined the right way.

Before we delve deeper into how you harness data to delight your users, can you tell us more about your role at Cleartrip and what defines success for you?

I head Cleartrip’s global growth strategy and lead the efforts around increasing user acquisition, mobile engagement, and customer retention throughout the entire user lifecycle. I have been with Cleartrip for almost 5 years and we have worked very hard to build this growth culture.

For us, growth is a mindset. It extends to all functions, not just marketing. It is also not a point-in-time activity but something that is an integral part of our culture here. We have seen a 10X increase in users with the right combination of these 3 parameters: product, people, and process.

The key success KPIs for my group are:

  1. Drive user growth by 150%
  2. Use deep customer insights to fuel mobile engagement strategies
  3. Increase revenues from existing users by 25%
  4. Drive referral programs and increase ROI by 3X

What growth initiatives did your undertake that led to maximum ROI on your efforts? If you have to advise brands on how to optimize their efforts, what would you recommend?

The Cleartrip app has 10M+ downloads. According to Hubspot, 68% of organizations work without an identifiable funnel. Econsultancy quotes that for every $92 spent acquiring customers, only $1 is spent converting them.

So we look at not only how to acquire new users, but also make sure the existing ones have a great experience once they find us. If a user has a bad experience with your brand, the loss is unquantifiable. They will not use your brand and also recommend their network to not use your brand, which is a problem that you don’t want to address.

The initiatives that have yielded the biggest short-term and long-term benefits are:

  1. Get a 360 degree view of your customer

    A user goes through various stages of growth as they engage with you across digital touchpoints. This gets complicated when you use different engagement channels such as push, email, SMS, etc.

    This multi-dimensional matrix is difficult to understand and act upon. Only when the entire user journey is stitched together can you get the real truth rather than ad-hoc queries that provide misleading answers based on short-term user actions. CleverTap helps us build this complete map of our users across mobile moments, which helps us engage them better.

  2. Drive better alignment between the product and marketing teams
    Product teams use analytics to understand crashes, uninstalls, etc., while our marketing team uses engagement tools to drive retention. If you use two separate products that mine the same data-set with a disconnected lens, you get a skewed view of your business.

    For example, if a user uninstalls your app is it because your app crashed or because you sent too many marketing campaigns? This question is best answered when you look at all the user actions in a holistic way. Ideally the product and marketing teams need to come together at every stage of the user lifecycle curve to get insights and propel them to the next logical stage of growth.

    App Usage Vs Time

  3. Get business context into data analysis

    Using data analysis without context is like driving a car without knowing your end destination. Today’s marketers need to be data-driven. They should use tools that help them to better understand data rather than having to run to a data analyst to get insights.

    Growth-friendly tools like CleverTap help us to do exactly that. This democratization of information is highly beneficial to organizations and can drive rapid growth. Data+context is a sure win for high-growth brands.

Couldn’t agree more. Can you recommend some CleverTap features that you use and other growth marketers could benefit from?

Cleartrip has been a CleverTap customer right from the start, and we’ve been excited to see it evolve from a set of features to a comprehensive mobile marketing platform. Here are some of the features that I highly recommend.

  1. Journeys: Journeys helps us to get a visual real-time representation of how our users are navigating through our product and how they respond to our marketing messages. We can then optimize the paths that drive growth and look deeper into paths that cause friction leading to slower adoption of our platform.
    We also use them to identify user segments to target, and then engage them via the optimal channel. What makes this feature unique is the ability to create personalized journeys for each user based on behavior, location, and lifecycle stage with a few drag-and-drops.
  2. RFM: Since we have such a large user base, having RFM Analysis automatically create segments is a huge time-saver for us. I can easily get a real-time look at the health of our user base and quickly create relevant engagement campaigns.
  3. Cohorts: We use cohorts to understand the behavior of our loyal users and what makes then stick with our platform. What notifications they respond to, the actions and inactions that lead them to see value sooner than other users, etc. This helps us model our ideal customer and then target a similar cohort to follow the same path to success.
  4. Webhooks: In the travel industry, a user is most likely to be brought back if the engagement happens immediately after the user drops off. By doing Funnel Analysis on previously converted users in CleverTap, Cleartrip can determine how long it usually takes converted users to move from one stage to another. Once we have this “golden window” as a reference, we can detect probable drop offs of current users. Once a dropoff is detected, we engage with our customers via phone calls from call centers. With webhooks, CleverTap is able to provide all the information we need in real-time to our CRM systems. And since additional information like service, package, and trip duration details are also available to the CRM systems, Cleartrip call center personnel is better equipped to serve our prospects with personalized information and convert them to users.

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That’s great. Can you also highlight some growth marketing campaigns that you run and the ROI on those?

With CleverTap, we are able to:

  1. Accelerate our upsell strategy
    Cleartrip Email Campaign
    Brand loyalty is key. You don’t want users that you acquire through marketing dollars to stay with you for just one transaction and move on. This is a waste of marketing and customer support investment. We sent the above email marketing campaign to encourage users to book a round-trip who had only booked a one-way trip with us. With the right message and the optimal time to send, we were able to monetize 8% of these users within a few weeks. CleverTap cohorts along with their email marketing campaigns helped us achieve this in no time.
  2. Run real-time marketing campaigns to adapt to user behavior
    Cleartrip Real-time Campaigns
    The sooner you act on your user’s preferences, the higher the chances of expecting a fast response from them. We use CleverTap’s Live User Segments to cross-sell by sending a notification to explore hotels as soon as a flight is booked. We have seen our cross-sell numbers go up by 5X.
  3. Location-based marketing
    Location-based Marketing
    We run very targeted geo-specific campaigns and add regionalization, so the message resonates better with the target audience. Our CTRs for email marketing have improved drastically and our monetization rates are around 10%.

As a growth enabler, we are always amazed by how our users use our platform. What would you recommend to teams that are looking to leverage growth marketing to the fullest?

As of 2016, revenues worth $65 billion were generated through mobile app bookings,compared to just $115 million earned through traditional online bookings. This number is only likely to grow in the future as the share of mobile app bookings continues to rise. With over 5% of all apps available across both Android and iOS platforms being travel-centric apps, it creates a highly competitive marketplace. Here are some that I would like to particularly focus on:

Build a culture of growth and innovation: Experimenting is very important to keep in mind as you drive growth. Fail but fail fast, and learn from your efforts to improve your next growth strategies.

Messages, product screens, and feature roll-outs need to be constantly A/B tested so brands can figure out where the optimal ROI is and how the use the shortest path to drive growth.

  1. Develop an omnichannel strategy that stays true to your value proposition: Disconnected email marketing, push, and SMS systems and mass notifications that don’t provide a consistent user experience will negatively affect your marketing efforts. The reason we are able to delight our users and have high engagement rates (70% of users stay with our platform after their initial purchase) is because of our efforts to stay consistent and bolster brand recall.
  2. Use personalization wherever possible: Users have some static parameters such as age and gender, versus dynamic ones such as geolocation, device used, item viewed, etc. It is very important to use growth tools that help you get these insights out-of-the box. At Cleartrip, we use geo-location and purchase behavior heavily to send marketing messages in real time, and have increased conversion rates by 200%-300%.

How does Cleartrip plan to continue this phenomenal growth? How do you see CleverTap playing a role?

Marketing automation is the key here. As a growth team, we are looking to explore predictive analytics. The ability to create automated segments and trend their behavior with some confidence in the outcome makes experimentation a lot easier. For example, if you have multiple segments – champions, loyal users, potential loyalists – you can decide which segment needs to be marketed to with discount coupons to get the best ROI. Just looking at giving a 20% to users who haven’t transacted in the past one month is a thing of the past. Marrying specific user actions to a broder data set helps create more opportunities.

Pallav, we wish continued success to Cleartrip and are looking forward to more tips from you in the near future. I am sure our readers will learn a lot from your experience and the fact that it is measurable and SMART.

Thanks Almitra! Growth is often an overused term, similar to what big data was a few years ago. As leaders we need to make sure we show a direction that is replicable and doesn’t take months to implement. This agility is what keeps a brand relevant in the mind of their users. It is not dependent on whether you are a startup or a Fortune 500 business — it is the attitude and the willingness to adapt to change in user preferences is what will make the difference.

The intelligent mobile marketing platform

See how today’s top brands use CleverTap to drive long-term growth and retention.

Schedule a Demo Now!

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