Long-term, committed relationships aren’t for everyone. But that doesn’t mean those who may choose to avoid these entanglements don’t want and deserve intimacy. When founder Edward Chen identified a lack of commitment-free dating apps in 2015, he took it upon himself to develop one.
Seven years later, HUD (Hookup Dating) is one of the most downloaded apps in the dating app category. They create delightful dating experiences by ensuring that all matches are made authentically, openly, and with everyone on the same page about what they’re seeking.
HUD is a casual dating app that is on a mission to provide an alternative, inclusive, and empowered commitment-free dating experience. Features like HUD bedroom and SAFE Integration strive to bring much-needed straightforwardness to the dating game. With over 11 million users globally, their biggest audiences are located in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
To understand how HUD leverages CleverTap to drive their growth and ensure users remain delighted, we spoke to Mikayla Robinson, the director of marketing, who leads the growth and strategy function.
Robinson’s north-star metric is the number of users that activate the free trial. “We trust our product, and once our users are able to experience our paid offerings, our product does the rest of the work,” she adds.
Before implementing CleverTap, the team at HUD used an in-house push notification system. “It worked fine, but we didn’t have the same amount of power when it came to analytics and making actionable changes based on user behavior in real time,” recalls Robinson.
Without access to real-time analytics, it was next to impossible for the team to measure the number of users who activated their free trial. Additionally, there was no way to measure important metrics like app installs and time spent by users on the app.
Who are HUD’s loyal users? And who are most likely to churn or hibernate? How can we better re-engage at-risk users? The only way HUD could go about answering these questions was through guesswork, a time-consuming and terribly inaccurate process. For HUD’s small marketing team, this was not feasible.
“After exploring many options, we landed on CleverTap specifically because of the multitude of things we could do through the platform — be it user segmentation, messaging, tracking performance, or understanding users in real time,” says Robinson.
“With CleverTap, we can action our campaign optimizations instantly based on how our users are behaving,” she adds.HUD’s campaign to nudge users to complete onboarding
The onboarding process in HUD involves users answering a series of questions. This is so that the app can represent and suggest matches for users as accurately as possible. Upon completing the process, the user becomes eligible for a 7-day free trial of their premium offering. After this, the user can convert to a paid subscriber (premium or diamond offering) or continue to be a free user.
Using custom dashboards offers Radden the ability to create her analytics dashboard. This helps her to quickly compare metrics in a single view and prioritize engagement metrics.
“Many folks in our team are the creative types, so as a data-driven and evidence-based company, using the boards helps us to visualize data into actionable insights and get the whole team on board,” adds Radden.
Funnels help her understand how users navigate through the app and where they drop off before converting. Further, funnels enable her to create highly targeted campaigns from any of the conversion steps. Trends help her to spot patterns to understand how users are engaging with Mindful Mamas.
Robinson relies on flows to gain a detailed understanding of how users navigate through the app and what their most likely paths will be. This also tells them how users perceive the app and its core features.
“The insights we receive from flows help us to create more targeted journeys and campaigns to enhance user engagement. Additionally, we also gain a better understanding of app features that might need some improvement,” explains Robinson.Insights from Flows helps HUD to promote various features of the app and drive feature adoption
HUD is not an app users delete once they’ve found ‘the one.’ Due to the nature of their offering, users can stay on the app indefinitely. This means HUD has ample opportunities to retain users for life, or until their desires or circumstances change.
“We target hibernating or inactive users by ramping up our communication, talking about what’s changed since they last logged in to the app, and also encourage users to use certain features. Through CleverTap’s RFM, we identified a sweet spot with the number of push notifications that our users like to receive in a single day,” observes Robinson.RFM helps HUD to understand hibernating users and win them back
RFM helps her to identify at-risk users, re-engage with them, and also reward loyal users. “It’s amazing that we can create our campaigns directly from the RFM data,” she adds.
Since HUD’s user base is quite diverse, Robinson constantly tests the messaging and emojis used in her campaigns to identify the version that’s most impactful for her target audience. “We A/B test almost 90% of our campaigns,” she adds.
“Using CleverTap to analyze our retention rate and stickiness quota, we’ve gained clear actionable insights on ways to optimize our campaigns. We’re able to observe the direct impact of our campaign optimizations on metrics like retention in real time, which is a huge benefit,” says Robinson.
Using CleverTap, HUD has seen over a 20% improvement in user retention.
HUD is aware that dating trends are ever-changing, but nonetheless users ultimately want a simple experience that achieves a core purpose. “We’re in the process of looking at HUD under a microscope and being very honest with ourselves and our users to discover how we can continue to add value and simplify our offerings to keep users coming back,” says Robinson about HUD’s future plans.
They’re also launching the HUD Hookup blog and their own podcast to connect directly with app users and those who align with HUD’s brand values. Along with the blog, Robinson plans to kickstart a newsletter. “I have every faith that once we’re ready to launch our email marketing activities, CleverTap will be able to easily integrate and support us on that as they’ve always done in the past,” she adds.