TL;DR: It was hard quarter, we underperformed first time during 2 years but we’re very optimistic.
We can call our last quarter of 2016 as “Troubles never come alone”. After very positive Q2 & Q3, we were full of hopes & projects on how we will now start changing AppFollow and continue our growth and everything. Unfortunately, we made few mistakes which significantly slowed down our growth.
Good thing is that we managed to realise at least some of our mistakes and December was fully devoted to amending the situation. We’ll soon see if we’re really managed to improve things.
On the bright side, in 2016 we grew 35x in terms of customers, which we consider a pretty good result. I’ll be covering this in my next post, and now back to Q4'16.
Let’s start with the product. Everything is good here and mostly according to our plans:
- We introduced new type of ‘performance’ integrations:
- Sales & Downloads for iTunes Connect & GP Dev Console in Slack,
- AppsFlyer ad campaigns in Slack.
- We added support for iMessage and Apple TV apps.
- We launched bright & shiny bot version 2.0 (both for Slack & Telegram), much quicker and with buttons.
- We launched ASO tools module.
- We refreshed our main dashboard look & feel with easier access to main features.
As one of our mistakes to mention, for too long we were relying on part-timers. This slowed down product development in Q3. Now full-time employees are the backbone of our team and we now managed to partially overcome the gap we made. We plan to continue reinforcing our team in 2017, so write us (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested.
The end of the year brought us another good news: our bot was nominated for Product Hunt 2016 Golden Kitty Award. And, even though we didn’t win it, we are very proud of that result.
Now let’s look at our KPIs:
- QoQ revenue growth was 17% (almost as we predicted).
- MRR growth was 9% only (instead of 30%).
- Customer base growth was 37% (instead of 100%).
- Same time, YoY growth is pretty nice: 320% for Revenue & 600% for MRR.
- In November we experienced the highest churn ever (8%) which we still investigate. It feels like it has no link to product changes but it hurts anyway.
- Both MRR & number of customers appeared to be much lower than we forecasted. Main reason for that — we failed in PR & marketing. We lacked a clear vision on what is needed to be done here which lead to a number of actions with almost no result for us.
E.g., we ended last year with the smallest number of monthly publications, failing to scale our content strategy to the needed level.
- What we worry most about — failed launches of AppsFlyer and Sales & Downloads integrations. We assumed that both of them would attrack a lot of new customers but we didn’t manage to spread the word well enough for this to happen.
This is the most bitter lesson of Q4'16. We’re still figuring out how we can improve here and this is one of our biggest challenges at the moment.
- We still targeting $10k MRR (though conservative forecast for Q1'17 is $8.5–9k MRR);
- We need to improve our customer growth rates — will be focusing more on sharing our knowledge with the community;
- And, of course dozens of new features & integrations. Our main focus will be on:
- New core to speed-up data collection
- Unified dashboard supporting data from different sources:
- Launch ASO Tools at full scale.
Within few weeks I plan to publish a 2016 review, covering all our ups & downs for the past year and more details on our plans for 2017.
If you like what we do, there are few ways you can support us:
- Give us ? and share our post to Facebook or Twitter.
- Invest in us so we can conquer the world.
Just drop us a line at email@example.com.