Lessons from AppBrowzer Referral Program — 300k to 1.5 million users in 21 days (Part 1)

AppBrowzer Install numbers during Viral Referral Program

40,000 Signups in less than 24 hours

Then I opened up Firebase console, and was surprised to see 7000 active users in the last 30 minutes!

AppBrowzer Referral Program — 40,000 users in a day

Sleepless Nights in our office

It took us four sleepless nights to make our backend capable to handle such massive traffic. Hundreds of lines of code were rewritten, bugs were identified and fixed, servers were upgraded, and much more.

We were working, eating and sleeping at our office

Journey to our first 300k users

Before we get into how we went from 300k to 1.5 million in 21 days, you should know the background story of our first 300k users.

Early Mistakes

Sunny and me, both knew very little about marketing when we started up. Sunny finished his MBA before Facebook even existed(he repeats this joke once a month, so I had to put it here).

The decision to Launch a Referral Program

Towards the end of 2017, I decided to get into marketing. I watched videos, read books, case studies, blogs, joined courses — basically whatever I could. I read about the importance of product-market fit, ASO, CAC, LTV, Retention Cohorts, and hell a lot of other concepts.

The Mistakes in our first Referral Program

On 27th April 2018, we started the referral program as “contest of the month” which would end on 6th May 2018.

AppBrowzer Refer and WIN contest
Referral Contest Rules
Referral Contest Rules
Referral Program Leaderboard

Mistake #1 — Poor Visibility

There was no mention of the referral program on the home screen. It was hidden in the navigation drawer with other menu options (screenshot below)

Referral Program Visibility

Mistake #2 — No explanation on what’s a successful referral

We assumed that users understand that their referrals had to confirm their OTP for them to win the referral reward. A clear explanation of the referral process is a must for users to feel comfortable before they decide to refer.

Mistake #3 — No Referral Tracking Dashboard

We didn’t have a referral tracking dashboard. I had already discussed here the importance of users being able to track their referrals.

Mistake #4 — Useless Leaderboard

The leaderboard that we had provided little or no motivation for users to rank higher. This was gamification done wrong.

Mistake #5 — No fraud detection mechanism

You will always get users on the Internet who would try to find loopholes and exploit your system, especially when cash is involved.

Reaching 300k and Dogfooding

Over the next 5 months, we kept on experimenting with changes in the referral program and also different acquisition channels acquiring additional 100k downloads (Total 300k) before deciding for a complete overhaul of our referral program and rewards system.

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