Technology enables us to do things that would have been next to impossible 5 years ago. The reason Jana has been so successful is largely due to “tech”tonic (sorry) shifts in infrastructure that have enabled a startup in Boston to become the number two ad network in India next to Google.
Recently I had the opportunity to travel to Jarkarta, Indonesia to meet our users in Indonesia. To learn from them, to get to know them, and to understand the day in a life of an Indonesian mCent user. When you are doing business in over 10 countries worldwide, in market visits are one of the best ways to learn about the pain points of your users and your client.
Part of our goal was to meet users that had stopped using mCent. We wanted to figure out why some of our users had chosen to part ways with us over the past month to see if there was anything we could do to bring them back. To find a user halfway across the world, track them down and figure out why they didn’t use your product anymore is pretty challenging. It would be hard to even find this user in our own backyard.
Jana has a world class data pipeline that we can use to query for anything the users give us permission to track within our app. Using our retention data and country detection, we were able to determine all users in Indonesia that had not logged in in the past 30 days, but were previously active for more than a week. Sidenote: When getting permissions from users, it’s important to clearly explain which permissions you are requiring and why. It’s the first thing you see in mCent.
With this list, we were able to find all lapsed users in Indonesia and their contact information. However, because we have lots of indonesian users, it would have taken forever to cold call them and find out the ones that were in the Jakarta region. Another piece of our analytics data came to the rescue! Recently, we had begun collecting geolocation data, which we use to serve better and more relevant content to our users, using Google location services. We were able to combine the geolocation data with our retention data to find all users in Jakarta that had lapsed.
Bowo, our representative in Indonesia cold called each of these users to try to set up meetings with them in return for free airtime and recharge. He was able to confirm a few users for us to meet in Jakarta. Success! With all the interviews setup, we booked some flights and trekked out to Jakarta to meet our users, keeping in touch with them via whatsapp to schedule meeting points and notify them of delays, because, in Jakarta, there is a ton of traffic.
Finally, we were able to meet with a few of these users and learn from them by observing how they used mCent. Turns out, there weren’t enough offers available and the ones that were had pretty low recharge amounts. Both great points of feedback we are now working on here in Boston to address.
In addition to product feedback, we also learned about the lives of our users. As a Gojek (Scooter version of Uber) driver, Hadi spent 12 hours a day chauffeuring people on a scooter and spent large sums of money on recharge everyday. He spent the equivalent of 10% of his salary on his phone bill because he spends lots of data and talktime to confirm user pickups. He needed to work that hard because he recently got married and had his first child!
We met Andi at a coffee shop. He worked at a pet shop selling beautiful singing birds for his friend. He had recently been laid off of his sales position and mCent was a great way for him to save on costs while he got back on his feet. His father had a heart issue the previous day and was at the hospital. Still, he made his way out here to meet us, which we greatly appreciated.
Why do I bring up the specifics of these people’s lives? All too often in consumer apps and especially internationally, it’s easy to reduce users to another statistic or KPI to hit. In market visits help remind us that these are real people, with real problems, real hopes, and real ambitions.User interviews or emails can’t even come close to approximating this.
The final piece of the tech story is that we were able to use the mCent platform to instantly credit their account with free recharge to use on their mobile phone. The equivalent of one month of free data usage and talk time. The cool part here is that we went on our laptops, used our internal tool to reward them, and within 5 seconds, we saw a notification on their phones saying they had received free data. Technology is awesome.
So to recap:
- Used our retention and contact information in our analytics database
- Combined that with our geolocation data to find users in Jakarta
- Asked Bowo to reach out to these users via phone call and on whatsapp
- Flew out to Jakarta and met them in person
- Rewarded them with free airtime which made a real impact on their lives.
How hard would this have been 5 years ago?