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We have Esther Crawford, CEO and Co-Founder at Squad. You will discover how she pivoted the company to its current form, how she got initial users on Instagram and the type of ads that worked the best, and how hitting the top charts in smaller countries allowed her to have a network effect. This episode is tactical and inspiring — just the way I like it.
Pivoting a Company
Squad is a pivot of another product. Esther and Ethan started a company almost three years ago but it wasn’t successful that they felt down. One day, her daughter, Emma, complained about not being able to share her screen while going live with friends. This gave Ella an idea of what to pursue next.
She talked with her friends and co-founder, Ethan, to find a solution for the said problem. After several discussions, they agreed to pivot the company and ended up building Squad.
Getting Users through Instagram Ads
Esther and Ethan wanted unbiased, brutal and unfiltered feedback, so they wanted people they do not know to download and try the app. They started by targeting teens in smaller cities in the U.S. through Instagram ads.
For this, they tried different formats but what worked for them in reaching out to their target were short-form videos. Esther took sketch files and put it into ScreenFlow and then made it into a GIF that lasts for 10 to 12 seconds long with a one targeted message.
The Network Effect
Esther grew up in a small town and wasn’t always exposed to the latest and newest products. She’s curious how people in that part of the country responded to new technologies and innovations and so they targeted small cities for this reason.
Also, if someone is in a small city, the odds of that person having at least one other friend on the app is high. When this happens, it’s easier for users to experience what’s really in store in the app for them.
In addition, it doesn’t take much to start ranking in small countries. If you have an influencer who discovers the app and shares it in his or her network, you will immediately see an uptick. In Esther’s case, they also noticed that they were climbing the charts in the other countries simultaneously, so those network effects from local networks really matter.
– Fav app: Joyride Trivia
Now I run an app marketing agency where we’ve helped 28 clients get featured by Apple, 5X downloads with ASO, and get coverage on Techcrunch, Mashable, Venture Beat and other major publications. I also write about apps on The Next Web, Entrepreneur.com, and on my blog AppMasters.co.
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