Using Data to Hone Your Mobile Focus: Webinar Recap
Mobile product management is undoubtedly one of the most complex roles at many companies. From working cross-functionally between teams to intercepting and implementing customer feedback, mobile PMs have a long list of tasks that depend on data collection.
But how do mobile PMs decide what deserves a spot on the product roadmap? What should their teams build, and what shouldn’t they build? The best way to ensure valuable resources are spent on the products that matter most comes down to one already-accessible data point: customer feedback.
To help alleviate mobile PM to-do list pain, we partnered with our friends at Apptimize to bring our communities of mobile product managers a webinar on using data to hone mobile product focus. If you missed the webinar, you can listen to the full recording below:
Watch the video here:
The webinar covered how product managers can:
- Make smart product decisions
- Collect qualitative and quantitative data before deploying a new product or feature to your customers
- Validate the effect a new product/feature has on business
- Make the most of their limited resources
Although the webinar ended with a Q&A session, there were a few questions we weren’t able to answer due to time constraints. In today’s blog post, we answer a few additional viewer questions and offer advice to hone your A/B testing and mobile customer feedback collection skills.
(To gain even more knowledge on mobile product management, check out Apptentive’s Advanced Guide to Mobile Product Management and Apptimize’s Up-To-Date Guide for Mobile Product Management Resources.)
Webinar Audience Q&A
Q: I’m so frustrated that my exec team wants things without having a fully thought out plan. My gut is that’s not the right thing to build. How do I help them see my side? —Sheila
A: Mobile product managers at an advanced level work closely with lots of teams, specifically leadership teams. In order to manage conversations and make progress, becoming an expert at “managing up” is a necessary skill for success.
Managing up is based on the idea of building a successful working relationship with your superior(s), but employees who are the best at managing up take it one step further. Instead of simply building the relationship, they lay the groundwork for a strong partnership by anticipating their managers’ needs, presenting information in the ways their manager(s) understand, and do whatever they can (within reason, of course) to make their managers’ jobs easier in order to complete projects at a fast pace. Managing up is a skill any employee should master, but it’s especially powerful for mobile product managers.
A few tips for managing up include:
- Get stakeholders involved early
- Ask for specific, low-level feedback
- Anticipate your boss’s needs
- Learn how to disagree with respect
- Show your personal and product value
Q: How can we utilize in-app communication to drive ratings? —Brandon
A: Sometimes all it takes to increase your ratings and reviews is a simple question asked in the right way and at the right time. That’s where intelligent ratings prompts come in.
Despite the popularity of doing so, asking for ratings at app launch is generally never the best time to do so. We recommend identifying a “point of positive experience” within your app and displaying the prompt at that location. This could be between game levels, after sharing a photo, upon adding an item to a to-do list, or any other action that delights your customers.
Going one step further and asking a pre-qualifying question such as “Do you love [App Name]?” is also a great way to understand how your customers feel before asking for a rating. This way, if a customer doesn’t love your app you can ask for feedback instead of asking for a rating. If they do love your app, then give them the option to go to your app’s page in the app store and rate the app when they’re having a positive experience.
Q: What are things you should test to increase downloads? —Andrew
A: The list of potential A/B tests to help increase your app’s downloads are endless, but here are a few places to start in order to make the biggest impact:
- App description (including keywords) that highlights your app’s main offerings.
- Screenshots so potential customers can see what’s included inside of your app.
- Location and arrangement of your menu/navigation so customers can easily find what they’re looking for.
- Colors and general design of your logo to help attract downloads.
- App store category your app is currently published in, especially if you have a product that can transcend traditional categories easily.
- Price. Is your app currently paid, or are you offering it for free?
The biggest takeaway to remember is to learn from your A/B tests. Follow your customers through the funnel to understand where you’re losing the biggest group, and then focus your attention on fixing that point. You can drive thousands of downloads, but they’ll mean nothing if you don’t retain your customers.
Q: Are there ways to gauge if you should build a new feature without actually building it? —Regina
A: The best way to test the concept of a new feature before building it is to talk with your customers. To make capturing customer feedback regularly easy, mobile product managers can implement tools to help automate the process, without having to actively spend time gathering feedback every day. Here are three ways you can easily gather customer feedback to help drive your product roadmap:
- In-App Surveys: Surveys provide mobile product managers with a platform to ask specific questions about their product and get quick, real-time responses. With surveys, mobile product managers have the ability to make smarter decisions about their product based on their customers wants and needs. Gone are the days spent weighing opinions about what’s best for the customer without data. With surveys, mobile product managers have the ability to ask the customer directly, and put internal debates without data to rest.
- Intelligent Ratings Prompts: In addition to surveys, intelligent ratings prompts can collect data for mobile product managers daily, without mobile PMs having to lift a finger. Except for analyzing data once it comes in, collecting feedback from intelligent ratings prompts is a relatively hands-off process once the feature has been implemented. Intelligent ratings prompts ask app customers, “Do you love [company or app name]?” If the customer answers yes, they are asked to rate the app in an app store, and if they answer no, they are presented with a survey requesting feedback.
- Customer Advisory Boards: In addition, mobile PMs can put a Customer Advisory Board together to run ideas by for proof of concept before the project goes on the roadmap. Not only does asking the customer what they prefer save time by eliminating the internal debates that take place while trying to choose which idea to implement, it guarantees the company is making the best choice with the customer-centric data they have.
Q: What resources do you recommend for mobile PM’s to learn more about making customer driven decisions and gathering customer feedback? —Marissa
A: There are many great resources for mobile PMs for improving their customer feedback gathering skills. We recommend starting with Apptimize’s Up-To-Date Guide for Mobile Product Management Resources and the following:
- Product Hunt
- PM Subreddits
- Mind the Product
- The Art of Product Management
- Mobile App Management Blog by Apperian
- Apptamin Blog
- Mobile Futures Forward
- Delight UX/Product Conference
- Open Mobile Media Summit
- Mind the Product
- ProductTank Meetup Series
- Product Management, Innovation, & Growth
- MVP Conf
- Mobile World Congress
Q: Have you done any analysis to determine how important is to offer an incentive so [your customers] answer the survey? —Victor
A: As Oleg Urminsky, who teaches marketing research at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, said to the New York Times in January, “All organisms, in different ways, are drawn to goals. The closer we are to achieving our goals, the more motivated we are to keep doing something.” Humans respond to incentives, but only so long as they help them achieve a goal.
For in-app engagement, incentives must not take away from the main goal of using the app (e.g. playing the game, reading the content, etc.) in order to be effective. That’s why segmenting your mobile audience is so important, and why prompting the right group of customers at the right place and at the right time is imperative to success. The biggest incentive you can offer your customers when it comes to surveys is that their voices will be heard in order to improve their experience, so messaging accordingly will help drive survey responses and customer happiness.
Also, it’s important to remember that “incentives” can come in many different forms, but are likely to have some sort of monetary value tied to them. When it comes to rankings or reviews, Apple is very clear about developers who incentivize their app store data being penalized. We recommend not incentivizing ratings and reviews for this purpose (also, it’s just bad karma!).
If you have any additional questions on mobile product management or leveraging data to hone mobile product focus, leave your thoughts in the comments below so we can keep the conversation going.