The latest World's Most Downloaded Apps report is out:
Instagram and TikTok are the top apps by download, but the surprise newcomer is Spotify. Hop onboard with Spotify ads now before the prices skyrocket.
How often do you talk to your users? These exercises can help you effectively interview your users with empathy, getting you the answers that you need to iterate.
Founder Victor Ponamariov pivoted from SaaS to making content. Here's why he made the switch, and how he grew his newsletter to 8,200 subscribers, and his Twitter audience to 25,000, in one year.
Want to share something with nearly 85,000 indie hackers? Submit a section for us to include in a future newsletter. —Channing
📱 The World's Most Downloaded Apps
from the Growth & Acquisition Channels newsletter by Darko
Two analytics platforms have released a Most Downloaded Apps report, breaking down the apps that people are downloading the most around the world. For founders running ad campaigns, this report could be key to leveling up on marketing.
The news: AppFigures and SenorTower, two of the biggest mobile app analytics platforms, have both released a Most Downloaded Apps report for October.
Top spots: Both lists peg Instagram and TikTok as the top apps by downloads, both on Google's Play Store and Apple's App Store.
The newcomer: Spotify is a newcomer to October's top downloads list. Spotify ranked 10th in AppAnnie's report, thanks to an influx of downloads from both the App Store and the Play Store.
The opportunity: It's always a good idea to keep an eye on the most popular mobile apps because that's where our posts and ads will show up. For now, those top apps are TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and YouTube.
The Spotify opportunity: If a platform hits an unusually large number of downloads, and not many people know that it has, there's a good opportunity to run cheap ads.
That seems to be the case with Spotify. The company's ad business is increasing, indicating that more businesses are finding success in podcast advertising. Is your SaaS going to be one of them?
The news: Facebook released its widely viewed content report for Q3 2021. The report contains the most viewed posts, pages, and content on the platform throughout the quarter.
The most viewed domains: YouTube ranked first, followed by GoFundMe, Amazon, Twitter, UNICEF, and Linktree.
The most viewed posts: This is where things get interesting. Many of the most viewed Facebook posts had one thing in common: They asked questions that you could answer creatively.
Here are some examples:
- Spell your name, but for each letter, press the first word that comes up in your predictive text.
- Name something that a lot of people like, but you can’t stand.
- Tell me to leave your house without using the word leave.
The opportunity: If you want to create a post that spreads organically on Facebook (or any other social media, for that matter), one idea is to ask a question that sparks people's creativity, prompting them to provide an interesting answer.
I've seen many of these questions on Twitter as well, most recently ones with a "wrong answers only" spin.
Discord's app discovery
The news: Discord plans to add a new app discovery feature in spring 2022. The feature will allow users to discover verified apps and bots, which currently number around 12K.
App marketplaces: App marketplaces are a powerful acquisition channel. They are the one channel where "build it and they will come" still holds true. They give you exposure without marketing, and can often help you get your first 100 or 1K users if your extension solves a need.
The opportunity: Discord is huge. According to The Verge, more than 30% of Discord servers now use bots. Discord's 150M monthly active users use 430K bots across the platform every week.
I'm also seeing a trend of teams migrating from Slack to Discord, so there will undoubtedly be an opportunity to build Discord apps for teams. Tettra started on Slack, and now generates $100K MRR.
Would you advertise on Spotify? Share in the comments below!
Discuss this story, or subscribe to Growth & Acquisition Channels for more.
📰 In the News
from the Volv newsletter by Priyanka Vazirani
🎧 Facebook will pay creators up to $50K to use its Live Audio Rooms.
📈 Online shopping is no longer as cheap as it was a year ago.
💻 OpenAI has made its GPT-3 language software available to all.
🎰 Crypto may be becoming a new form of gambling addiction.
🤯 The "strongest ever" ecstasy pills have been found in an English nightclub.
Check out Volv for more 9-second news digests.
🎙 Interviewing Customers With Empathy
from the Indie Book Notes newsletter by Bhumi
This month, we're reading Deploy Empathy: A Practical Guide to Interviewing Customers by Michele Hansen. Here are top highlights for indie hackers!
Why do your users cancel? What will make current users upgrade? What features should you build next? You can learn the answers to all of these questions, and more, by interviewing your users.
The promise of this book is to provide:
[A] toolbox of repeatable processes that will allow you to find opportunities and moments of unexpected insights.
Specifically, we will learn a set of conversation techniques and ways of speaking. Using these will get people to tell you useful, actionable things. You create a competitive advantage for your company by being open to listening to your customers with empathy. Many large companies overlook this valuable practice.
This book is written for people who do not come from a user experience background, and is written primarily with solo founders in mind.
What is empathy?
Here's a dictionary definition:
Empathy is about understanding how another person thinks, and acknowledging [their] reasoning and emotions as valid, even if they differ from your own understanding.
Empathy doesn't mean that you agree with the other person. However, it helps you to enter their world and understand their perspective.
Listening to someone is powerful, even if you don't do anything with what you've learned afterward. It has to do with how the brain creates good feelings towards someone who listens to you! There is value in listening for founders, even if the information isn't implemented.
This is the theory part, and Michele gives us a few key frameworks:
1. Everything is a process:
All business tasks are made of steps that create processes. Processes vary in frequency and complexity. People are more willing to pay to solve problems that are frequent, complex, time-consuming, expensive to get wrong, or frustrating in some way.
Core questions to ask here:
- What are they trying to do overall?
- What are the steps in that process?
- Where are they now?
- Where does the problem you are solving fit in that process?
- Where in that process do they spend a lot of time or money?
- How often do they experience this problem?
- What have they already tried?
2. Functional, social, and emotional:
A process has more than functional elements. There are also social complexities and emotional elements. Understanding all of these motivators and constraints are key to understanding why someone might choose, continue, or discontinue using a product.
After discovering motivations, you also need to probe the commercial viability of the problems and how you might price it by asking:
- How often they experience it?
- What they're currently using to solve it?
- How much time they spend on it?
3. Valuable, usable, viable, and feasible:
The product needs to be valuable to the customer and usable by the customer. It needs to be commercially viable (make money) for the company, and be feasible to build, maintain, and support by the company.
This evaluation happens after the interview, though. During the interview, your job is to absorb whatever the person says like a sponge.
Michele suggests starting with interactive interviews:
You might find it easier to start with interactive interviews, such as testing a prototype or website, rather than digging into someone’s process and emotions. The prototype, landing page, or whatever it is you are testing can act as a neutral third party in the interview and give you an easy way to deflect awkwardness.
Steps to get started:
- Conduct a practice interview with someone you know, using the script and topics provided. Record it!
- Analyze the practice interview to pull out the relevant information.
- Adjust accordingly, then repeat.
You'll know that you're doing it right when you can identify your interviewee's overall goal, steps that go into their process, relevant problems, and frequency, time, and money spent on relevant steps. You are also looking to identify different functional, emotional, and social components.
An interactive exercise in the book suggests conducting the practice interview with someone you know loosely, using this topic: What’s something new that you bought in the last three months?
The idea is to understand why they made the new purchase, both as an interviewer and interviewee. You can check out more sample questions for the exercise here.
What are your top interview tips? Please share below!
Discuss this story, or subscribe to Indie Book Notes for more.
🌐 Best Around the Web: Posts Submitted to Indie Hackers This Week
🖥 No-code for marketers. Posted by Lisa Dziuba.
💲 This SEO strategy led to a $40B valuation. Posted by Jaume Ros.
⚖️ Best Heroku alternatives. Posted by Romaric Philogène.
🤔 Why most developers get marketing wrong. Posted by Simon Høiberg.
✅ Four successful landing page patterns. Posted by Kyle L.
🧋 Coffee dates with founders. Posted by Joseph.
Want a shout-out in next week's Best of Indie Hackers? Submit an article or link post on Indie Hackers whenever you come across something you think other indie hackers will enjoy.
✍️ Victor Ponamariov Left SaaS to Make Content
by Victor Ponamariov
Hey indie hackers! I'm Victor Ponamariov, and it's been almost a year since I sold my product to switch to content making. You can find my newsletter here.
This year, I've been tweeting some useful things related to UI/UX. As a result:
- My Twitter followers grew from 1K to ~25K.
- My newsletter grew to 8.2K subscribers.
- I've started a YouTube channel that currently has 780 subscribers, and I've been sharing how I started earning money thanks to UI/UX.
Everybody speaks about consistency. Let me share my experience on how to grow an audience on Twitter:
This is the number of tweets per day. For 246 days, I've been tweeting every day. It's not always good content; sometimes it's just fluff. But I've tweeted 110 UI/UX tips with images, so roughly every 1-3 days, I posted something useful.
Now that I've grown on Twitter, I'm trying to conquer scary YouTube.
There are many things that make YouTube harder than other platforms:
Making videos takes a lot of time. Tweeting can take a minute, while making a video could take days.
Speaking in a language that's not my native one makes it worse!
Getting exposure on YouTube seems to be harder. When you tweet a lot, you can experiment more. But on YouTube, you cannot quickly make 10 videos just to "experiment." That would take weeks.
We will see how it goes over the next year! Time will tell.
Why did you switch from SaaS to content?
I think it's way harder to run a SaaS business, especially if you're a solo founder. You not only have to code and maintain the product, but you also have to be the content guy and the marketer.
Also, I really love content because I can actually see the growth, which didn't happen for me in SaaS. It's pure dopamine!
With SaaS, it feels like it's one huge project, as opposed to finishing pieces of content that are smaller projects.
Finally, eventually you'll need to hire some people in SaaS. I prefer to work alone!
What's your top tip for growing your newsletter?
The main thing that worked very well for me was launching some side products. These were like lead magnets, and helped me build my newsletter.
For example, I wrote a free book and put it behind an email wall. I also have a blog, which I honestly haven't had much time to update lately. But that helped as well. I'm at 8.2K subs with ~35% open rate because I started sharing helpful information for free.
How often do you post on YouTube?
YouTube is interesting. When I first started out, I thought that if I made a nice quality video, it would bring me a good number of subscribers...maybe 500?
But now, I've realized that you can have a high quality video and barely get subscribers from it. It's been way harder than I thought, but my goal is to post one or two videos per week. Hopefully two!
Thoughts on YouTube Shorts?
I've been thinking about using Shorts, and I plan to keep an eye on it. Right now, they look a bit confusing. You cannot see them on desktop, from my understanding, and everything is still in beta. But yeah, sharing tips and tricks that can be explained in one minute definitely looks like a very good idea.
Discuss this story.
🐦 The Tweetmaster's Pick
by Tweetmaster Flex
I post the tweets indie hackers share the most. Here's today's pick:
🏁 Enjoy This Newsletter?
Forward it to a friend, and let them know they can subscribe here.
Also, you can submit a section for us to include in a future newsletter.
Special thanks to Jay Avery for editing this issue, to Nathalie Zwimpfer for the illustrations, and to Darko, Priyanka Vazirani, Bhumi, and Victor Ponamariov for contributing posts. —Channing