Mobile app marketing is a tough nut to crack. From the 1.2 million apps currently hosted on the App Store, nearly 80% are ‘zombie apps’. Nearly 1.4 million apps on Google Play store are making app discovery quite a challenge for startups.
A sane advice that is normally given to startups is - “Before you sink in thousands of dollars into marketing your app, set up a social presence for your app on platforms that are frequented by your target audience.” However most startups don’t realize the power of original content on social media and end up just promoting their app link.
Besides most startups give up since organic growth on social media won’t happen in a day or a week or even a month. It has taken more than a year for TrulyMadly and it is still learning how different social networks address social behavior of people. In fact the online dating app that recently raised INR 35 crores from Helion Venture Partners and Kae Capital will use the funds majorly to build social network like features on the app, invest in team and invest more on developing original content.
“Part of the funds would be invested in the product and scaling the team. The other half of the funds would be invested in building our brand through content creation,” said Sachin Bhatia, Co-Founder at TrulyMadly in a recent telephonic conversation with Lighthouse Insights.
Globally online dating is being touted as the next revolution. Analysts state that the $2.1 billion market is going to accelerate over the next five years. Last year Facebook - the most active social network in India - was credited as the dating network of the country. While it isn’t a surprising fact, this news didn’t stop homegrown startups to venture into the mobile dating space.
India, which will soon become the youngest country in 2020, saw quite a few dating apps launching in the country. TrulyMadly was one of them that launched last year, boasting its USP as a ‘verified dating app’. However with time the startup has re-positioned itself after getting user feedback that they are not looking for match-making but they want to find interesting people. “We believe people need to meet multiple times before they can date someone and make a decision,” added Sachin while explaining how youngsters who are open to dating would shy away from discussing in open. “We are also trying to remove the taboo attached with dating.”
The idea of breaking stereotypes has been in the DNA of TrulyMadly. #BreakingStereotypes was one such campaign that the startup had launched last year to break the hardened stereotypes. For the campaign, the portal ran a social experiment in Delhi, where it asked boys and girls to share how they’ve faced generalizations while growing up. As the people of the city opened up to share the stereotypes they faced, the campaign gained pace and controversial stereotypes faced by real people surfaced on social media. TrulyMadly then curated these stereotypes and put up a gallery featuring the commonly faced ones.
The hard-hitting campaign gained a lot of coverage and eyeballs. Over a period of two months from April to May 2014, Truly Madly’s registrations increased by 20X. “Paid acquisitions for app is an easy way but there isn’t any stickiness. People download the app and later uninstall it. We are building a one to one social network and to get it popular it needs to have virality. This can happen only if people talk about our product features and the content. We have a cool product with great features which is now getting talked about with the original content that we are creating around it. The stickiness around content is more,” informed Sachin who also mentioned that the new round of investment has also come due to the engagement that is being driven by content.
The other challenge that content is solving for TrulyMadly is the engagement with women in India. Sachin informed that engaging with women and gaining confidence is a tough job and one needs to have a long strategy. A reason why the campaign #FranklyHer designed by TrulyMadly during the Valentine’s Week focused only on women, at a time when other dating apps focused on couples. “Girls today have the power to choose their careers, jobs, interests etc, so why not the men they want to be with. TrulyMadly gives them that choice,” said Sachin in an earlier interaction with LI.
#FranklyHer - the unconventional campaign took real girls instead of models and opened up a Pandora’s Box to show the world on social media what it is that women really want.
A photo posted by TrulyMadly (@thetrulymadly) on
Besides this the startup went around Delhi looking for the best dating spots and took some amazing snaps with couples. This received a good appreciation on Instagram. “We understand that each network has its own purpose and we are trying to address it. During the Valentine’s week, we focused on Facebook and Instagram. On Twitter we ran some contextual quirky contests.”
A photo posted by TrulyMadly (@thetrulymadly) on
However the content on TrulyMadly’s blog hasn’t evolved like the way other mediums have done. The startup is aware of it and is still figuring out what works best. “Right now our blog strategy is more around driving SEO but we are still thinking on how to build rich content on it.”
In addition to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, TrulyMadly has a very exciting and growing presence on YouTube. With more than 300 subscribers on YouTube the content is really building up. For example the video on “lamest reason for not to have a date” has so far fetched 4K views. For that matter the latest video which talks about the #FranklyHer campaign is really cool. Take a look at the video and the interesting doodles.
He chose not to reveal the YouTube strategy but informed that the startup has some exciting plans in the near future. “Video is a big focus area for us and from April onwards you will see a lot of work in this space targeted to women,” he said stressing on the fact that this year their focus would be majorly on YouTube and Instagram. “For last 2-3 months we have seen this and our users specially women have told us that they spend more time consuming content on YouTube and Instagram.”
As of now TrulyMadly works with a bunch of external agencies for most of its content creation and campaigns. However this is going to change a bit with fresh funds coming in. The team of two people who work along with Sachin, would be bolstered significantly this year by taking in more experienced people in content. “We are seeing returns from our original content, most of our downloads have happened organically and has also fetched some great PR too.”
Currently, TrulyMadly claims to have 200,000 users out of which 60% are active every month. By the year-end the dating app wants to touch the figure of 5 million users with an equal ratio of single men to women; definitely original content has played a significant role.