AMA: Deepak Abbot on Product, Growth and Analytics

Do you follow North Star metrics philosophy (i.e. have 1 key metric and everything else is a derivative of it) ?

I do not agree that people aren’t downloading new Apps. India still is the biggest downloader on Play Store. Indians are buying new smartphones who are first time experiencing apps so they are excited about trying newer Apps (this is also the reason for poor retentions rates in India)
However, I am also a big fan of being on mobile web. It is often neglected but has the potential today to give app like experience today.
Urban India is downloading lesser Apps but spending more time so get quality users from there, semi urban try lot of apps (data thanks to Jio is no longer a challenge) so App install count can be increased from there at a lesser cost if you want some vanity. Rural India sticks to 2-3 tried Apps due to less exposure about multiple Apps.
PWA is a great way to give seamless experience without the download but I now personally feel, a 10MB download won’t hurt and retention of App is 3X of any PWA


Precisely - we have tried implementing PWA and frankly, saw no great uptick in the traction.

We at Paytm follow this. Get more unique transacting users month on month. This will ensure you focus on conversion, retention, engagement. One single metric drives the company, every feature or product we launch is seen from that lens. Once you achieve this metric, you can assume that number of txns & revenues will grow.

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Can you share anything on the growth angle to the thought process behind the content drive on Paytm via ‘inbox’?

@dabbot: How do you drive the entire team (engg/QA/marketing etc) to follow this? They have their own metrics (in corp speak, agendas) - very difficult to align them to a common goal.

I haven’t read any book recently but books like Lean Analytics and Predictive Analytics are still relevant. But best way to learn is to practice it - books can show the way but playing with data and applying its understanding back to your product is best learnt by practicing. I personally watch lot of youtube videos to learn new stuff. Google Analytics channel on youtube is a treasure trove. Youtube recommendation will take care of the rest

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Take data driven decisions :slight_smile: So learn data science and apply it to your domain


I prefer login/signup less onboarding, get user to the action straightaway. Try to keep your workflows, designs, buttons, font similar to the most popular apps everyone uses namely Play Store, Whatsapp, Facebook as that will allow 1st time users to feel comfortable and familiar


We built it give more control back to you on how you use your smartphone and how you can optimize your data, calling & App usage. Idea was to first make you aware of your usage and then give you actionable insights on either saving cost or optimizing your current usage
Best growth hack was social sharing of your savings and personalized referral invites
yes we ran paid acquisition once we were in control of our key metrics like retention and engagement. Facebook worked better than Google but then that is true for all new Apps, eventually you optimize based on ROI/cost

in the early days of the product, how would you decide about new features? How much of that is influenced by data vs. gut feel (founders’ belief that the world needs new features while customers are still not using the basic ones)?

Retention benchmark one should aim for is minimum 40% by Month 3
DAU/MAU ration can change dramatically based on App type - content apps can have as high as 40%, chat as we know is almost 99%, social apps are in the range of 50%. Transactional Apps & general apps would aim for 20%
D1 retention of 60% is bare minimum for App to be a big success. It should not drop below 40% in 3 months

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again, there is no straightforward answer to this - write a blog, promote your blog, gets influencers to blog, cross post your blog, get influencers to try your product, build a solid double sided referral, try to beat Gmail logic and try to get your emails in “Updates” folder (read some hacks to do it), don’t only talk about your product on twitter/fb as no one follows boring handled - use content marketing effectively. I would spend money on content marketing than paid app install campaigns


How much growth should a PM know and how should entry level ex folks enhance their PM career?

And what is the sync between pm and growth marketers? What metrics should one focus on in growth?

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Paytm gets 25mn daily visitors and almost 150mn monthly visitors. Not all of them transact clearly. Paytm today covers 100s of payment usecases and we believe every user may encounter at least 1-2 use cases daily. Having said, with so many offerings comes the challenge of discovery. We can’t force users to spend time on App and discover all use cases. So we decided to create hooks for users to use our App beyond payments and while they are engaged, display them some of the use cases that we have in a native way while they are consuming content in Inbox. We acquire 10% of our new transacting users now from visitors who first spend time in Inbox.
Inbox users are the most engaged users and they are also spreading our content/offering through their social channels - we want to leverage this community to drive organic installs further


Thanks for the detailed reply.

What consumer behaviour has surprised you the most:

  1. in a good way.
  2. in a real bad way :slight_smile:
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What is your take on building a ‘growth culture’ in teams?

Very good question - first of all the north star metric has to be simplest to understand that even a newbie App developer can understand. Each team still has their metrics to follow (like App team metric is to reduce App size, make it faster - if we pump the data back to them that if App size is reduced by x% then install increase by y% which leads to more users thus more customers). Once this relationship is established between team’s metric and that north star metric then everyone gets aligned
It wont happen overnight and often difficult to do when team grows beyond a point so one has to start with this approach from Day 1. This philosophy can’t be easily retrofitted in the culture.