Polina Marchenko, CEO, Kptncook on Finding App Marketing Channels That Work

Jamie Giggs

In user-acquisition

April 27, 2016

Polina Marchenko works at Kptncook and gave a talk at App Promotion Summit Berlin on the topic of Finding App Marketing Channels That Work. The talk covered the best ways to engage with your audience and the best channels in which to do so.

You can find the video of the talk below along with the full transcript.


I am Polina, CEO, and co-founder of KptnCook. KptnCook is a mobile app we developed about 2 years ago, meant to simplify the way people prepare their dishes at home every day. So I don’t want to get too much into details how we approached the whole product, the whole problem and so on. I just want to give you an example of a small startup. So for the most of the time, we were 3 people in the team. We are able to climb on the top of the charts. But I think what is even more valuable, we were also able to stay on the top of the charts in Germany, where our main country is. And I just want to share with you how we make it happen. Yeah, so it all started with a big idea. We wanted to simplify the way people discover their recipes, but also how they do shopping much easier. So we developed a app. And probably very different to many start ups, we didn’t want to focus on minimal viable products, like in [inaudible 00:01:09] because normally it’s very fast and ugly. In our case, because we had some specific skill set in the very tiny team, we were really into the [inaudible 00:01:19]. So we wanted to deliver the quality with our app, we wanted to create great content which was, back then, even less available online, and also in the apps. So we created all the content ourselves. We took the cameras, we cooked our food, we prepared all the pictures. We designed everything ourselves. We developed the app. It all took us about five months. That’s five months not from the moment when started developing the app, but actually from the moment that we met as a team. So probably effective process was 3 months. And when I’m looking back to those times, I’m thinking thank God we actually took a couple of months more probably, but really brought up a great product, and were able to get attention with that. So as I say, beautiful design, great content, but also probably a decent amount of newcomer luck and we were featured for the first time on the Apple app store. So you can imagine for the small start up, it means the world. So it was super great. We were getting tons and tons of downloads every day, we were on the top of the charts. And of course, when the downloads start melting down, you’re asking yourself, okay,
so what next actually? How can I survive now? And I think, what is really important in this case is that we saw our product really as a great marketing tool itself. So we are meant not to be the next cooking app out there, but we wanted to solve the problem. Basically to avoid the problem with you’re standing in the supermarket and you really cannot decide what to cook. That’s why we developed the app, which is super simple. And I think this is one of the key criteria. You have to think also in terms of your app. So try to develop the app which is simple but still delivers lots of value. So every day you will see three recipes. Only 3, not 300, not 3000. In 24 hours, the recipes will disappear. And every recipe is also paired with products and prices from local grocery stores. So it was another layer of convenience we added to normal like so called cooking app, which normally you will not expect. And when youcome home you will have also step by step pictures, which was also super beautiful. Yeah, so after we had been featured, it was great. We got the first attention and so on. But then we realized, okay, so it’s actually pretty addictive to get featured. And we started to see this whole feature process more strategically. And we realized actually that there should be a balance. You have to be able to find a balance between the features which are highly interesting for your users, but also very appealing to the Apple app store if you want to be featured. So over the last 20 months, we were trying to find this balance. And I think we are pretty successful at that. So we are featured by the Apple app store multiple times in different categories, also on the main first screen, and so on. So it was continuously our growth engine. And when you start developing this relationship with Apple, I think these four criteria are very important to consider. First one: you have to show that you are
yeah, so we are probably not yet so exciting. We are not Mark Zuckerburg who are donated 45 billions. And like, not everybody wants to write about us. And then we realized after we have already had a PR person working on this full time, it didn’t work. So we realized that we have to frame ourselves right. We have to create a content around our start up to be interesting. And we had created a platform for that, our blog, and we have been pretty successful since then. And this is our key how it worked. So we actually started to be very visual. We created a couple of really great infographics and then approached the platforms like [inaudible 00:15:05]. Well actually, they approached us. And then we got lots and lots of visibility for that. And this is also I believe that right content put into the right hands can be a really influential tool. And since I am running out of time, just very shortly, we also experimented with influencer marketing and still are. So for example, influencers who…like this influencer discovered us and just talked about us on their YouTube video, there are also platforms for that you can utilize. And actually, we tried a couple of them with a couple of influencers. And we were able also to optimize our cost per download to 50 cents, which is pretty cool comparing to Facebook for example. And also, you don’t want to be, to have it like coincidence that you got featured somewhere. You want to make it a rule. That’s why we learned over the time that it is needed to make friends. And in order to make friends, you have also to invest in them. And you have to be prepared to offer more than you actually want to take back. So we built also a platform of food bloggers around us, who are supporting us, who are sharing our content. They’re giving us additional visibility. And very short, these are the tools we are using. These are not secret tools. One of them if you wanted to reach out to reporters and you don’t know how go to Help Reporter Out. And you will see that actually reporters are constantly looking for help, because they have all last minute articles that have to be written, and you can help them with your input. And this way you will also make friends. Then I will also suggest that everybody to apply for Facebook
because then you will get tons and tons of perks that we were utilizing the whole time. And it’s all for free. For example, mobile actions for app store optimization, I don’t know. Normally it costs 300 a month. We are using it for 6 moths for free. And all different things, and it’s really simple implementation and so on. And of course, we use MixPanel to monitor the data. And these are two tools we are using for influencer marketing. This is FameBit and Sponsor Kit. So you can experiment and it’s very intuitive and easy to use. And to wrap up, I just want to say that if we could do it, you can also do it because it’s not rocket science. Just focus on, you have to build an really “A” app, A with a capital A so that people have a reason to talk about you. Develop your app also strategically because it’s helpful. Fix the retention. As I said, give more than you expect to get back. And try to become visible on the Apple app store with simple tools. And constantly, constantly monitor your data. And then welcome into the top charts. See you there. Thank you.