Expert interview: Three minutes with Curio
User acquisition and monetization insights from leading app marketers
In our latest ‘Three minutes with’ app marketer interview, Bango Audiences talks with Hannah Parvaz, Head of Growth at Curio. Hannah shares her industry knowledge and gives insight into the importance of a User Acquisition strategy that considers the funnel as a whole, and the interplay between acquisition and monetization.
Do you consider UA and monetization together?
Hannah Parvaz, Head of Growth at Curio: UA and monetization are super linked for us. We can’t consider one without the other. As a subscription app, we always need to have monetization in mind. Curio is free to download and users can listen to 10 free stories when they sign up. They can then subscribe for upgrades, such as unlimited listening and downloads. Our campaigns are always optimized towards the subscription which means we can look at the funnel as a whole. For example, if someone downloads and doesn’t do anything else, we’ll then retarget them with subscription ads.
Has your approach to UA and monetization changed in recent years?
HP: Over the last few years, we’ve seen a move towards event-based targeting rather than simply focusing on installs, which means we are able to use a lot more retargeting campaigns to push people down the funnel.
In the past, our campaigns focused on users being out and commuting. This year we’ve recreated the creatives around the house – and even made videos of people washing their hands to 30 seconds of audio from Curio! In March, when we first went into lockdown, we were surprised that although the number of listeners fell slightly, the amount that was being listened to increased dramatically. We might have lost the commuters but gained a whole different set of users.
What’s been your biggest innovation in UA?
HP: At Curio, our biggest innovation is our creative testing structure. To make our creatives we use the ‘Jobs To Be Done’ framework and talk to our users to find out about their motivators and barriers. We’re constantly having calls with them to find out why they are or aren’t using the app. We then work with our designers who create images and videos that tie directly into what our users tell us.
Our creative ‘Become the most interesting person in the room’ won UA Campaign of the Year. People don’t just want to listen and learn – they want to share and seem smart to other people whilst in conversation. We communicate that in our ads. We’ve seen success with this framework across all continents in the world, though we haven’t targeted Antarctica yet!
What do you do to capture surges in mobile consumption during seasonal peaks?
HP: Start planning early! We see lots of people downloading Curio in January because they want to start their new year with new habits. People consider Curio to be a good habit – citing new year, new me!
We need to be prepared and make sure creatives, copy, landing pages, App Store changes, and audiences are ready. It’s also important to have a flexible budget so if we strike gold with a campaign, we have the option to increase our budget. On top of that, we also need to know what our success metrics are. How are we saying that this campaign was successful?
What do you think you’ll do differently with your UA campaigns going forward?
HP: We’ve just raised our Series A funding – $9m – which means we can start to grow and scale aggressively. We’re testing out new platforms and keeping our eyes open for new ways to grow. We want to make sure that we’re spreading ourselves out to get growth from lots of different channels, as well as Facebook, Instagram and Google. We’re thinking hard about how we can best diversify that portfolio of acquisition channels. On top of this, we’ll be going deeper into retargeting campaigns. With the new IDFA changes, we’ll want to nurture our users coming into the app and make sure we’re providing the best experience we can.
Until a vaccine comes out, it’ll be a lot more of the same with people staying in. With this in mind, we want to make sure we’re not being too pushy and also focusing on the education side of Curio. We want to continue to benefit people’s lives, rather than just focusing on a hard sell.
Curio is a subscription-based audio journalism app that works with different publications, including the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and The Guardian. Long-form content is curated and paired with voice actors so people can listen, wherever they are curio.io
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