Mobile Growth Hacking Meetup with LinkedIn

The Branch Metrics team hosted the Mobile growth Hacking Meetup last Thursday night at Apportable’s sleek warehouse offices in Soma. We were excited to bring some of the brightest minds in the space together for conversation, beer, pizza, and two great talks on the topic of Mobile Growth Optimization strategies.

The speakers were Charles Yong, co-founder of SFG Media Group and K-Factor Media, and Charlton Soesanto, former Product Manager at Linkedin and Current Product Manager at wearable tech startup Misfit. After a short intro from our COO Mike Molinet, both Yong and Soesanto gave riveting presentations on the crucial role that using quantitative insights into user emotion to inform responsive optimizations to user flow plays in the success of an app’s growth.

Yong’s talk was centered around a case study on the growth, engagement, and retention strategies K-Factor Media developed for their puzzle app Picture IQ. To demonstrate how associated emotional responses to even the most minor details of an app’s UX have a greater effect on the engagement and retention of those users than most PM’s might realize, Yong put the audience through the same user experience from which he collected his data for the study.

Yong discussed the minimal build time it took to leverage hundreds of thousands of survey charts to allow Picture IQ to automatically identify key attributes of each user and dynamically shift its user experience to the proper sequencing of puzzles, thus optimizing for the greatest level of user engagement and retention. With his succinct and eloquent data-backed demonstration, Yong made it seem as if we all could build an app that would achieve the more than $1mm in earnings on a $1K marketing budget that Picture IQ did.

Yong_Picture Charles Yong, founder of SFG Media, gives a talk at the Mobile Growth Hacking Meetup in San Francisco last Thursday.

The takeaways from Yong’s speech were a perfect precursor to Soesanto’s, which started by defining mobile growth hacking as “a data-driven way to grow your product based on human behavioral insights and increasing a single metric that measures user value, [not] empty, get-rich quick tactics moving vanity metrics.”

Soesanto provided key insights into the importance of the balance between a user’s motivation and ability when it comes to mobile growth hacking in the context of activation, retention, acquisition, and resurrection (see graphic below). Like Yong’s picture IQ example, Soesanto states that the ability to leverage user data and to optimize user flows by dynamically shifting permissions in real time is what separates the growing apps from the dying ones.


Both talks provided great insights into the necessity of data analysis and continual automated optimizations of user experience for any app that wishes to thrive in today’s market. Charles Yong tells us that growth cycles for mobile applications have shrunk from a few months to as little as a few hours over the past decade. If you hope to gain and retain new users in a market filled with shortening attention spans and higher-demand for pleasing user experiences, your app’s UX must be ready to adapt and shift as quickly as your users’ emotions can.

Check out Charles’ presentation here and Charlton’s presentation here and the pictures from the event here.