In this episode of Out of the Box, our host Jess Overton, Director of Demand at ironSource Aura, sits down with Tobias Boerner, CGO and Co-Founder at Fastic, an intermittent fasting app and one of the fastest growing and most successful health and fitness apps in the world. Tobias is also one of the founders of LOVOO, a well-known German speaking dating app which was sold to The Meet Group. 

Jess and Tobias talk about the value of community-based apps, how to master the growth loop, and the importance of building and improving community.

If the community is healthy, monetization will follow

“I believe that if the community is healthy, monetization will follow. It has to do with bringing in new customers very quickly and using the existing customer base as a multiplier.

"The people on your platform are the rockstars. They can help drive your brand and increase organic share at the same time, which then leads to more loyal customers."

- Tobias Boerner, CGO and Co-Founder at Fastic

If you have a nice user funnel in place, it helps with your monetization. At the same time you can reduce your marketing efforts which is then even better for healthy growth.”

Every brand needs a community

It’s definitely not the case that only gaming apps or gaming companies can have a good community. Every good brand needs a community from my point of view. An app community reduces acquisition cost because you have more engagement, and a community always drives engagement if you do it right. You can also easily install a referral program where customers can invite friends and family, which can also help for organic growth. 

This is not just interesting for gaming companies. Everyone needs to have these kind of organic growth initiatives and we also see that if the community is healthy, it leads to an increase in the customer lifetime value.”

The value of gamification

“What you can learn from games is gamification. We try to add rewards, competitions, achievement systems, feedback, etc. into our community.

"You can take these successful strategies from games and put them into your app in the right context."

- Tobias Boerner, CGO and Co-Founder at Fastic

This is something we always consider and brings a lot of value for, for example, a language learning app. Duolingo combines both worlds very well… they connect you with friends and family within the product and they inform you actively about progress (when my friends make a 50 day streak or get a special achievement for example). The streak mechanism is very important for Duolingo customers because it leads to habit changes - gamification leads to habits which leads to language learning…

I would bet that if you look at the data within Duolingo, customers that care about their streaks are probably happy to invite friends to the app, as I did, and then the community effect kicks in. Hopefully, the new customer will have the same journey and the same achievements.”

Power of a personalized journey

“We try to optimize every single touchpoint and understand every single metric that can be optimized in the user's journey.

After onboarding, it’s time to bring the customer into the product and guide them through the first days with our gamification approach. After onboarding, the well-designed customer journey actually starts - everything to get to that journey starts with the opt-in for push notifications. It’s very important and all of the publishers know that push drives retention. This is only one of the ways to inform customers about something new but I think it’s the most important one. 

We also optimize every single day - day 0, day 1, day 2, day 3 - and then try to optimize the journey for every customer in a unique way that feels very personalized… We know that if we can make the journey as personalized as possible, it will lead to an increase in retention which will lead to more profits, more user growth, and the growth loop continues to drive itself.”

Active communities on third parties

“For some apps, it’s very tough to have a community on the apps themselves. From my point of view, what is a strong focus for Fastic, especially in the beginning when we didn’t put effort into having an in-app community, is having an active community on third party platforms. For example, focusing on a community in a Facebook group or starting a community on Instagram, or Discord… if it’s not possible to build a community on your actual product, then it’s definitely possible somewhere else.

"When you start your project, think of where your customers are. Maybe it's enough to have an active Twitter account and to bring in customers through there and to be in constant contact."

- Tobias Boerner, CGO and Co-Founder at Fastic

The most important thing to me is that the brand or the developer has an active dialogue with the customers or the future customers, and the best way to do this is through community."

Importance of community moderation

"Without moderation, your community can go very wrong very quickly, which means spam, fraud, and all of these kinds of things will kick in."

- Tobias Boerner, CGO and Co-Founder at Fastic

"Then, you have a very serious problem. It’s so important to have some sort of moderation, even if it’s a Facebook group of like 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 people, and it’s very easy to get moderation. We ask our heroes, our loyal customers - who wants to be a moderator? They can help other customers with their questions and moderate a little bit. 

From time to time, we go into the chats and the coaches will answer questions, which forces customers to stay connected, to send questions in the open chat, and talk to others.”

Everyone should care about customer feedback

“It’s important that everyone cares about the feedback of the customers so everyone understands the problems of the customers. For us, this was top level for the management, for the founders. Over time, it gets more structured. For example, you have someone in the marketing team responsible for moderating the Facebook groups and someone from the product team is responsible for the product conversations. But, in the beginning, it was definitely top of mind for all of the founders.”

Out of the box marketing

“What I’m diving into and what has caught my attention is the whole marketing of the NFT and crypto space. It’s not out of the box to me but reminds me of the first days of the app store. It’s interesting to see how communities on Discord and others are driving the growth for NFT sales. It’s nothing new but it’s different from the developing world in the app ecosystem.”

Let's put these tips to good use

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