Dealing With 1-Star Reviews

Safe Vision app has 67 reviews on Amazon App Store now. The average rating is 4 stars.

I took a closer look at 1-star reviews, not just on Amazon but also on Apple and Google Play app stores. The common theme is parents feel that the app does not provide enough value in free mode:

  • Pointless and pricey. Limited videos and they want you to pay monthly to unlock the videos your kids want to watch.
  • You can not use channel for allowed videos in free version, 10 videos per day can be added …
  • Rubbish just wants you to spend money!
  • It over blocks. It seems to block about everything, whether it needs to or not.
  • Not for older kids – most of the videos are for toddlers or preschoolers. You also have to pay to customizing videos.

So I decided to let parents to unlock up to 5 channels in free mode. I also removed limitation of unlocking 10 videos per day. I’m going to make it an experiment: I expect that activation rate will increase and the number of new premium subscribers won’t drop.

Recent key metrics:

(Acquisition means a parent installed the app and signed up for an account.\
Activation: a child watched at least 10 videos on the same or the next day after installed the app. Retention: a child watched at least 5 videos day after installed or the next day.)

I think downloads (acquisitions) increased recently because the app has a better image on Amazon App Store:

A huge thank you to Keith for helping me with design for new image.

Someone asked me how many paying users I have now. I don’t track this because I read in a book that this is a ‘vanity metric’. But I checked and right now there are 526 active premium subscribers. Churn rate for November 2018 is about 7%.

I have received $787 USD from Amazon for October 2018, yay!

Going Strong and Churn

I started tracking the number of new subscribers recently:

Each column shows the number of people that started the free trial of Safe Vision premium subscription on a particular week. The record week was in September: 48 new subscribers!

As you can see the numbers increased around July and still going strong. That’s when I changed the app to renew trial subscription automatically, unless the parent cancels it.

Since then I made the similar change to iOS and Google Play versions of the app. I got 2 new subscribers on each platform from beginning of October 2018. The vast majority of my clients are coming from Amazon App Store so I’m going to concentrate my efforts there.

I also checked my churn:

Each column shows the number of parents that let their premium subscription to expire on a given week. The only way this could happen now is to cancel auto-renew of the subscription. Most of the cancellations are the parents that cancel their trial subscription.

The numbers are quite high – I’m going to keep improving the app in order to reduce them.

And here are recent key metrics:

(Acquisition means a parent installed the app and signed up for an account.\
Activation: a child watched at least 10 videos on the same or the next day after installed the app. Retention: a child watched at least 5 videos day after installed or the next day.)

I posted one more article on Safe Vision blog: Guided Access to the Rescue: Using Your Apple iPad’s Built-In Time Limit Function to Manage Your Kids’ Device Use.

Also, Samantha published review of Safe Vision app on her blog ‘Journey to SAHM’: 5 Ways to Keep Kids Safe Online.

How I Tripled the Number of Sales

I released version 25.5 of Safe Vision app in the beginning of July with these 2 changes:

  1. Parents are now able to choose to pay to pay monthly for the premium subscription ($2.99 per month).

  2. When the premium trial finishes Amazon starts charging money automatically, unless the parent cancels the trial.

Before
Previously the premium trial worked like this: John is a parent. He opens Safe Vision app and taps ‘Start Trial’ button. The trial starts immediately, without any confirmation. After 7-day trial the app reverts to the free mode.

After
John taps ‘Subscribe with Amazon 1-click’ button. John confirms he wants to start paid subscription and chooses monthly plan. John likes premium features of the app. He doesn’t cancel trial subscription. After 7 days Amazon charges $2.99 from his credit card.

This tweak tripled the number of sales!

The chart show number of sales each week.

It makes sense: previously parents had to remember to go back to the app and subscribe. It was easy to decide that their child can use the app without premium features. Now it’s easier to just keep using premium subscription.

The app has received a 1-star review on Amazon recently:

Would not let me create an account. Uninstalled and reinstalled twice with the same results.

This is embarrassing. I’m going to go back and improve reliability of the app back-end. Unfortunately Amazon provides no way to contact the person that left feedback directly.

Also I started a blog on Safe Vision website. Here are the first 2 posts:

Getting More Sales, Yay!

I’m happy to report that I’m getting more sales of Safe Vision premium subscription now:

The daily time limit feature has been received well. Here is some feedback I got from my clients:

This app is great! My children love it and I love it. I get to choose how much time they get, a and I also get to go into parent mode and make sure videos are safe for them.

With MyTube, at the end of a video my son found a way to navigate to actual YouTube and watch anything he wanted. With your service, it’s pretty locked down. I feel much safer. I also LOVE that I can set a time amount per day. We currently use OurPact to lock down his tablet overall, this gives me the ability to limit the time he spends just on YouTube. It’s genius!

I really like this app. I had been searching for an app where I could choose what my kids watch. I no longer have to worry about my kids coming across those crazy videos the kids usually run into on the regular YouTube app. This app is easy to use & let’s the parents be in control. You also can set a time limit on here. I definitely recommend this app!

Here are recent key metrics:

Acquisition means a parent installed the app and signed up for an account.
Activation: a child watched at least 10 videos on the same or the next day after installed the app.
Retention: a child watched at least 5 videos day after installed or the next day.

I’m getting about 300 installs per week now.

Another big win is the fact that Safe Vision app has 4 stars rating on Amazon with 31 reviews:

My next goal is 4.5 stars to move the app from “OK” to “Excellent”.

In other news I gave interview to SBS Radio. In Russian 🙂

Struggling with Sales (May 2018)

I’m getting a lot of acquisitions since I changed Safe Vision app to freemium model:

(Acquisition means that a parent installed the app and signed up for an account.)

However as many people warned me, I’m struggling with converting users from free to paid. Here are recent sales figures:

As you can see I’m getting about 3-4 sales per week.

I added free 7-day trial of the premium subscription in version 24. I can see from analytics that people are starting trial but don’t rush to purchase 1-year premium ($23.49) after it expires:

Number of people that started premium trial, day by day.

I have two options now: either go back to the paid model with free trial or figure out a way to motivate people to buy. One idea is to add daily time limit. It could work like this:

Jimmy is 6 years old. His mother Ann installs Safe Vision on his Amazon Fire tablet. Jimmy watches videos for an hour. After 1 hour he sees Time’s Up screen:

Jimmy asks his mother to let him watch more videos. Ann switches to the parent mode and opens Daily Time Limit screen:

Changing time limit to more than 1 hour requires premium subscription. Ann decides that 1 hour per day is enough.

Few weeks pass. Jimmy is watching videos for 1 hour every day. One day Ann needs time to cook dinner. She needs to keep Jimmy busy. She decided that the app works for her and her son and subscribes for 1 year. Then she changes daily time limit to 2 hours.

Results of Freemium Experiment

I changed the Safe Vision app to be free in the end of March. After speaking to an expert on Clarity.fm I decided to let people to watch videos in pre-approved channels for free. If the parent wants to add a channel for their child that requires premium subscription of $23.49 per year.

Results so far have been quite dramatic:

  • Acquisition – a parent installed the app and signed up for an account.
  • Activation – child watched at least 10 videos on the same or the next day after parent installed the app.
  • Retention – child watched at least 5 videos 2 or 3 days after parent installed the app.

Immediately the number of people that install the app and register for an account (acquisitions) jumped up.

What about the sales?

The week starting March 19 had a record number of sales: 13. After that sales dropped to about 4 per week.

I’m a bit at loss why did this happen. One clue is that 5 out of those 13 parents that paid on that week signed up before March 15. Also I tried to let parents to unlock one channel for free but then I reverted that change.

I noticed that many parents would install the app, search for some channel, try to unlock it and hit the Paywall screen. On that screen the app asked them to purchase premium subscription in order to unlock the channel. A lot of parents would not continue using the app and move on after that.

Cut-down version of Safe Vision app for iOS

I have created a cut-down version of Safe Vision app for iOS. This version has these limitations:

  • It works on iPhone only, not on iPad.
  • Parents are unable to sign up for a new account from the app. They can sign up from website or Android app only.
  • Parents are unable to purchase app subscription.

Basically it has parental controls only:

It is mostly useless but the good news is Apple has accepted it to its App Store! Here is the link: Safe Vision app on the App Store.

My plan is to gradually bring back missing features until I have fully functioning app available for iPhone and iPad. Also, Apple allows selling app subscription using their in-app purchase mechanism only. No PayPal, no credit card – they want their 30% cut of the profit!

I keep improving the app itself. I made the Home screen to look better on tablets:

Previously it was one-column list with a lot of wasted screen space.

Key Metrics July – October 2017

Here are key metrics from past 4 months (click for a larger image):

Most of the downloads are from Amazon App Store. I figured out how to rank high enough when people search for ‘YouTube kids’ there. Right now Safe Vision app is number 12 in search results.

Right now I’m working on improving activation rate. Currently around 30% of people that install the app watch at least 10 videos on the same or the next day. This means that many people decide that the app is not good enough and do not let their children to use it to watch YouTube videos.

I did some user testing and it looks like many parents get stuck during setup. They try to use search, see that all results are locked but don’t know how to unlock them. I’m going to improve initial user experience and make it easy to unlock channels.

Pricing Change

I changed the app price from $1.99 one-time purchase to $15 per year subscription. I just couldn’t see how to make it work with such a low price and me working on the app on the side. The app is free to install now with 7-day free trial.

I’m happy to report that 13 people purchased the app since September 12, 2017! On average I get 3 sales per week.

What’s interesting is all purchases are from Kindle Fire tablet owners so I’m going to concentrate on this market segment from now on.

Here are my key metrics from past few weeks:

Acquisition – number of people that installed the app on a give week.
Activation – watched at least 10 videos on the same or the next day when installed the app.
Retention – watched at least 5 videos day after installed or the next day.

As you can see the number of acquisitions is trending down. I’m going to work on bringing them back to previous level bu my main challenge is getting feedback on the app. My goal is talk to them on Skype or phone, based on advice from Dan Martell. I tried sending emails to parents that installed the app but got almost no replies.

Here’s the link to the app, if you’re curious: Safe Vision: filter YouTube for kids

Tracking Key Metrics

I made 22 sales total of Safe Vision app on Amazon App Store between July 12 and September 12, 2017. After that I changed the app to require paid subscription of $15 per year with free 7 day trial. I also offer free 1-year subscription if parent helps the project with classifying videos: safe.vision/free

So far nobody purchased the subscription and one person received free 1-year subscription (someone from Poland).

I decided to start tracking key metrics for my business: acquisition, activation and retention. I’m going to track them based on weekly age cohort (click for bigger image):

The chart shows that for example in the week starting September 18:

  • 90 people installed the app (acquisitions)
  • out of those people 23 watched at least 10 videos on the same day or the next day (activations)
  • 11 people watched at least 5 videos a day after installing the app (retention)

My plan moving forward is to start inbound marketing by making guest blog posts. Please let me know if you have ideas on topics that would be interesting for parents of kids 5-7 years old.

Also I’m going to ask parents that installed the app recently to give me feedback on why they decided not to use it.

Onward!