Category Archives: Business

Christmas Spike

There was a spike in the number of people that installed the app at around Christmas time:
4,626 people installed the app and signed up for a new account in the week starting December 23. That’s a record week! I think this is because many parents buy Amazon Fire tablets as a Christmas gift for their children and then look for YouTube Kids app there. It is still unavailable on Amazon App Store so they try alternatives. Few people asked me if there is a Spanish version of the app (in Spanish). A couple of parents suggested to make it work on Fire TV. Most of recent reviews on Amazon App Store have been positive. Example:
Way better than YouTube Kids. I love how I can choose the channels beforehand and I love how it shows what content is featured on the channel so I can see what to add and avoid. I recently, shared this app to my friends on Facebook after they stated they removed kids YouTube off their child’s iPad/tablet due to “sneaky” inappropriate content hidden amongst kids videos and they are happy. I love how I know exactly what my girls are accessible because I chose it. I also like how I can control it from my own personal device and it syncs to their personal profiles and the other time limit features.

There are still 1-star reviews – parents are not happy that they have to pay to get past limitations of free version. Example:
It’s a knock off version of youtube kids you have to pay for to fully unlock more than 5 channels.
You can read more reviews on Amazon website. I decided to bring back 7-day free trial of premium subscription – I noticed that fewer people were starting premium but the churn rate remained the same. Also, I moved Lock button on top of the video in the parent mode. I received several questions via support chat on how to lock videos. The problem was that the button was far down below the video and it wasn’t obvious that you had to scroll to see it.

Before:


Now:

Improved UX Design

I hired a designer to improve user experience (UX) of Safe Vision app. Fabio did a great job at making the app to behave more logical and look more professional (click for larger image):
The onboarding process flows better now, I believe:
Also I made a fairly big change of removing all pre-approved videos.
That part of setup was confusing for many parents. Here are 2 examples of support requests I received via in-app chat:
This is a frustrating app. It asked my child’s age but didn’t tell me it was unlocking hundreds of thousands of channels. Now I can’t figure out how to get rid of them! I want to lock everything and just add the ones that I want.

Can I block all the preapproved channels at once? I don’t want them. I hate to go through and lock them all individually. This is the difference between keeping or quitting service. I just want to manually unlock channels, but my child keeps getting onto the ones you have preloaded.

I was monitoring closely app reviews and support chat to check the impact of that change. Also I conducted a couple of user testing sessions. So far nobody complained about missing those pre-approved videos. However I’m going to think how to bring that feature back, perhaps in a different reincarnation.

Key Metrics

Number of people that install the app (acquisitions) is declining and I don’t know why. Most of my clients come from Amazon App Store and it doesn’t provide information on how people find the app. Also, activation rate is still low – about 25% of people that install the app start using it. I’m getting about 45 new premium subscribers per week now:

Updated App Description

I changed the app description on Google Play and Apple App Store as an experiment. It is more geared towards parents that want to let their children to watch educational videos now. Kylie helped me with the new description.

Abandoning Press And PR

I tried to promote Safe Vision app by asking bloggers to review it. I got some reviews where I paid to the blogger in exchange for review (here’s an example) but I didn’t see a lot of traffic from those reviews.

Most of my clients are coming from Amazon App Store so I decided to focus my time and energy on improving the app itself.

Key Metrics

More people installed the app in July but I’m not sure why. (As a reminder acquisition means a parent installed the app and signed up for an account.)

The activation rate is still at around 30% – I’d like to increase it by improving design.

I have 1,800 active premium subscribers now.

I’m getting around 50 new premium subscribers per week now – woo-hoo!

Also, Safe Vision app has 193 reviews on Amazon now. I offer free 1 year subscription in exchange for an honest review on Amazon – that’s why that number grows so quickly. Most reviews are positive – the average rating is 4.4 stars now:

Churn

I finally calculated the monthly churn rate (using Power BI):

6% of all premium subscribers cancelled their subscription in July 2019. I think that number is too high. It means that in one year more than half of premium subscribers would leave.

I spoke to one of the clients and she told me that she has cancelled her premium subscription because the app was not as easy to use for her child as YouTube or YouTube Kids apps.

Also, here’s a recent review from Google Play store:

The app looks promising, I can allow my kids (who loves music) to watch videos that are safe for kids but are blocked on other kids apps. But this app still need to get better. Interface is not so much child friendly, my kid gets frustrated how he cannot change easily from one video to another and just go back to YTKids. It should have the choice to set auto play and all unblocked videos should show on related videos and not only the ones from same channel.

I’m going to hire a professional designer to improve user experience (UX) of the app.

Improved App Description

I asked Lianna to improve description of Safe Vision app on app stores.

Before:

Parental control app for YouTube videos. Safe Vision helps parents control what their children can watch on YouTube. Let your children enjoy their favorite YouTube channels without your supervision. The app is safe for your kids to use without your constant attention. Safe Vision offers you as the parent all the videos that are currently on YouTube. Then, you can pick and choose what your child views. Only the channels you approve can be watched. You can choose exactly what YouTube channels your kids can view content from.

After:

Sex. Violence. Swearing. Nudity. Inappropriate videos are all over YouTube… and until now, there was no YouTube video control app that TRULY let you shield your kids from the wrong content. Safe Vision for Amazon Fire tablets is a simple, easy-to-use app for parents who want to protect their kids on YouTube. ????? “I love the control I have as a parent with this app. Being able to add or remove programs my kids can watch is amazing!! YouTube Kids can be very inappropriate at times and this allows my kids to watch without me worrying!”
– Happy Safe Vision Subscriber Other parental control apps use a “blacklist” function, meaning you have to block inappropriate videos or channels one by one. Unfortunately, that approach means you and your kids are still in for a nasty surprise when inappropriate videos inevitably come up. Safe Vision is the only app for YouTube Kids on Amazon Fire tablets that gives you TRUE control over what your kids watch — so you can actually keep out the bad stuff. ????? “Basically, on this app you start off with everything blocked and you have to ‘add’ each video/channel in. The ‘recommendation’ feature on regular ‘youtubekids’ app is not on this app and that is perfect for parents who want significant control over what videos their kids can watch. I can screen kids’ videos and channels on my own YouTube and then add in to my child’s app as I see appropriate. I did the free trial first and was happy after a week of use and decided it was worth the money.”
– Happy Safe Vision Subscriber “Full parental control for YouTube with a granular level. I can set age range to five to seven, but if I don’t want my child to watch, say, Peppa Pig then I can just turn that off. A really granular, easy to set up application. Something that’s going to give you peace of mind.”
– Luke Safe Vision’s simple Parent Mode interface allows you to:
  • “Whitelist” age-appropriate channels — Approve and add channels one by one instead of blocking inappropriate channels as you go. No more “shock and block”!
  • Leave your kids alone to watch without worrying — Instead of hovering over them to make sure they’re not seeing bad content
  • Access watched video history — so you know exactly which videos were viewed
  • Control how long kids watch — Just set daily screen time limits on your Parent Mode dashboard

I think the new description is much better however it didn’t increase the number of weekly downloads by much:
Acquisition means a parent installed the app and signed up for an account. Activation – a child watched at least 10 videos. Retention – a child watched at least 5 videos on the next day or day after. I also migrated back-end server to a more powerful machine so the app should be faster now. I asked few bloggers to review Safe Vision app. One of them graciously agreed, here is the review: Ty’s Safe Vision YouTube review

Churn

This chart shows number of parents that have cancelled their premium subscription week by week.

Improving Copy on Premium Subscription Screen

I hired a copywriter to improve the text (copy) on the Premium Subscription screen in Safe Vision app.

Before:

After:


I think Lianna from Punchline Conversion Copywriting did a great job – thank you very much Lianna! It looks like the conversion rate didn’t improve much though:
Conversion rate is number of people that started trial premium subscription divided by number of people that looked at the Premium screen in a given week. 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.) Meg from Home School Game School recently reviewed Safe Vision app on her blog and added it to her ‘The Best Kindle Fire Apps for Toddlers & Preschoolers‘ list – yay!

Improving User Onboarding in Safe Vision app

I made some changes to improve user onboarding in Safe Vision app. Now the app asks the parent to unlock channels based on age range first and then prompts them to add channels to the Home page: (click for a larger image)
***
I conducted more user testing sessions using usertesting.com website and I’m happy to report that 4 users out of 4 were able to set up the app. None of them got stuck or confused. Recent key metrics:
(As a reminder acquisition means 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 installed the app. Retention – child watched at least 5 videos 2 or 3 days after installed the app.) This chart shows how many people started premium subscription trial week by week:
On average 35 people start premium trial per week. I also changed design of Safe Vision website, which was long overdue:
I also published a new blog post, written by freelance writer Casey Brown: Is YouTube Safe for Kids?

Christmas Craziness

Safe Vision app had a spike in the number of downloads on Christmas:
2,456 people installed the app and signed up for an account on the week starting December 24! My theory is that many parents buy cheap Amazon Fire tablets as Christmas present for their kids. Then they discover that official YouTube Kids app is actually not available on Amazon App Store. So they start searching for alternatives and Safe Vision is one of the apps that they try. I changed the app to ask parents to select some popular YouTube channels instead of child’s interests during setup:
I also added a button to browse all unlocked channels to the Home screen:
This helped with activation rate a little bit, I believe:
Activation rate is about 29% now. This means that 70% of people that install the app never start using it. I conducted 4 user testing sessions (1 with my colleague and 3 on usertesting.com website). Results unambiguously indicate that the first time user experience is confusing and leaves many parents stuck. Here are answers to the question “What aspect of the app confused you?” by participants:
  • not being able to figure out how to return to the page where you select your child’s age range.
  • watch list did not seem to work and I could not find out how to block specific channels even though those channels had not been added to the white list.
  • there wasn’t a password to prevent the adding of inappropriate videos
I have read “The Elements of User Onboarding” book by Samuel Hulick – it’s a great book, I’m going to improve the initial setup flow based on it.

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: