Here’s another update on how my business is doing.
I noticed that I stopped learning from my clients so I stopped Facebook advertising. I was paying about $1.80 per install so it wasn’t sustainable anyway.
The app has about 40 daily active users and 30 premium subscribers.
I keep hiring writers for the Trail Navigator Victoria blog. I use the Airtasker website for that.
The number of visitors coming from Google Search is not growing, unfortunately. This chart shows number of clicks from Google per day:
My biggest challenge right now is getting feedback from my clients to understand how to make the app better. I sent a survey to 100 people using in-app support chat and got zero response. I also sent emails to people that installed the app and signed up for an account but nobody responded. My next idea is to talk to people I meet on the hikes – to understand their frustrations when it comes to planning and going on a walk.
On average, 150 people install the Trail Navigator Victoria app per week. Most installs are from Facebook and Google ads. Activation means that a person selected a walk after installing the app. Retention is the count of people that selected a walk in 1 week or later.
I also gathered subscription data from Google Play and Apple App Store. This chart shows how many people started trial premium subscriptions, week by week. It also shows how many people cancelled their premium subscription:
Trail Navigator Victoria has 24 premium subscribers at the moment.
The app started getting reviews on Google Play Store. Here’s a recent one:
???? 1.5x the price of Trailforks but less functionality. If Trailforks didn’t exist, I’d be all over this, it’s really not bad.
I asked that user which functionality he missed from the Trail Navigator Victoria app but unfortunately he did not respond.
I put my efforts into Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I added national parks pages to the Trail Navigator Victoria website, for example Wilsons Promontory National Park. I also added pages for Melbourne suburbs and towns in Victoria. Each page has a list of walks in nature nearby, for example Ballarat Central. Traffic from Google is slowly growing:
I finally got around to track activation and retention for my Trail Navigator app. I was tracking acquisitions only before (number of people that installed the app).
I decided to define activation as someone opening a walk on the same day as he installs the app. Retention is the number of users that opened a walk in the app in 1 week or later.
Each group of columns represents a weekly cohort of users. For example in the week starting 30 January 150 people opened the app for the first time. Among those people 105 opened a walk on the same day (activations). 17 out of those people came back to the app in a week or more and opened a walk.
As you can see the retention rate is quite low. I’m not sure what to do about it yet. I made viewing the current location on the map (blue dot) and getting directions to the starting point (using Google Maps) premium features recently (end of January 2023). Perhaps people don’t see enough value in free features? I’m going to show my app to people that like walks in nature and ask.
Premium subscription is $4.99 per month or $44.99 per year with 1-week free trial. Right now I have 12 premium subscribers.
I’m working on a new mobile app now – Trail Navigator Victoria. It helps people that love walking in nature to explore the best walks in Victoria, Australia.
This is how the idea for the app was born: we would go for a walk with our children. We would often miss a turn or take a wrong turn and would have to go back. Also, kids would ask me all the time ‘How much further?’ and I didn’t have the answer.
Initially I wanted the app to help to create a route and then follow it but after talking to some potential clients I noticed that people are interested in good, pre-defined routes. So I created an app that shows a map of Victoria with walks as pins on the map:
I released the app in November 2021.
I’m getting about 150 downloads per week:
I’m running ads on Facebook and Google to get those installs.
The app is free but it has an optional paid premium subscription. It allows you to:
Use the app offline
Get an alert if you stray away from the route for more than 100 meters
Get rid of ads
At the moment I have 6 premium subscribers. The ads brought just $3 for December.
My goal is to bring the revenue from the app to at least $100 per month by the end of 2023.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
I asked Lianna to improve description of Safe Vision app on app stores.
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.
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
This chart shows number of parents that have cancelled their premium subscription week by week.
I hired a copywriter to improve the text (copy) on the Premium Subscription screen in Safe Vision app.
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!
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?