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June 14, 2021

The "Just Ask" Approach: Overcoming iOS 14.5 Challenges

Oren Cohen
Vice President of Growth

We, growth experts, grew up thinking we have to minimize the number of clicks in our conversion funnels. We were told not to ask users any questions before or during the onboarding process because doing so could damage the conversion rates. We try to remove hassles so users can get straight to the point — using our products.

But when was the last time you questioned these assumptions? Why are we still sticking to old "rules" like they're the immutable truth while everything is changing quickly?

Quite a lot has shifted since the iOS 14.5 release, which threw a monkey wrench into how we track user data and changed the world of targeting as we know it.

Companies need near real-time customer lifetime value (LTV) prediction to make quick budget allocation decisions. More importantly, they must inject the right signals into traffic channels to target the right audience. The iOS update has made it even more urgent for brands to find alternative methods to understand whether a traffic source represents a conversion event.

I believe that it’s time to reconsider how we look at our marketing funnel and onboarding process for newly acquired users. To illustrate the point, let me use the following example:

EatWellNow is a delivery food app that allows users to order from restaurants around their city. If we took the old approach of minimizing clicks along the funnel, the marketing team would implement the fastest path to install — avoid asking questions before users download the app. Following the same principle, the product team would eliminate any user interaction that might add clicks before users place their first order. 

What are we missing here? The opportunity to find out if a user is valuable to the business during the onboarding phase.

What if we just ask, “how many times do you order food weekly?”

Asking a simple question isn't rocket science. We don't even need AI to parse the data. We can be quite confident that the more often a user orders food, the higher the potential LTV. The answer to that simple survey can help you identify high-value users from a very early stage.

If we follow the old paradigm, the best case scenario would take at least a week to identify a user who orders 5 times within a 7-day conversion window. If we switch to my suggested paradigm, the EatWellNow team can get this data right away at the first launch by presenting a dialog screen that asks the survey question.

Making this one simple tweak to the user journey will give EatWellNow a critical indication to predict user LTV within a short timeframe — to the point where they can use this signal within the 24 hours of install, which is more important than ever because of the iOS 14.5 update.

How To Implement the "Just Ask" Approach To Identify High-Value Users

First, we need a paradigm shift: Data is the king, and timing is the queen.

Instead of gunning for the minimum number of clicks in a product or marketing funnel, we need to gather the right data at the right time and in the right context in order to signal to our traffic channels what is the right audience for us.

The product, marketing, and data team should collaborate to:

  • Identify signals (e.g., user interactions, north-star activities, or dialog questions pre- or post-transaction/subscription) that strongly correlate with LTV.
  • Integrate these indicators or questions into the marketing or product onboarding funnel.
  • Analyze results to evaluate if the selected indicator or event is an effective LTV predictor. If you have been injecting the signals into ad networks, see if they're sending you more high-value users.
  • Iterate your survey questions to generate the most relevant signal without impeding the user experience (you may even enhance it!) 

Now you may wonder, what if users overestimate their weekly engagement?

This is not a far-fetched scenario, but I believe that some simple adjustments can solve these challenges. We don't have all the answers to this complicated subject yet. The key takeaway is that there's a lot of potential for improving efficiency and maximizing results when we challenge old paradigms and brainstorm new approaches. 

Take the Plunge!

Where to start? Get your product, marketing, and data teams in one room! But of course, that means you need big teams with the resources to handle all the data, generate insights, and act on them quickly. 

Alternatively, you can partner with platforms such as Voyantis. We'll handle the analysis, prediction, and signaling for traffic sources. We'll also help you identify which interaction contributes to making accurate predictions while having the least impact on your conversion and retention rates.

Collaboration among us growth experts is key to navigating changes and uncertainties in today's market landscape. I'd love to hear your thoughts — please share your feedback and let me know what you think!

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