How we help apps top the charts and keep users

How we help apps top the charts and keep users

We’ve worked on many apps before, from designing and creating an app for Carlsberg and Tuborg, to helping companies get their first active users.


It was this experience and knowledge that meant we were the perfect match for Circle Pay.

In 2016 we were tasked with driving downloads and usage of peer to peer payment app Circle Pay amongst students across the UK. Circle had only recently launched in the UK, after being a massive hit in the states, yet with our help Circle grew exponentially in their first year.

By Easter 2017 Circle had topped the Apple Finance App Store and reached 17th place in the overall app chart, ahead of giants like Netflix, Uber and Ebay.

Our approach

The biggest strength of the campaign, and what really drove its success, was the fact that we weren’t just focused on downloads; we wanted people using the app and becoming Circle fans for life. There are lots of campaigns which are driven solely by downloads and sign ups.

This approach often sees a massive drop off after marketing activity has slowed down and end up with next to no active users. And, unfortunately, it’s very easy for companies to waste a lot of money driving sign ups in this one-dimensional way.

This is where we try to differentiate our campaigns – we strive to add value to our clients and not just focus on singular targets.

So here is our full circle (excuse the pun) campaign, and how we got thousands of students signed up to Circle and more importantly how we got them using it…


On campus activation

 Fresher’s Fairs are a great way to introduce your product to the masses, but for Circle we needed more time to get the brand message across, which could have been lost in a hectic Fresher’s hall.

So, every term, we launched a new road show tour. With interactive games and the chance to win big prizes our on-campus activation meant students were actually engaging with the brand.

Students that wanted to get involved just had to sign up to the app, play the game and then walk away with a guaranteed prize. This concept meant that we achieved more than 250 app sign ups per event and sent 1000s of smiling students away with an understanding of how the app’s services would benefit them in their day-to-day lives.


 Knowing your team and keep things fresh

 Getting to the point of having 2000 hired and trained Brand Ambassadors was a massive achievement for us on the Circle campaign. But then managing and motivating that number of people remotely did pose something of a challenge.

Our in house team did a great job of breaking down the huge Circle student base into various teams and managing those teams based on abilities. The main factor, however, in really driving this large group of employees was introducing a competitive element to the role.

We set a different target for our BAs every month, changing the focus each time to ensure we were expanding in all areas of the app, and to push our ambassadors to constantly change and innovate the way they were promoting Circle.


Think long term – More levels than Inception

Tapping into our Brand Ambassadors’ primary network is always the first port of call but, to really push the growth of a campaign, we ensure that the campaign message is filtering through to friends of friends, therefore having an influence which reaches further than the BA could have managed alone.

With Circle this was achieved by implementing a monetised referral programme, incentivising all 3 levels, from the ambassador to their direct sign up to all the subsequent referrals. This created a ripple effect where the users signed up by ambassadors were then incentivised to not only use the app but to recommend it to their own wider network as well.


 Think big

 One of the most important parts of student marketing is targeting clubs and societies, they are such a big part of university life and it is essential to determine how your product can benefit these pools of students.

We designed a separate referral programme, tailored and exclusive to clubs and societies. We also developed a microsite to work alongside this, so that clubs and societies could get involved regardless of whether they had been referred by an ambassador or by our in-house club and society team.

This resulted in hundreds of clubs and societies using Circle for all of their payments and we had some incredible feedback. We also teamed up with a number of students’ unions and achieved 100% penetration with clubs and societies at Loughborough and Exeter University.


 Get creative

 To aid our on-campus event tours and add another exciting element to the campaign we launched “Education or Every Nation”. This was a referral based competition that gave students the opportunity to win either an around the world trip of a lifetime or all of their student debts paid off, with the winning student making that choice themselves.

The synergy between this, our club and society programme, brand ambassador incentives and referral programme meant we were able to conquer the App Store and gain recognition up and down the country at hundreds of universities.


What can we do for you?

 From concept and design to marketing and growing users, when it comes to apps we’ve done it all. If your business is app driven, no matter how big or small, get in touch to have a chat about how we could help to make your tech the next big hitter.