How one useful app went from launch to 80 million users

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Learn how Google goes from a new product launch to 100 million users with strategic planning and action.

How do new Google products go from launch to 100 million users? It’s all part of a carefully devised strategy.

Google built a new product for the Indian market to solve phone storage issues. After the new product launch, it quickly became the highest-rated app on the Google Play store and accrued over 80 million users. This was achieved by focusing on ideation, iteration, and growth.


“Ideation is really about a lot of talking… and a lot of trying.”

Ideation involves talking with target users, stakeholders, and teams, and then building and testing prototypes based on those insights. Here are the key inputs for ideation.

• Conduct research. Interview and observe the target demographic and their interactions with technology. Through user research, the team at Google found that users in India receive thousands of ‘good morning’ messages in WhatsApp groups every day, quickly filling phone storage.

• Align with company strategy. For example, Google focuses on building privacy solutions for users. Research in India reveals that people share devices in families, creating a privacy problem for users. Google product teams can build to solve this problem and align with their corporate strategy.

• Explore tech-boundaries. What is becoming possible in the world of technology? These days there are new possibilities in machine learning.

• Build and verify prototypes. Take inputs, come together, and generate ideas. Prototype concepts based on your best ideas and watch how users react. These should be scrappy, as the goal is to save yourself time and money and test the product fast.

Launch and iteration

“Iteration is all about getting data.”

After a new product launches, changes will occur straight away. This is where the iteration stage comes in. Here are the key inputs for this stage.

• User feedback. This is qualitative data. Learn what users think through app reviews, Reddit, media, comment sections, and other means. These users will be early adopters, so remember this feedback isn’t necessarily from your average users.

• User data. This is quantitative. Use data to pinpoint retention drivers, feature usage, error reports, and other metrics you can use to grow your product.


“Growth: this is really about analyzing, estimating, and testing. It’s a very quantitative endeavor.”

Now is the time to analyze your progress and brainstorm new ways to grow. Here are a few methods to consider after a new product launch.

• Organic channels. This could be through word of mouth, press, or other means.

• Partnerships. Consider partnering with another company to help grow the product.

• Ads. This is an obvious approach, but not necessarily the most cost-effective.

• Referrals. Reward people for referring new users to your product.

• Cross-promotions. Promote another product and have them promote yours.

• Feet on the street. Put people on the street to encourage new users to download your app.

Analyzing key metrics is crucial at this stage.

Here are the metrics the team at Google used for this product:

• Active user metrics

• Week-one retained users

• Week-four retained users

• Google Play rating

Weekly growth meetings were also crucial for this new Google product. The team went through metrics and analyses to discuss necessary actions, retention strategies, and methods for continued growth.