Brilliant news! Teen Events has been accepted into the Ravensbourne DMIC Incubator programme – free office space, working internet, access to world-class production studios, mentorship, workshops and advice, and all less than 50 metres from London’s iconic O2. Although this doesn’t involve funding (or giving up equity), this incubator should help me build a more robust and investible business over the next few months. Inductions start tomorrow. Woo!
Brutally honest, actionable advice is imperative if I’m going to improve my pitching, business plan and accelerator applications, which is why I’m incredibly indebted to Director of Wayra Europe, Simon Devonshire for taking half an hour last week to talk to me about my (failed) Wayra accelerator application from a few months back. Although lots has changed since that moment, not least the site launching – we weren’t short of things to discuss. From *really* knowing your competition, the art of story telling and appropriate levels of obnoxiousness, to Jamie Oliver’s Italian, via the joys of networking; every minute was as challenging as it was informative. Thank you Simon.
I’m constantly impressed and surprised with the generosity some of the established players in the London ecosystem exhibit by sharing their insights and wisdom with the ‘little guy’. People like Milo Yiannopoulos of the Kernel and hy! Berlin, Alicia Navarro of Skimlinks, Paul Smith at Ignite100 and Simon have all shared their own time with me, and for that I’m incredibly grateful. After a less-than-great first month on Teen Events, I’m excited to continue growing my business.
If you’re looking for feedback, advice or insights – my tip is, don’t ask, don’t get. And, seek advice from people who challenge your perception of yourself and your work. Let me know how you get on.
My first-month aims for Teen Events were ambitious. How did we do? Not very well. In fact, pretty shit. See below an outline for how the site performed vs my top-line aims. And some thoughts as to why I under-delivered so significantly.
Show traction – 100,000 users
The priority aim was to show traction, 100,000 users. When writing this aim I didn’t consider what a user actually was: a visit, a registered user, a unique user? What I can tell you is that in the first month we registered 2,100 users, and delivered 11,137 visits, of which 7,853 were unique. However we define a ‘user’, this falls massively short.
Show repeat usage – at least 30% of users go on to use the site 4 more times
Of 11,137 visits, 1,945 were 4+ times. In fact over 118 people visited over 100 times. In other words there are some positive insights here, but we have fallen massively short of the 30% target – landing at about 17%. This metric can be seen more as a benchmark to work towards as we enhance the site’s functionality and copywriting.
5,000 email addresses into Mailchimp, 5,000 twitter followers
We delivered this before the site launched and have now passed 15,000 Twitter followers and 6,000 Mailchimp subscribers.
Look beautiful – great UX and establish the brand Teen Events
This was ignored. A redesign is in the works.
What went wrong?
Simply, I didn’t get enough visits on the site. I believed that people would ‘get’ the product immediately, follow 100s of events, generating tweets and social buzz that would drive more people into the site. In fact, only 2,000 people registered, between them following events 4,400 times. Not insignificant numbers, but not quite creating a sense of movement and excitement within the various fan networks.
- Clarity around metrics – define these more clearly.
- Product issues e.g. no way to discover new events on the site until last week. User now receives an email with new events from Topics they are following. Also, new event list and trending Topics.
- Limited dev resource of about 1 day a week and back-end changes mean we’re not always deploying new functionality for users.
- Marketing plan wasn’t implemented. I was working full time in a freelance role for the whole of May, significantly limiting my time working on Teen Events.
- Not enough new event listings, for the same reason above.
- Design. The clunky design was fine as part of the MVP, as we were still able to validate certain assumptions, but now it is holding back users’ understanding and appreciation of the site’s functionality.
- Need to shift away from anecdotal insights and implement metrics and undertake user testing to create actionable insights.
- On the previous point, there are still very obvious gaps in the product and user experience that need to be fixed as a priority – stats or not.
- Generally the poor performance of the site has dented my confidence and belief in the product. I need to regroup, double down, and execute with clarity.
The current Teen Events design and UX is bodged together from some early PSDs and doesn’t do the overall Teen Events experience or site functionality justice. We’ve deployed new functionality on Teen Events twice weekly for the last month, it’s time to surface and sell that as part of a brand new set of design work. Hopefully this will help users make more sense of the site.
I’ve placed my very brief brief below which shows some of the design reference points for the new look and feel. I’m looking for someone who wants to work through this project in 2 or 3 days and pull together a design, that’s generally cooler than what I currently have, very quickly – to see it deployed in less than a week. It’s a lot to expect in a couple of days, but what the product needs right now. In return I’ll offer to pay well and make decisions / sign off incredibly quickly. If you know anyone who might be interested in the project, drop me a line. Until then, I’ll be over on dribbble stalking people.
In the image above you can see the Teen Events landing page for a user that isn’t registered (whether referred by typing in or following a link to teenevents.co.uk, or from a tweet to a specific event generated by a registered user following an event). The user is thrown straight into the site instead of a ‘flat’ page that outlines the product benefits and encourages them to register. But why?
This decision had two rationalisations – the first, it saved a significant amount of time, design and development resource. All things I had very little of.
The second, I believe in showing not telling the user. In its simplest form this could be using images and video instead of copy to be more vivid for a user, but with this implementation a user can instantly experience what the product is and how it works, because they’ve found themselves within it.
However, this (unregistered user) version of the site only shows One Direction events, event following is disabled and you can’t track extra Topics, or see your diary of followed events. Plus, I don’t have their data because they haven’t registered.
We need to drive them from this page into the registration process.
So I intend to amend this landing page by adding the following copy:
Register and login free with Teen Events to track everything your favourite artists are doing (signings, gigs, TV and radio appearances, webchats and releases), follow events, get event reminders and content alerts, and see your followed events.
[smaller font] If you want to give us a go first, use the arrows below or swipe on your phone to see older and newer One Direction events. You’ll need to login to see and use everything else.
I’ll drop some notes on how/if this increases conversions later in the week.
Here’s a quick overview of Teen Events stats from day 1 (from launch at midday) – visits, registrations, event follows:
- 2,358 visits
- 557 new registered users
- 150 mailer registrations (double opt-in)
- 926 new event follows
- 200 new Twitter followers, passed 14,000
- My technical implementation means I’m not really measuring the ‘right things’, just the obvious and easiest. I can track some interesting top level numbers here but I need to consider some more meaningful metrics e.g. number of people who registered and followed >5 events >3 times in first month. For this type of stat I’m going to need to implement Kiss Metrics or similar software.
- Overall I think the numbers are pretty good.
- Conversion from visits to registration (and event following) is — okay. There is no signposting / copy for unregistered visitors that outlines the benefits and extra functionality on the site for registered users. This is a quick fix that needs to be implemented asap. I can forgive technical limitations in a new product but clear explanations to drive people through the site and encourage ‘correct’ behaviours are quick wins.
- I won’t post these daily, but will put some more notes up in a week or two.
In summary, a good start but I’d consider most of these stats phantom as they don’t deliver the insights that will help me know people are *really* using and understanding my product. More to do.
After a month of beta testing, 1000s of visits, 450 event listings with 2,298 event follows, 21 user ideas with 100s of votes, 24 helpdesk requests, a web host move, a database migration, 6,000 pre-registrations and two new functional iterations, I’m pleased to announce that Teen Events is now live. Today is a good day.
More in a bit, I’ve got a site to run.
A tour through Silicon Valley, some much-needed money, and an excuse to go to Berlin for a couple of days. I’m sold; I’ve applied to pitch Teen Events at hy! Berlin. There’s to chance to win great prizes, build my network, talk about my product and tell my (very short) story.
Last year, there were three categories: Launch, Alpha and Hardware. I think Teen Events would fit perfectly in the Alpha / early stage category. The best thing? The application was incredibly simple and allowed me to upload my already-created deck rather than rework previous applications for new, bizarre questions. If you’re in the same position as me, I definitely suggest you apply – there’s only a few days left to do so.
Wish me luck!
Tesco-owned WE7 web radio lets you stream over 11 million songs from your browser or their mobile apps, and they also produce exclusive content like music artist stations, interviews, give aways and Twitter take overs. The good news? They’ll be sharing details of these events with Teen Events to ensure fans stay informed and mobilised. Yep, WE7 are the latest Teen Events Partner and we can’t wait to showcase their content on the site.
In an effort to avoid this turning into a faceless corporate blog that only posts ‘good news’ updates, I’ll add all future Partner announcements to this post.