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!
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.