How Mimo builds an experimentation culture with Ekaterina Gamsriegler

Data Subscription User Journey Podcast Education


Learn about the challenges of building an experimentation culture at Mimo, including idea generation and feedback, local maximum problem, and the importance of a full-funnel approach to growing revenue. Additionally, explore the importance of defining success metrics, potential trade-offs, and the common mistake of a lack of segmentation in mobile growth.

Mimo is an app that teaches coding through a gamified learning process. The company runs experiments to enhance its product by introducing new features and improving existing ones.

In this Episode of Subscription League Podcast, Ekaterina Gamsriegler, the Head of Growth & Marketing at Mimo, shares her experience overseeing the development of the experimentation culture in the company and other valuable app growth tips on 

  • full funnel optimiziation

  • growth metrics and their trade-offs

  • importance of segmentation

Read on and listen to the episode for the full details.


Challenges of managing a team for experimentation

Ekaterina shared that building an experimentation culture at Mimo was a collective effort by the whole team, including the leadership team and multiple product managers. However, she noted some challenges along the way.

One of the main issues was coming up with high-quality ideas for experiments that the company could run and implement right away. To address this, the company introduced a new format called "the pitch" borrowed from Basecamp. It was a simple template that everyone could fill in and submit, and the relevant product manager would review and give feedback.

The company also encountered the challenge of providing the right feedback to their colleagues and coworkers. They had great ideas, but they were not getting updated on what was happening after they submitted their pitch.

To address this, the company set a hard deadline for every product manager to review the ideas and give feedback on them. They also introduced a new format called "the idea," which allowed team members to submit anything they saw from a competitor or any insight they got from a user. This new format did not require team members to invest too much time in polishing the details of the potential impact of the new feature or experiment.

Another challenge was the local maximum problem. This problem occurs when a company keeps iterating on a certain feature or screen, achieving significant returns, and making multiple versions of the same feature. Eventually, they reach a point of diminishing returns, which means they have reached the local maximum.

To overcome this, the company needs to switch and find a new idea for experimentation. Ekaterina shared that the best way to find a new idea was through user insights, such as user interviews or surveys.

Why "structured, full-funnel" is the key

Ekaterina pointed out that the key to growing your app's revenue and user base is taking a structured, full-funnel approach. This means focusing on all the different aspects of the funnel, from improving organic acquisition and app store optimization to optimizing paywalls. She emphasizes that revenue is an output, and there are multiple inputs to it.

Jeff Grang, CPO & Co-founder of Purchasely, added that improving revenue can't come at the expense of other parts of the funnel. For example, increasing the number of paywalls in your app might drive more conversions, but it could also reduce retention or discourage free users. It's important to consider the whole funnel, from acquisition to conversion, to achieve a good return on ad spend.

Pro tip #1: Read more about full-funnel optimization in Purchasely's 24-page guide to maximizing subscription app revenue with lifecycle paywall engagement.

Potential trade-offs and metrics

Ekaterina also emphasized the importance of defining success metrics and trade-offs when analyzing experiments. She noted that even if you increase conversion, it could increase refunds or decrease the quality of your customers, leading to lower renewals.

Potential trade-offs, such as the potential impact on app ratings of features that are included or not in free plans, need to be considered.

Lack of segmentation: a common mistake in mobile growth

Ekaterina highlighted one of the most common mistakes in mobile growth: a lack of segmentation. Segmentation is a tactic that's not widely used by startups, particularly in the early stages of app development.

She recommended doing this even before reaching product-market fit, as different segments might have different needs. She suggested that analyzing user reviews, launching user surveys, and interviewing respondents can provide valuable insights into user behavior, based on which  apps can carry out different monetization tactics for different user segments.

Pro tip #2: Learn more about how subscription apps can leverage user segmentation with Purchasely's Target Audience.

Target Audience

More about Ekaterina

Ekaterina Gamsriegler is a seasoned marketer with 13+ years of experience in various growth and marketing roles. She started her career in SEO and later shifted to digital marketing and mobile, gaining experience across all parts of the funnel.

She has worked at both big and small companies, including dotDigital Group, IG, SEO PowerSuite, Runtastic, Storebox, and Mimo, where she currently leads the Marketing department.

In addition to her work, Ekaterina also teaches digital marketing at an online bootcamp, mentors on various platforms, and consults startups and scaleups on growth. She recently launched a 10-day online course on growing B2C mobile apps, which has an average rating of 9.7 and 20 happy students. Special offer for our podcast listeners: Use the promo code 'League20' for a 20% discount. 

Ekaterina Gamsriegler, Head of Growth & Marketing at Mimo

Episode 22 Sneak Peek

On experimentations

It actually makes a lot of sense to invest some time and energy into figuring out some product marketing basics and brand marketing basics before investing into paid user acquisition.

On nurturing the experimentation culture

“I think making this pitching process public and available to every team member helped us a lot to come up with a lot of great experiment ideas for the backlog. However, after some time, we also realized that our colleagues and coworkers are not always getting the right feedback at the right time. They submit great ideas but not necessarily get updated on what's happening after.”

“That's why we additionally also introduced a new format which was just called an idea. This could be literally anything you saw from a competitor or any insight you got from a user, which would not require everyone to invest too much time into polishing these details of what is it actually going to bring because this would be up to the product manager at this point to figure it out and prioritize accordingly. "

On segmentation

“I think the most common one is that somehow segmentation is not a very popular tactic that is used by the startups, at least not at the beginning of their journey for mobile apps. I don't yet know why. I think it's somehow also connected to the lack of product analytics, analytical tools, and it's the case that gets integrated into the products at the beginning.”

On full-funnel optimization

“I'm overall a big fan of planning and the structured approach to doing things. Another keyword here is full-funnel because I, again, don't believe that just improving monetization or just improving acquisition might necessarily make a huge impact.”

“Revenue is an output and there are multiple inputs to it. It can be happening like lots of growth levers across the whole funnel. That's why starting from improving your organic acquisition was up store optimization and finishing with optimizing your paywalls. It has to be structured and you have to find these different ideas of which you can estimate on the bottom line and actually see what is more likely to bring results in the short and long term.”

Episode Topics at a Glance

  • What is the Mimo app
  • Ekaterina's motivation for her app course 
  • Ekaterina's takeaways from launching the app 
  • Challenges in building the experimentation culture at Mimo
  • Different frameworks to nurture the experimentation culture
  • Common mistakes made by app founders
  • Importance of user segmentation
  • The importance of retention and measuring it

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#3: Mojo - Strategies you should focus on for a successful subscription business with Jean Patry

#4: The Guardian - Growing the user base The Guardian way - with Jesse Wilkins

#5: Blinkist - Using transparency to increase your conversion rate with Eveline Moczko

#6: Rootd - How to bootstrap #1 health and fitness app with Ania Wysocka

#7: Luni - Subscription Marketing 101: tips to drive acquisition and retention with Adrien Miniatti 

#8: Uptime - How to build a successful user-first app strategy with Léa Samrani 

#9: GP Bullhound - What venture investors look for in subscription apps with Eric Crowley

#10: Phiture - How to optimize mobile app subscription with Andy Carvell

#11: Jodel - Shifting from ads to In-App Subscription-led revenue generation with Tim Schmitz

#12: BlueThrone - Product market fit, Subscription, and Other Secrets of Success by Idan Waller

#13: Aperture - Tips for Creating the Right Mindset for Business Growth by Hannah Parvaz

#14: MobileGroove - The Subscription Model - the state, benefits, and success tips by Peggy Anne Salz

#15: Appic - All about subscription app onboarding with Tobias Boerner

#16: Together Labs - Leveraging user research to maximize subscription app monetization with Jenny Pollock

#17: BlueThrone - Product market fit, Subscription, and Other Secrets of Success by Idan Waller

#18: Pollen VC - A guide to financing your user acquisition with Martin Macmillan 

#19: CoinState - Finding the sweet spot with the right subscription app monetization and pricing strategy with Vahe Baghdasaryan 

#20: PhotoRoom - How to grow a subscription app business and its user base globally by Olivier Lemarié

#21: App Masters - How to monetize your app: expert tips from Steve P. Young (App Masters)


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