Having just hit an encouraging milestone — 500 App Store reviews of our iOS offering (available for free here) — we wanted to write about the centrality of user feedback and engagement data to refining our product offering and value proposition, and to validating our belief that Laughable is on track to transform the comedy world by making both fans and creators way better off.
First Off, Some Numbers
We’ve received 502 App Store ratings since launching Laughable in June 2016. 92% of these reviews are for 5 out of 5 stars, a better batting average than that of any other app focused on podcasts and/or comedy. Here’s a breakdown:
379 of these ratings (75%) have been accompanied by written feedback. We find this highly encouraging, as it means that our users really care — even when they criticize us.
What We’ve Learned from Our Users, with Relevant Reviews and Emails as Supporting Evidence
In addition to App Store star ratings and written reviews, we also pay close attention to feedback users give us over email and Twitter. This has helped us understand what they like best about our app, what they don’t like, and what future features will deliver the highest marginal utility. Here are our major takeaways so far:
– People REALLY fucking love Laughable. The biggest reasons for this are that the app 1) makes it easy to discover new podcasts and comedians, and 2) is fun and simple to use. The feature most responsible for these sentiments is the ability to subscribe not only to podcasts, but also to individual artists. Once you subscribe to a comedian, Laughable automatically keeps you up to speed on their podcast appearances as a host OR guest. No other app does this. We’re proud to have invented an entirely new approach to podcast discovery — and to have executed effectively on that approach.
Review, 8/14/17:Fantastic. This app is dope af. Easy to find new podcasts and also find new people to subscribe to. All in all, I recommend this to anybody listening to podcasts.
Review, 8/9/17:Rosebud meets the Rosetta Stone. I Genuinely love this app. I have listened to podcasts for years and for the most part had fallen into a rut of listening to the same handful of podcasts …,,,until I found laughable. It is introduced me to so many other podcasts, comedians and even some of non-comedy stuff. It’s also very simple to use and has a good iPhone interface. Hopefully the android will be soon. Also I’m not really sure what that title to my review means, but it sounds good and I definitely want to leave a good review.
Email, 8/3/17: Laughable is kind of like having a like-minded geek at the office, who’s into the same things you are and when you run into him at the water cooler he suggests cool things to explore.
– Good customer service goes a long way. We try to be responsive to users who contact us about shows they want us to add to our library, features they want us to build, performance issues, and praise. Users routinely express their pleasant surprise upon receiving a personalized response from us.
Review, 8/7/17: Awesome. Sent an email requesting a few podcasts that weren’t on the app, and within 2 hours I received an email saying they were just added to the laughable app. Download Laughable, the best podcast app on the market.
Email, 2/7/17: Wow! I woke up this morning, not only to an update to fix the petty gripes I had with the app, but also to a personalized message from the CEO. That level of service and care is unheard of in this new world where technological interconnectedness is creating interpersonal disconnectedness. Seriously, I’m nearly speechless!
Email, 1/25/17: Thank you for the feedback, was not expecting a response with such genuine sincerity.
– Our users have floored us with their kindness and enthusiasm. Hearing from total strangers that we’ve had a positive impact on them— and helped them expand their comedic horizons — is the BEST feeling in the world. Our gratitude for all of this knows no bounds.
Email, 7/20/17:Continue your amazing work!! I’ve discovered so much good comedy because of you! If you ever visit Portugal I’ll buy you a couple of beers!
Email, 7/17/17:I’ve gotten my entire band on the app and I tell other musicians about it on the road when podcasting comes up. The response is always very positive. Thanks for all that you do.
Email, 5/18/17:I just wanted to compliment you on the Laughable App. As an avid podcast listener it has been a game changer for me. I’ve been involved in a few startups and know how hard it is to bring a great idea to market and just want to give credit where credit is due. Love all the new content and features, keep up the great work.
– And their patience, too. Earlier this summer, we unwittingly introduced some nasty bugs that rendered Laughable temporarily unusable for 5-10% of our users. A subset of those affected also had their listening histories and local downloads wiped out. Users had every right to throw some SERIOUS shade at us for our screw up. And, to be sure, a handful of people exercised this right by submitting 1-star reviews. But they were handily drowned out by emails like these:
No problem I will wait patiently for the update. When creating anything new and awesome there will always be a few bumps in the road. No need for feeling bad.
Love the authentic “we dicked up” correspondence – similar to stand up comedy, I think you’re doing a great job creating that authentic voice for the app, i.e. you give a shit, over these huge app producers without any people behind the scenes.
– They’re also full of great ideas. We’re consistently blown away by the quality and enthusiasm of the feedback that comes our way from complete strangers. Corresponding with these folks is one of my favorite parts of the job — and has been critical to our success so far.
Email, 3/3/17:Hi! This app looks great! Love the UX/UI. Quick suggestion though – the main reason I downloaded this was the search by comedian, so it would be awesome to be able to follow and/or favorite comedians like you would a podcast! Thank you for your time 🙂[This user was 10 steps ahead; we went live with artist subscriptions about 2 months later.]
Email, 7/9/17:It would be great to get push notifications when comics that I subscribe to release new podcasts. Can you guys make that happen? [Make that happen, we did!]
Review, 2/8/17:Best podcast app buuuuuut. It needs a sleep timer.[We built in a sleep timer after this reviewer and several others asked for it. Felt good to put this one to bed.]
– Our Artist Collective is paying huge dividends. Members of the Collective, who are advising us on our strategy and regularly promoting Laughable on their podcasts, have done a terrific job helping us build our user base and credibility. And they’ve made themselves look good in the process.
Email, 8/7/17: I heard about you guys from Ari Shaffir‘s andBert Kreischer‘spodcasts. They both really talk you guys up as a company – not just the app itself but also the working relationship you have with the both of them. I love comedy and if two of my favorite comedians respect what you are doing at Laughable I figured I should check it out.
Review, 8/7/17: Heard Tony Hinchcliffemention this app. I’m new but I love the concept, that you can follow a person and get podcast they have been guest on. So far so good. Will update as I get more familiar with the app.
Email, 6/8/17:[Heard about Laughable] from Robert Kellyon YKWD and Danish & O’Neil from their podcast. It’s a brilliant idea man! Hope it makes you rich!
Email, 5/27/17: Hey, downloaded the app after listening to KATG [Keith and The Girl]the other day, I love it, looks great, so user friendly, all the praise.
Email, 3/28/17: Keep up the good work! I stumbled on your app randomly but then heard a plug by Greg Fitzsimmons on Fitzdog Radio. Love the app! So concise and free of clutter. Keep up the great work and thank YOU for making my listening experience much easier and more enjoyable. I’m leaving a 5-star review now!
Review, 2/22/17: So glad I found this app. I first got laughable after hearing Shane Mauss talk about it on his podcast, Here We Are, and I really love it. I “discovered” a few new podcasts that I am really enjoying. Nice app
Review, 10/20/16:Brand new and lovin it. Thanks Jared [Freid], Joe List and Mark Normand. These guys all talk about the app on Tuesdays and JTrain podcast. I’m diggin’ it.
Other Signals We Look At, and Why
Beyond ratings and reviews, we also meticulously monitor a range of other, more purely quantitative indicators that help us:
– Understand how users engage with our app and derive value from it. What’s working well? What’s deficient?
– Improve our offering in ways that will increase engagement and the utility we deliver to our users and comedians.
– Incorporate hard numbers into our “story” to potential investors, strategic partners, etc.
On an aggregate level, we focus primarily on:
– Active users by day, week, and month. I.e., How many people are actually using the app in a given time period? We think this is much more important than download stats, which tell you nothing about actual engagement.
– User retention by day, week, and month. I.e., of the X people who opened the app for the first time on day Y, how many are still using the app Z days later?
– Download count by day, week, and month. Less important than active users, but still valuable to track what’s happening at the “top of the funnel”.
– What % of users are taking advantage of specific features.
On a user level, we look principally at:
– Average time spent listening (of late, 5+ hours per week).
– Average time spent directly engaging with our visual UI (of late, 30+ minutes per week).
Almost two years ago, when we had just started coding our MVP, we relied primarily on our own intuitions as tech geeks — and preferences as comedy fans — to guide development. As our user base has grown and our analytics capabilities have matured, we’ve focused less on those personal predilections and more on what our users are telling us.
In this way, Laughable has become something of a heat-seeking missile, constantly refining its trajectory based on the most recent and relevant signals.
These signals are coming from thousands of rabid comedy fans whose thoughtfulness and enthusiasm never cease to amaze us.
To all the people who have used our app — and especially those who have left us reviews, emailed us sweet nothings / harsh truths, and told their friends about us — thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.