(English) How to outperform Uber on the App Store?

Julia Alexeenko
Mar 01, 2018

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Just yesterday, our client, taxi company Kaiian, was ranked #1 on the App Store! In front of Uber! That’s great news both for Kaiian and for all the other startups afraid to compete with Uber. Everything is possible — if you rationally invest money and efforts into marketing your product.


A few details about Kaiian and their growth

Kaiian is a rapidly growing app-based taxi company in Saudi Arabia. At the moment of launch, their main competitors were Uber and Careem, not to mention small taxi companies. A big challenge, right? Kaiian accepted it. And not in vain. They were ambitious and had a plan.

To stand out, they needed to be unique, user-friendly and reliable. This became possible with the TaxiStartup white label solution. Wanna sign up for a trial?

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Kaiian has also worked out a sustainable growth strategy which involved promoting apps in small towns and becoming really a part of local communities, a family member. Word of mouth worked perfectly here!

Kaiian app

By using hardcore techniques like asking their clients direct questions, Kaiian found the best working marketing channels. They were Instagram and Snapchat (true!). And another discovery: the loyal clients turned out to be the best influencers for the company.

Striking Results

In less than 10 months after the launch, Kaiian became one of the top-three on-demand businesses in Saudi Arabia. Now, they have around 4,000—5,000 orders per day and work in 55 cities! And the most impressive news – #1 rank on the App Store!

The scale of Kaiian company

The Recipe

Ready to know how to get to the top, just as Kaiian did? Because we’ve got some tips!

Paid acquisition is no remedy

The general rule is, the more downloads your app has, the faster it gets to the top chart. The easiest way to get more downloads is to invest money in paid acquisition (advertisements, as you call it in human language).

It’s the obligatory first step for all the new apps. Paid advertisement will let you get more users clicking on your app. But it won’t last forever. As soon as you stop advertising, the app will gradually roll down. To retain your top positions, use other marketing methods that will guarantee organic user acquisition growth. What are those methods? Referral programs, ASO and community building.

Create communities not just users

What is the simplest way to get a lot of publicity? Let me prompt: not the billboards. It’s the word of mouth. When real people tell other people about how nice your app is.

To get some good word of mouth, you have to concentrate on creating user communities instead of just getting more random customers to download your app.

The users should become your friends, but how does one get there?

The bottom line here is to move from selling services to creating relationships. If you move to building a trustworthy relationship with people, an engaged customer community will grow quickly. As the CEO of Kaiian puts it, you will become a family member, not just some company with cars. And they will promote their “family member” because it’s only natural.

Optimize your app

Because the paid acquisition is no remedy, try to optimize your apps for the App Store and Google Play. How? Here’s how:

  • The app icon

    The icon is the most eye-catching element of your app. Make it attractive so that users have a reason to click on it.

  • Screenshots and videos

    Those show how exactly your app works. If it makes obvious the app is great, people will download it.

  • Name of the app

    Ideally, the name should be descriptive enough for users to know what they will get after the download. Including keywords relevant for your business is a good practice, but sometimes it is not possible. Don’t worry then, there’s more to optimize!

  • Keywords

    Using keywords is extremely important. It should be in the title, the description, and, of course, when submitting the app to the App Store, you will be able to put up to 100 characters on keywords into the special field. Google, on the opposite, prefers choosing keywords from the description of the app itself. Take care the chosen keywords are not too competitive, otherwise, the app will not become any visible.

  • Reviews and ratings

    In the world where we can rate everything, this is just the top priority. Enough good reviews will attract new customers to the app. To optimize reviews, it’s handy to have a support line for customers: this way when something goes wrong, people will talk to the support instead of giving a bad rating or leaving an angry review.

  • Localization

    As trends differ for different places, your optimization has to fit the needs of the local market. It’s not only about the language, it is also about fitting a certain kind of mentality.

  • Monitoring

    Store optimization never ends. It is essential to keep monitoring the performance of the app, make adjustments and test options.

(Secret info: we are going to roll out a whole no-nonsense course on ASO for you really soon! )

Test channels and find out what works for you

Customer development is one of the best tactics. Simply ask your customers the following questions:

  • What social media do they love to use?
  • Why do they use your app?
  • How did they learn about it?
  • Who do they follow on social media and why?

Then start thinking like your clients do. It helps to create an image of an average client and imagine how a typical day of a customer goes to understand how to target your ads. Then just do it! Yes, you can!

Do you want to start your own taxi booking app? Sign up for a trial version right now.

Try for FREE

Interested in the marketing of your existing taxi app, contact your sales managers or write at veronika@taxistartup.org.