Big-Budget App Marketing Blunders

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App Marketing Fails

It is common knowledge that only a few apps make it to the App Store charts. Over the years, it seems that big-company apps rule the charts. These companies have all the resources especially budget-wise. The advantage is quite obvious especially in terms of marketing. But even with the seemingly unlimited resources at their disposal, big budget apps aren’t immune to marketing blunders. From not even considering any marketing, marketing to the wrong audience, and not living up to the hype – you’ll be surprised how these simple marketing blunders can spell the app’s failure.


Everpix: No Marketing

The developers of Everpix weren’t “sales people”. They believe that the app will sell itself which is very common in the early days of app development where the common mantra was “If you build it, they will come”. A lot of app developers see those times as an eye-opening experience. Everpix though, made one of the costliest (non-) marketing blunders of the nascent years of app development.


33cube Inc., the Everpix’ development company gained $1.8 million from investors in 2012. The entire amount went mostly to the app’s development. The company spent a little to nothing on advertising. The focus was on the app’s quality. Their efforts seem to pay off as the app was considered as one of the best solutions for cloud photo storage in 2013. It had great UI and UX, functionality, and features. Its 55,000 users (both free and paid) stored about 400 million photos using their service. But just a few months after, the people behind the app was preparing for its shutdown.


The app’s pricing was reasonable but they weren’t attracting a lot of subscribers compared to other similar apps. Investors aren’t also as keen as before because they can see that the risk is higher in the volatile app industry. So even if 33cube Inc.’s founder had a connection at Apple, he wasn’t able to secure more funding. The company even indebted as acquisition deals turned cold.


The company only earned about $200,000 from Everpix subscriptions. Overall, the company estimates their net income to be more or less -$2,000,000. It’s a staggering loss. The app’s founders admitted they made a lot of mistakes, including their failure to market the app early. It is also important to note that they did not think of marketing as important enough so no one in their team had the skill set necessary for app marketing.


Hailo: Wrong Target Market

Hailo has the same concept with Uber but it is exclusively for yellow cabs. The high anticipation for the app brought on $100 million worth of funding. Hailo already tasted success in the UK where about 2.5 million passengers use the service. It also came at a perfect time where e-taxi services became legal in New York. But the competition was fierce. There were a lot of similar services that compete within the same price range as Hailo. But it’s just the same anywhere else. Even in London, where Hailo hails from, there is competition. So, what went wrong with their US venture?


In 2014, Hailo decided to pull out from North America. One of the reasons cited was the “astronomical marketing spend”. This is brought on by the fierce competition brought on by Uber’s aggressive price cuts. But it is also important to note that there was a lack (or a disregard of) a market research. There is indeed a demand for e-hailing services but the cab drivers don’t have a demand for such services, they are even suspicious of the app company. So even if they exhaust their funds on marketing the app, they still run short on the service’s main object: the taxis.


In London, the streets are somewhat convoluted. Cabs are somewhat a luxury for the public. It is a requirement for cab drivers to have a high level of training. It is also advantageous and necessary for them to carry a smartphone. The situation is different in New York. The streets are gridded and cabs are part of the daily commute. As a result, cab drivers require only a little training, have more competition and don’t really need to carry a smartphone. There is little to no motivation for the cab drivers to sign up to Hailo.


In hindsight, it could’ve been easy to prevent any marketing blunders. That is if only the company did not decide to push through (aggressively) in a market that is incompatible with their product.


Beme: Too Much Hype

In this time and age, people immediately jump into what’s trending in social media. This is good, but popularity can also be the app’s downfall especially when it fails to deliver. Beme’s concept is original and simple. Users hold their device up their chest area. The video length limit is up to only 8 seconds but the users can pull away anytime and the video will be automatically shared on Beme. This is also the passcode for “boring” in social media terms. This is mostly because the features that people wants (and think matters in a social app) aren’t there. Also, the app’s main features are conceptually flawed. This hyped-up-fan-turned-critic will give you all the details.


Casey Neistat is a Youtuber with more than 6 million subscribers. Neistat is an influencer in digital media and Beme co-founder Matt Hackett even called him an “attention rocket”. Neistat truly believed in their product and did not fail to resonate this message to his audience. Even some celebrities endorsed the app. The hype seems beneficial since 400,000 people downloaded Beme within the first week. But the hype seems to die from thereon. Did they make any marketing blunders? Was overhyping the app harmful? Apparently, it is and it’s all about expectations.


May 2016 saw the launch of Beme version 1.0 on iOS and on Android for the first time. With the launch came Neistat’s announcement that Beme is coming out from beta – almost a year after the first version launched.  He also admitted that the first version “did not deliver enough on the promises”.


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