My Quora Rival App Had a 1M+ Community — I Still Failed
3 years later, I can see valuable lessons
In 2017, I created the world’s first Blockchain-Based Q&A Platform on iOS and Android called What Q&A.
What Had Me Thinking I Could Compete With Quora?
I believed in my idea so much, it made me immune to Quora’s presence.
My app wasn’t just a blockchain decorated Q&A app — it had an incentivized structure for users to be paid for asking and answering questions.
It was integrated with a blockchain that had a big community, so thousands of users were exposed to my app without me doing any work.
Best of all, they didn’t have to register to use it.
What Q&A Decentralized Q&A App (deprecated)
So Why Did the App Fail?
Before making the app, I did a press release to get a POC (proof of concept), and the results were phenomenal.
I already made an advanced tracking app on that same blockchain, so the community found my idea very promising. Nothing but praise and support from them — this was the beginning of my failure.
After the app was released, users were gradually declining week by week, even though I hadn’t received any negative reviews.
Most comments expressed their surprise for my app’s lack of coverage and usage.
At this point, my objective was simple — marketing.
As my first press release got me 50,000+ views, it made sense to replicate it by letting the community know when a major update or feature is added.
Press Release Marketing Didn’t Work the Second Time
Views kept reducing on each try, and it didn’t even increase with paid promotion. I couldn’t understand why, and therefore, I believed people weren’t interested in my app.
That invalidated belief stopped me from trying out new marketing ideas and having enough data to make logical conclusions.
From studying TikTok’s growth, and being obsessed with marketing, I now know why my social media platform failed — and why many others will continue to fail…
Creating a new social media platform means you’re attempting to interrupt someone’s hardwired daily routine.
You’re in the attention-grabbing market.
No matter how good your social app is, there must be consistent marketing efforts to remind users it exists.
Remember, people will always revert to using social apps their friends use.
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have built their virtual universe for you to be suspended in. They’ve already claimed your attention for tomorrow — your job is to become their Thanos.
Three Years Later, Here’s What I Would’ve Done Differently
Consider these four methods whenever you’re planning on making an app…
1. Marketing experimentation
You can’t escape this trial and error phase.
You’ve got to keep trying out new ideas until one of them works. Once one works, you have to perform it again to prove your initial results aren’t a fluke.
Here are four ways to promote your social app in 2020:
- Through a YouTube/Instagram influencer
- Paid advertising on Snapchat
- Press release marketing
- Listing on Product Hunt (free)
The next step is to have expectations (backed by data) after performing marketing actions. For example, you should know the average views you get when you do a PR campaign.
Without solid expectations, it’s impossible to have a consistent marketing budget. Even worse, you won’t know how much you’re spending per app download.
Also, having multiple marketing methods is vital — you don’t want to be stuck if one stops working.
2. Create a web-based version
If my Q&A app had a web version, there’s the likelihood of:
- Answers being referenced on top websites
- Questions and answers appearing on search engines
Getting quality backlinks will improve your web app’s page ranking. Plus, people will see your app as a platform to market their content and get SEO benefits.
A web version also makes it possible to share content within your app.
Imagine telling a friend about someone’s old tweet and then saying they must go on their profile and keep scrolling until they find it — they’d give up halfway.
3: Content curation via emails
For years, social apps have been using emails to indirectly remind you about them by sharing popular content on their platform.
All major social media platforms do this — just look at your recent emails from Twitter and YouTube.
Curation emails are more effective when you have an algorithmic approach, so you’re certain users receive content they like.
Use push notifications too — just like emails, they’ll remind inactive users about interesting content on your app.
4. Build a solid team
My biggest mistake was running a Q&A app as a one-man team. I coded the app, did the marketing, and resolved reported issues. Having none of my tasks delegated to someone else or AI meant less focus in key areas.
The main area of focus was marketing for my app. If I spent more time figuring out what works, I wouldn’t have come to incorrect conclusions.
Whether you’re hiring or outsourcing, you need the experts to help you with tasks and educate you when things aren’t going as expected — this will promote adaptation thinking.
In a fast-moving tech world, those that adapt are always in a position to win.
Creating a Social Media Platform Isn’t Just a Business Motive
You’re aiming to change the course of history by getting humanity to interact differently forever. This requires 100% focus and commitment.
A pretty idea isn’t enough to consistently capture the attention of the masses.
You have to keep earning their attention.
You need to be an expert in this field or failure will be inevitable.
However, If I’m able to go against Quora and achieve some success as a one-man team, imagine what you could do with a dream team.
Crypto & Marketing Writer ~ Copywriting or ghostwriting enquiries: matt[at]mattshango.com