Strava is an exercise app that doesn’t have a conventional way to monetize users, which means that there is no traditional app conversion flow. Typical apps — like gaming or eCommerce apps — focus on early monetization via in-app purchases after a free download. For those apps, app installs are an important KPI to track performance, but for Strava, app installs aren’t as important as user engagement. It isn’t about finding any user to download, it’s about finding the right user they can monetize.
To illustrate, Strava offers a set of free services that any user can access, as well as several types of subscription services bundled into packs under its Summit product. There are different packs for different types of users — such as a Training pack, a Safety pack, and an Analysis pack.
In addition, a key portion of Strava’s app is the social component. In order to provide better value for its users, they needed users to upload their exercise data to contribute to the wider Strava community and further inform the features within the Summit packs.
This is why Strava prioritizes engagement over acquisition. Getting a user to install is nice, but it isn’t as valuable if that user doesn’t interact with the app. This meant that the usual KPIs — installs, 7DARPU, ROAS — don’t run the full trail of Strava’s conversion window. Getting users to interact and purchase Summit packs is naturally a longer sales cycle than getting users to purchase in-game currency or retail apparel.
The unique nature of Strava’s business model identified two types of users that Strava wanted to capture. They wanted to get users that would interact with the app, and within that subset of users, find the ones that were likely to purchase Summit packs. Naturally, the company wanted more of these types of users, while at the same time being able to manage its campaign spend effectively.