Hawes & Curtis: Accelerating growth through user experience
Bookbeat is a Swedish audiobook app with more than 250,000 paying subscribers across 28 markets. Their aim: To make books accessible everywhere, whether you’re driving your car, biking to work or at home making dinner. We spoke to Niclas Sandin, CEO and Didrik Tessier, Conversion manager, at Bookbeat about scalability, data and growth.
“Bookbeat is an unlimited streaming service like Netflix or Spotify, but for books. Our success comes from the fact that you can’t read a book when you’re riding a bike or driving a car, but you can listen to one. We fill that gap for people who love books but lead a busy life.”
When Bookbeat was founded they wanted to make sure that they set themselves up in the most scalable way possible, with the goal of expanding to new markets quickly.
“I asked one of our developers to research payments providers, and find a benchmark for our industry. He looked at all of the companies we were aspiring towards and he came back with a single answer: Adyen. We got in touch with the team in Stockholm and have been going strong ever since.”
In June 2019, Bookbeat launched in 24 new markets.
“In order to be able to sustain quick growth our strategy is to build in scalable ways. For example, when we launch the app somewhere new we normally don’t translate the interface, however we make sure that we offer book titles in the local language. The more traction we see, the more titles we add, and if it’s really taking off, we start investing in that market by localizing our app and dialling up the marketing.”
Bookbeat’s journey to growth comes down to tracking data closely.
“One of the things I appreciate most about Adyen is that you can pull a report on almost anything. The fact that we get all data in the same format means that we can be data-driven in our approach and much more agile than if we had separate reporting for different payment methods and markets,” says Didrik.
Data allows Bookbeat to make quicker decisions about where to invest. One of the areas where they have focused their energy is making the experience frictionless for the user.
“If you’re a relatively unknown streaming service launching in a new market, you can’t afford to let anything get between you and the user. Adyen helps us remove this friction. If we want to add a payment method, it’s as simple as clicking a button. That means that we can hit the ground running with a set up that lets us enter the market, and the more traction we see the more time we can spend optimizing.”
After a user has signed up their details will be saved and stored securely as a token stored securely as a token. That means that the next time they make a purchase, they can pay with a single click. Recurring payments run automatically, without the need for the user to do anything at all.
Bookbeat’s focus on conversion has paid off. So far in 2019, they’ve increased profits by 127%, exceeding their year-on-year growth target of 100%. What’s more, all of this has been achieved before the end of October. With goals met, they’re able to focus more on innovation.
“Bookbeat was launched as a way to meet shifting consumer needs. Customers buy fewer physical books today than they did ten years ago, but that doesn’t mean that they read less,” says Niclas.
What started as an innovation measure has started to fulfill a new function.
“We’ve found that we’ve become an insights engine for the whole industry. Previously, it was only possible to measure book sales. If a book sold well, it was a success. We’re able to go beyond that and see how much someone engages with a book once they’ve bought it. Which books see the highest completion rate? Who buys which books? This data can be fed back to our buyers and ultimately to authors, fundamentally changing the way the book industry operates. That’s pretty cool.”
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