INTERVIEWS

PicsArt’s rip-roaring success in 2019 as observed by VP Jeff Roberto

March 25, 2020

As Jeff Roberto rightly states that PicsArt has brought in the visual story revolution, it did create ripples with numbers- 700 million downloads and 150 million MAU! Jeff has a lot more to say.

Full Interview

1. Mr Roberto, our readers would love to know you. Give us a brief on your marketing career and your journey with PicsArt.

I lead global growth marketing for PicsArt, the world's #1 creative platform and social editing app that’s leading the visual storytelling revolution. Growth marketing at PicsArt includes user acquisition, lifecycle, product marketing, social media, influencers, ASO, SEO, consumer insights and much more! I’m focused on building a world-class growth engine to drive buzz, WOM, and search. I have 20+ years of experience in consumer and growth marketing and have led marketing functions at popular consumer companies such as Shazam, Friendster, Roxio, Napster, and Priceline.

2. For users who are oblivious to PicsArt, can you give them an overview? What value propositions does the app offer?

PicsArt is an all-in-one photo and video editing app, with thousands of editing tools, filters, stickers, photo-enhancing brushes, and templates to make their social content pop. 

We have become the world’s largest creative platform with more than 150 million monthly active users - all creating, remixing and sharing close to one billion pieces of content every month. People come to PicsArt to channel their inner creativity, whether it’s to perfect their everyday moments, celebrate their passions, promote their business/organization, or to create awesome art. 

3. PicsArt has more than 700 million downloads and 150 million Monthly Active Users (MAUs). How does it feel to have such a large and growing user base?

It’s exciting to have such a large and growing community. When PicsArt started in 2012, most of our growth came from word of mouth and search focused mostly on our tools - collage making, drawing, fonts, etc. Two years later, we grew to 45 million monthly active users, and now we have more than 150 million monthly active users globally and an app with global fanfare in over 30 languages. We have always stood by the goal of making it easy to create awesome stuff and we’ve lowered the bar for creators on mobile. With PicsArt, anyone with any level of skill can be a creator. 

PicsArt’s rip-roaring

4. 2019 was a rollercoaster ride for PicsArt as it clocked 165 million-plus downloads, leaving behind giants like Uber, Amazon, Twitter, etc. A big congratulations to you and the entire team. What strategy did you adopt that led to these colossal figures?

We have adopted a variety of growth strategies, but we rely heavily on social media marketing, paying close attention to trends, as well as amplifying and reposting our users' edits and creations.

We are always looking for ways to optimize our product and launch new tools/features to fuel our community’s editing habits. For example, we recently launched a new tool available only on PicsArt, called Replay. It enables anyone to easily replicate others’ edits on their own photos in just a few taps, making the editing process quicker, simpler and more collaborative.

In our video editor, we recently integrated music. Users can now add songs of their choice to their videos and share their creations directly from PicsArt to social platforms including Tik Tok, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. 

5. Do you expect the same growth in 2020?

Absolutely! We were thrilled to be 2019’s #4 top-grossing photo and video app plus the #14 most downloaded app worldwide, and as well as a consistent top 20 most downloaded app worldwide. We hope to continue this growth trajectory and cultivate even more relationships with influencers, as well as continue adding more user-requested features and functionality.

6. There are thousands of editing apps out there. What made PicsArt have the high ground?

PicsArt has a unique built-in network effect that combines thousands of creative tools, millions of free-to-use content pieces, plus a community that engages. We have the world’s largest open-sourced content collection, with billions of free-to-edit photos, backgrounds, stickers, fonts, frames and more. Our fandoms are also very popular; we have thousands of interest-based communities - everything from Billie Eilish to Anime to Kpop - that users love to celebrate. 

7. How important is marketing for PicsArt? 

Marketing is extremely important for PicsArt -it’s one of the main contributors to our year-over-year growth. While we’re lucky that 80% of our growth is organic, we do supplement it with paid acquisition, co-marketing and partnerships with brands, and influencers. 

8. You had joined PicsArt in 2016 as the Head of  Marketing and are now the VP of Growth Marketing. What immediate change did you feel was needed when you joined almost four years ago?

The first big change was enhancing communication within our global marketing team across two offices (we now have five). I quickly mastered the 12-hour time difference between the US and Armenia and adopted an early workday schedule. Secondly, I began spending two weeks a quarter in Yerevan, building in-person relations and processes, critical for a world-class team. Thirdly, I focused on ASO, localization, lifecycle marketing, and partnership best practices.

PicsArt’s rip-roaring

9. Nearly 80% of PicsArt’s users are below 35 which means Millennials occupy most of your user base followed by Gen Z. Do these generations actually anticipate for something grand to happen or do they satiate themselves with whatever currently is in trend?

We find that trends and viral content take off for many different reasons that are hard to anticipate. With our team’s ability to track and measure these trends, we are able to provide our community with a wide range of ways to stay engaged, including trending images, hashtags, and in-app challenges.

10. PicsArt has worked with biggies like DJ Snake, Maroon 5, Gwen Stefani, etc. What steps do you take to raise the stakes via influencer marketing?

We elevate our influencer marketing with branded partnerships and co-marketing opportunities, which additionally adds to our overall growth strategy. This helps reach new users and retain our current users.
We also leverage partnerships so our community can engage with their favorite artists and brands  - all of which garner millions of impressions, views, and engagements. Some of our most recent collaborations with A-listers include The Jonas Brothers, Will Smith, Lily Singh, and Taylor Swift.

11. A report by Barclays stated that 85% of small and medium-sized enterprises say that online customer feedback has been beneficial to their businesses. Considering PicsArt has almost 10 million reviews with a 4.3 rating on the Play Store, what sort of advantage does feedback/reviews put the app in? 

Most, if not all, of our features, are user-driven. We listen to community feedback and are focused on delivering a great in-app experience. We learn a lot about our community via reviews -- people love to voice the good and bad and this helps us build the right products!

12. Do you consider proactive marketing as a business advantage? If so, please explain. 

Absolutely, we use targeted paid acquisition and retargeting plus ASO to supplement our organic growth, which accounts for 80% of our growth.

PicsArt’s rip-roaring

13. How has ASO helped PicsArt in generating more leads? What according to you, are the most influential Conversion Rate factors? 

I’d say the most important factors are (1) your store video and screens, people want to see what the app does and also, for us, what visual trends it may be associated with (2) promotional text that highlights what’s new and/or what’s hot right now in the app (3) ranking and featuring - the higher your rank and the more often you’re featured drive visual awareness of your app, which does lead to longer tail conversion over time.

14. There are various in-app purchase options? What share of PicsArt users spend the extra bucks? Do you wish to augment these in other spheres as well?

We don’t disclose specifics around subscriber conversion, but I will say that we have an above-average trial-to-paid conversion rate. We were also the #4 top-grossing photo & video app of 2019 -- that’s definitely an indicator of our in-app subscription success!

15. The last round of investment happened in 2016. It’s been quite a while now. What could be the reason behind this? 

 We have been cash positive for over a year now and funding is not something we are actively focused on at this time.

16. What is the biggest advertising lesson that you have ever learned?

Test, test, and test! Experimentation is key. Try lots of creative variants and localize where and when you can.

17. For fledgeling app owners out there yearning to sell their products, what suggestions would you like to impart?

  1. Become an ASO master
  2. Continuously experiment & optimize
  3. Leverage key learnings across channels
  4. Be culturally relevant and trend-focused
  5. Celebrate failures as opportunities to learn

 Key Takeaways

  • With an excess of 700 million downloads and 150 million MAUs, PicsArt is the apex photo and video editing app worldwide. 
  • In 2019, it was the #4 top grossing photo and video editing app globally and the #14th most downloaded overall. 
  • PicsArt recently launched the 'Replay' tool in which one user can directly copy the edits applied by another user on his/her upload.
  • 80% of PicsArt marketing strategies are organic rest comprises paid acquisitions, partnerships with brands and influencers.
  • PicsArt takes influencer marketing to umpteen heights by collaborating with A-listers like The Jonas Bros, Lily Singh, Will Smith, etc.
  • PicsArt pays close attention to community feedback, including reviews which help them to deliver excellent in-app experiences.
Twinkle <span>Product Strategist</span>
Written By

She is a writer and content marketer at MobileAppDaily. Her knack around the mobile apps is merely splendid. Her experience in the tech industry has assisted her in churning out the best and more importantly, unbiased mobile app reviews.

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