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Poparazzi, By Friends for Friends; Finding Product-Market Fit and Building a #1 App

With Alex Ma

CEO and Co-Founder

Poparazzi, an iOS photo-sharing platform widely used by Gen Z, became 2021’s unexpected social media hit. Since the app’s launch in May, Poparazzi has climbed to #1 on the App Store, and became one of the fastest-growing social media apps of 2021.

Poparazzi’s unique approach to photo-sharing is the reason for its popularity among Gen Z users. CEO and Co-founder, Alex Ma, tells us more about the platform’s spin on social media, stating, “Your friends are your fans. Unlike most social media where you’re posting about yourself and hyping yourself up, Poparazzi is about hyping your friends up and your friends hyping you up.”

“This generation is very sensitive to what’s authentic and what isn’t” Alex went on to say. The over-stylized world that is often seen on most social media platforms no longer resonates with this generation. That’s why Poparazzi empowers users to upload photos of their friends rather than themselves, creating a more authentic social persona.

Objective

But, the #1 growing social app for Gen Z'ers needs critical feedback from its earliest adopters before it can realize a boom of growth. Enter Instabug.

Poparazzi’s leadership considers user feedback critically important during app development and prioritized Instabug as a staple for its’ alpha, beta, and GTM app launch. Over the years, Alex and team primarily used Instabug for feedback, leveraging In-App Chats as a way to connect with users and hear thoughts. They knew their main objective prior to launching Poparazzi was simple; collect user feedback to deliver an app that was exactly what the market wanted.

“Listening to feedback from users, making sure you’re building an app that works and that is high quality is critical and crucial to finding product-market fit. You need that communication channel with users from day one,” says Alex.

Challenge

The Poparazzi team had two main feedback-related challenges.

First, the app needed to go mainstream and amass large user adoption. To truly ensure the success of any app, Poparrazi needed to make exactly what their target demographic desired. Product market fit was critical.

Second, Poparazzi required technical feedback, such as continuous bug and crash reporting. “We were definitely worried about scaling,” Alex went on to say. “As a small team, you’re pretty strapped for resources… We wanted to do something we knew would work. It would have been a nightmare to figure out all that [feedback] in real-time with all those users”.

Poparazzi app mockup
“Listening to feedback from users, making sure you’re building an app that works and that is high quality is critical and crucial to finding product-market fit. You need that communication channel with users from day one,”

Solution

Instabug was a natural fit for Alex and the Poparazzi team. “We had Instabug on every single iteration of every app we built before this,” he says.

During the development process, they consistently sought feedback from their users, using Instabug’s In-App Chats as their primary communication channel. The small team continued to iterate on their ideas over the course of ten apps, evolving versions as they heard from their users.

A user-feedback loop empowered Poparazzi’s team to capture real-time feedback in an actionable way, helping deliver an app that resonated with their target demographic. The right features at the right time for the right users allowed Poparazzi to realize product-market fit.

Instabug’s user-friendly “shake and report feature” has been a key selling point for Alex, allowing for quick and seamless feedback from users. Alex states “If I’m talking about the product, I always end with ‘for any feedback, concerns, ideas, just shake the app to reach our team.’”

Paparazzi’s team could quickly communicate with users through in-app chats to ask for more information or let users know their issue has been fixed. Seamless integration allows for tracking through third-party applications like Jira, Github, and Zendesk to enhance development cycle management.

Managing and gathering feedback, both technical and product-related, no longer has to be tedious for the user or developer with Instabug: “We knew when we launched we’d get a lot of feedback about what users want and need,” says Alex. “Instabug was that communication with our users. But it was also a communication channel between us and triangulating crashes and bugs as well”.

Poparazzi app mockup
“If I’m talking about the product, I always end with ‘for any feedback, concerns, ideas, just shake the app to reach our team.’ ”

Results

The Poparazzi team’s relentless focus on the pursuit of user feedback paid off when the app went viral --- reaching the Testflight limit of 10,000 users in just three days. “We knew we had something special,” says Alex.

The unusual value proposition and social nature of the app generated a lot of buzz, and Poparazzi had half a million pre-downloads before the app was officially released.

Because Poparazzi prioritized user feedback, its mission of authenticity resonates strongly with its users. The app’s new approach to social media gives Gen Z what they truly want --- real moments, real people, real friendships.

Alex believes Instabug is a true solution and was critical in the growth and development of Poparazzi, stating, “I would highly recommend Instabug to anyone on the product development journey. Listening to feedback from users, making sure you’re building an app that works and that is high quality, is critical and crucial to finding product-market fit. Instabug played a really big role in doing that for us… For mobile, it’s world-class.”

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