We have been working on an online video editing platform called VEED. We started VEED because we were frustrated with video editing software. It is had to use, required an expensive laptop to run and takes ages complete simple tasks.

We have been lucky enough to grow the product to 5,000 monthly users in just two months. Out of those 5,000 users, 2,000 users edited videos and then only 30% of those users downloaded their videos. This made us worried that there was a flaw with the UX or we were not meeting the users needs.

I was trying to work out why the number of videos downloaded was so low. I dived into our analytics tools to try and decode the problem.

My First observation from UX testing was that users would leave the download page before the video had finished rendering. We swapped the loading icon for a progress bar to inform the users on how long the download would take. This small UI change dramatically increased the downloads, as it was clear how long you have to wait amazing.

But that was not enough,

I needed to dig deeper.

Much deeper

Getting advice

I took my concerns up in the YC Summer School office hour. Office hours are basically a load of startups founders talking about their current progress and problems when their companies.

The aim is to offer each other advice and try and help each other out. I was told over and over again to "talk to your customers”. The reason for this suggestion was that if we find the pain point we are solving for our users, we can work out how to build out the product into something users would loved.

After doing some more research, I found out that talking to your users is one of the most important things you can do, but also one of the hardest. It is important because every product needs users to be successful. Paul Graham from Y-Combinator famously says “Make something people want”. The best way to build something that people want, is ask them what they want. Simple really, so so simple.

Time to talk

So this is what we did, in this order

  • Started collecting user emails on our download page then sent out a mass email to all of our users and asked whether I could chat with to them (1 reply, thans dude)
  • Sent personalised email to our users (no reply, we needed more)
  • Made personalised videos of me saying HI (users name) and sent it out (Again, no reply)

At this point, I was feeling pretty down about everything. I felt that our users did not really care about the product, therefore they did not bother reply to my emails.

Where do our users hang out?

On one lonely Thursday evening, I was looking through the database of rendered videos and realised that there was no common trend to they types of videos people were making. It got me thinking, if I focus on a niche type of video creation, that way I can try and really understand the user's needs and solve the problem for them.

I identified 4 key formats of videos that users MIGHT want to make online based on google search results queries per day. I made landing pages for each and started tracking click through rates.

Where do our users hang out?

I needed to find where our users were "hanging out" so get a better understanding of them and talk to them. So in my seconds aettempt at speaking to users, this is what I did.

  • I tried reaching out to people cold on many facebook video marketing groups, but had little to no luck.
  • Found user reviews for apps on the google play store and then tried to locate the users on google plus. NO LUCK!
  • Searched for people on LinkedIn and then found their emails on hunter.io then sent them an email. You guessed it, no response.

At this point, I was feeling pretty down. I thought felt that our product was not working, users did not want to talk to me and that anyone who i attempted to talk to, would just ignore me. I am sure other entrepreneurs can relate.

Next idea, Job boards

Then I had another idea. What if I posted job ads looking for people to make memes, video Ads and Instagram content for me ?!?!

I logged into Upwork and posted four job posts, They all had the same body, but the titles were changed to resonate with each of the content types stated above. This is what the message said:

Offers to help me out started flooding in (was offering $10 for a 30 min chat), over the next 3 days, I had 15 X 30-minute video calls with a range of video creators to learn about their work, how they work and the tools they used. Quickly my calendar filled up with lots of calls, even better most of the people I spoke to did not want to be paid, they actually enjoyed having a chat and offering advice for free.

I also asked then to try out my product and give me feedback. These feedback sessions were so valuable, we learnt so much about UX, UI and features missing. After collecting all the user's feedback one thing kept coming up again and again.

What was it?

One word! Instagram.

Everyone said "this tools would be great at making quick video edits and then post the content to Instagram" That was it! I then made one more job post on Upwork. It was directed at "Instagram Social media Marketing"

I then spoke to a bunch of people working in Instagram marketing to confirm my hypothesis. Armed with a direction, a bunch of feature requests and a group of people generally excited about the product I feel we are back on track to making a product people really want and would love to use.

Over the coming weeks, we will be implementing these changes to meet our user needs and will continue getting feedback from our new advisors.

If you enjoyed this story and want to keep up with our progress and observe how our product grows you should join our mailing list!