love advice

App developers can be needier than the clingiest lover. They’re constantly asking us how much we love them, wondering why we don’t fool around anymore, and hoping that every update will rekindle the relationship. This has less to do with any amorous intent — or so I hope — and everything to do with making sure that the time and money they’ve spent on making their app doesn’t go to waste.

Fiksu estimates that it costs roughly $1.68 for developers to acquire one loyal customer. That’s less than the $1.80 it cost in September but more than it cost in the beginning of this year. And if it costs so much to wine and dine us, you can bet that developers will do their damnedest to keep the relationship going. That’s where companies like Appboy come in. The company is today announcing that it has raised a $7.6 million Series A funding round led by Icon Venture Partners.

The funding announcement comes shortly after a complete redesign of the Appboy website meant to make its shift from app analytics to customer management clear. Where it previously focused on providing in-depth information about an app’s users and helping developers resolve issues through a social media partnership with HootSuite, the company is now planning to use all that data to help marketers better reach their customers. Needy developers are about to be replaced by even needier marketers.

“People think of us as an analytics platform, and we’re not an analytics platform. We’re not a push notification provider either,” says Appboy CEO Mark Ghermezian. “Those are honestly 10 to 20 percent of what we do. We’re all about understanding who users are on a per-user level, taking all of that data, and then using it to automate tasks for marketers.”

Ghermezian describes many marketers as “app-handicapped,” meaning that they’re unable to do many of the things they would like to do without the help of an engineer or other technical co-worker. Appboy is meant to make marketers more self-sufficient by making it easier to view user data, define target audiences, and reach them in a variety of ways without having to fuss with complex tools or code.

And if that’s not enough the company has created what Ghermezian calls the success squad, a team of employees that works with marketers to solve problems and familiarize them with the service. (Much of the funding raised in this latest round will go towards expanding the team from which the success squad is formed.) The hope is that as the so-called success squad identifies problems Appboy’s product team can monitor common issues and build solutions directly into the main service.

All of this is meant to help marketers keep the relationship with their users going even after things have become stale. Their companies took the time to develop software they think is worth using. They spent the money to attract us to their apps in the first place. Appboy is hoping that, much like a relationship counselor, they’ll be willing to pay a little extra in order to keep the relationship from fizzling out.

Can’t you just feel the cold, calculated, capitalistic love already?

[Illustration by Hallie Bateman for PandoDaily]