How Tagged touches more members on Android

by Brad Spirrison

With more than 100 million members and 25 million monthly visitors, Tagged is one of the largest social networks on the planet.

While more than 10 percent of its total traffic is coming through mobile devices, more than half of those visitors arrive via Android devices. What is their secret?

In this edition of Meet the Makers, we learn about Tagged’s mobile creation and marketing efforts from mobile developer Dalei Li. As part of a 15-person mobile team, Li explains how the company is engaging users regardless of platform and device, why the Tagged tablet experience is closer to a PC than a smartphone, and what it takes to make it near the top of the Social category in the Android Market.

Appolicious: After coming out with a new Android app in March, Tagged is among the most downloaded free social networking apps in the Android Market. Compare how users are adopting to the Android app relative to iOS versions.

Dalei Li: We’ve been very pleased with mobile adoption by our members on all platforms including iOS and Mobile Web. However, Android adoption has been exceptional and we are currently the #3 social network app. Over 10 percent of our total traffic is now coming through mobile and the Android app makes up about 50 percent of that total.

APPO: Having already created a massive community online, describe your approach in developing mobile applications to complement and expand Tagged's overall distribution.

DL: Our goal is to provide all members comprehensive mobile access to Tagged. In addition, we want to offer features that are specific for mobile members who typically are on-the-go and are seeking quick access. This means working on, and deploying, some new features first through mobile and also mobile exclusive offerings -- such as localization. Our focus is to add the features that make the most sense for mobile considering the smaller form factor and difference in input systems with close attention to what our members are telling us they want from Tagged on their phones and mobile devices. All of this is aimed at strengthening our mission to help people connect with new friends.

APPO: Name the three most important ways consumers can take advantage of Tagged on mobile devices that aren't available or as convenient via the web.

DL: Again – we emphasis that with mobile, members are likely on-the-go and need quick and easy access to Tagged via their phones and mobile devices. One example that is unique to mobile vs. the Web with Tagged is our apps allow easy and fast photo uploads. We also make our most popular games like PETS simple to play on mobile devices and users can receive real time alerts on their game status. A third example is a mobile-only feature enabling users to browse people with a location filter  of “near me” which is not available via the Web.

APPO: What are the biggest surprises you have encountered since releasing the Android app? The iOS app?

DL: We’ve been pleasantly surprised with how quickly people have adopted to Tagged mobile in general and with Android in particular.

APPO: Talk about the company's mobile team and how you deploy development, design and marketing resources to each application.

DL: We are still relatively small mobile team, about 15 people, which takes charge of all the work of design, development, testing, and customer support. Our marketing efforts to-date has been a simple member announcement, viral and word-of-mouth only.

APPO: How is the company planning for the revolution in tablet-based computing and describe your efforts to date in planning/developing applications for the Honeycomb and iPad-based platforms.

DL: Our apps work with both; however, we believe there are differences in how people use Tagged with mobile and tablets. Today, tablet use for Tagged is primarily web access vs. app use and we see closer similarities at this time between web and tablet than tablet and mobile. We have built a separate mobile portal which is now live. Our strategy is to take advantages of HTML5, advanced browser support, to build up a powerful and engaging mobile site for other smartphone users, as well as tablet devices like iPad, or Android-based tablets.

APPO: Outside of promoting applications on owned and operated properties as well as exposure within the Android Market and iTunes App Store, how does Tagged drive discoverability of its mobile applications?

DL: Those methods are the only way that we promote our mobile apps today. It may seem impossible that we could reach the #3 spot on Android with only internal promotion and word-of-mouth; however, Tagged is one of the largest social networks in the world with an extraordinarily loyal and engaged user base. Our millions of member’s deep involvement with Tagged has quickly and easily translated into the mobile environment and this has resulted in our meteoric rise in the Android Market.

APPO: Where do you see the mobile space three months out? Three years out?

DL: Obviously continuing to grow. In three months we may see 15 percent of our traffic via mobile. In three years we expect over half our members will access Tagged via mobile. We are definitely learning from our competitors, we’ll keep innovating our own products, while strengthening on Tagged's core values, to keep our users happy and continuously come back to Tagged.