Cruise Ship Mate

Cruise Ship Mate sees downloads rise by 20 percent despite seasonal slowdown

Despite the usual seasonal travel slowdown, Cruise Ship Mate wanted to improve visibility and brand awareness in time for peak season. A Search Ads campaign resulted in a boost to downloads at about a third the cost of any other advertising platform.

Goals

  • Increase visibility during a seasonal slowdown
  • Compete with cruise line apps for loyal users

Strategy

  • Search Ads campaign using Search Match
  • Keywords added from Search Match results

Results

  • Downloads increased by 20 percent despite the slowdown
  • Noticeable increase in in-app purchases
  • Reduced acquisition costs to under 50 cents

Increased visibility is plain sailing

In 2009, brothers Mike and Jan Jirout set sail on a large family reunion cruise, and built an app to help them track family members and plan activities. The first of its kind, Cruise Ship Mate kept the family celebration on course, and quickly went viral.

A few years later, Cruise Ship Mate was bought by cruiseline.com, an independent cruise specialist, and today it’s a comprehensive source of information for cruise goers around the world. When downloads started dropping during the usual seasonal slowdown, app cofounder Mike Jirout turned to Search Ads to boost visibility on the App Store.

“As a growing independent, we don’t have the large ad budgets of the major cruise lines,” Jirout explains. “Search Ads helped us stay the course and keep up with the big guys.”

With a small starting budget and no additional staff to help, Jirout set up a Search Ads campaign and started tracking results.

“I was up and running with Search Ads in minutes by simply selecting Search Match and adding a few keywords,” Jirout explains.

To stay afloat, Cruise Ship Mate has to attract cruise goers who engage with the app before, during and even after their cruise. Engaging with quality users enables it to generate revenue through in-app purchases, such as excursions and other trip incidentals.

“For us, the value curve per user is just as important as the number of downloads.” Jirout says. “Acquisition costs with Search Ads are less than a third of any other channel, and when I saw our performance numbers after trying out the $100 free credit, Search Ads was a no brainer.”

Search Ads helped Cruise Ship Mate increase installs despite the off season, and when users began planning their vacations in the New Year, Jirout continued to advertise on Search Ads.

“The fourth quarter is typically the lowest period of installs, but we were able to pull our numbers up with at least a 20 percent weekly increase,” Jirout says. “Then around the beginning of the year, activity started spiking again. With these kinds of results, we’ll run Search Ads all year round.”

When I saw our performance numbers after trying out the $100 free credit, Search Ads was a no brainer. Our acquisition costs are less than a third of what we’ve seen on any other channel.

Mike Jirout, Cruiseline.com

Company Snapshot

  • shipmateapp.com
  • Cruise Ship Mate
  • Independent developer
  • Based in New York
  • www.shipmate.com
  • Founded in 2009
  • App Store rating: 4+
View in the App Store