On August 13, Keep, China’s sports APP, announced that the number of registered users broke 100 million, which marked that Keep had become a member of mobile Internet club with more than 100 million users. It also marked the birth of China’s first sports App that had more than 100 million subscribers, and became China’s largest social platform for sports.
On February 4, 2015, Keep launched on the App store. Although it was not the first Internet company who concentrated on sports APP，it grow rapidly and gained great attention from users and the whole industry at the beginning by virtue of its precise product positioning and market differentiation strategy. It cost the company only 921 days to attract 100 million users and two and a half years to complete five rounds of financing, including the Angel investment.
The reason for Keep’s success is related with its proposition—put the value of users first.
Covering more users and scenes
Users can exercise and communicate with others in fragmented time without the constraints of time, space and capital. Every amateur can find his or her suitable fitness courses in Keep, and do exercise following the video or voice guidance.
To meet the development of social sports market and the diversified demand of users, Keep launched the version 4.0 in April, upgrading from “mobile fitness trainer” to “free playground”. It also adds some outdoor scenes like running and riding. The new version introduces the personalized service to every module, which can not only improve user experience, but also greatly increase the applicability and use frequency of the scenes, so that it can ensure continued increase of users in the new incremental market.
Wang Ning, founder and CEO of Keep, says that “Keep is far more than a fitness product. We started from fitness, and the ‘mobile fitness trainer’ was only a phased product. What we want to do is to help more people develop healthy lifestyle. We want to provide users all kinds of sports experience and support, and change all places into real “professional playground.” Users can choose courses according to their preferences and physical situation, and can enjoy free communications in Keep. It’s must be a new experience.”
After two years of development, Keep has involved fitness trainers, running, riding, social platform, diet guidance and equipment purchase. Its “free playground” helps people enjoy sports at any time and place.
Building youth’s favorite Internet sports brands
According to I Research’s Reports of 2016 China’s Internet Sports Users, sports netizens in China reached 371 million, among which 47.1% usually do exercise. The emergency of social sports product can better serve such groups. As a tool, it can guide users to do exercise. As a social platform, it can attract non-sports groups through active users.
Influenced by the consumption upgrading background, consumers seek personalized content and brand proposition. They pursue quality and at the same time, they pay great attention to the brand proposition.
In June 2016, Keep upgraded its brand and launched the first brand TVC—“Self-discipline free me”, which encouraged people to pursue healthier lifestyle and more possibilities through sports, self-discipline and persistence. Such brand proposition is welcomed by young people. More than 10 million hits of the video show its high popularity.
Around the brand proposition of “self-discipline free me” and new product position “free playground”, Keep adopts a comprehensive marketing mix. On the one hand, it put ADs in important gymnasiums, basketball and football venues and stadiums at the first-tier cities. On the other hand, it extends from the sports field to the entertainment domain, and cooperates with other brands to attract more users.
Keep works with lots of top brands including Adidas, Under Armour and Biotherm. These brands value Keep’s proposition and its long-term operation ability.
If we review the seedtime of Keep (3 months attracting 1 million users, 9 months for 10 million and 921 days for 100 million), we can find that in the important stages, Keep delves the inner potential, keeps communicating with its users and tries hard to meet users’ demands so that it can achieve win-win situation. The only choice is not vertical or horizontal alliance, but to satisfy different users’ demands.
Using Big Data as the core competitiveness
Keep regards big data as the core competitiveness and is committed to becoming an international sports technology company. Users can use data to get more information and courses, and enjoy convenient and high quality fitness training.
Up to now, Keep with its 1 million users has been directly connected with many terminals including mobile, TV and smart watches so that it can cover users work and life scenes. The value generated by 100 million users cannot be underestimated. Keep collects and records user data, give feedback to users, and use the data to upgrade its products which can create more extreme product experience.
Wang Ning says that “The goal of Keep is very simple—let more people move. Our utmost pursuit is Make the World Move. To achieve this goal, Keep must collet user data from multiple dimensions and form a closed loop: more data could bring better training courses and more ways to exercise; and, more exercise can create more data.”
In terms of commercialization, Wang Ning believes that “1 million users mean that we enter into a new stage and need new thinking. The next thing Keep needs to do is to let these users create more value and guide them contribute it to other users and the platform.”
So far, Keep has about 170 people, among which 60% are responsible for product and technology development. Wang Ning defined the team as a subtraction one. “We should do everything with a purpose, and pursue next purpose after all things are perfect.”
This article originally appeared in Lanxi and was translated by Pandaily.
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