How Recent YC Grad Priime uses Amplitude to Build a Better Photo App
Priime is a photo editing app fresh out of Y Combinator’s Winter 2015 batch. We recently got the chance to ask Arthur Chang, the CEO and cofounder of Priime, about the importance of analytics for an early-stage startup gaining user traction.
“Amplitude is saving our company metrics by providing so many events, and I can’t imagine being able to run Priime without it. As a fellow YC company, a thousand thanks for making a product so accessible and useful for early-stage companies.”
Arthur Chang, CEO and Founder, Priime
What is your role at Priime?
My title is CEO, but my role is to do whatever it takes to help the team create a successful product. This ranges from raising money, writing iOS code, to measuring metrics to help with understanding progress within the product. Because I’m looking at the product, and have had a lifetime of software engineering, I’ve been able to write the code necessary to track all the events we need in iOS, as well as writing code to pull the data from Amplitude to show on our own custom dashboards.
What does Priime do?
Priime is a photo editing iOS app. It suggests photographic styles (filters) to edit your photos based on the photo you’re editing, with our styles created by 35+ professional photographers.
The filters are actually entire styles, with full edits that photographers would do in Photoshop/Lightroom, but packaged into one click. These photographers are ourselves and our close friends who we’ve become close to through our own careers as photographers. We shoot for clients like Paypal, Nike, Land Rover, and more.
As experienced photographers and design/developers, we are making even the most professional aspects of photography accessible and easy for everyone.
What led you to start using Amplitude?
I was desperate for a better solution, as we were outgrowing all other analytics tools that began charging us enterprise level pricing. We were getting almost a million sessions a month, with over 10 million events monthly.
No other service was affordable. We tried Google Analytics and Flurry, both were unreliable and didn’t give us access to the data externally with a dashboard API. No other service has allowed us to track so many events (15 million events or more) and query for some basic data within our budget. You’d think with that many events from so many users we’d have a lot bigger budget, but in reality we don’t and Amplitude has saved us from using something unreliable like Google Analytics.
We found Amplitude through Y Combinator referrals. In addition to the huge volume on the Starter plan, the things that really appealed to me were the Dashboard API and the great team with fast responses and help.
What were some of the issues you were trying to address in your search for an analytics platform?
The biggest thing I wasn’t able to get, was a simple API for getting data for a custom dashboard. That and an affordable event tracker for our budget. I really couldn’t imagine so many other companies could afford those other services!
How have you used analytics to answer important business questions?
In general, we show our photographers dashboards of stats on how their styles are doing. We have our own internal dashboard as well to help us keep track of our KPI’s.
One specific example ties closely with our mission. We want to make sure people understand that there’s more to photo editing than just knobs and buttons. The human element and the community aspect of photography is what makes it special.
We want to make sure that we’re presenting information about each style correctly. One question that we had was: if people _do_ understand what we’re doing, will they become a retained user?
Because of Amplitude, we’ve found that those who miss the style details or photographer profiles aren’t as likely to return, whereas anyone that does look at those details will come back 75% of the time even after 3 months of use.
Note (04/26/17): a previous version of this blog post (published in September 2015) stated that Priime was receiving a special promotion for YC companies where they received 20 million monthly events on the Starter plan. We’re no longer offering this promotion, but we do have a scholarship program for startups. If you have any questions, you can always reach us at email@example.com.
Last Updated: 04/20/18
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