Today, The Knot has a suite of three apps to aid in the wedding planning, booking and buying process: one to connect users with a network of more than 300,000 local vendors across the US, like photographers, florists and DJs; a guest list manager; and another that serves as a mobile database of more than 15,000 dresses and bridal accessories.
“We rewrote virtually every stitch of code from scratch and rebuilt every app and website with a specific and different purpose in mind,” said Steib. “Basically, we replatformed the entire company and reorganized ourselves around product. You won’t find many publishers that make most of their money on advertising, as we do, that have more than one-third of their headcount dedicated to product and engineering.”
Today, around 77% of couples access The Knot via their smartphones, while more than 58% browse gowns on a mobile device.
According to Localytics, the average 60-day retention rate is 31% for media and entertainment and 24% for ecommerce and retail apps. The Knot’s main wedding planner app still retains an average of 50% of its users after two months.
It wasn’t always smooth sailing, though.
When Steib announced his intention to transition XO Group from a digital publisher to a technology-focused company – it was on his first earnings call as CEO and the press release about his appointment had only hit the wires a few minutes before the call – investors balked and the stock immediately dipped 20%.
“That happened because we were a slow-growth company with decent cash flow and we’d attracted an investment base to match,” Steib said.
But his bet is paying off. XO’s stock is up approximately 85% since The Knot began rearchitecting its offering, and transactions revenue for the second quarter of 2016 was up 55% year over year.