Case study: SXSW app launch


The client was an app doing a lot of promo for SXSW – it went nationwide on March 6 and we needed to create buzz for it. This case study covers a smaller part of a larger campaign, but it was conceptualized and carried out exclusively by me, hence inclusion here as a case study.


  1. I wrote an article featuring app as a must-have app for SXSW and submitted to Lifehack – published 2/26/14.
  2. When the article went live, I started working on a list of volunteer-run SXSW-oriented Twitter accounts. These people are always looking for information and they’re running these accounts on their free time – so anything that can help them is always welcome, right?
  3. Once I had said list created, I created a template tweet and used Buffer to schedule it out, each individual tweet directed at a certain account (so that there weren’t spammy looking tweets going out @toamillion @usersallatonce). I also had them coming from my personal account, instead of a company one or an app one.
  4. As a side tactic and experiment I also scheduled up a few tweets that highlighted the apps by Twitter handle – so that they’d see they were featured and retweet it.
  5. The tweets went out starting on the evening of 2/28 and through end of day 3/2, and almost every single one was retweeted or favorited (or both) by the volunteer SXSW account it was directed at. The tweets highlighting the other apps got retweeted too, but definitely didn’t get the same kind of mileage.


A clever idea isn’t any good if it doesn’t have measurable results, right? Well…


This shows app downloads around that period. The first arrow is the day the article went live (Wednesday, February 26) – you can see that there was definitely an increase in downloads that day and the day after (as the article got shared), but then it dipped back down again on Friday. The spike on Saturday is when the tweets started going out and getting reshared, etc. – the app went from being downloaded (pre-article) an average of 3-5 times a day, to 89 downloads in one day, and you can see that it didn’t go back down to normal levels afterwards, either.

Of course, there are multiple factors at play and it’s impossible to isolate any one of them as the sole cause of the overall increase as SXSW got closer, but the spike was obviously caused by the sharing strategy outlined above.

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