Journaling app Day One is one the most awarded apps on the App Store. The small team of 13 at Bloom Built created something many others have tried, but few succeeded at — a journaling app that makes users want to keep up with their entries.
Day One recently moved from a paid app to a subscription service, opening up basic functionality to a whole swathe of new users who might not have been open to paying for an app up front, while providing the advanced functionality and updates its current users know and love under a simple subscription model.
We checked in with the Utah-based team to learn more about their success and their future in this week’s Publisher Spotlight.
In This Diary
Bloom Built CEO Paul Mayne puts the impetus behind Day One’s genesis simply; “we saw a need people had, to record and store the important memories, photos, and details of life,” he said, “Many people want to keep a journal, but struggle to consistently fill it. We wanted to make it easy for anyone to keep a journal and develop a regular habit.”
Mayne’s small team set about creating a journaling app that people wanted to use, including functionality across Mac and iOS.
Since launching, Day One has been a bona fide hit. With nearly 6 million downloads across all platforms, Mayne and his team seem to have cracked the code for journaling apps on mobile and desktop alike.
“We were one of the first companies to have an app in both the iOS App Store and the Mac App Store when it launched in 2011,” Mayne explained. Day One has received a Mac App of the Year, an Apple Design Award, and been featured as the App of the Week several times. Day One is designated as an Editor’s Choice app on both MacOS and iOS, Mayne said.
“All this attention from Apple has paid off, and people have realized how useful Day One is,” Mayne said.
Keep on Writing
Anyone who’s tried regular journaling knows it’s a challenge to keep regular. It’s a problem that has plagued diary writers since the beginning of time. The Internet is littered with abandoned LiveJournals and OpenDiary pages. Combine that with the constant quest for long-term engagement in mobile that crosses games and non-gaming apps alike, and Mayne and his team had quite the challenge to overcome.
Keeping people writing was key for Bloom Built and Day One.
“Many of our users claim that Day One is the only app that has kept them journaling on a regular basis, and those users have tried a lot of other apps,” said Mayne. “We try to think of how people want to journal and add features that will let them do that.”
To keep things as easy as possible for users, Day One allows users to integrate their social media posts through IFTTT (a simple, straightforward services connector), track their location, import step counts from fitness trackers, view weather, and other features to make journal entries as complete as possible.
Sometimes it’s as easy as getting a reminder. Day One can also remind users to write in their journals at a specific time of day or in a specific place via notifications.
From Premium to Subscription
On Wednesday, Bloom Built announced that Day One would be moving to a subscription model, away from the upfront pricing the app used previously.
“Our biggest news this year,” said Mayne, “Is Day One Premium,” Mayne says the company sees the movement to subscription as the best way to balance user experience with providing solid support. “We don’t see the two as mutually exclusive or dueling priorities,” he said.
“Day One has done very well as a paid app,” Mayne continued. “We’ve been able to offer our users premium features like syncing across devices and data backup, and that’s because we see Day One as more than just a temporary, limited-lifespan app, but a service and platform, evolving and changing with technological advancements.”
Mayne is clearly passionate about journaling and giving users a real destination to chronicle their days and thoughts. “We want it to always be around — helping people record, remember, and reflect on life. Supporting and developing Day One is our passion and purpose. These priorities motivated our shift to a subscription service in Day One Premium.”
“Day One Premium is $49.99 per year. For current users, we’re offering 50% off or $24.99 per year,” said Mayne.
In order to entice new users to upgrade from the new basic tier, new users have an introductory sale price of 30% off or $34.99 for the year. “We’re also excited about end-to-end encryption, our upcoming Android app, and a web version of Day One,” Mayne continued.
Users who paid for Day One last year who don’t want to pay a subscription won’t lose any features either, and all users will still benefit from maintenance releases and get non-Premium updates, said Mayne.
Mayne and his team are committed to keeping Day One the best product it can be for its customers. That clear focus on user experience bleeds into Mayne’s advice for other teams looking to break into mobile. “Our focus is on giving our users the best experience possible, so as you think about monetizing an app, think about what it will take to make a great user experience,” he said. “Listen to your users and use their feedback. The more you can communicate with them, the better your app will be.”
“In the next few months, we’ll be releasing Android and web apps for our non-Apple fans, said Mayne. “We’re also looking at adding audio recording, video entries, and a new writing prompt system.”
There might be more coming from the small team from Salt Lake City as well. “We’ve had a lot of great ideas for Day One,” Mayne said, “But not all of them would make Day One a better app. Some of our best ideas will likely end up working better as a separate app.”
“We’ve learned to take some of those ideas and put them on the backburner so that when we begin developing the next Bloom Built product, we already have a great place to start.
We can’t wait to see what they’ve got up their sleeves.
Stay in Touch with Bloom Built
Appropriately for a company whose primary product is a journaling app, the Bloom Built team is incredibly open on Twitter, the company even links directly to its employees’ profiles on its website.
- Paul Mayne, CEO — @paulmayne
- BJ Homer, Client Engineer — @bjhomer
- Dallas Petersen, COO — @dallaspetersen
- Alan Wessman, Software Engineer — @alanwessman
- Spencer Transier, Customer Support — @spencertransier
- Adam Daly, Lead Customer Support Rep — @adamjohndaly
- Murphy Randle, Webmaker — @splodingsocks
- Paul Dayton, Operations Engineer — @pdayton
- Michelle Tessier, iOS Engineer — @annemtessier
- Josh Robertson, Murphy’s Apprentice — @hossman333
- Jake Gibb, Marketing — @_jgibbster
To follow Bloom Built’s official blog, check them out here. The blog features news, tips, and interviews with some users about how they use Day One. The official @BloomBuilt and @DayOneApp Twitter are also updated regularly. There’s also the Day One Facebook page for consistent updates on the product itself.
About Publisher Spotlight
The AdColony Publisher Spotlight series showcases the finest publishers in mobile gaming. To nominate a publisher to be featured, tweet to @AdColony. To feature your studio, just fill out the Publisher Spotlight Questionnaire.
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