How Kovalee helped Bend become a global Top 10 health & fitness app


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About Bend

Bend is an app dedicated to making stretching a part of everyone’s daily routine. Created by NYC-based company Bowery Digital, the app showcases the importance of stretching for the long-term health and quality of life of its users. With a focus on stretching, the app improves flexibility and range of motion through consistent, daily stretching that integrates seamlessly into anyone’s everyday life. 

App category: Health & fitness
Company size: 2
Location: New York, United States

Bend: the state of affairs before joining Kovalee

When Bend joined Kovalee back in 2021, it was a fairly simple app with extraordinary potential. At the time, the app had very limited content at just 5 stretching routines. It also relied on a one-time payment rather than a recurring subscription system. 

In addition, the team behind Bend wasn’t conducting any app marketing or user acquisition activities when they joined Kovalee. However, we identified excellent retention and content engagement metrics during our initial test and firmly believed in the developer’s excellent vision to create an app that users can enjoy daily to improve their lives.

How Kovalee helped Bend break into the global top 10 in the health & fitness category

As with every app we work with, our objective with Bend was to turn it into the #1 ranking app in its category, in this case in Health & Fitness. Today, Bend ranks in the Top 10 in this category across a number of Tier 1 countries, with its user base growing every day. Here’s how we achieved that.

How we turned this objective into reality

Strategy 1: Increase the amount of content available on the platform and improving the flow through the app

We decided that we needed to add more stretching routines to the existing portfolio and saw instant results in the form of a huge increase in user engagement and retention. 

With this change, a new trend became apparent upon conducting a funnel analysis. Users were now accessing routines straight from the home screen, which represented an opportunity for our team to not only increase user engagement but also their intent to purchase. By developing a new home screen structure as a result of this discovery, we were able to work on improvements that hadn’t necessarily been initially planned but that had a significant impact. 

To fully understand the impact this would have on the forecasted lifetime value of a user, we relied on our technology tool Krystal. This tool uses powerful machine learning algorithms to predict future LTV within 3 days, and it was because of this that we were able to make a decision based on the forecasted impact of these changes before we even implemented them.

Bend screenshots

Strategy 2: Implement a “recurring revenue” monetization model

After testing various pricing strategies, we decided to switch to a subscription model and implemented monthly and annual memberships that would form the foundation of the app’s recurring revenues.

One of the main challenges we faced here was determining the correct pricing strategy. To figure out the right approach, we used our proprietary, state-of-the-art A/B testing tool, Karbon. This tool automatically predicts the winning version of any A/B test in just a few days, and in this case, we were testing the difference between a low-cost subscription versus a higher price. It quickly became clear that the lower-cost subscription had a better conversion rate and proved to perform better in terms of average revenue per user and the forecasted customer lifetime value. 

Strategy 3: Add a customized routine feature to the onboarding flow and boost the retention of non-subscribers 

It’s no secret that customization makes user experiences significantly better. They create a sense of trust in a product through the notion that the content you receive is catered specifically to your needs. That’s why we decided to introduce a personalized onboarding process for users, whereby they answer targeted questions that yield tailored results. 

We hypothesized that this would not only help convert new users, but that it would also solve the issue we were facing with the long-term retention of non-subscribers was very high. We realized that most users who subscribed did so within the first 10 days of downloading the app - anyone who waited longer than that would simply not end up subscribing.

So, we saw an opportunity to create a win-win situation here where we would convert new users and boost retention for non-subscribers through the use of a personalized onboarding flow. We decided to A/B test different onboarding flows that were more tailored to the individual user.

Using Karbon, our smart A/B testing tool that can accurately forecast the lifetime value of any app, our hypothesis that these changes would have a positive impact on Bend was confirmed. The average lifetime value of a user grew by over 30%!

To that end, we introduced multiple choice questions to help us understand our potential user’s habits and generate these results. Questions include:

  • When is a good time for your daily stretch?
  • How much stretching experience do you have?
  • What part of your body would you like to focus on?

We also interspersed interesting information and facts about stretching between these questions. This showcases the app’s expertise and takes the potential user on a journey based on wellness education. You can take a look at our final onboarding flow here:

Strategy 4: Optimize the paywall to improve Customer LTV

Once our new onboarding flow had been implemented, the team needed to focus on improving Customer LTV through iterations on the paywall. When we started, our paywall was relatively simple and straightforward, offering potential users a one-time payment and without giving them the opportunity to browse through the content. Here’s how it looked:

While working on our monetization strategy (as discussed above), and determining our pricing based on a renewable subscription model, we needed to determine how we were going to display that information and convert users past the paywall. To do so, we turned to our trusty A/B testing tool, Karbon again. 

We decided to test the difference between shifting the user’s attention to the annual versus the yearly price point. Our hypothesis was based on the notion that people would be more inclined to commit to a year-long subscription because of the discounted incentivization - while subscribing on a month by month basis would cost $9.99, subscribing per year would ultimately cost the user $2.49 each month. 

After a series of A/B tests, it became apparent that shifting the user’s attention to the yearly subscription increased the average forecasted Customer LTV by 2x.

Strategy 5: Scale user acquisition through powerful creatives

Once we had laid the groundwork for an app that would keep users engaged and actively capture new users, it was time to work on scaling acquisition. We decided to run campaigns across several platforms, including Facebook, TikTok, as well as different ad networks, and produced over 600 creatives to test among different audience segments. We identified good performance targeting a more “mature” audience with the age of 35 or above. In addition, we also launched creatives aiming more towards younger users. 

As with everything we do at Kovalee, we took a data-driven approach to testing these creatives and relied on two of our own technologies to do so - Kwartz and Krome. With Kwartz, we monitored the performance of each of our creatives and analyzed test creatives against active creatives. The tool would automatically switch between the creatives across the different channels based on performance. We then used Krome to optimize all of our marketing campaigns across these channels. What makes this tool so special is that it automatically updates any changes that we make inside any marketing campaign and applies them to each channel. It also provides recommendations on what we can do to improve the results of a specific campaign. 

These tools, in combination with the strategies we implemented, empowered Bend to reach over 950,000 installs across iOS and Android in less than a year.

A great outcome for all

Bend is now regularly ranking in the Top 10 for the health and fitness category on the App Store and Google play in a number of Tier 1 regions, including the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. 

The app’s average user LTV increased from $0.30 to $3 on iOS in the US, and its revenues reflect consistent growth. In fact, the campaigns running across different channels generated over 250k$ in revenues per month, growing by 40% month over month. They are now at an all time high of $1 million per quarter, with a user base of loyal customers that just keeps growing.

By partnering with Kovalee, Bend is now growing exponentially with no signs of slowing down thanks to our implementation of a sustainable growth strategy and smart, data-driven user acquisition tactics. 

Our team and our technology continue to empower Bend to reach (and even exceed) its fullest potential as a worldwide leader in stretching for health and fitness. While they focus on doing what they do best - content and code - we take care of the rest. 

Here’s what Jeff Pellicano, Founder and CEO of Bowery Digital, had to say:

“Our mission at Bend is to help people stretch every day. The more people we reach, the closer we are to achieving that goal—which is why a partnership with Kovalee makes sense. The ability to scale while maintaining profitability allows us to commit to our mission over the long-term, and to provide a great product at an accessible price point.”

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