Desygner Doubles User Retention Rate with Amazon Pinpoint


Simple-to-Use Content Creation Tool

Studies suggest that 65 percent of people are visual learners. The importance of visual content in engaging audiences is widely recognized in business and academia. Yet, many small businesses or entrepreneurs lack the budget to hire graphic artists. Launched in 2016, Desygner is a simple-to-use content creation tool that empowers anyone to create and share content.

The company offers multiple graphic design apps for consumers, in addition to web-based tools for customers who prefer to design from their computers. Desygner has 20 million users in 180 countries, a mix of B2C independent users and enterprise clients such as Keller Williams Realty, Redfin, Amazon, and Techstars. With Desygner’s founders and employees spread across the globe, the business decided to launch on Amazon Web Services (AWS) to support its worldwide presence.


One thing that drove us to Amazon Pinpoint was segmentation and the ability to create unique customer journeys within a marketing automation funnel.”

Mariana Aguiar
Founder and CPO, Desygner

Defining the Customer Journey

Since launching, Desygner has continued to attract new users by introducing innovative digital design products on the AWS Cloud. However, many users had lapsed into inactivity after their first use of a product, and the company wanted to increase engagement by personalizing its communications.

Although the business saw 3,000 signups per day in 2020, it wanted to ensure it was engaging users around their areas of interest and looked at ways to define customer journeys. “Previously, users would receive one or two general emails after downloading a Desygner app or registering on the website. These were sent using a third-party service that proved unreliable, offering little visibility into open rates and often shutting down in the middle of batch sending.” shares Mariana Aguiar, founder and chief product officer at Desygner.

Scalable, Segmented Communications to Boost Retention

Desygner sought to improve the quality and frequency of email communication with users after their initial sign-up, the point at which users are most engaged. Aguiar and her management team evaluated several off-the-shelf, external email marketing tools.

But they found the majority were cost-prohibitive for a startup or had limitations for personalizing email at scale. The team was sending about 10,000 emails a day, often doing batch mailings of 500,000 messages at once. Desygner also considered building a solution in-house, but ruled out that option to keep developers’ attention on core design products.

After reaching out to its AWS account team, Desygner began trialing Amazon Pinpoint, a scalable marketing communications service. In addition to being a high value-to-cost proposition compared to external providers, the feature set including campaign metrics, message personalization, and audience segmentation was persuasive. “One feature that drove us to Amazon Pinpoint was segmentation and the ability to create unique customer journeys within a marketing automation funnel,” Aguiar says.

The funnel approach is working. Since implementing Amazon Pinpoint, Desygner’s user retention rate has more than doubled, from 3.1 to 6.6 percent. Its email open rate increased significantly, from about 3 to 30 percent, and the bounce rate dropped from 6 to 1 percent.

Data Security and GDPR Compliance

Desygner stores its customer data in Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) and follows the AWS shared responsibility model for secure operations in the cloud. By choosing Amazon Pinpoint over a third-party service, Desygner avoided additional security and compliance hurdles, as customer data never leaves Desygner’s AWS environment.

“Amazon Pinpoint allows us to engage a large number of users and was easier to approve from a security perspective as AWS was already storing much of our critical data,” adds Aguiar. “If we had gone with a different email provider, it would have been a much longer process. Plus, we are GDPR [General Data Protection Regulation] compliant on AWS, which is very important as we serve a lot of European customers.” The ease of removing data and unsubscribing is a key GDPR-compliant feature of Amazon Pinpoint.

Personalizing Content and Increasing Frequency

Within 4–6 weeks of its initial discussion with AWS, Desygner had sent its first emails using Amazon Pinpoint. The marketing team now sends 10 targeted emails during the initial month after a customer signs up. Overall, they are generating 25 times’ higher email volumes than before. The welcome emails vary, but all include an introduction to Desygner, a guide on how to get started, and feature descriptions that may encourage users to upgrade from a free to a paid plan.

Segmentation work is ongoing to provide email content that’s relevant to users. After signing up or downloading a Desygner app, users are asked questions about their goals for using Desygner. Their answers set them on a defined, yet easily adjustable, marketing journey. Users are additionally segmented by criteria such as language and location. “Just six months after starting to use Amazon Pinpoint, we are already able to point new users in the right direction. We can take them through the right journey to where they need to be rather than where we want them to be,” Aguiar says.

User-Friendly Tool for Self-Service Marketing

The self-service aspect of Amazon Pinpoint empowers Desygner’s marketing team to create and send emails within 1–2 days, with one team member creating the content and another checking it. Previously, it took two weeks and collaboration among multiple teams, including developers, to draft, approve, and send an email to customers.

Mai Le, marketing and advertising coordinator at Desygner, says, “There was a learning curve, but it was quick to get up and running. We’ve developed skills on Amazon Pinpoint that we can use for years to come to improve our marketing efforts,” Le says.

Enhanced Visualization with Dashboard Analytics

With dashboards and analytics on Amazon Pinpoint, Desygner’s marketers can easily visualize its customers’ profiles and preferences. “The data was already in our databases, but it was inaccessible for development and marketing purposes until now,” explains Aguiar. “With correctly segmented lists in an easy-to-use interface, we have a much better grip on how to reach and communicate with our customers.”

Charting New Customer Development Journeys

In addition to emails, Desygner has recently started sending push notifications through Amazon Pinpoint to remind users of the product and encourage plan upgrades. It is also exploring the use of distribution services in Amazon Pinpoint that would allow enterprise customers to send Desygner emails to their staff.

The startup has plans for a reengagement campaign in 2022 to chart new journeys for inactive users and bring them back to the Desygner portfolio. “Since implementing Amazon Pinpoint, we are much more focused on the customer funnel. Amazon Pinpoint is a key optimization tool that has facilitated this marketing strategy,” says Aguiar.

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About Desygner

Desygner is an online and app-based tool for individuals and businesses to create visually appealing content. Its user-friendly interface empowers 20 million users in 180 countries to design collateral such as social media posts, ads, and presentations.

Benefits of AWS

  • Increases user retention rate to 6.6% from 3.31%
  • Automates sending of 10,000 emails a day
  • Defines customer journeys with targeted segmentation
  • Sends emails in 1–2 days instead of 2 weeks
  • Ensures GDPR compliance and data security
  • Visualizes customer journey with dashboards
  • Improves email open rate by 10x (from 3% to 30%)

AWS Services Used

Amazon Pinpoint

Amazon Pinpoint is a flexible and scalable outbound and inbound marketing communications service. You can connect with customers over channels like email, SMS, push, or voice. 

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Amazon Simple Storage Service

Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) is an object storage service that offers industry-leading scalability, data availability, security, and performance.

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