Mobile App Success Story: Calm -

Mobile App Success Story: Calm


Stress is always present in our lives and can have disastrous effects on our health. Meditation can be an answer to this problem and luckily there are plenty of apps in app stores specially created for this purpose. One of the most popular apps that help users to relax is Calm. We should discuss the strategies used by its owners for converting Calm into an award-winning app.

Brilliant Idea

Michel Acton Smith OBE and Alex Tew are the founders of Calm. Michal launched several startups before Calm and felt the pressure of being a successful entrepreneur. He followed his passion for mindfulness and neuroscience, teamed up with Alex, who was trying to prove the beneficial effects of meditation, and they created Calm. The platform was launched in 2012 and since then its creators added a lot of features in order to make it the “Nike for the mind”. Now all these services are available for iOS and Android users. We will continue to analyze Calm for discovering the secrets behind its success.

How Calm Did It

In reality, Calm is an app packed with all kinds of solutions for users, to help them meditate, relax and sleep better. It is time to observe the most important features and techniques which makes Calm so efficient.

Business Model

As with many other successful apps, Calm follows the same freemium pattern. Users are invited to download the app and to take advantage of its basic facilities for free, but for more advanced options they will need to pay. Customers reveal their opinions regarding this business model in their reviews. And, as you probably guess, some of them are very satisfied with the app so they are happy to pay the price for the annual subscription, while others consider that the app should offer all the features for free. It all depends on the onboarding flow and the way app owners choose to attract their audience. The following section will clarify our point.

User Experience

The main purpose of Calm is to give users a sensation of tranquility and … well, calm! For this reason, the app is very simple and intuitive and it guides users through the sign up process in a smart manner. From the beginning, Calm explains why users need to share their data and the results obtained after they use the app. It is about engaging users and winning their trust. One of the most effective strategies of Calm creators is Daily Calm, a 10 – minute program which convinces customers to come back to the app daily. The session is short enough to allow even the busiest people to participate and the fact that it happens every day increases the retention rate.


Let’s be honest! Without professional advices, the user won’t be able to reach their goals, no matter how simple and attractive is the app. When it comes to health and fitness apps, the content must be created by experts who know what to do for obtaining the wanted results. Tamara Levitt, who studied meditation since she was 18 years old, is the right person for teaching users how to have a less stressful life. Interesting is the fact that she discovered these practices in a clinic for eating disorders. Now it is a good moment to mention another tool for attracting users. It is called Calm Masterclass and Mindful Eating with Dr. Michelle May is a very useful class for those who want to have “a healthy relationship with food”.


App owners know that a very efficient method for acquiring new users is to join forces with other brands. This way they have the chance to reach a wider audience. And an app focused on healthy habits like Calm, is the most suitable for a partnership with (RED). Together they fight to end AIDS. Calm launched a special product called Sleep Mist, and $1 from every purchase is used for that cause. Additionally, more content was produced for this campaign, and Calm takes advantage of other features, like Calm Masterclass for helping people diagnosed with HIV. It would be great if more and more companies would donate some of their profits for making our world a better place!


We were talking about trust and it is known the fact that users pay attention to other users when they want to download an app. Testimonials have the power to convince customers that Calm is really beneficial for mental wellness. Users are invited to tell their stories and to share with others why they use the app and the results obtained. The most popular social channels are an inspiration for all customers and we should say that Instagram is the network where images speak for themselves. Because we were talking about Stories we need to mention Sleep Stories, one of the most appreciated features of the app. With calm voices, these short narratives help customers to fall asleep much sooner.

Bonus Tip: Be A Great Example For Your Users!

The truth is that everyone experiences hard moments sometimes and for our mental wellness it is good to stop for a second and breath. This is how everything began with Calm and it remains the core functionality of the app. Its creators managed to overcome the struggles with meditation and they encourage users to do the same. Probably this is the reason why investors observed its potential and the app raised $27 in a financial round, as TechCrunch highlights.

Final Thoughts

Calm is really an effective solution for everybody who wants to minimize the effects of stress and it is a real inspiration for all app owners who want to promote their health and fitness apps. In case you want to know more about this category of apps, we recommend you to read also the story behind Headspace, another award-winning app that takes care of its users!


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