How to Get Exploded To 75M Users and Been Acquired for $60M: Success Story of Socialcam

Alexander Sergeev
Apr 22 · 5 min read

How did we live before without social networks?

Nowadays the role of social media is really invaluable and powerful in private lives and in business.

Many companies use social networks to accelerate their results and got success and such growth hacks are starting to be great lessons for other teams and individuals.

In this post, I’d like to share an awesome growth hack from 2012. This case proves that irregular ways can be the cause of great results and leadership.

The main idea of this hack is the demonstration of how social media influence on product promotion. And since Facebook is one of the famous and successful social networks, it will be all about it.

In fact, the apps on Facebook are not as popular as they were some times ago. Users have switched to smartphones because Apple Store or Google Play give more virility than social media channels with their limitations. However, people love Facebook and use it all over the world.

Why is Facebook beneficial?

Just look at these :

  • 2.3 billion monthly active users (December 2018)
  • Over 307 million people are on Facebook In Europe
  • 5 new profiles are created every second on Facebook
  • 300 million photo uploads per day
  • 20 minutes is the average time spent per Facebook visit
  • 76% of Facebook users are female

This list can be endless; however, the point is not about statistics.

Facebook proposes access to a huge amount of potential users, it offers the real way to promote sites and apps. It can be split into two parts: over 2 billion users in the first one; thousands of apps in the second. These apps make users visit Facebook every day.

This great amusement base with each app paying 30% to be part of the game is what makes Facebook profits (based on its ownership).

This is because Facebook users represent a unique marketing opportunity.

Facebook allows promoting websites or apps by using standard marketing methods (for example, a simple banner adverts). You can also use a viral promotion. This promo means that you don’t need to spend a big sum of money on advertising to attract attention to your application.

Hundreds of integrated apps appeared thanks to Facebook. These apps were designed to entertain users and persuade them to spend their money simultaneously. Therefore, we can clearly admit that Facebook is a platform that hooks newcomers with its features, not just a social website.

However, having developed a unique application or game, you do not get “green light”. To get the most out of Facebook, you need to have something more. You need to know how to use the opportunities provided by the Facebook platform properly.

You may dive into Facebook insights on how to increase the number of users registered with your site, to boost your marketing potential or get more benefits.

You may also explore the success story of Socialcam. This case can be useful for marketers and product managers.

How did Socialcam get exploded to 75 Million Facebook users?

What’s so special about Socialcam?

In fact, the app managed to copy millions of Facebook users and did that completely legally. How did it happen?

Well, but to be closer to this case…

Once I opened Facebook one day and saw that a friend of mine had posted a strange video preview titled as a trending video.

We had just released a catalog of viral videos on our dating app and enabled users to share videos on their walls. That is why I was observing Facebook video apps and was checking all the posts in my feed that included videos.

I was waiting that the friend shared a video from the app. However, I saw the Socialcam post, and it took a few seconds to start writing a task in Jira because I found a great promo opportunity on Facebook.

There the Open Graph in Socialcam that assists you to import objects and operations to the Facebook graph. If you want to get more about the Open Graph concept, follow the .

With the help of the Open Graph API, you are able to post information directly to the user’s timeline, considering that this info will appear right in your friends’ feed.

For example, you manage a website that collects different recipes. What can you do with these recipes? Right, you can cook it.

That’s why we can imagine a button that says, “I’ve been cooking this recipe” for your website. When your user clicks on it, then the recipe with the info appears on his/her Facebook profile.

Returning to Socialcam, the Open Graph is how I came to see a video from it in my friend’s feed, with a caption that said: “John has watched a particular video via Socialcam.”

The most interesting thing about it is: when I clicked on this video, a window asking for permissions from Socialcam popped up. After Socialcam got its permissions, I became their user. Automatically!

Moreover, when I watched the video on the Socialcam site this event was automatically, I repeat that, automatically, posted to my timeline.

My friends saw it. They clicked the video and saw the window asking for their permission to access their profiles. They agreed and watched this video as well.

That’s not all. When my friend watched the video on Socialcam, the event was automatically posted to his timeline.

The friends of my friend who clicked the video had seen the event as well. They granted the permissions and watched the video. I realized that it was the solution, the viral promotion, and the way to get millions of people to become the app users.

It seemed like a happy end but the happiness didn’t last long. Facebook, after receiving “millions” of complaints about Socialcam, decided to take actions. The social network started publishing events that had previously been published in the timeline, in the section “Activity”.

That was a kind of block. And it was no longer shown to my friends, preventing the further spread of Socialcam. Then Facebook stopped showing events in the activity block. They put them right here: (put the address of your page instead of humanoit).

It means that all the events in the Open Graph are only published on this page that is visible only to the account owner.

So, events disappeared from the user´s wall or timeline. Then they disappeared from the activity block on the user´s page. And finally, they are visible only to the user.

*******

Socialcam was acquired by Autodesk for $60 million in 2012. If you want to dive deeper into the Socialcam and its amazing stories, find these insights here:

Alexander Sergeev

Written by

CEO & Founder of Hygger.io - a project management tool with built-in prioritization.