How to Get Users and Grow: Alex Schultz


  1. Retention is key to growth
  2. Find “Magic Moment
  3. Approach to growth is 1) gain empathy, 2) predict future, 3) make decisions faster
  4. Growth tactics are 1) Channel, 2) Trigger, 3) Creative
  5. Find key metric for the entire organization to care about

Retention is the most important factor to growth. Retention curves could be constructed for for even small amounts (100s) of data. X-axis indicates days from acquisition and the most important information should be shown after 28 or 30 days. Y-axis should be the key measurement that fits your product. Some examples include, activity, engagement, and revenue.

Three types of retention curves exist. For most products, you want to see your retention curve be a flat line parallel to the x-axis. For smash hits like games, you can easily expect the retention curve to actually hit the x-axis. This is true for games. Games smash hitters where very active users exists in the beginning and slowly dies down to zero. The third type of retention curve grows after slowing down.

Pink line shows daily average spending from users who signed up x days ago. As you can see, most users on first few days spend. The curve trails down and stabilize quite fast. With this data, we can easily predict the 200 days of average spending by looking at the 100 days data.

What causes retention to grow and stabilize?

  1. Network effects: Users form a community within a product and don’t leave
  2. New Interface: iOS vs Android, new users are coming to the product. Change in layout could also lure users back in.
  3. Addition Categories: eBay and Amazon started off few categories and had an active base of users. Adding addition categories created more content for users to get involved and also brought in new users who are interested in new categories.

Better way to measure growth is not by new users alone. We also want to know who are dropping out (churning users), and also those who left for a bit but came back (resurrecting users).

New users are gained by identifying the “Magic Moment.” This is the first time a user decides to be part of the product. For social networks, this could be seeing your friends on the product. For online markets, this could be seeing the item you wish to purchase.

Methods in discovering “Magic Moment”

  • Non-scaleable way: Ask users, survey
  • Scaleable way: Find correlation from user behaviors
  • Key: Behavior on first 14 days show high correlation with retention

How should one approach to growth?

  1. Gain empathy / understand what users are doing / ex: small screen users vs big screen users, iOS vs Android users
  2. Predict future / identify opportunity in data / retention curves, AB test, discrepancy among different behaviors
  3. Make decisions faster / data wins all argument / execute according to what the data shows you

What are some tactics to growth?

  1. Channel

A. SEO (Search Engine Optimization): keyword research, linking

B. SEM (Search Engine Marketing): keyword research, incremental/marginal ROI

C. Email / SMS / Push: Optimize for marginal users are not power users, Deliverability -> Open Rate -> Click Rate -> Conversion Rate

D. Onsite Merchandising: think of content of your product as merchandise and allow users to consumer more content.

2. Trigger

A. What behavior triggers an action?

B. Behavior is the most important in predicting the next action of user

C. Demographic is typical but much less important

D. Examples, Linkedin: people you may know, Amazon: similar items bought

3. Creative

A. Personalize page: landing page with registration form increases confirmed registered users. landing page with content and registration form may decrease confirmed registered users, but increase active confirmed registered users. Increasing retention.

B. Active wordings: “Advertise” to “Create an Ad”