Product promotion using growth hacking — #donuting

The company that carried out the project: Project: People

The brand to which the project relates: Omni Calculator

Omni Calculator is a Cracow startup that provides users of their website with the ability to easily calculate everything that can be calculated, from the BMI to the decrease in a smoker’s life expectancy.

Calculators are offered mainly in English and are the most popular in the US market. Select calculators were designed to promote the brand in local markets — for example Polish, Japanese, Scandinavian. Omni Calculator asked us for assistance in recruiting a new marketing person and designing a new promotional process for the calculators. For several months, the team had been developing interesting calculators related to current trends and events (such as the cost of Donald Trump’s wall or the number of cigarettes equivalent to breathing smog-polluted air, etc.), which they promoted in the media and online. Online interests was successfully generated around those special calculators. But those activities didn’t result in large increases of reach for the brand.

  • Sales
  • Marketing, public relations.
  • SEO

Increasing the number of page visits, as well as permanent growth in traffic from search engines, through PR activities supporting SEO.

The idea of interesting calculators seemed to us to have a great potential. It was necessary, however, to introduce changes in the process of promoting and presenting them. The first step was rebuilding the website. We wanted the calculators to be presented on visually attractive landing pages, where the user can recognize the purpose of the page (clear header) in seconds, perform the calculation (the activity should be placed at the top of the page), and share the calculator or its result with friends. Until now, the subpages of the portal contained a lot of text, and the calculator itself was barely noticeable among the adverts and the various calls to action (“Download the app”, “Embed on your website”, etc.).

For promotion we decided to use the lean methodology. We suggested to the customer to limit the activity to weekly stages (sprints) with one day chosen for publishing the calculator.

Short tests and quick changes to the campaign, utilising real-time marketing rules, working with the customer’s team during the sprints, the whole team understanding the guiding principles of the campaign — it’s all about helping to build viral coverage and creating effects of scale. The proposal initially appealed to the client, but raised a lot of doubts. Finally, we heard: “Okay, let’s check it out”

The test was to be conducted on a calculator related to Mardi Gras (in Polish: Fat Thursday, equivalent of the English Pancake Tuesday): the calculator was to calculate how much sex was needed to burn all the donuts eaten that day. The decision was made three days before the peak point of the campaign. So we had to act fast! Our promotional campaign was based on two unique stand-out traits of the calculator we named Donuting (Pączkowanie). The first was its controversial character. We knew that the topic could be of interest to young people, as well as the media and brands they target. Our efforts focused on brands that are known for the controversy they create. At the same time, we assumed that the topic of calorie counting would appeal to everyone interested in healthy living, diet, sports and fitness. Time was crucial — that is why on the first day we contacted media editors who might have been interested in the subject.

The next step was to develop databases of bloggers, brands, and social media groups that we would contact on the day of the campaign. The visual layer of the campaign was also of importance so we prepared funny infographics that we could use for communication on social media and on online portals (e.g. ‘’Demotivators’’). On Wednesday we had already started testing our activities and channels. We verified various types of content (for example, whether posts containing a screen with a calculation generated more clicks than posts with a link to the calculator), as well as channels that would allow us to achieve scale effects; we also tested the visual layer of the campaign. To achieve the viral effect it was important to build a cumulative mass of promotional activities by midday on Thursday.

Contact with the media at the beginning of the week resulted in media exposure early in the morning on Thursday. Our calculator appeared on Eska Radio during the Early birds show. Publications in ‘’Gazeta Wyboracza’’, on and followed. The PR presence supported by intensive activity on social media from the use of own channels and networks of friendly brands with the support from Brand24 allowed us to boost the popularity of the calculator. In addition, we communicated directly with bloggers, brands and companies via social media, which led to quick publication by various profiles. The next part of the campaign was directed by us, but the power of social media was already working its magic. The calculator appeared at Wykop, at Spider’s Web, we were on websites for young people, and many people competed in the number of eaten donuts and the time they had to devote to burning them up. The calculator also made its way to company intranets and their messenger systems.

During the campaign, we responded to community feedback on what was more or less attractive (e.g. sleeping vs. sex), calculator activity (e.g. occurring errors) or support or cancellation from individual promotion channels. This was possible thanks to a close cooperation between the Omni Calculator and Project: People teams. As part of the #donuting campaign , we engaged in a wise range of activities largely based on social networking sites.

The effective promotion and optimization of our marketing campaigns was made easier by our using Brand24 to monitor preselected phrases. Through our keywords, we were able to reach people interested in the topic and keep up to date with the posts on Twitter and Facebook. The number was growing rapidly, but we knew that full mobilization and interaction with specific communities would allow us to achieve our goals and translate the buzz into the website traffic.

Using Brand24, we selected posts for which the Influence Score was 7/10 or higher. This helped us find the most popular Facebook posts and tweets. There were occasions when monitoring results, despite high parameters, led us to less popular posts — we skipped those. But with posts that had a broad reach and generated a lot of interactions from active Internet users, we submitted relevant comments, thus triggering a chain reaction. The viral nature of the calculator was working. Each of our comments was tailored to the particular person/account.

We often allowed ourselves to use a lot of humour. In addition, by adapting to the age and gender of the author and the themes of the published content, we posted the previously prepared graphic or a screen from the website with specific calculations. Thanks to that, our communication was more visible, which translated into a greater number of shares and a buzz about our campaign online.

Media (radio, newspapers, internet portals); social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) using Brand24; brand’s own marketing channels; own network + recommending brands.

The campaign brought a significant increase in the views of the website, with 35 thousand visits on one day only (‘’Fat Thursday”). We managed to get more than ten links to the website from major domains, which in combination with the large number of social media shares has positively influenced the positioning. The campaign targeted young people, which made it possible to increase brand recognition in the target group of the portal. It has also been proven that a week-long sprint gives enough time to construct an effective promotional campaign without investing in paid promotion methods, solely through the creation of a viral message that successively expands the reach of the campaign.

Beata Mosór-Szyszka, Project: People

The article was published in the “Skuteczne Social Media” by Anna Miotk.

Project: People ( is a lean strategy agency. We’re in love with lean strategy, marketing, research, UX.

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