Growth Hacking — We are hacked every day

by ronatory

Growth Hackers are a hybrid of marketer and coder, one who looks at the traditional question of ‘How do I get customers for my product?’ and answers with A/B tests, landing pages, viral factor, email deliverability, and Open Graph. — Andrew Chen

We all know PayPal, Dropbox, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, Instagram, Airbnb, Pinterest, Quora, Buffer, Hotmail, Groupon and Candy Crush. One of the reasons why we use these platforms or the products of them is and still will be growth hacking.

In this post I will list the different growth hacking techniques which they used to get you to use they products.

PayPal — The friend referral bounty

Wikipedia — PayPal Logo

PayPal paid $10 to each new customer and $10 to the customer who referred them. This helped PayPal to get 7 to 10% daily growth, catapulting their user base to over 100 million members.

Dropbox — Get more space

Wikipedia — Dropbox Logo

Invite a friend, let him or her install Dropbox and you both get 500MB of bonus storage. Upgrade, connect, follow, tweet and manage to get 125MB to 1000MB or more. The great Dropbox Space Race is also a good example to get more users. Students can get up to 25GB of free Dropbox space for two years.

Facebook — How to reach million of users

Wikipedia — Facebook Logo

It’s about decisions. Decisions around tactics, strategy, hiring, priorities and culture.The first hack of Facebook was giving away embeddable badges and widgets users could post on their websites and blogs, linking people back to their Facebook page. Another hack was to buy service providers in developing countries to getting email addresses. Another hack was acquiring highly desirable users with creative advertising campaigns that Facebook won’t completely divulge. Through inventive strategies, it was able to get influential people to sign up for Facebook and vastly increase its reach and audience.

Twitter — User experience and website’s interface

Wikipedia — Twitter Logo

Many people signed up when Twitter launched. But people were not using it continuously over time. Many hung around a few days and then logged out never log in again. They did in-depth testing with respect to the user experience and the website’s interface and then rebuilt the complete site according to the information gained from these tests. They learned that if the users selected five to ten accounts to follow when they first sign up, their chances of returning and becoming regular users would be far more. After a user follows some accounts, they also send emails to recommend account that also interested users to follow up.

LinkedIn — The following growth hack

Wikipedia — LinkedIn Logo

LinkedIn went from 2 million users to 200 million users by using the following growth hack. Users had an option to create a public profile. That meant that the profile of the user will show up in search results when anyone will search for that person’s name.

Youtube — Share this video and embed option

Wikipedia — Youtube Logo

When watching videos on YouTube you will see an headed option “Share”. After clicking on it you will see the “Embed” option. The embed option gives you the opportunity to copy and paste a HTML code on your blog or website. You can also copy the link of the video to paste this one on your blog or website. With the embed HTML code you can set a specific high and width value for the video. It helps spread the word, lets many people know about YouTube and generates backlinks to the website.

Instagram — Public, follow, speed, cross-networking

Wikipedia — Instagram icon

In early days of Instagram they chose the default privacy state of user’s photos as public. By default they do it without explicitly asking for permission. With this step Instagram allowed people to discover other people through their photos in the popular section, which was the man source of followers in the early days. Also they used the Asymetric follow model like Twitter to speed up the acceleration of growth. The next thing is that the user experience was really good you can upload photos through the first screen. At the early days that was far ahead of other competitors. Next is the cross-networking posting. By deciding to play nice with other services like Twitter and Facebook, Instagram was able to leverage the distribution of some very large existing platforms to help accelerate the growth of its service in the early days.

Airbnb — Increase search ranking through Craigslist

Wikipedia — Airbnb Logo

When users were filling in the forms, they were shown an option through which thy could have posted their listing on Craigslist as well. Craigslist is a popular website this cross posting would not only get more and more people to view the ad, but would generate back link to Airbnb increasing their search engine rankings. Really simple, but other websites haven’t used this technique before, because Craigslist wasn’t allowing any such integrations. Airbnb had to reverse engineer how Craigslist forms worked and then make their own site compatible with it and that too without having access to the Craigslist code base.

Pinterest — Infinite scroll

Wikipedia — Pinterest Logo

The infinite scroll allowed people to just keep seeing more and more by scrolling down the screen would not only feed dopamine with new visual stimuli, but introduce each user to a hundreds of other winners, feeds and ideas in minutes, more than any “email your friends” hack ever could. The network effect of repining and following so many other feeds created a cross-pinning flurry that fed their extraordinary growth and had companies around the globe copying Pinterest‘s infinite scroll capabilities.

Quora — Find out what the most active users do

Wikipedia — Quora Logo

They study what the most active users on Quora were doing. Intense research and experimentations were carried out to find how the most active users were behaving on the website and then patterns were created so that other users would also fall into the same kind of behavior.

Buffer — Digg digg floating bar

Flickr — Bufferapp Logo

The growth they employed was acquisition of the Digg Digg floating share bar. If you visited websites where the social media buttons are displayed in a vertical bar and they slide along the pages as you slide up and down the site, thats the Digg Digg floating share bar. After Buffer purchased the bar, they used their Buffer button on it by default. This attracted more and more people to use it and know about Buffer.

Hotmail — “PS — I love you”

Flickr — Hotmail Logo

The emails being sent by Hotmail users in the late 90’s contained a line at the end which read, PS — I love you, and contained a link back to the homepage of Hotmail. This lead to a massive growth. Microsoft purchased Hotmail later for $400 million.

Groupon — Sharing, telling, mails, friends

Wikipedia — Groupon Logo

In the beginning, Groupon coupon deals had a tipping point before they were available meaning a minimum of X people needed to buy before you could get the deal. Thus you were highly motivated to share the deal with your friends so that you could get the deal. Sharing the deal with your friends also made you look good (EGO) and so you were motivated at yet another level to share.

Candy Crush — Ask for help

Flickr — Candy Crush Saga

This iPhone game have 2.5 million daily users. What happens when you die? You can do one of 3 things:

  1. Wait until the reset timer runs out and you can play again in 30 minutes
  2. Pay and you get to play again right away
  3. Sell out your friends by inviting them to “help” you

Most of the users choose point 1 and 3. Candy Crush use Point 3 for their growth!

If you want to know more about Growth Hacking, watch the video below. The speaker is Neil Patel (co-founder of Kissmetrics), he is a well respected figure in the world of growth hacking.