Inside eFounders
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Inside eFounders

What we learned about Product Hunt after 4 startup launches and more than 4000 upvotes

In just 5 years, eFounders Startup Studio has created 9 companies with a cumulative value of more than €100 million. In recent months, we have further accelerated this pace by launching 4 new awesome SaaS startups all hatched at the studio: Hivy, illustrio, Spendesk, and Forest 🚀

When it comes to spreading the word about new projects, getting featured on Product Hunt is a must-do. If you haven’t heard of it, Product Hunt — aka PH 😻— is a website that lets users share and discover the best new products.

So, we decided to share our new products on the platform and this is the email we received every time from Erik Torenberg 💌.

Hey,

Congrats on being featured in the daily top 10 on Product Hunt!

We’re doing some research on top products on PH — can you let us know what the increase in visitors/signups/downloads was, or if any other opportunities came up, as a result of the PH Feature?
[…]

Erik

We’ll admit it, we’re super proud 😊 ! And that’s one of the reasons we’ve decided to tell you our own Product Hunt story today. This is NOT another “How to get +1000 upvotes on Product Hunt” article — many useful articles already exist — but rather a look at “What you actually get from a successful launch on Product Hunt”. We’ll be exploring data-based output for your business through 4 cases studies from inside the eFounders Studio.

Before diving into the subject, here’s a short description of the products and launch.

#Disclaimer — As you can see, these products don’t address the same target audience, they were not released at the same time and they don’t even have the same business models. We’re basically comparing apples and oranges! But, we gained valuable insights on each launch and, hopefully, you will too.

Here’s what we’ve learned…

1. When launching on Product Hunt, you get traffic and lots of it

We like to do things properly, so when we launch a product we don’t limit ourselves to PH. We also try to be featured on other sites like Designer News — aka DN — and Hacker News — aka HN. Let’s look at the traffic we generated during our 4 launches.

Traffic by source for each product launch

Conclusions:

  • PH is by far the site that gets you most traffic every time — it’s a solid investment
  • Thanks to their API, you’ll get featured on other sites/apps/browser extensions like usepanda.com or muzli.com that are additional traffic boosters

2. Being European is an advantage (for once) 🇪🇺

Let’s take a closer look at Forest’s hourly traffic around the launch date. Forest was submitted to PH at 9 am French time (CET) on Tuesday 7th June. We can clearly see 2 peaks of traffic on the launch day.

  • 1st peak at 10am that matches the moment Forest hit the PH homepage (we got about 20 upvotes really quickly to make it there, we were on 🔥)
Hourly page views for www.forestadmin.com — 7 June at 10am
  • 2nd peak of traffic at 4 pm (CET) when the US started to wake up 😴
Hourly page views for forestadmin.com — 7 June at 4pm

A counter example is Hivy, which was posted at 5 pm (CET) on Monday, 26 April by a friend based in SF (yes, it was really early start for her). Hivy missed a lot of the traffic and only had one peak that day.

Hourly pageviews for hivyapp.com — 25 Monday at 5pm

Conclusions:

  • Post as early as you can (Pacific time) to benefit from PH traffic from Europe, US and Asia-Pacific for as long as possible
  • Get ready to handle heavy traffic — we got more than 10k pageviews in just 2 days, considering the low-level traffic we had before, the % increase was astonishing

3. Product Hunt is more than a one-day show

On the graphs above, you may have noticed a traffic peak for both Forest and Hivy on the day after the launch. This occurred because:

a) We were still visible on the homepage
b) We featured in Product Hunt’s daily newsletter. For that to happen, you need to be in the top 5 of your class 🤓 on the day you launch.

Hourly page views for forestadmin.com — 8 June

In the case of Hivy, traffic also increased a few days after the launch thanks to the weekly newsletter. You need to be 🏆 #1 In Tech on your launch date to get there!

Hourly pageviews for hivyapp.com — 27 Monday

Conclusions

  • Keep in mind that PH traffic spreads throughout the week, so try to make it last longer by starring in the daily newsletter. For that, you need to hit the Top 5 hunts on your launch day (and the homepage, of course)
  • Even better, get featured in the weekly newsletter. Our advice? Pick your day wisely! You don’t need a 1000 upvotes to get there, you just need to be the best on the day. So, try not to be hunted on the same day as Apple, Google, Instagram or any other famous giant who’ll steal all the attention. This is difficult to predict, but have a quick check before you post.

4. With Product Hunters it’s desktop first and mobile second

Since all our apps target businesses, they are meant to be used on desktop and aren’t necessarily mobile responsive (except the landing pages, which are a must). This got us wondering just how much PH traffic comes from mobile. Here’s what we learned…

For Forest, the mobile vs. desktop split looked like this:

  • Only 17% of visitors from Product Hunt came from mobile
  • About 70% of this mobile traffic came from iPhones or iPad (logically, as PH doesn’t have an official android app)

Conclusions

  • Desktop wins, by far, with 80% of total traffic 💻
  • If you’re launching a mobile app, and counting on PH to get some installs, think iOS first 📱

5. Product Hunt performs better for lead generation and conversion than other “related” websites

We launched illustrio on Product Hunt, Hacker News and Designer News on the same day. When posting on these sites, you are NOT talking to the same audience and you’ll get very different results.

  • Use “Show HN:” on Hacker News for dev feedback

HN is a great community who will test your product and give you very detailed comments. This is the best place for concrete feedback. For a clearer idea, take a peek at some of the comments we got.

Being on the HN homepage, even just for an hour, gets you a ton of traffic. BUT, it’s really hard to get there. Let’s face it, we got lucky with illustrio, usually you get buried under fresh content pretty fast.

  • Designer News for visibility with designers

On DN, people don’t comment much, but they will upvote if they think your product is cool. This gives your product top visibility within the designer community, which was extremely relevant for illustrio. If you get an ace score, you can get tweeted from their official account (10.5k followers) or be featured on the newsletter.

  • Product Hunt for visibility AND signups 💰

Hunters mostly leave “congrats” and “thank you” notes in the comments. They also ask about your pricing model and technology, but less than HN readers. Nevertheless, they DO SIGN UP to your service. And, let’s be honest, that is what we are all looking for. Taking the example of illustrio again, here are a few figures.

Conversion rate by source for app.illustrio.com

Of course, a lead is not worth much unless it’s qualified. Depending on your target, leads coming from PH traffic can be less qualified than those from targeted campaigns. This is because users are there to try out your product without necessarily needing your service or feeling the pain point you are solving. Nonetheless, they do come, for free. It’s up to you to close the sale! If you are targeting early adopters and tech lovers for B2C or B2B products then PH is spot on. Also keep in mind that many employees from high profile tech companies are on PH. If you have a B2B product, getting them as prescriptor is a BIG win.

Conclusions

  • In addition to traffic, PH gets you real users and leads
  • When posting on HN you never know what’s going to happen

6. Product Hunt gives you plenty of visibility on social networks

At eFounders, we use Mention to keep track of all the conversations buzzing about us. And, it’s clear that Product Hunt has a big impact on social visibility. Not convinced? Check out what happened for Spendesk

Product Hunt has 154k followers on Twitter. So, when your product gets noticed you’re often rewarded with a tweet from a top influencer.

We got a tweet from Product Hunt, retweeted 37 times (once by us I confess)

another one by Tom Benattar founder of SaaS Invaders,

and many more tweets including one by Clement Vouillon from Point Nine Capital.

Conclusion:

  • When posting on ProductHunt, spend the day focusing on your community management to get more upvotes, leads and brand visibility

7. Upvotes are not the end of the story

On two different occasions, we launched the same day as a giant and got more upvotes than them 💪 ! But, sadly, they — Airmail and Motion Stills by Google — were still ranked “🏆 #1 in tech” ahead of us. So, it seems that PH has its own little secret sauce (aka algorithm), which doesn’t always play in your favor and meant our products didn’t quite make it to the weekly newsletter.

Forest outranked by Google 😢
illustrio outranked by Airmail 👎

We probably had too many of the same people liking our products (ie all French entrepreneurs on PH) which could have downgraded the weight of the upvotes we got. Being part of a close-knit community is an advantage, it might have backfired, who knows? Or maybe was it just fair that a Google product got in the weekly newsletter instead of us… 🤔
We’ll happily hear your suppositions in the comments: crazy or serious, we’ll take it all! 🙂

Final results from our 4-launches-in-a-month marathon

This little table sums up our Product Hunt activity. Although we used the same approach for each launch, as you can clearly see, we got very different results.

From the table, you can see that:

  • Hivy got ranked 1st on its launch day despite having less upvotes.
  • illustrio had the best results in terms of upvotes and conversion. Note that this product is really easy to use, pay as you go and we also gave a free pack of 5 illustrations to all hunters.
  • Spendesk got the lowest conversion rate, mainly because it currently only generates virtual and real credit cards for companies in the Euro zone (for now…)
  • Forest got higher results than we expected, we thought it might be too technical for Product Hunters. #wrong

Conclusions:

  • Free stuff goes a long way
  • Whatever your method, your results will vary…

Takeaways

The launch period was great fun at eFounders, creating lots of energy and strong teamwork. It was the opportunity for us to share our months of hard work with the whole startup/tech-savvy community, and we were really looking forward to getting feedback.

If you’re not yet convinced, here’s our final argument that we’re sure you’ll like:

We’ve estimated that a successful PH launch is worth around €7k in online advertising budget!

What we’ve learned:

  1. Product Hunt is a must when (officially) launching a new product 🚀
  2. Post in the morning to benefit from EU and US traffic on the same day.
  3. Visitors from Product Hunt can turn into leads.
  4. The relevance of these leads depends on your target audience 🏹
  5. Getting feedback on your product, pricing and features is highly valuable.
  6. It’s feels really good to be congratulated for your work, indulge ❤
  7. Offering free stuff such as discounts and longer trials really helps 🎁

Leverage the amazing momentum within your team and market. This is an important milestone from which you can start building a successful company!

>> You made it that far 😀 ? Wow, you rock! Rock even more by giving us a little ❤️ below. Thanks 😉

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We’re the startup studio building the future of work. We inspire new ways of working and have launched over 30 companies including Front, Aircall, Spendesk, and Slite.

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