Growth hacker is a recent term for most but an old practice for the best internet marketers and product managers in ‘Silicon Valley’s across the globe. With the conventional mass media fading away and the dominance of mass customization on the web, marketing as we have known it for long has completely transformed. People are flooded with tons of data and marketing fatigue is at an all-time high. Marketers nowadays uses Growth Hacking to increase the visibility of their company by using simple superimposing techniques into the regular lives of people.
Growth hacking popularised as the modern way in the age of Web 2.0 as a substitute to the conventional means of reaching a market and distributing an idea. Instead of orthodox marketing which typically interrupts your routine, a growth hacker “pulls”; he or she understands the behaviour of a user and provides value immediately to persuade. A growth hacker will utilise his expertise across multiple disciplines, pulling in insights from consumer behaviour, to find the right message to connect to and pull in users. With consumer behaviour at heart, these are some of the ingenious growth hacks that have shaped the billion-dollar tech valuations:
1) ‘Tagged’ in a photo on Facebook. Just reading this sentence, many would experience a number of dopamine-triggering emotions. What just got posted? To whom? Who liked it? From what studies have found, the click through rate on a notifications like these is in excess of 75%, and likely within minutes of receiving it. Clicking through the link takes you to a new visual stimuli (the photo), which is another great dopamine trigger. The likes or any of the other emoji-reactions introduced by Facebook, are yet again another dopamine triggers. In all, it sets off a cycle of dopamine stimulus that can suck away hours from you before you realise it. This is the reason Facebook can boast of huge engagement numbers.
2) “Endorsed you for a skill/expertise” (LinkedIn). LinkedIn has become the master of using data product to create a FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) network for better engagement. When they changed from “endorsements” to letting others endorse you for specific skills, it created amazing growth hacks on two levels. On the first level, they found a way for your network to improve your profile for you, which adds to their main source of revenue – recruiter search tools. This not only improved their business, but meant you have to now keep coming back regularly to check on how your profile is being built. On the second level, it created this reciprocal desire to do the same for others, increasing the creation of this data exponentially. 240 million members and growing, revenue posting strong annual growth without signs of slowing. This is growth hacking that created both revenue and user growth.
3) Invite a friend for additional of storage (Dropbox). Dropbox,Box, figured out quickly that free storage was a great trigger to invite new users. They started offering 500MB per referral, which feels like a large amount, but is really quite cheap to provide, it seemed like a ton of value to share and fed their growth. The built-in network effects of cloud storage, since most of the storage is used to share files between parties, growing digital storage needs quickly seeded a huge customer base that grew their storage. So even with only about 5% going premium at $99/year, Dropbox has been building revenue quickly, and growth hacking helped it to seed a gorilla share of a valuable market quickly.
4) Coupon validity subjected to friend invites (Groupon). Groupon was one of the fastest growing start-ups in the world because their core product required sharing with lots of people to be used. The incentive here is to invite almost EVERYONE who does just about ANYTHING at all, not just a limited number who do a niche thing, like Candy Crush to gamers. It’s the similar reason merchants offer crazy 70%+ off even if it’s not good for business as it reaches more users faster than any marketing to date. An amazing growth model that quickly grew out of the local market growth problem, the difficulty of taking something that works in San Francisco and recreating it in, say, New Delhi. Their long-term business model is still debated, but there is no doubt growth hacking directly into their product accelerated their empire growth to the level it is at today.
A growth hacker seeks a strategy within the framework of a repeatable and scalable method for growth, driven by product and guided by data. Growth hacking’s objective is based in marketing but driven by products. A growth hacker works at the intersection of data, product, and marketing. The most important characteristic of a growth hacker is his creativity. His mind is the best weapon in their war chest. Conventional marketing channels often mean high cost of acquisition and low life-time value.
The end goal of every growth hacker is to build a self-powering marketing strategy that reaches millions by itself. However, growth hacking is a process and not a book of secrets. Growth strategies cannot be easily replicated from product to product. Growth is never sudden and instantaneous. Growth Hacking is hence a mindset with which you approach problems to maximize growth.
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