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Archive for the ‘User Acquisition’ category


What is Growth Hacking? {The Buzzword Free Version}

Growth hacking definition: Using math to make product and marketing decisions in tandem. The metric of success is profitable user acquisition.

If you are a professional, these are some alternative terms to use instead of Growth Hacking: User Acq, Growth Optimization, or just Growth.

The hacker term is a buzzword that can be safely ignored. It comes from the belief that people who are good at user acq somehow know a trick.  They don’t. They just use data instead of gut feel to make decisions. They also work on marketing and product optimization at the same time instead of viewing those as separate disciplines.

“ Half of my advertising works, I just don’t know which half”

This quote pardons marketers for spending lots of money on things that can’t be measured.  Growth Optimization is the opposite of this quote.

The growth approach is to only spend on channels where a profitable cost per acquisition can be calculated.

This is the equation:

Cost per click / Conversion rate  = Cost Per Acquisition < Lifetime value.

When a growth optimizer is thinking about marketing, everything they do is in pursuit of balancing this equation.

The popularity of the growth hacker term comes from the belief that not only do they know how to acquire users, they know how to do it for free.

This This means that they have built a product in such a way that it achieves a viral coefficient.

This is the equation:

Invites sent per user * Conversion rate into a new user = Viral Coefficient.

When thinking about product decisions, a growth optimizer is primarily concerned with ways to increase the two variables in this equation.

Wrapping it up

A growth optimizer uses data to fill in the two equations listed above. They make product and marketing changes at the same time to optimize the variables in the two equations.   Take a look at an example from the first equation.

$1 Cost per Click  / 1% conversion rate  =  $100 Cost Per Acquisition < $50 Lifetime value

This equation doesn’t balance.  We are spending $100 and the user is only making us $50.  A growth optimizer would look at ways to change the two variables, cost per click and conversion rate.   He could lower the cost per click in Adwords while increasing the conversion rate with product optimization. Either one is a lever in reducing the cost per acquisition.

.70 cost per click / 1.5% conversion rate  = $46 Cost Per Acquisition < $50 Lifetime value.

That’s pretty much it.  This may seem obvious in retrospect, but it’s a complete 180 from how most startups operate.


Matchbook Launches!

Today, Matchbook is available worldwide in the app store.  You can download it here.

Matchbook is a dead simple bookmarking application for places like bars, restaurants, and shops. The idea is akin to taking a matchbook from a restaurant or bar so you remember to return to that spot.

Lets say that a friend recommends that you should stop by the Ace Hotel:

  1. You search for Ace Hotel or click “I’m walking by it” if you’re nearby
  2. Matchbook pulls up Ace Hotel and you simply click “bookmark this place”
  3. At this point you can add a note or tags to describe the place
  4. Your bookmarked places are automatically organized by neighborhood and viewable on map
  5. You can run a search such as, “I'm looking for a place in the West Village that's good for a date”.  It will return the best places from your bookmarks, as well as the top saved places from all the other users.

That’s Matchbook in a nutshell, but there are a few other cool features we built in to make sure the experience is silky smooth.

We believe in building software that has its roots in the already occurring behavior of people outside the tech industry.  Before we wrote a single

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line of code, we did a lot of user research.   We knew that females have been slow to adopt location based services due to privacy concerns.   We wanted to find out what women would be willing to do doing around location.

After speaking with hundreds of women we found a very pervasive pattern.  A huge percentage of them already had some method of bookmarking places, such as emailing themselves or writing it in their notepad.   Despite doing this work, they explained that the result wasn’t useful because the places weren’t centralized or organized on a map.  Matchbook solves this problem.

Since privacy was the number one reason women shied away from other location services, we were very conservative with social features.  We see this as a growing trend with apps like Path, that are socially cautious until there are better solutions for the elastic social network problem.

As we move forward, “where you are now” is only going to be one part of the location-based space.  We are asking the question “where do you want to go in the future”.  Ultimately it's a different way to capture location data that will be used to tap the $140 billion dollar local ad market.

You can download Matchbook here

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Location Based Space: State Of The Union

Cross posted from the Matchbook blog.

Of all the emerging tech sectors, Local remains the one with the most potential.  This post is an overview of where we are, what we know and where the opportunity lies for the local market.

The $140 Billion Market


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