Scaling User Growth

with Maud Pasturaud

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User Shoes

Understanding what excites your users

Maud Pasturaud

Growth Hacker, User Acquisition Expert

Lessons Learned

For every great example of growth hacking we see succeed, 100x businesses have tried and failed.

The foundation of growth is a great product and a compelling story.

It is no longer okay to be trite. Your growth tactics need to be fresh and meaningful.


Lesson: Scaling User Growth with Maud Pasturaud

Step #7 User Shoes: Understanding what excites your users

So on mobile, an example was to be very early in to testing a particular ad unit. So Gilt Groupe was one of the first commerce sites to advertise on mobile and use leverage mobile install ads, and so that meant that there wasn't a lot of advertisers again on the platform. Prices were still reasonable, and so we went and spent a lot and acquired a lot of really good quality users. We saw a couple of competitors or like other mobile apps really take advantage of that window, probably three months where it wasn't crowded yet. We saw Poshmark and a couple of folks on mobile commerce starting to spend a lot on Facebook acquisition, because they saw the opportunity and they were the first ones to do it early on.

It's not a tactic per se, just more of a mindset. And then second on products, one of the things that we did, I can talk to couple of examples, so at Gilt Groupe, just making a slight optimization of the sign in and sign up experience can increase things dramatically. You just change the layout of the page, you re-order, you put a different text or you put less text. Turns out it has 10%, 20%, 30% lift on registration, especially when you are signing so many users to the app has dramatic impact. So that was just a question of sitting down and experiment and A/B test against a current and the optimization that we are willing to implement. So that can be done in a lot of different aspects in the app, but that was a key element of the conversion funnel. So that had a great impact, overall.

Another example is doing A/B test on push notifications. So from mobile, push notification is extremely powerful for retention and engagement. It's also a very difficult channel because it's very sensitive. So when you receive a push notification, it's in your face, so you don't want it to be annoying. You want it to be relevant if you don't want to have a thousand a day. So what we did is we tried to brainstorm what is the right moments when we can send a push notification to users? What should it say, what type of content is really going to be compelling for them? So we did, it was two years ago, just an additional push notification around four mobile specific sales within our app for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and that resulted in a lot of additional revenue for Gilt.

And we continued to test this incremental push notification to see which hours were performing best and which type of content was performing best. So push notifications are extremely powerful. It was a big leverage for the business and a big area of focus. So it's another example of, when you think about growth, when you think about what makes people more excited to get in discovery app, get into your app and then get them excited to come back. So it needs to be an efficient and valuable experience for them.

By efficiency, I mean going back to this acquisition funnel where you have this sign in, sign up experience, so they don't want to ask themselves thousand questions or feel like they are hitting a wall when they get into the app. So from the moment you optimize that page very little, you get a lot of impact. So the value of the experience is you are sending them message relevant to them in the right channel.

Really growth is all about having that tact, putting yourself in the shoes of the user and leveraging both analytic products and marketing tactics to really continue to deliver value and add scale, really. So it's what it's about. Part of it is anticipating in the moment, and part of it is just doing the mechanics to do more of it and add scale. I'd give an example, so anticipating one of the biggest and the most known case studies for growth is Hotmail SP who puts a signature, "P.S., I love you." It's something that delights the users. It's a bit of anticipation, so it goes back to that. Or another case for growth is Airbnb where you were able to share your listing on Craigslist automatically.

It was something that was there for value to you as a person who was creating the listing. You wanted to get more eyeballs on it, so you were going to post it to Craigslist where the majority of the eyeballs are. So those are the clever things to think about. It's really easy once we see those companies succeed or there is like, for one company that succeeds, there is a thousand and thousands that have failed in doing those types of experiments but they have anticipated what they needed for their users, and it turns out it was also obviously driving growth for them. That's the thing that I don't like about growth is we often take the angle of extreme optimization, extreme engineering and again it's all about the user and the product.

So the most important thing that you need to do before you do growth and engineering and all of that, is you have to have a product that people feel compelled to use, and that's the biggest thing. And I think Facebook didn't need that because they were already big and known as a brand. So if you are starting today, you need to establish your brand, and if you are starting today, and you are a consumer product, it's going to be different from B2B or really even brand. And I also think that we are a generation that is no longer okay to be tricked, so a lot of the growth tactics going back to Farmville or Candy Crush to get that annoying push notification on Facebook, we don't like that anymore. We know we're being tricked. So they are not okay with that, and they are not okay with brands being super pushy.

So an example is receiving one email a day is a lot and it feels like a lot. So you say like, "We are craving for you to spend dollars with us all day for yay SP." What I think is resonating with the younger generation is brands that they aspire to that really have a real mission to almost like make you better. So it's no more about you pushing brands to others, it's being in the place of the brand and saying, "How can we help you be better?" so I think people like Warby Parker and Bonobos who have put brand first in the story and win today. So they are not doing that much customer acquisition, but this is how as brands they grew, and this is very important for Uber too. Uber got a brand of its own and it's very strong. It was viral. It wasn't necessarily engineered for that, but it's something about the story.

So I think that's really important. That's why I was saying, marketing it has to be brand is as important as growth. You can't unless you are a heavy tech product, which is different, but you need to be able to tell your story.

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