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Growth hacking- a myth or reality ?

So, after my first blog post, one night as I was browsing through my phone, I got a message from my friend, Suhail, asking about my blog. He bluntly told me that he didn’t like the topic. For a few seconds I felt downhearted, but being an optimistic person, I bounced back and decided to describe to him what I was into i.e. Growth hacking. I told him growth hacking is a mindset, explained certain tactics and tools for successful growth and after hearing all of that, he said: Yes, your topic does, in fact sound fascinating (Mission Accomplished!) and wished me luck. Finally!

After all, good friends always have your back and support you no matter what, right?!

So, I thought I should write about it on #ttf and here I am with what is growth hacking and some real time examples so that you too, can get inspired. (Hopefully!)

There is no particular definition given to growth hacking as such, and like I said, it is a mindset, but to group some words and define it in a quote:

Growth hacking involves so many metrics and tools and it is ever evolving.

Many companies like Uber, Yelp, Quora, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram etc has already embraced growth hacking. Considering Indian companies,only a few of them have implemented this concept. So, it is the next big thing in the Indian market. Let’s dive deep into some of the successful growth hacking examples.

1) Facebook Growth hack: “Mentioning Users”

Facebook is the largest social network in the world with approximately 2.32 billion MAU (Monthly Active Users). While this may come as a surprise to some people, the biggest social network platform used growth hacking to implement its agenda and currently boasts of the largest traffic with an estimated 2.7 billion subscribers. Wait. What?! That is more than the entire population of China! (wtf face).

So how did they achieve these many daily active users on the 2.7b platform? You might have definitely seen some email at least in promotion tab of your email panel like “Someone has mentioned you in some activity on Facebook”. This message is tailored for each phase of a user, like if you haven’t opened FB for, let’s say for 15 days, we will be notified by email by Facebook with a message, a lot has happened on Facebook since your last visit. This always creates a curiosity in users and we directly click on the link. We are then able to engender an unparalleled level of participation of what has happened there. This ingenious approach was able to stimulate a heightened influx, thereby making Facebook the biggest online success, thanks to growth hacking.

2) Quora’s growth hack: “Behavioral Study”

Quora exploited the benefits of growth hacking systems in the form of behavioral testing which was directed at understanding the peculiar attitude of users on the platform. By closely examining the behavior of various users, Quora was able to configure the site to behave in accordance to the user’s behavior.

Then,they engineered and remodeled the entire process to meet the user’s requirement. The testing approach which was implemented by Quora was an effective marketing approach as it opened up the company by increasing the number of users dramatically.

3) Puma’s growth hack: “Influencer Marketing”

Puma is a shoes, clothing and sportswear company. The strategy adopted by Puma is forthright and can be applied by many products and services.

Puma was worn by the greatest footballer of all time, and was brought to the notice of the world when he stopped to tie his shoe lace during an important match.  This was the defining moment for Puma, as everyone knew that Pele wore Puma. This was leveraged by Puma for company success and profitability. The same was adopted by Nike and Adidas, but they relied on much more glorified athletes of modern times like Cristiano Ronaldo, Lebron James and Lionel Messi.

4) Airbnb Growth Hack: “Reverse engineered to get ac Craigslist Users”

This is my favorite fan moment in Growth hacking. Airbnb,as most of you might know, is a website which lets people rent out their homes/empty rooms to complete strangers by posting a listing on their site. So initially, like all startups they had user deficiency. They hired growth hackers to find a solution to this problem. What they did next is breath taking. They hijacked the users of Craigslist (a classified advertisement website).

The apparent question would be why other companies had not exploited this avenue before Airbnb. Craigslist had a thorough preventive mechanism that made it very difficult for other companies to access and integrate. However, Airbnb was able to maneuver the entire process without accessing the Craigslist code base. This ingenious and daring move by Airbnb made it a giant with a dramatic rise in traffic and customer base.

5) Spotify: Cross sharing music

Spotify is a music, podcast and video sharing platform with features and functionalities that are very impressive. I love Spotify (Even though there is no repeat button, which may be to increase the engagement). Its tailored algorithm takes us to those genres which we love. In order to create awareness, and increase users, Spotify designed the service in a way that allows users to post songs on Facebook. This growth hacking strategy is quite fascinating as Spotify could now access many users on Facebook who would like to share their songs on the platform as well. Also, you can now share your favorite track on Instagram stories, Instagram direct, Whatsapp and Twitter. Thus, Spotify is acquiring more users and engagement through other social platforms as well.

In short, Growth hacking is not something we can achieve at the first go. The continuous process of iteration leads to hitting the bullseye. Also, you can’t rely on the same strategy for a long time. In line with the aforementioned, a proper implementation of a growth hack strategy would require a series of experimentation such as A/B testing, market analysis, product remodeling and other relevant processes. All of the information gathered would be used to modify product, medium, strategy and much more for an astounding result.

If you want to know more about growth hacking, do connect me on LinkedIn

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