Gustaf Alstromer - How to Get Users and Grow (More like... How to grow after achieving PMF) www.youtube.com


  • Growth isn't important for every company, but for startups, it's critical
  • Consumer companies are the ones that have historically adopted growth tactics and strategies
  • Almost any organization - not just startups - could be using these skills
  • You shouldn't be focusing on growth if you haven't achieved product-market fit
  • One thing that contributed to Facebook's early growth spikes (2009) was translations
  • The other bigger stimulus was mobile in 2010
  • They then launched internet.org to target people that didn't have an internet connection
  • It's important to try to think in terms of growth spurts
  • To assess product-market fit, it's important to somehow approximate "value" by identifying a metric that users get from your product.  Then measure the repeat usage of that metric.
  • For Airbnb it's bookings/stays, for facebook it's active users
  • You should expect a dip in engagement from your average first-time user, but then engagement should flatten out for other users.  What you don't want is to continuously bleed off users after achieving some kind of spike.
  • You should ask your users, "how would it make you feel if this thing no longer exists?"
  • Traditionally, the product team and marketing team have been separate.  But these two manners of thinking are converging.  Three ways to grow at scale (again - after achieving PMF)
    • Product growth / growth engineering
    • Performance marketing
    • Brand marketing
  • Think of your product as a funnel with many steps between "first exposure" and "value provided".  Reduce the potential drop-offs.  Conversion-rate optimization.
    • Internationalization can help here
    • Very painless authentication is important.  Airbnb, pinterest, etc spend enormous amounts of money optimizing for conversion (learn from them!)
  • You want to think about growth channels.  This is how people discover your product.
  • There are very few companies who grow quickly without scaling in a very scalable growth channel.
  • Growth channels to explore:
    • SEO / Google: if your behavior is unique and searched for by your target demographic
    • Virality / Referrals: if existing users are sharing your product, you can accelerate this behavior with referral rewards
    • If having more people matters, virality is key
    • Sales tactics: if you can make a discrete list of all of the people who would use your product.  If you can make a list, you should do sales.
  • For referrals, financial incentives typically matter.
  • If you're depending on referrals, it's important to break your referrals funnel down into steps so that you can optimize each step.  Here's airbnb's, where the first step is "exposure to the referral program":



  • Every step of AirBnb's referral program is deliberately engineered:


  • Every piece of this email is intentional, not accidental:
    • The subject line has his name.  This provides social proof.
    • The headline (sent $40) has a clear value.
    • There's a concise "what" and a sense of urgency (one week)
    • "Accept invitation" is for exclusivity
    • The bottom bit is massive social proof: image + location + commitment = strong endorsement

  • Don't pay for growth if you don't have any revenue.
  • You want to pay attention to CAC: Customer Acquisition Cost
  • What's the LTV - lifetime value - of users acquired through paid growth?
  • Attribution is also important - where are users coming from, and how do the different sources differ in LTV?
  • Facebook, Google, IG, and YouTube are still the paid growth channels that matter most (again - after PMF)
  • SEO is not a relic of the past; it still matters very much.
  • You can run your product through an SEO browser to figure out if you would understand what your product is all about from the perspective of a search result.  Clear language is incredibly important.
  • Two main SEO levers: on-page optimization, off-page
  • On-page:
    • Keywords, experimentation.  What keywords exist today that I might want to be the number one result for?
    • Keyword analysis here.  Need to figure out what people are searching for and relate it to your product.
    • Low-competition, medium-volume keywords are the ones you want to aim for.
  • Off-Page:
    • Who is linking to you?  Get authoritative sites to link to you via press
  • Constant experimentation and a/b testing is critical.
  • You can't just try things and then look at a single metric over time.  You won't be able to tie the dependent variable to the independent variable of your change.  A/B testing allows you to do that.



  • Making decisions is really hard, so you have to use data.  AirBnb wanted to increase shares, so they experimented with a custom share sheet that led to 40% more shares:



  • Reducing clutter and simplifying UI usually increases engagement.



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