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Julie Zhou is the lead product manager for growth at Yik Yak, the social network used on over 2,000 college and university campuses across the US and the world. Prior to that she led growth at Hipmunk, the travel booking engine that Forbes has called "the world's best travel site," and she was a product marketer at Google for AdWords, Maps and Android. She is an instructor at General Assembly and mentor for 500 Startups and Tradecraft.

Her wide-ranging expertise includes topics such as product management, product marketing, branding, user acquisition, strategic partnerships and more. She is writing a book "The Practical Guide to Growth Hacking," and you can sign up for early access at practicalgrowth.co

Outside the office, Julie works on maxing out her deadlift and her lifelong goal of visiting every country in the world. She will happily talk your ear off about travel hacking tactics.

You can follow her: @jyzhou

P.S. Yik Yak is hiring!

  • AC

    Alex Chaidaroglou

    over 4 years ago #

    Hi Julie, thanks for doing this AMA.

    I think a lot of people are underestimating the importance of laying the foundation (aka. processes + team) before running experiments and growth hack.

    How do you lay the foundation and set up processes for scalable, quick implementation and easy experimenting for growth hacking?

    Thanks and looking forward to your reply!

    • AS

      Alicia Shiu

      over 4 years ago #

      Thanks Julie, really excited for this AMA!

      To piggyback onto this question, what are the specific systems & tools that you use to set up the foundation for experiments and tracking the resulting user behavior?

      • JZ

        Julie Zhou

        over 4 years ago #

        Hi Alex and Alicia, thanks for your questions! The ideal structure depends on two main factors:

        (A) Existing infrastructure to execute experiments
        You can't test what you can't measure. Analytics on your app/website are the bare minimum and is one area where you should not skimp. I've used many services including Google Analytics, Mixpanel, Amplitude and internally-built software. Building internally will always give you the most flexibility but requires significant resources. Amplitude is my favorite off-the-shelf package.

        After you have analytics set up, you need the infrastructure to actually execute experiments. There are great 3rd party options for A/B testing, notifications, email and whatever other levers that you're looking to pull. This is one area, however, in which you can get a lot done without dedicated tools if your company doesn't have the resources to implement a lot of this infrastructure. (more on this in the section below).

        Finally, you need at least one dedicated person at your team always thinking about growth experiments to run, writing up proposals and generally being the very courteous pain-in-the-ass needed to get the initial experiments out the door even as the rest of company is focused on launching features.

        (B) The company's appetite for growth.
        Setting your growth team/person up for success depends a lot on how well sold the rest of the company is on the idea. I've worked on teams where growth experiments were not prioritized and therefore there was little existing infrastructure or willingness to hire additional people.

        In that case, "hacking" really comes to describe your efforts, and setting up a solid or even scalable foundation becomes secondary. Your number one goal is get something, anything out there that will prove the value of growth, even if, for example, you're trying to boost user engagement with a product and decide to respond to each and every one of their comments yourself.

        Your company's appetite for growth will also impact how quickly your team can grow. In general, I would advise that you grow a team slowly. Need analytical help? Sweet-talk someone on the finance team who's looking for something new and fun to do. Need an engineer to put in just that one line of code? Present a well-structured PRD to someone with whom you're on good terms and show how a little of their effort will pay off massively for the rest of the company. Once you get to the stage when leadership is asking you whether you could run experiments faster, then you'll be in great shape to scale up for the future.

        7 Share
        • SE

          Sean Ellis

          over 4 years ago #

          Totally agree on building a team slowly. At least any "reactive" hires that you make will truly be needed. Also early hires that are dynamic can help balance the workload.

        • AC

          Alex Chaidaroglou

          over 4 years ago #

          Great answer, thanks for that Julie!

          It's nice to see that company culture and people dynamics play an important role. I will post in GH later in the day an article by Lars Lofgren while he was on KISSmetrics, describing a test they run and how they ended up going with the less performing variable due to politics.

          I will go check out Amplitude, haven't visited their website before.

          Great insights, thanks a lot for sharing them!

  • YS

    yassin shaar

    over 4 years ago #

    Julie, thank you for doing this AMA.

    Lets say you guys decide to focus this quarter on increasing retention at http://www.yikyakapp.com/, specifically you're going to focus on increasing weekly active users...

    - How do you go about defining your active users (who's an active user and who's not) & why did you choose those specific user behavior?

    - Whats the process you go through to finding your growth levers? Can you please give us some examples?

    Thank you and looking forward to all the gold nuggets :-)

    P.S: just signed up to receive the book.

    • JZ

      Julie Zhou

      over 4 years ago #

      Who is an active user?
      This definition will differ from company to company, depending on how you have defined the “activation event” that turns a potential customer into a new customer. Is it a simple visit? Posting content? Searching for a product? After that, being active depends on the time window in which it’s reasonable for someone to use your product. Facebook might sound alarm bell if you go for a single day without logging in, if you’ve been consistently active for awhile. A travel site like Hipmunk, though, understands if you don’t need to travel more than 2-3 times a year. Desired activity can also differ by platform. For example, if you performed a few searches on a travel website but didn’t book anything, they might not consider you an active user. However, if you performed those same searches on a travel mobile app without booking, they might consider you an active user, since mobile is much more a discovery platform than a purchase platform for travel.

      What’s the process you go through to finding your growth levers?
      Let’s say that you’ve defined your ideal active user as someone who visits your site more than X times in a week. Can you go through your user data and find an action that a user does in their first day or first week that is highly correlated with those users visiting your site more than X times per week consistently? Amplitude has a great feature in their product that will perform these calculations for you.

      In the end, though, you’ve only calculated correlation, not causation. To get to that level of certainty, there’s no substitute for A/B testing. If you’ve discovered a potential growth lever, figure out a test you can run where you encourage new users to perform that action and then measure whether a higher percentage of them become active users than before.

      9 Share
  • JH

    Jim Huffman

    over 4 years ago #

    Hi Julie!
    What are the first steps a growth team should take to build out their growth plan? And what are some tips for managing your growth plan?

    • JZ

      Julie Zhou

      over 4 years ago #

      At the bare minimum:

      1) make sure that you have analytics. It doesn't matter how thoughtful your experiments are if you can't measure your results

      2) make sure you know your goals. I see a lot of companies skip this part while championing the "yeah, let's get growth!" mentality. Does that mean getting as many downloads a possible? Getting a certain percentage of users to submit content to a community? Ensuring a retention rate above a certain level? The growth plan that you lay out for each of these goals will be very different.

      In my experience, I've managed growth plans very similar to objectives and key results (OKRs) at Google. Every quarter, have 2-3 themes (i.e. get more downloads) where each theme has 2-3 quantitative results (i.e. drive 200k installs at a CPI under $4).

      5 Share
  • TS

    Terence Strong

    over 4 years ago #

    Julie thanks for doing this!

    What are some good customer development questions that will help to develop amazing content?

  • LA

    Loren Appin

    over 4 years ago #

    Hi Julie,

    Thanks so much for sharing your insights!

    I was curious about your approach in launching YikYak in a new location. Basically what kind of engagement is your threshold to create a vibrant community and how did you determine that?

    For example, do you make sure to have at least 100 sign ups within the first 24 hours? or at least 50 posters? 20 commenters?

    Thanks!

    Loren

    • JZ

      Julie Zhou

      over 4 years ago #

      Launching network-based products is always tricky. Seeding a successful community typically doesn't depend on reaching a magic number (i.e. 100 sign ups) but rather on reaching a certain level of penetration where the rest of the community can see that this is a cool product they should participate in. It's rather like kicking off a party, which some companies (Facebook) have done more successfully than other (Google+).

      The process starts off as very much trial-and-error at first, and you can maximize your success by first targeting the best-connected groups within your community. I was at Harvard when Facebook first launched, and Zuckerberg had his friends send emails to every single house, club and group mailing list that they could find. I must have gotten reminded half a dozen times to try out this cool new site within a week, and it worked.

      3 Share
    • MS

      Matt Sunbulli

      over 4 years ago #

      Would Love to get your insights on this question as well, Julie!!

  • JM

    Jason Meresman

    over 4 years ago #

    Hi Julie - thanks for doing this AMA! My question is which marketing tool do you spend the most time in each day? I would include things like spreadsheets and anything else that's useful for your daily work.

    • JZ

      Julie Zhou

      over 4 years ago #

      I think that many other growth hackers on this community will relate - I live and breathe analytics. Since your goal is to come up with growth experiments, most of your ideas will come from what you discover in analytics. Amplitude recently showed me stats on how many queries each person at the company ran on average, and I had something like 5x more than the next person. That gap will likely continue to increase since analytics insights are like bugs in code - you deal with one and three more spring up in its place.

      I also work on coordinating growth experiments and for that I've used everything from Google Spreadsheets to Trello to a hacky-version of a JIRA board.

      3 Share
  • TS

    Terence Strong

    over 4 years ago #

    Hipmunk had a lot of competition. How do you build real differentiation in a crowded market?

    • JZ

      Julie Zhou

      over 4 years ago #

      The products I've worked on and observed that succeed in crowded markets tend to have two things in common:

      1) They do one thing really really well.
      Google Docs nailed collaboration. Their formatting capabilities were crappy and embedding images and tables was a nightmare, but it didn't matter.

      Hipmunk focused on building fast, simple user experience. That meant that they couldn't stuff as many ads into the results as the competition, but on the flip side users tended to convert to book far better.

      Existing large competitors will often sell themselves by going through a checklist of features, showing what they have and their competitors don't. What they often miss is that doing that one thing really well often results in a fundamentally different user experience that they just can't duplicate by tacking more features on.

      2) They scale up FAST
      Once the startup has nailed their key differentiating factor - they scale up really fast before the lumbering but powerful competitive giant can catch up. Slack is well known for offering a simple, seamless communication experience. It seemed like from the moment that they launched, they had versions on every single platform and plugins for every major service that a company could want. None of this happened overnight, of course, they went through a really long beta period. But when it mattered, when they had their big splashy announcement, they made it obvious to the world that they were firing on all engines.

      4 Share
  • JH

    Justin Harris

    over 4 years ago #

    Hey Julie,

    In the early days of a product is there a certain aspect you focus on to help drive user acquisition? Also any advice on making partnerships when your a small startup?

    • JZ

      Julie Zhou

      over 4 years ago #

      Re: partnerships, check out my talk at the 500 Startups WMD conference this year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tF5nrRVc7E4&list=PLOStnEM8wBOZPJBtjogOFWi7wHIANr9Sn&index=22

      tl;dr Securing partnerships is a matter of proving your unmatched dedication to making your partner look good.

      For user acquisition in the super early days, don't be shy about reaching out to friends and family. They will often be your greatest champions.

      After you've built a bit of a name for yourself, partnerships are a great option, as is PR. A small company can often leverage existing market trends to get press. One of Hipmunk's biggest traffic days during their early years was the day that Google Flights was announced. We made sure that every article that mentioned the launch also brought up questions about what it would mean for growing startups like Hipmunk.

      4 Share
  • JE

    Jim Ewel

    over 4 years ago #

    Thanks in advance for your insights, Julie. At the San Fran Agile Marketing meetup last week, Sean Ellis talked about how hard it is to predict in advance which growth hacks are going to result in the greatest impact. What change or growth hack at Hipmunk surprised you in terms of its impact, and what lesson did you draw from that insight?

    • JZ

      Julie Zhou

      over 4 years ago #

      All travel companies make more money from driving hotel bookings than flight bookings. Therefore, there was one time that we ran a lot of acquisition campaigns with screenshots that prominently featured our hotel booking UI. At the same time, we also ran acquisition campaigns with screenshots featuring our flights UI where we spent much less money. We were surprised to discover that the ads featuring our flights UI were better at driving both flight *and* hotel bookings than our hotels-focused ads, so we scaled those up big time.

      The lesson was that at that time, we were much better known for our flights UI. So even though we had a hotels goal, it still made sense to lead with a related goal (book flights) that users would recognize better.

      3 Share
  • OU

    OpenBooks.com Ula Zarosa

    over 4 years ago #

    Dear Julie,
    Thanks for this opportunity.
    2 questions:
    1) What essential tools/methodology would you recommend to a PM of a very small team (5-7people)?
    2) Since my startup is all about books, please list 10 books that come into your mind when asked about: MOST IMPORTANT BOOKS IN YOUR LIFE! :)

    • JZ

      Julie Zhou

      over 4 years ago #

      1) As mentioned in prior answers, analytics should always be your first investment. After that - hustle. If your company is very small and has reached product/market fit, they know the value of doing things that don't scale. If you want to show that working on growth experiments is worth expending engineering resources on, then first show some results in an experiment without using those resources.

      2) 7 is my favorite number, so I'm going to give you that many :) Getting More, Talented is Overrated, 4-Hour Work Week, Never Eat Alone, The Master Switch, Cosmos and Lord of the Rings

  • SS

    Simon Smedberg

    over 4 years ago #

    Hi Julie!

    You have such an interesting and successful background! Really appreciate the opportunity.

    I'm curious to know your initial growth hacking strategies for early traction/growth for Hipmunk. Since the travel market is so competitive.

    Thanks and looking forward to your reply.

    • JZ

      Julie Zhou

      over 4 years ago #

      Hi Simon, there was a very similar question I answered earlier, so hopefully you won't mind if I copy/paste the answer here.

      For user acquisition in the super early days, don't be shy about reaching out to friends and family. They will often be your greatest champions.

      After you've built a bit of a name for yourself, partnerships are a great option, as is PR. A small company can often leverage existing market trends to get press. One of Hipmunk's biggest traffic days during their early years was the day that Google Flights was announced. We made sure that every article that mentioned the launch also brought up questions about what it would mean for growing startups like Hipmunk.

      To learn about securing partnerships as a small startup, check out my talk at the 500 Startups WMD conference this year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tF5nrRVc7E4&list=PLOStnEM8wBOZPJBtjogOFWi7wHIANr9Sn&index=22

      tl;dr Securing partnerships is a matter of proving your unmatched dedication to making your partner look good.

      1 Share
  • EE

    Elijah Elkins

    over 4 years ago #

    If you could only do one thing to market your business each day, what would it be?

    • JZ

      Julie Zhou

      over 4 years ago #

      This sounds suspiciously like asking if there's a silver bullet - to which the answer is "no" :)

      If you could do only one thing on a regular basis to grow your business each day, my answer would be to run tests, regularly and with high velocity. Sean Ellis and many other experts have discovered through trial and error that the biggest predictor of growth success is not how brilliant each of your experiment ideas is but how quickly and regularly you can run experiments on an ongoing basis.

      • EE

        Elijah Elkins

        over 4 years ago #

        Thank you for your reply. This reinforces your point in other responses that good analytics are critical. I definitely need to be running more tests.

  • GP

    guillermo plaza

    over 4 years ago #

    Hi Julie,

    I would like to know on what strategy would you bet on online if you had an app that was available in a small part of a city.

    We are running rappi.com in Bogotá, which is somewhat similar to postmates. We are only available for delivery on a small part of the city, so hyperlocal campaigns are what we are focused on. We are growing rapidly week by week implementing on street marketing, hyperlocal ads and having a great customer service team. FB Hyperlocal ads work well but not that much.

    What growth strategies would you implement for a product like ours?

    Thanks!

    • JZ

      Julie Zhou

      over 4 years ago #

      Sounds like a situation where going door-to-door - whether literally or via highly-targeted campaigns like direct mail - is your best option. You are blessed in that your target audience is so clearly defined, so that you can afford to pursue extremely high-touch marketing tactics.

  • FS

    Faris Sheikh

    over 4 years ago #

    Hi Julie. You're awesome for doing this.

    Hyperlocal is tough. Really damn tough. How did YikYak go about initial customer acquisition from the early days? What channels did you use and what was your messaging?

    What you recommend is the best go-to-market strategy for people starting hyperlocal consumer based startups?

    Also what is the best way to address the classic chicken & egg problem? What incentives should one emphasize to make users post content?

  • MS

    Maria Sallis

    over 4 years ago #

    Hi Julie,

    Thanks for taking the time to do this AMA.

    How did you get your start in growth marketing and how did you land your first project? Do you have any recommendations for new growth marketers looking to get their first project/job?

    Also, what can growth marketers learn from your thesis "The Role of Pre-Existing Interest on Online Advertising Effectiveness"? :)

    Thanks!
    Maria

    • JZ

      Julie Zhou

      over 4 years ago #

      First of all, I'm flattered that you took the time to look up my thesis. As you can see, my interest in online marketing started early!

      I got started in growth marketing when it was simply called marketing. :) Google was such an engineering-driven company that the concept of data-driven decisions was also very strong in the marketing org. While I gained experience in all types of marketing, I also took care to develop a "T-shaped" background by diving deep into user acquisition. It was that expertise that led to my role at Hipmunk and therefore the opportunity to learn even more.

      I would highly recommend anyone looking to get their start in growth to similarly develop deep expertise in at least one skill that will remain valuable for a long time. By researching market trends, I think you'd be in very high demand if you developed expertise in mobile, analytics, data science, international expansion or other fast-growing disciplines.

  • LS

    Logan Stoneman

    over 4 years ago #

    Hey Julie! Thanks for joining us and good luck on the upcoming book release. I have two questions!

    1.When you were working for Hipmunk, how did you find the balance between doubling down on growth levers that were already working and experimenting with new ideas?

    2. You're promoting your book as teaching readers "the fundamentals behind building sustainable, testable growth for your startup." - Do you believe you've learned these fundamentals more so from your research or from your work experience?

    • JZ

      Julie Zhou

      over 4 years ago #

      1) I would always recommend breaking out separate line items in your growth budget for "workhorses" that have proven themselves and "experiments" where you're willing to work through lots of campaigns that don't go anywhere. In order to figure out how much money to spend where, it's important to make sure that you're giving each experiment enough budget to drive significant results. The only experiment that is a failure is one where at the end you still can't say with certainty whether it worked or not.

      2) I would say that research and work experience has been equally useful. There are very very valuable growth fundamentals that you can learn well in a classroom setting (I teach a recurring workshop on this with General Assembly: https://generalassemb.ly/instructors/julie-zhou/932). However, only work experience will tell you if the research and case studies that you have learned about will work for *your* specific business.

      • LS

        Logan Stoneman

        over 4 years ago #

        Julie! Thanks for the insight - I love your idea on separating workhorses from experiments!

  • DS

    Daniel Sosa

    over 4 years ago #

    Hey Julie - This is great, thank you very much. I've am curious to hear what are your absolute first strategies to acquiring users. We launched an MVP to our video email platform wiind.com and are still focusing on those first 100 users.

    • JZ

      Julie Zhou

      over 4 years ago #

      Honestly, if you don't yet have 100 users, then you haven't reached product/market fit. At this very early stage, you achieve growth by speaking with every single one of your customers and finding out what you can improve about your product so that they'd be devastated if it went away. Once you reach the point when people are signing up for your product that you did not personally sell to, then you know you've reached that point.

      As for how to get these initial 100 users - don't underestimate the power of friends and family to both become users as well as to know the right people to connect you to.

  • DD

    Deandre Durr

    over 4 years ago #

    Hey Julie,

    When I started deadlifting my biggest initial struggle was maintaining my posture for proper form. What was yours?

    If you could say there were 4-5 key points to proper form for a growth marketer what would they be?

    • JZ

      Julie Zhou

      over 4 years ago #

      The three tips that helped me the most:

      1) Tense your abs as if you're preparing to take a punch and imagine that there's an iron rod attached to your spine from the base of your skull to the top of your hips.

      2) Do *not* tilt your head up to look at the wall in front of you. Instead maintain neutral spine and rest your gaze on the floor several feet in front of you.

      3) When you begin to move the weight, imagine that you're pushing the floor away from you through your heels.

      Just like increasing your deadlift volume is a matter of incremental gains over a long period of time, there's no silver bullet to company growth. You will not magically add two plates to your max over one week, and you will not discover a single tactic that will finish all of your growth work for you. Both weightlifting and growth hacking subscribe to the science of small improvements that eventually lead to massive gains.

      How's that for an analogy? :)

  • SP

    Steven Pesavento

    over 4 years ago #

    Hi Julie, Thanks for joining us on GH for what I know will be a great AMA.

    I think advice on best practices can really help level up your game in any field. But on the flip side, I think "Do Not Do Lists" can be super powerful in guiding you away from making big mistakes.

    In relation to growth marketing, what are would be the top three items on your "Do Not Do Lists" and why would you select these items?

    • JZ

      Julie Zhou

      over 4 years ago #

      1) Incentivized downloads - just say no. If you aren't a mobile game, there's zero chance of any sustainable upside. And even if you are a mobile game that ends up cracking the top 10 as a result of incentivizing downloads, you create a dependency on incentivizing for future marketing pushes and false optimism around how many dedicated users that you truly have. I strongly believe that this false optimism led to many gaming studios expanding too quickly and now having to lay off lots of people (Zynga, Rovio, GREE, etc.)

      2) Using platforms in any way that make your partner look bad - When Facebook Open Graph was first released, social news readers were everywhere. They heavily abused their new power to post to Newsfeed on behalf of a user and would spam your friends every time you read an article and wouldn't let them read that same article unless they also gave WaPo permission to post to their Newsfeed. This was bad press for Facebook, and so they promptly shut them down. Don't give a platform that you depend on any reason to kick you off, because they always have the power to do so. The story: www.forbes.com/sites/jeffbercovici/2012/05/07/the-washington-post-is-in-even-worse-shape-than-you-think/

  • OY

    Oleg Yefymov

    over 4 years ago #

    Hi Julie, thank you for dedicating the time to help us.

    How would you acquire university students? We have an MVP running in a few Canadian provinces which we conquered through the top universities in those areas which promoted us through their social media channels to their students. Do you think it's a good strategy or you would recommend avoid the long sale to universities and somehow (how?) acquire students directly?

    We are a rating system for landlords, similar to Rate My Prof, but for landlords and properties. Free of charge of course.

    Thanks a lot,
    Oleg

  • AA

    Armen Allahverdian

    over 4 years ago #

    How would you tackle trying to get organic app downloads in the medical category on iTunes?

    ChartSpan is a free app that allows you to manage your entire healthcare records electronically on your mobile device. Request, sending and sharing your profile with your other family members is so simple.

    What is one growth hacking method you'd focus on to get more downloads and get the target audience (Parents) to want to download this app?

  • MR

    Matt Restivo

    over 4 years ago #

    Julie! Thanks so much for this!

    Question-- for a local gym, what strategies and tactics would you use for growing in person visits to a brick and mortar?

  • MS

    Melvin Salas

    over 4 years ago #

    Hi Julie, thanks for doing the AMA!

    From your experience with YikYak, what are the best growth strategies to integrate into your product that fits best with the youger generation / millennials?
    Which channels of aquisition and referals works best with this audience? Thanks!

  • TF

    Tony Fitzgerald

    over 4 years ago #

    Hi Julie appreciate the chance to AMA!

    We have developed an MVP letzbookit.com that we would like to sell. It is novel in a niche (appointments in emails for massage therapists to improve client retention).

    We are facing two challenges - the MVP is a concierge service since the dashboard isn't complete for users to upload info. And we are still establishing the product-market fit.

    How would you recommend we approach getting users onboard, either as beta users/testers for free, or sign them up as a sale despite the MVP nature and lack of dashboard facilities ?

    Thanks, love to hear your views!

  • SE

    Sean Ellis

    over 4 years ago #

    Hey Julie, excited for your AMA! Why do you think Secret went out of business and what are you guys doing to prevent Yik Yak from making the same mistakes?

  • HP

    Hoang Pham

    over 4 years ago #

    Hi Julie,

    I have a question regarding growth for B2B SaaS companies.

    What are good strategies for a B2B SaaS company, when the goal is to grow their lead generation/pipeline for specific regions (in my case EMEA)?

    Thank you for doing this, Julie!

  • ES

    Eli Sklarin

    over 4 years ago #

    Julie, thanks for doing this!

    1) When launching a brand new market (like a new college) how do you tackle the chicken and egg problem of no users and no content?

    2) At what point in a market's "lifecycle" do you send in/attract evangelists and what is this process like?

  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    over 4 years ago #

    Hi Julie - so excited for your AMA!

    Have a travel/growth related question for you:

    It seems that the challenge with travel startups in particular, is that here is a lot of noise in paid and organic search for travel search terms and social media channels are equally competitive with new and existing players.

    So if Hipmunk were a new bootstrapped travel startup and you had to start growing it from scratch, how would you do it?
    And related to that, are there really any channels left in travel that are free/low cost?

  • TM

    Taylor Miles

    over 4 years ago #

    What is your favorite Country you have visited? What countries or regions do you see the most significant opportunity for growth in the next 10 years?

  • SN

    Sulaiman Niazi

    over 4 years ago #

    What was the main thing you did at Yik Yak to make it grow the way it did?

  • AT

    Andrew Turk

    over 4 years ago #

    Hi Julie,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to do this today!

    I was wondering if you could please touch on your past strategy for user acquisition on college campuses - what worked, what didn't, any best practices, etc.

    I would also to be interested how you approach college students moving forward. I understand that initially there were probably a number of tactics tailored to each campus - as Yik Yak continues to grow, how will you scale user acquisition on campuses?

    Thanks again!

  • JB

    John Bateman

    over 4 years ago #

    Hi Julie, thank you for taking the time to do this AMA.
    On your travels have you encountered any unexpected barriers to Growth?

  • LT

    Luke Thomas

    over 4 years ago #

    How do you approach improving retention during off-peak months? I'm assuming the school year is the busiest time of year for YikYak.

    I used to work at a company that targeted students, and it was a bit of a challenge to run effective experiments during the Summer months.

  • KJ

    Khuram Javed

    over 4 years ago #

    What are the top 3 mistakes a company can make in regard to growth marketing?

    Students' emails are protected and generally somewhat difficult to get a hold of. In specifically gaining traction with students and universities, as Yik Yak did, what did you find was the most successful way of reaching them?

    What do you find to be the most valuable use of a small amount of capital when attempting to grow?

    Thanks for taking the time to read through all of the questions Julie!

  • AL

    Arsene Lavaux

    over 4 years ago #

    Hi Julie, merci encore for this AMA.

    Based on your experience, once you have achieved product/market fit and you are looking to transition to the growth phase, what have been on the businesses you led to growth the three main drivers of growth?

  • JZ

    Julie Zhou

    over 4 years ago #

    Hi everyone, thank you so much for your questions! I've been typing non-stop for an hour and a half now and need to give my fingers a break.

    This AMA has been a blast, and I'll get to the rest of your questions over the course of the day!

  • MJ

    MiniVacationers Jain

    over 4 years ago #

    Hi Julie
    I have a ton of users, but the bounce rate is high. What questions could I ask users to help improve my services?
    Thanks!

  • CC

    Chiara Cokieng

    over 4 years ago #

    “American companies really suck at international expansion and localisation. They have zero experience in how to expand to other markets with different characteristics. They’re used to a homogenous market where all customers speak ‘American.’” — Peng T. Ong, Amazon CTO

    Groupon and eBay are known to have been beaten by local competitors (copycats) in China.

    In your experience, how does successful market penetration in America differ from Asia?

  • YE

    Y.Arvind Eashwar

    over 4 years ago #

    Once you identify your minimum viable critical mass, what strategies would you use to seed this critical mass?

  • ZL

    Ziv Lee

    over 4 years ago #

    Hi Julie, Thanks for doing this.

    I am a new marketing editor of Luxy (https://www.onluxy.com/) - a dating/matchmaking site for wealthy people.
    How would you promote a site aimed at people with a lot of money if the marketing budget itself is very small?
    Thanks and looking forward to your reply!

  • KJ

    Khuram Javed

    over 4 years ago #

    What do you think is the most underutilized -pr method / outlet ; specific publications ?

    When offering users incentives for using a product, in our case, an app, what have you found to be the most effective or motivating type of offer?

    What do you think, in 2015, is the most vital social media tool to utilize for growth of a startup app?

  • HQ

    Hila Qu

    over 4 years ago #

    This is very useful

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