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Jeff @JeffGrowthEng is an expert on growing startup userbases using various strategies such as SEO, paid, conversions, referrals, mobile acquisition, and more. Over the past few years, he has contributed some of the biggest wins on Pinterest's path to 200MM+ MAU. He also is a growth advisor to a few high growth startups such as Upwork and Apartmentlist. He writes about all things growth engineering at https://www.growthengblog.com.

You can connect with him through Linkedin or email (jeff@growthengblog.com)

  • MS

    Martijn Scheijbeler

    9 months ago #

    Thanks for doing this Q&A Jeff, so far I've been a big fan of the blog posts that you've been writing on your experience in Growth.
    My two questions for you:
    - What's your process for deciding what projects/tasks to work on in a roadmap?
    - How do you document the work that you're doing or the features, what do you consider in terms of comms/legal/experimentation/analytics before you launch something.

    • JC

      Jeff Chang

      9 months ago #

      Glad you enjoy the blog posts!

      - What's your process for deciding what projects/tasks to work on in a roadmap?
      In general, we use the HIPE framework (Hypothesis, Investment, Precedent, Experience) to evaluate projects. The main reason we use this over something like ICE is that in ICE, Impact and Confidence are very hard to accurately predict. More on that in the blog post linked below. Then, there may be some tech debt or strategic projects that we mix into our impact focused experiments. We use Trello and the leads on each subteam go through and do some reprioritization around once a week.

      - How do you document the work that you're doing or the features, what do you consider in terms of comms/legal/experimentation/analytics before you launch something.
      Every single experiment we run has an experiment doc which has the relevant info: hypothesis, results, experimental groups with screenshots, etc. Most of our growth features we don't run through comms actually since there are too many (1000s of experiments). Most of our growth features also don't have legal implications but if there are, we make sure to work with the legal team. In terms of growth and analytics, every single experiment will be opportunity sized before to make sure it is worth running.

      https://www.growthengblog.com/blog/2018/6/11/the-4-most-important-factors-when-evaluating-growth-opportunities

      1 Share
  • PC

    Pedro Clivati

    9 months ago #

    Hey, Jeff.
    Pinterest is already a well-established company with an awesome growth record (just like Upwork and Apartmentlist). I wonder:
    1) When did the growth as a process and a standalone team actually started and;
    2) If you believe a new company without product-market-fit should already have a growth team in place or that is something for later on?
    Thank you for doing this! :)

    • JC

      Jeff Chang

      9 months ago #

      1) When did the growth as a process and a standalone team actually started and
      I think the Pinterest growth team started around 2013 and was around 5-10 people when I joined in 2014. A lot has changed since then!

      2) If you believe a new company without product-market-fit should already have a growth team in place or that is something for later on?
      I think getting product market fit is more important than investing in a growth team. Without product-market fit, growth tactics don't end up producing much. That being said, you can work on achieving product-market fit and basic growth in parallel if you're pretty confident you can achieve product-market fit within a reasonable time frame. The ROI of your first few people (ideally engineers who can make product changes) working on growth is huge and can result in double-digit increases in YoY growth. Some of the best products also have decent product-market fit already from launch.

      1 Share
  • SR

    Shane Rostad

    9 months ago #

    Hey Jeff, thanks for doing this. Your short bio here says you've contributed some of the biggest wins for Pinterest's growth. What's something you've done that was a seemingly small fix that turned out to be a major improvement?

    • JC

      Jeff Chang

      9 months ago #

      I'd have to say the smallest fixes that turned out to be major improvements are different forms of copy changes - whether it be SEO title changes or CTA copy changes. One example is Sign up with Facebook -> Continue with Facebook. "Sign up" is confusing for people who already have accounts and are trying to log in, and the button has both sign up and login functionality. Basically every single string in the Pinterest unauth product has been copy tested significantly.

      If you're asking about something a little more major but still not too big of an investment, the Pin Page iterations I worked on back in 2016 doubled our signups and each iteration was not that much work actually: https://medium.com/@Pinterest_Engineering/lessons-in-growth-engineering-how-we-doubled-sign-ups-from-pin-landing-pages-1c0bc400cdb9

      1 Share
  • AH

    Ashley Helmson

    9 months ago #

    Hi Jeff, I'd love to know what the most important growth strategies you think are going to be in 2019 and beyond. What are the biggest trends we should be taking advantage of?

    • JC

      Jeff Chang

      9 months ago #

      I think the two biggest scaled channels in 2018 (SEO and referrals) will still be the biggest in 2019 and beyond, but the way people are tackling these channels is changing quickly. For example, SEO experimentation has changed the way companies tackle SEO. Before, companies just used "best practices" and it was hard to correlate changes with results. Now, the impact of changes can actually be measured so companies who do SEO experimentation outcompete those that don't. SEO experimentation will become the norm if it hasn't already.

      1 Share
  • AL

    Arsene Lavaux

    9 months ago #

    Hi Jeff- Thanks for doing this AMA.

    I understand SEO is a core pillar of growth you've been working on.

    At Pinterest where the experience is clearly visual, what's the impact of visuals on SEO page ranking?
    How do you optimize for this component of the product to influence SEO results?

    Merci!

    • JC

      Jeff Chang

      9 months ago #

      At Pinterest where the experience is clearly visual, what's the impact of visuals on SEO page ranking?
      I'm assuming by visuals you are referring to images. I'm under the assumption that text matters a lot more than visuals, since I haven't seen any experimental results that removing/adding images significantly changes text search traffic. Mainly since for a visual product like Pinterest, we wouldn't really try a text-heavy page. However, images are important for ranking for Google image search (obviously).
      How do you optimize for this component of the product to influence SEO results?
      In general, you want to figure out which alt attributes (for example alt tags) Google crawls and cares about and optimize those.

      1 Share
  • AK

    Abhishek Kejriwal

    9 months ago #

    Hey Jeff, how to increase retention of a product like Pinterest? How would you look at Pinterest's retention 5 years back and how would you formulate steps to improve it?

    • JC

      Jeff Chang

      9 months ago #

      The way we tackle retention is through multiple channels, in order of impact: Emails/Notifications, SEO, Paid. There have been hundreds of small improvements, and not really any single big changes that significantly improved our retention. I think the only way to significantly improve your retention in a short period of time is to make a great major change to the product, which is really hard. So, we make small iterative changes that steadily increase our retention numbers.

      1 Share
  • VB

    venkatesh balan

    9 months ago #

    Hey Jeff,
    Can you suggest the Growth frameworks you have used and discuss what has worked well and not? Thanks and appreciate taking time in answering our questions.

  • KT

    Kevin T

    9 months ago #

    Hi Jeff,

    Thank you for doing this Q&A!

    My question is regarding process: how should a company establish a process to produce high-quality content on a consistent basis?

    • JC

      Jeff Chang

      9 months ago #

      I'm not aware of too many special processes in this area, but it seems like the best practices of having a backlog, keyword targetting, visuals, and trying to publish "best on the internet" content seem to work well here.

  • JC

    Jeff Chang

    9 months ago #

    Thanks everyone for the questions and GrowthHackers for having me! If you're interested in my thoughts on growth, be sure to follow me on Twitter (@JeffGrowthEng) and subscribe to my growth blog (www.growthengblog.com). Best of luck growing!

  • AH

    Aptrail Halil

    9 months ago #

    Hey, Jeff. Thanks for being here for this AMA.

    My question is: Which strategies are you using for growth hacking with SEO, paid or conversions?

    Thanks a lot

  • AA

    Abir Ahmed

    9 months ago #

    Hi Jeff, Greetings of the day! I would like you to answer if Digital Marketing is going to be the best way for lead generation still in 2019?

  • VR

    Varun Rai

    9 months ago #

    Hi Jeff, thanks for doing the Q&A. I'm a big fan of your blog. There is so much to learn from your experiments.
    I'm curious to know more about Pinterest's internal linking strategy for SEO? Also, I see that every time I save an image to my board, a new url is created for that pin instead of linking every pin to the same url. What is the benefit of creating so many canonical links instead of pointing to the same url?

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