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I have an opportunity to do a webcast with the data scientist from a successful well known company, and I'd love to explore the best data inspired growth hacks with him. It would be great to start with a long list from the GH community that we can narrow down for some great ones. Update: the data scientist is Colin Zima, who was formerly the Director of Data Science and Business Intelligence at HotelTonight.  He's now the Chief Analytics Officer at Looker.

  • MB

    Morgan Brown

    over 5 years ago #

    My favorite is how AirBnB figured out that high quality photographs on their listings led to more bookings. Based on this knowledge they went out and had a fleet of professional photographers take photos for listings around the world, driving growth.

    http://firstround.com/article/How-design-thinking-transformed-Airbnb-from-failing-startup-to-billion-dollar-business

    They continue to use deep insights like this, such as how a high bounce rate from Asian countries led to a navigation redesign:
    http://venturebeat.com/2014/05/18/how-airbnb-used-data-to-propel-its-growth-to-a-10b-valuation/

    Circle of Moms used data to pivot away from Circle of Friends which ultimately led to a vibrant community and successful exit.

    @byosko talks about both of these in Lean Analytics.

    http://www.amazon.com/Lean-Analytics-Better-Startup-Faster/dp/1449335675

  • CS

    Chris Sanfilippo

    over 5 years ago #

    Circle of Moms was my favorite. They found that the users with the highest activity and viral coefficient were all moms, so they pivoted towards that segment and growth exploded.

  • SH

    Seiji Hennelly

    over 5 years ago #

    Not sure if it's really a growth hack, but a SaaS company data scientist told me a significant percentage of their revenue came from existing customers who hadn't interacted with their app in several months, but those users apparently hadn't got around to cancelling. Last I heard they were testing whether it made sense to keep on emailing users trying to get them back into the app, or just stay silent and let paying non-engaged users pay for the app without reminding them of anything after a certain amount of time.

    This seems like something a lot recurring revenue companies have to decide how to deal with, but I haven't seen it discussed in a public forum. If someone keeps on paying you but not using your service, are you obligated or does it make sense to remind them your app exists or to use your app - as it might motivate them or remind them to cancel.

    Reminds me of AOL still having millions of paying dial-up users that don't even use the service. 80% of revenue comes from dialup users, 75% of those users don't realize they don't need to pay for dialup.

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2011/01/24/youve-got-news

    http://qz.com/207132/the-surprising-resilience-of-aols-dialup-internet-business/#/h/67056,4/

    • SE

      Sean Ellis

      over 5 years ago #

      Thanks @seiji . This seems like a great topic for an AskGH on its own. My general feeling is that if a company is primarily retaining users on a SaaS app because they forgot to cancel, they are doing it wrong. Churn is painful for any SaaS company, but it also presents an opportunity. When someone cancels you learn how they were different from the people that stay active and don't cancel. This can give you insights into the type of users you should try to acquire, and also how to onboard them in a way that leads to habitual usage.

      SaaS companies should never think of users as being converted. They should always be managing the lifecycle toward a bigger more valuable plan. If you are doing this, the person is very unlikely to forget to cancel.

      My main point is that a company built on the hope that people forget to cancel is one that is a bit of smoke and mirrors. The likelihood of it becoming a big, valuable company are pretty low.

      I know you aren't necessarily advocating, just asking the question. And I think it is a really good question and hope others will chime in.

      Does anyone else think we should break this out as it's own AskGH?

      • NP

        Nameet Potnis

        over 5 years ago #

        Yup, I think taking this on as a seprate AskGH will bring about some interesting perspectives, which could include:
        - What approach have SAAS companies taken towards activating dormant users?
        - Do any particular notions nudge users to come back (e.g. Emailing them with a list of features that have been introduced since they last logged in)

        Look forward to this discusion

      • SC

        Smriti Chawla

        over 5 years ago #

        Yes please! I think it would be great to hear different people share their insights on this. We've pondered over this as well with no real action taken on the matter. I think it's a great topic for discussion.

  • CA

    Casey Armstrong

    over 5 years ago #

    LinkedIn has a ton with their Recommendation Engine.

    They used/use their internal data all the time for crazy growth, hence...IPO!

    Yes, this wasn't necessarily top of the funnel growth, per se, but engagement, retention, bringing others into different parts of the product, etc.

    1. People You May Know
    2. Who’s Viewed Your Profile
    3. Endorsements
    4. Groups You May Like
    5. Jobs You May Be Interested In

    This was all marketing at scale with data they own. And please feel free to add more. I know I missed a few.

    Also, a company you know well, Xobni. You guys analyzed email to provide better contact management and help control the inbox, right?

    • SE

      Sean Ellis

      over 5 years ago #

      Thanks @caseya . Agree, LinkedIn has been very data driven with their growth hacking.

      My question might have been a little confusing. The examples I'm particularly looking for would be the data revealed that when people did X, growth happened. So the growth hack was to get people to do X.

      I think Twitter's follow 30 people goal is a good example. Data analysis revealed that when new Twitter users followed 30 people, the likelihood of becoming a habitual user went way up. So they tested a set of growth hacks to get people to follow 30+ people.

      I can see how it would be easy to interpret my question as how do companies use data to enhance the experience (which I think most of the examples above are). These things all lead to growth, but a little different than I was intending. Thanks!

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