The battle with growth engineering is deciding which strategies to prioritize. There is an overwhelming number of options for customer acquisition and each has a wealth of information across the web; however, the options are rarely compared against each other.
For example, if you want to learn about AdWords, there are videos, books, and courses dedicated to the topic. But when should you use AdWords rather than Display or Twitter marketing? Or should you used paid at all? Rather than fully investing in one or two acquisition options from the start, we’re running 10 experiments to see which specific growth strategies are the most promising for Kiip’s business model and current state.1 Growth Engineering is like Space Exploration. With finely-tuned machinery and the courage to explore the unknown, you’ll make remarkable discoveries.
Before experimenting, setup your site to track customer acquisition sources
The most important part of growth hacking is tracking metrics. If you don’t track metrics, you won’t know which strategies to drop and which to fully invest in. We chose Google Analytics for its ease of integration and flexible feature set. The features we use are simple, but insightful. A conversion goal was set up to track advertiser registrations and all campaign URLs are properly built with utm tags so we can track attribution. We also use acquisition channels to track how much traffic each referral source brings. It’s an easy way to visualize the contributions of each referral source towards conversion goals and raw visitor volume.
Our analytics infrastructure is simple to start — tracking visit volume and goal conversions by referral source. Rather than building out analytics features that might go unused, we started with the essentials and will build out advanced features as required. We also put AdRoll into our pages to retarget all this traffic at a later time. (Foreshadowing…..)
Determine a clear, valuable performance metric to assess your experiments
All experiments will be evaluated on a cost per signup to ensure a comparable data set. Cost is a function of both time spent on the experiment and real dollars spent. For example, if we spent 5 hours and $1,000 experimenting with AdWords to drive 20 signups, the result would be:
(1000 + 5*40) / 20 = $60/signup
Why a cost per signup rather than cost per paying customer? Right now our sales process requires a fair amount of education, as mobile is still new. Additionally, our website and platform is not smooth enough to bring a customer from cold landing page to credit card signup. Our sales team is great at closing leads, so focusing on driving high-quality traffic and letting sales wrap it up is the most efficient option right now.
One thing is certain — at the end of these 10 weeks, we’ll have proven which customer acquisition strategies are unlikely to work for Kiip. And maybe we’ll have found one that has potential.
Where to Learn More
Although I dislike the term, “growth hacking” is the most common description for these experiments. I prefer the terms “growth engineering” or “growth science”, as the process requires technical ability, systematic experimentation, and careful observance of key metrics. However, if you are searching for more information, “Growth Hacking” is your best bet as a keyword. Here are our favorite Growth Hacking/Engineering resources:
Find a Growth Hacker for your Startup by Sean Ellis, arguably the first appearance of “growth hacker”.
Growth Hacker is the new VP of Marketing by Andrew Chen, the post that made growth hacking a recognizable term.
The 5 Phases of Growth Hacking by Ryan Holiday is a great intro to growth hacking, complete with all the famous examples.
21 Actionable Growth Hacking Tactics by Jon Yongfook gets you thinking about the world of growth hacking possibilities.
- To give context to these experiments, Kiip is a mobile rewards network. We reward moments of achievement in mobile apps (Android and iOS) with relevant brand offers. When you finish a 5k run in your fitness app, Propel is there with a free sample. When you finally beat level 15 in your favorite game, McDonald’s is there with a free MP3. By rewarding achievements, rather than spraying brand messaging to every mobile display, our model builds brand love and performance results. ↩