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5 Classic Examples of Growth Hacking

Our previous blogs delved immensely on the various facets that define the crux of growth hacking. I’m sure, things get embedded in our minds much clearly when we have supporting examples hand-in-hand. Here are a few examples of companies that adopted growth hacking in some or the other facet immensely which imminently led to their rising success.

Examples of Growth Hacking:

1. LinkedInmanmeet_linkedin

This professional networking service grew from 2 million to 200 million users using a pretty awesome growth hacking technique : allowing users to create public profiles so the search engines index their profiles and show up organically in search results. Prior to LinkedIn, it was indeed hard to find yourself in the top 5 search results on Google unless you were a big shot.

2. YouTube

Now the second largest search engine after Google (which also owns YouTube) started out as a platform allowing users to share videos. How did it achieve success through growth hacking? Well, just like LinkedIn it had to go through an initial growth phase first. What is below is what set YouTube apart from all the rest –


They had an easy-to-go option of “Embedding” the video. This made it seamlessly easy for users to upload their YouTube videos and running it like a video player on their own website. The results have been astonishing. Youtube now has more than 1 billion unique visits each month with more than an hour of video uploaded every second.

3. AirBnb3

This awesome peer-to-peer vacation rentals website made use of a simple yet powerful use of email marketing in its growth hacking phase after gaining some initial popularity in 2008. With a $100 million funding in 2011 valuing it at $1 billion+ to being on track with $500 million in revenues, this bed and breakfast mediator has escalated to great heights. Not having spent much on advertising, people were surprised how a budding company to grow just on the basis of word of mouth and tech blogging. Then how did it grow to a billion dollar valuation? Was it their awesome idea? Uncanny business acumen? Dumb luck? Well, it was indeed CRAIGLIST SPAM!

Airbnb was using Craigslist to find listings, then soliciting the people who posted the Craigslist ads and asking them to place their ads on Airbnb instead. I would term this growth hacking technique plainly as “stupendous competitor reliant email marketing” (though it was a sneaky trick to bootstrap a business!)

4. Hotmail4

Once a giant of the web-based email industry, its growth hacking success story is rather interesting (and funny!). To put it in a simple sentence, their growth strategy was:

When investor Timothy Draper babbled this idea to the co-founders Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith, it left them ecstatic and completely over-the-moon in the months to come. Hotmail started averaging 3000 new sign-ups a day initially. Its growth took the shape of a hockey stick curve to reach a million users in 6 months. Five weeks after that, they reached the 2 million mark. When Microsoft bought Hotmail 1.5 years later, it had a staggering 12 million strong user base.

Hotmail, as a sole example, is strong enough to demonstrate the pervasive impact that highly simple growth hacking strategies can have on a company.

5. PayPal5

Growth hacking has undoubtedly been the sole propeller of this payments and transfers company. EBay, the leading auction site for online seller to consumer sales, allowed its users to list their preferred forms of payment on their website. Over time, more and more sellers allowed PayPal as a form of payment but Ebay didn’t have that option available for sellers. Thus, sellers had to indicate PayPal in multiple locations of their listing.

As PayPal noticed their growth among eBay sellers, they worked out a deal with eBay to include the PayPal logo on the listings that accepted PayPal. The logo sat side by side the other preferred forms of payment, like Visa and MasterCard logos. This growth hacking idea was successful because eBay was already well-established, so PayPal was driving growth from the success of another company’s success. As more and more sellers only accepted payment via PayPal, this forced consumers and buyers to create PayPal accounts, hence the start of growth hacking. Since then, eBay acquired PayPal for $1.5 Billion and is now the only logo that is shown on eBay listings in the payment methods section.



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