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Summary of Practical Experience about “User Growth”

The concept of user growth (abbreviation UG) is coming from the United States, and the trend is certain to be the norm for the major Internet companies in the future.
But at present, there are relatively few people and companies who have actually done UG, so most books and articles are still cases of foreign products. People in the industry know that the Internet industry at home and abroad is two different things. See the successful cases of foreign countries in addition to let you feel good, no other use.
We can pay more attention to and study UG later, it will be useful, this kind of talent will also be very hot. This article is my understanding of UG, should be one-sided, but it is extracted from the actual combat.
I. implications of user growth
Many people around said, this is just a cool concept, no practical significance, originally we do everything to grow.
Yes, in the past 20 years, the domestic Internet has been focusing on growth, from the initial UV, PVs, to the DAU, GMV, every product iteration, every operation to do an activity to improve these numbers, is this not growth?
Of course not, let’s go into more detail.
Point one: user growth is a methodology
Some bosses think UG is the key, after you can open the door to product growth, quickly see the changes in data, this is definitely wrong.
User growth is a methodology, just like making products, doing operations, is not a special medicine, will not hit the nail on the head. If it is not a system of single combat, it is not the growth of users.
To put it simply, this is the AARRR model in the figure below. No matter what product, is on the basis of this main line to do subdivision attempt. Only after optimization and AB testing can a better solution be found.

As you can see from the image above, it is not just acquisition of new users, but also retaining and even increasing income. For UG, closed-loop thinking is a very important quality, need a more rational, more digital method, pay attention to the entire user’s life cycle, until commercial realization.
For example you make an app, you need to spend money to launch and do the campaign promotion, and you need 20 bucks to get a new customer. But the average user can bring you 30 dollars in revenue and ROI is positive.
So you can spend money, promotion costs are unlimited, you can limit the number of users you can obtain. Because the more money you spend, the more money you earn back, and that’s the closed-loop thinking.
At the extreme, for example, there is an app that does sex dating, and when you change your name with app’s icon, you copy dozens of the same things, with names like “XXX in the same city.” Their investment costs are unlimited, because all the money they spend can be earned back, and the closed-loop model is gone.
The above is my understanding of UG, summarized as follows:
User Life cycle is the main Line
Data is oriented
User or revenue growth is the goal
Integration of products, operations, technologies as means of implementation
To put it another way: it doesn’t work any way, as long as it drives growth, it’s right.
Corresponding to UG, it is the practice of most Internet companies at present. Although the KPI of products, operations, technology, markets and other departments are users, but we carefully consider that most of the work of each department will not directly lead to growth, and each other is fragmented, which leads to the second point.
Point two: user growth is a way of working as a team
At present, the division of labor of most Internet companies is divided by product or business line, corresponding to the roles of product, operation, research and development, design and so on, and this is usually the way of team division. That is, PM is a team-running, R & D empathy.
It is a strange phenomenon that there is little need for collaboration within the PM team, which is far less than the collaboration between PM and R & D. Most of the time PM is working with R & D, design, and interaction, so why let a bunch of PM form a team instead of the people who collaborate regularly.
Maybe there are historical reasons, or maybe a “pile of PM” team can find a more senior PM to manage them. In any case, the model has become irrational.
More serious, because of this division of labor model, resulting in the company “silo phenomenon.” Like a frog staying at the bottom of their own well, only looking up and waiting for the boss to speak, and the information sharing and collaboration is very poor, the whole company is divided.
In order to solve these problems, there have been many companies to disrupt the traditional division of labor, set up a number of “five organs” small project teams. This can be done by optimizing collaboration to solve the problem of efficiency, but this is not enough.
Need UG team, to connect all the departments of the company, to break the “silo phenomenon”, the real growth as the goal to do something.
So it’s empty, for example. An ecommerce product wants to upgrade the purchase conversion of new users, is it to optimize here or there, or to do a sales promotion? In fact, it is wrong, this is not found the source of the problem, or in the split thinking.
According to UG train of thought, in order to do a good job of the new user purchase transformation, we must first analyze the source of the new user. List several major ways to get users, such as:
1.Tencent Ad solutions
3.OV store
4.Baidu SEM
These four channels cover 80% of the new users, and each channel has different characteristics and target user groups. Therefore, the four channels should be analyzed one by one and broken down into the following problems:
Refined strategy. →Get the user’s portrait. →Do targeted products or operational measures. →Forming mature scheme
1. Analysis of the channel data and delivery strategy, can be more accurate. To ensure that the channel is high-quality and accurate users, the follow-up to do the retention and transformation is meaningful.
2. Access to each channel user portrait and behavioral characteristics, this is likely to be three regardless of the zone, although the channel students are needed, but not so much motivation to promote.
3. According to the portrait, different channels to do the corresponding conversion experiment, this is the core of the implementation, the specific strategy is not limited to the product or operational end. The problem of transforming new customers will certainly not be able to be generalized in terms of full volume of new customers.
4. A mature plan falls to the ground, and the subsequent operation is maintained. UG will not continue to follow up on this project, once formed, the corresponding colleagues are responsible.
Above, is UG to do this general idea. You can imagine, this matter to PM, definitely is to comb the product transformation funnel, the focus is definitely just product end optimization; to the operation, it is estimated to continue to do meticulous promotional activities, the use of operational tools to promote, the product end will think less.
Which method is more reasonable and thorough? Now it’s clear. This is a specific case, but UG and the difference between the traditional business division, that is roughly the meaning.
II. How to do with user growth
Follow the above figure, the user lifecycle AARRR model, and send it again.
In these five steps, focus on the first three steps: acquisition, activation, and retention.
Step 4 “realisation” belongs to the commercial product concern, this part I usually rarely involved, here also bypass. Step 5 “recommendation” is a step of extension, mainly depends on the product to do well, and then attached to some incentives and incentives, you can do it.
One by one, the following is a specific practice, limited in space, can only point to the end.
Step 1: get the user (Acquisition)
That is to get new users, all the methods that can get new users is OK. But these indicators need to considerate: new users, retention the next day, individual user costs, and getting user ROI.
This number is actually to tell you, to see the new number of people, but also depends on the quality of users, but also to see the value of the money spent.
Specific methods can be divided into three categories:
1. Channel delivery
For companies with promotion budgets, this is the most important way to get customers. There are a lot of methods here. I am not professional, I only talk about it from the perspective of growth.
Let’s put aside channel expansion and business relationship maintenance for a while, just deep digging into the dropping strategy.
(1) optimize the material, improve the flow of information, manufacturers, store promotion resources of the CTR. This is a continuous process of trying, communicating and seeing the results. There are relatively many trivial tasks, especially the communication links.
The ideal state is to replace manpower with algorithmic strategies. The algorithm can be personalized recommendation result’s generation of material, and can quickly change the material, which can enhance advertising exposure and CTR. This is another relatively large branch, which I have carried in two words.
(2) refinement of the delivery strategy to enhance ROI. That is to say, to make the investment more reasonable and want to “spend the money on the blade”.
For example, you water 10 potted flowers a day, but only one pot of water a day. You can equally distribute the 10 potted flowers, each pot is watered a little;
You can also take a look at these 10 potted flowers first, which pots should be watered, which pots don’t need watering, you just need to give this pot of water to the flowers that need watering, maybe you can save water, and then you can raise 15 pots of flowers. And the water needed is constant.
This is the reason for refined delivery strategy, not general investment, but first analysis of the user, to formulate the delivery strategy, only to spend money in a reasonable place.
For example, you can choose to get new users or evoke old users by placing information stream ads. For new users, you can select basic information, such as gender, age, regional interest, and so on, and try to define the target population suitable for your products, so that you can put them in fine detail. For old users, you can choose to invest them to non-high-live users. For example, users who have not been visited for nearly 30 days avoid dropping on users who would otherwise visit each day.
More extreme, for example, can be the identification of users whose products are untouchable, or who have been lost, by dropping in to reach and losing recall. This is more purposeful and, while the order of magnitude may be small, the strategy is reasonable.
(3) maximize the utilization of resources, and maximize the utilization of pre-installed, manufacturer and third-party store promotion resources.
This is the core of channel commerce, need as much information and resources as possible to access resources, do a good job of external resources and internal team docking, for growth to obtain more methods.
For example, the pre-installed products, there must be an unactivated stock, the use of the manufacturer’s promotion resources to activate the stock, is fast and efficient way to obtain new users;
For example, for Android vendors, there are a lot of resources and play to explore, some are official, some are private groping. Even if OV China rice these several big manufacturer space is very small, also may go to study the relatively small some brands, may have the blue sea.
2. Task system
Pinduoduo’s monthly GMV is said to have been 40 billion, JingDong e-commerce business has done six years before 10 billion, and the daily order volume has exceeded JingDong.
Interesting headlines (pictured below) have taken more than a year and a half of DAU.

Interesting headline task system
This is very concerned about the two products, specific form and positioning is different, but both are to “benefit” as bait, let the user to do fission.
Through the task system, users can be “accepted” to obtain new users; can also set up to promote retention, comment, sharing and other tasks, the user can be completed with cash or gold coins reward. The product obtains advertising income through user behavior, goes to the cost that cover rewards to user, forms close-loop.
Gold coins can also be converted directly into cash, the specific exchange rate is floating, which can ensure the stability of the ROI.
This is a representative form of acquiring new users, not in order for everyone to engage in “collecting students”, but to learn from this kind of fission mission system.
3. Activities
There are too many different interpretations of the definition of activity. For example, JingDong’s great promotion is an activity, the new phase of throwing books is an activity, the spread of NetEase H5 is an activity, today’s headlines of millions of heroes is also an activity.
But the activities I’m talking about here are entirely aimed at pulling new or promoting them, with the exception of earnings such as brand exposure. Therefore, the above mentioned activities, a more typical UG direction of the activities, is today’s headlines of millions of heroes.
This form of video answer, if not be called off at the time, it is estimated that it will soon become a standard. Because of the low barriers to participation, attractive cash incentives, and resurrection card dissemination mechanisms, such activities bring good new users to the product.
What kind of activity can lead to user growth? What’s the next million heroes? I don’t know now, but there’s a way to explore.
Set up a project team focused on growth, including event planning, product, interaction, vision, front-end R & D, etc., set common goals, let everyone sit together and keep trying quickly. You can even go to copy in a form that has been verified abroad, just like a video answer.
4. Harnessing dividends
This is a bit of a fuss, but it is one direction. UG needs to pay close attention to the latest trends at home and abroad, quickly seize the dividend of new technology or new methods of play, use super executive power to land, and obtain new users for the products.
For example, Alipay sends text messages to get red envelopes (below, this is a good way to promote DAU.). Cost controllable, is short message cost + red envelope cost; simple operation, copy SMS and open the client, this operation has been educated before, many users know.

This kind of novel play is endless, as small as a short message, to a video answer model. UG students must maintain the curiosity to deal with new things, and the ability to execute quickly, in order to seize the dividend.
Step 2: activate user (activation)
The word “activate” is prone to ambiguity, but what is needed at this stage is the retention of new users, which is, to some extent, the most important link.
Because when you get 10, 000 new users one day, you can only keep 1, 000, 10%. So the cost of losing 9, 000 people is wasteful, and the actual number of new users is only 1, 000, not 10, 000. If you can raise the number of new users to 20, you can bring in 1, 000 incremental active users a day, 30, 000 a month.
The retention of new users is the intermediate link between acquiring new users and active old users. If this step is not done well, it will result in the flow of new users and the loss of new users and the accumulation of old users, so that the whole market will not grow.
For example, your small restaurant just opened, the idea is to serve the first guests, so they can come back, but also will bring more friends. Be a app is the same, the first group of new guests have to serve well, gradually more and more regular customers.
In particular, there could be the following:
1.Optimization of user access path
Combing the user access to the product from different sources, step by step list to see which links can be optimized. Ensure that new users use the product is smooth, pleasant, leaving a good impression, there will be follow-up retention.
Take mobike’s new user usage path as an example, the following figure is the case before and after optimization, respectively. As you can see, not only steps are saved, but also the experience is optimized (scan speed).
It should be noted that all aspects of the user experience should be taken into account, such as page loading speed, advertising brings negative experience and so on. Users in different models (especially low-end machines) and different network environments (other than WiFi) may experience slow loading or error, which is hard to imagine for PM sitting in the office, so you have to test more and do more research. To analyze the data funnel.
2. Incentives
Take a small restaurant for example, when you first visit, give you a full 100 minus 20 coupons, but only the next use, valid within 1 month. This is the way to achieve new user retention with interest stimulation.
How to define this “retention”, in fact, is not just a narrow “next day”, but can help the user to retain the “indicators”.
For example, through data analysis, we can find that the retention of users with behavior in new users is much larger than that of users without behavior. Therefore, to do a good job in the retention of new users, is to promote this part of the new users of the proportion of behavioral users, this is to achieve the goal of dismantling the path.
It’s a bit of a roundabout, in the case of:
Social products: the number of users who leave personal data is higher than the ones left behind.
Mutual gold products: customers who have bought wealth management products are retained, higher than those who have not bought them.
Ecommerce products: the retention of coupons is higher than that without;
Information products: users with comment behavior are higher than those who do not;
Interest stimulation is one way of doing this in these cases.
Meituan in the subsidies war a few years ago, through the issuance of coupons to stimulate new users to order. At this stage, there is no way to get enough pictures of the user, so I don’t know the preferences of the new users, can only be in the user browsing category, the issuance of coupons.
There are also products that give red envelopes to new users for seven days in a row and can be collected every day. This is the most direct lure, pulling the user’s previous days of retention. But to keep the cost of this activity under control, it is unreasonable to keep the cost of a single stay or 7 days too high, but the low cost will result in users having no perception of the red envelopes.
3. Resource bias
Imagine, when you send out a Moments, what are you thinking? Are you expecting a friend to comment on or like it? If there is, even a lot, you will get pleasure and satisfaction; if not, you will be disappointed.
This is an experience that users will also have when using your product.
Suppose you’re in a community product like Zhihu or a post bar, and after posting a piece of content as a new user, you’ll be happy if you can show it in an important position, or get a few quick replies or likes. There’s a good chance of staying.
This is why to do community operations partners, will continue to brush posts, see the new content immediately to reply, is to let each other feel that “pleasure”, that there are a lot of users in the discussion, very lively look.
It was rumored that DiDi had only a small number of drivers using it when he started cold, so Cheng asked several employees to take a taxi around the city, which would make the drivers who used DiDi feel that it was a good thing to do and get guests. The effect of this behavior, in fact, is the retention of new users.
Return to the case of a small restaurant, when the boss found this table guest is the first time, may go to chat, condom near, send a fruit platter or something. The boss’s behavior is also for new users to retain.
In the above several cases, community operations to reply to new posts, DiDi himself to pay for a taxi, restaurant owners to approach, these are targeted for new users input resources. As a result, resources tilted to new users are also a way to enhance retention.
Step 3: retain the user (retention)
After obtaining the users and doing the retention work, the remaining users will enter the pool of the “old users” and will no longer be affected by the first two steps, and then they will have to retain this part of the “old users”.
In fact, if the product itself is valuable to the product, is able to run the closed loop, then itself can achieve the retention of the old users. But the situation is not so good, so we still have to do something.
1. Incentive systems
This is a very big topic, here is not suitable for expansion, only the point of view of principle.
The incentive system can not be equated with points, grades, check-ins, medals and other specific programs, we should combine the needs of users and product selling points, and then think about solutions. But the concrete solution, also is not limited to the above several kinds.
You can see that a lot of “check-in” products, only to this function as a tool for retention, but not designed a complete closed-loop, users have no reason to sign in, after doing this operation there is no timely and effective feedback.
In the same way, most of the product grades are made into furnishings, but the more successful products, such as WeChat Official account, Zhihu, bean petal, and so on, do not have these.
For example, in the following image, Weibo’s rank does not have much value to keep the rank privilege comparison chicken rib, the medal wants to hit pure spirit to inspire, but the feeling also did not arrive.

Weibo and keep user system
Look at the following image, DiDi’s task and members, to provide price concessions and priority orders, which is valuable to the user. Don’t know the data, speculation will be better than Weibo and keep above.
Another screenshot is the task interface of the game “the Royal War,” a card that users can buy with money and not even with money, which is also valuable to the user. And multitasking can ensure that users can access multiple times a day, as well as initiate multiple operations.

DiDi and the tasks of the Royal War

DiDi’s system of user privilege
The tasks mentioned above are also part of the old user incentive system. Through the inducement, stimulates the old user’s continuous access.
The construction of the user system must take the user demand as the center, to formulate the solution, cannot be fettered by the existing pattern, otherwise can make the level similar to Weibo. Find a way to make something really valuable that benefits both the user and the product.
2. User reach
The old user has the cognition to the product brand, has the loyalty, but also needs to “remind” at the right time, draws the user back to the product, this is the user touch.
There are about four common forms: push, system message, text message, email. The first two can still be used, and the last two effects are poor in most scenarios.
Push has the following points:
Content. The optional release content quantity, the classification is many, the timeliness is strong, regardless of the total quantity or the personalization push can guarantee the effect;
The passage. Make sure the push can touch more devices and find ways to get more users to turn on the push switch on your phone.
Strategy. To which part of the user to send, when to send, each day sends several, whether the push copy adds the picture, the sound can adjust, and so on, is the push strategy to do.
In addition, push should be managed to ensure that the content and classification of the release is stable and reasonable. Establish daily monitoring data effect report, timely review each effect, easy to adjust the strategy as soon as possible.
These four ways to reach the user push are the most effective and the most difficult. A few simple points have been taken here, and the other three are not going to go into more detail.
3. Activities
The main income of online activities is the old users to promote life, enhance the frequency of activity, such as before the event is three days to come, after the activity to promote to every day. Instead of relying on activities to pull new is very difficult, from a cost point of view is not as good as let channels to do.
Today’s headlines during the Spring Festival to do “zodiac” activities (pictured below), pull new and promote the role of life, but here only said to promote life.

Today’s headline collection of zodiac events
To gather the 12 zodiac zodiac, you need to start appa every day, through this kind of activity incentive to enhance the retention of older users. Of course, this is a multi-dimensional income activity, can be new, social, card binding, but the cost is controllable, from the third-party data point of view, today’s headline overall DAU has a pull, this is a good effect of the campaign.
III. Problems with user growth
After all, there is a big gap between theory and reality, and this concept has not been widely understood, so the lack of rapid growth soil.
Problem 1: weak data base
Most domestic Internet company employees will feel their product data base is weak, this is too normal.
First, most complainers are “data users”, not “data makers”. From the perspective of their own needs, always feel that the data is not satisfactory.
Second, small companies have no time, no cost, no need to pay attention to data, large companies have a lot of data or technology-oriented, this is the status quo.
But the problem is that the data is very important to UG, not rely on data to make decisions, but need data to verify subjective speculation, so that a large number of AB tests can be done quickly, thus landing the final plan. Companies that do a good job in this area run hundreds of AB tests online every day, have mature technology platforms, and are completely independent of client-side releases.
Even if the data is weak, it doesn’t matter, as long as judgment is necessary, you can build it little by little, even if it takes a little more time. This kind of infrastructure construction, although not quick to achieve results, but insist on pushing in to build, in the long run, the benefits are very large.
Problem 2: efficiency of internal collaboration
My feeling is, the most difficult to do UG is not business skills, as long as the main line is clear, team to power, constantly to promote optimization, you can see the results.
The difficulty is that the whole company has different levels of understanding of UG, resulting in difficulties in landing, the focus is the low efficiency of cooperation within the company, communication is not smooth.
Because the product, the operation, the research and development, the channel, the market and so on, belongs to the different department, is managed by the different boss, even KPI is not the same. UG happens to need to integrate these roles together to do things, it is bound to encounter problems of collaboration, but also with the existing business conflicts.
For example, from the perspective of UG, it is necessary to optimize a certain product module, but this requirement conflicts with the demand of the basic product itself, and it is not the students of UG who ultimately fall to the ground, so there must be sufficient reasons to be identified with this demand. To be discharged.
Sometimes, it may not be “demand”, but “cake”. UG team will touch the interests of the original team, cooperation will not be smooth.
To solve this problem, it is very difficult, and very simple. It must be recognized and promoted by the company and the boss. Only this road can be fundamentally solved.
Problem three: lack of talent
The first thing a company wants to do is find someone with experience. But at present, the industry has really done this, and some methodologies precipitate a small number of people, compared with the gap in demand, the gap is even greater.
For talent, this is a good opportunity, before doing product, data analysis students, to become UG more advantages, at least need to have logical thinking and data analysis skills, as well as strong communication and promotion skills.
It is ideal for a company to find the right and experienced person directly. If not, you can also dig from within, at least the execution layer team is relatively easy to build. The difficult point is to have a leader who knows UG. This is a big project. It needs someone to take the helm and coordinate the push.
Above, is my understanding of UG, the problem is too big, leading to a lot of branching problems can only point to the end; limited vision, may not be considered as the full picture of UG, but at least it is extracted from the actual combat, I hope to help everyone.

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