Growth Loops

Ask a marketer, “How does my product grow?” They’ll reply:

Ads, affiliates, sales, social, yada yada yada

They’re describing top-down growth. Your classic funnel. Pour more in. Get more out. Here’s the problem.

• Acquiring new customers from scratch is hard

• Funnels flow in one direction

• Growth is linear

Growth Funnels v Growth Loops

The best marketers think less about funnels. More about loops.

Loops feed themselves. The actions of one user create an output which create a new user.

Growth Loops

Lets look at some examples.

1) Personal viral loop

Some products improve with more users. So there’s a personal incentive to invite new users.

e.g. Fantasy football, Slack, Trello

Viral loop

2) Financial viral loop

Some products have financial incentives to invite new users.

e.g. Dropbox, PayPal, Tesla

Dropbox's referral viral loop

3) Social viral loop

Some products are so good, people just like talking about them.

e.g. DoubleTree, Stripe, Game of Thrones

Word of mouth loop

4) User generated content loop

Some products leverage users content to grow their own organic traffic.

e.g. Quora, Reddit, Stack Overflow

User generated content loop

5) Physical content loop

Some products attract new users simply by being noticeable. Lime’s bright green is not a coincidence.

e.g. Lime, Square, ChargedUp

Lime Bikes marketing strategy

6) Supply-side content loop

Some products incentivise users to promote their content for them.

e.g. Meetup, ProductHunt, Typeform, SurveyMonkey

Meetup's marketing strategy

7) Embedded loop

Some products grow by embedding themselves on other platforms.

e.g. Trustpulse, Intercom, Algolia

Embedded Growth Loops

* * *

Most people think you build the product then you market it. Thinking in loops means you build the marketing into the product.

The product doesn’t precede the marketing. The product is the marketing.

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