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Growth Lessons from Early Snapchat

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Snapchat's early growth was spectacular: going from student project to $10B+ company. Discover what growth and product strategy they used to achieve it!

Published in: Mobile

Growth Lessons from Early Snapchat

  1. 1. Growth Lessons from Early Snapchat
  2. 2. This is Snapchat, back in 2011.
  3. 3. Made by students, this app had no funding and almost no user.
  4. 4. 3 years later,
 its valuation reached $10 Billion.
  5. 5. Snapchat founders have been lucky.
  6. 6. But they also had an amazing growth strategy!
  7. 7. Here is what we can learn from their early exponential growth.
  8. 8. Launch too early Use your weaknesses Find a signature Don’t explain 1 2 3 4
  9. 9. 1
  10. 10. Launch too early Use your weaknesses Find a signature Don’t explain 1 2 3 4
  11. 11. Snapchat has many features Photo snap Video snap Chat Stories Discover Stickers Gifs Video calls Phone calls Memories Live Map Search QR code scan …
  12. 12. So you might think: All these successful apps have so many features, mine should have at least a few of them at launch! illustration by Headspace
  13. 13. How many of these features where here at launch ? Photo snap Video snap Chat Stories Discover Stickers Gifs Video calls Phone calls Memories Live Map Search QR code scan …
  14. 14. How many of these features where here at launch ? Photo snap Video snap Chat Stories Discover Stickers Gifs Video calls Phone calls Memories Live Map Search QR code scan … ONLY ONE !
  15. 15. Snapchat was launched with ugly graphics and only one feature!
  16. 16. Then, using user feedback and new ressources, they made it evolve into the Snapchat you know today.
  17. 17. Launch strategy to avoid: idea making the product “perfect“ by adding many features and polishing graphics BIG LAUNCH!!!
  18. 18. Launch strategy to avoid: nobody cares idea BIG LAUNCH!!!
  19. 19. Launch strategy to avoid: spend money on FB ads idea BIG LAUNCH!!!
  20. 20. Launch strategy to avoid: company
 dies
  21. 21. Launch strategy we recommend: one feature done well, basic graphics casual launch idea
  22. 22. Launch strategy we recommend: Rework on that one feature thanks to user feedback and metrics analysis release new version of same feature No new feature!
  23. 23. Launch strategy we recommend: Product has good retention rates
  24. 24. Launch strategy we recommend: Work on
 a new feature Marketing push for new feature!
  25. 25. With this strategy you will: • Get regular insights from your users
 • Spend the right amount of time to nail each feature • Spare $$$ by not developing useless features • Spare $$$ by not buying FB ads before having good retention rates
  26. 26. With this strategy you will: • Get regular insights from your users
 • Spend the right amount of time to nail each feature • Spare $$$ by not developing useless features • Spare $$$ by not buying FB ads before having good retention rates
  27. 27. With this strategy you will: • Get regular insights from your users
 • Spend the right amount of time to nail each feature • Spare $$$ by not developing useless features • Spare $$$ by not buying FB ads before having good retention rates
  28. 28. With this strategy you will: • Get regular insights from your users
 • Spend the right amount of time to nail each feature • Spare $$$ by not developing useless features • Spare $$$ by not buying FB ads before having good retention rates
  29. 29. 2
  30. 30. Launch too early Use your weaknesses Find a signature Don’t explain 1 2 3 4
  31. 31. It’s the fastest way to send photos that disappear.
  32. 32. It’s the fastest way to send photos that disappear. This is how Evan Spiegel pitched Snapchat in 2011
  33. 33. Ephemeral photos made the app fun, and ensured a new level of privacy never seen before.
  34. 34. But they forgot one little thing…
  35. 35. But they forgot one little thing… SCREENSHOTS !
  36. 36. Snapchat was doomed. There was no way to prevent screenshots from happening.
  37. 37. Users understood that quickly and made a huge number of screenshots.
  38. 38. But instead of fighting against it, the team twisted its weakness into a strength.
  39. 39. But instead of fighting against it, the team twisted its weakness into a strength. Screenshots became a feature !
  40. 40. By notifying you when someone makes a screenshot of your snap, they turned the app into an even more playful game.
  41. 41. And you can even get a trophy for screenshotting your friends’ snaps!
  42. 42. This is the path you spent so much time building for your users.
  43. 43. This is the path
 they took instead.
  44. 44. Don’t try to make users go there.
  45. 45. Make this path awesome instead!
  46. 46. Understand which path your users are taking with these methods: 1h user testing sessions
  47. 47. Understand which path your users are taking with these methods: 1h user testing sessions 10min calls with random users
  48. 48. Understand which path your users are taking with these methods: 1h user testing sessions 10min calls with random users Deep analysis of your metrics • Read “Rocket Surgery Made Easy“ by Step Krug for User Testing • Use Amplitude to have a clear view of your metrics. Spend time configuring it!
 + contact us if you need help with this :)
  49. 49. 3
  50. 50. Launch too early Use your weaknesses Find a signature Don’t explain 1 2 3 4
  51. 51. Ever wondered why Snapchat sticked so long to this text format before allowing more choices?
  52. 52. This was in fact Snapchat’s signature.
  53. 53. Everytime you see this on the web, you know it comes from Snapchat.
 Free marketing!
  54. 54. After allowing more text choices, Snapchat needed a new signature. And God created the dog filter.
  55. 55. For the Spectacles glasses, they came up with round videos, easily recognizable on social media.
  56. 56. Your product needs something that can easily be shared on social media, with a clear signature. Houseparty's
 funny quotes Zenly’s map Pokemon Go’s collection
  57. 57. Your product needs something that can easily be shared on social media, with a clear signature. Houseparty's
 funny quotes Zenly’s map Pokemon Go’s collection
  58. 58. This will make your app viral and save you thousand of dollars in marketing!
  59. 59. 4
  60. 60. Launch too early Use your weaknesses Find a signature Don’t explain 1 2 3 4
  61. 61. In 2016, Snapchat rolled out its new feature: Memories.
  62. 62. When you love your snap, you can save it with this button. Previously, this icon meant that the picture would be saved to the Camera Roll, so users were already used to it.
  63. 63. This is pretty clear!
  64. 64. Then the snap is saved in the new Memories screen, with all the other ones.
  65. 65. So it’s basically a cloud storage service that backs up all user’s saved snaps.
  66. 66. But the only words the user have seen are “Saved“ and “Memories“. Basic English!
  67. 67. • No “cloud“ • No “storage“ • No “gigabytes“ • No explanations of how things will be synched Memories wording:
  68. 68. • No “cloud“ • No “storage“ • No “gigabytes“ • No explanations of how things will be synched Memories wording: It’s your job to understand all this and handle it for the user.
  69. 69. A user interface is like a joke.
 If you have to explain it, it’s not that good. Plato probably never said that.
  70. 70. Snapchat went further by releasing features without communicating around them or explaining how they work.
  71. 71. Most users don’t know what this flame means.
  72. 72. But teenagers are really crazy about flames!
  73. 73. For old people reading this: This is a SnapStreak. = number of consecutive days sending and receiving snaps from a specific friend 14
  74. 74. By keeping mystery around flames, Snapchat: • Didn’t clutter the screen with explanations • Triggered curiosity of users • Made teenagers feel special vs their parents • Transformed its best users into evangelists, proud to teach their friends what this emoji means
  75. 75. By keeping mystery around flames, Snapchat: • Didn’t clutter the screen with explanations • Triggered curiosity of users • Made teenagers feel special vs their parents • Transformed its best users into evangelists, proud to teach their friends what this emoji means
  76. 76. By keeping mystery around flames, Snapchat: • Didn’t clutter the screen with explanations • Triggered curiosity of users • Made teenagers feel special vs their parents • Transformed its best users into evangelists, proud to teach their friends what this emoji means
  77. 77. By keeping mystery around flames, Snapchat: • Didn’t clutter the screen with explanations • Triggered curiosity of users • Made teenagers feel special vs their parents • Transformed its best users into evangelists, proud to teach their friends what this emoji means
  78. 78. Let your most engaged users discover your advanced features by themselves.
  79. 79. So you can keep your product very simple to use for everyone else!
  80. 80. Need a growth strategy as good as Snapchat’s?
  81. 81. hello@mozza.io We’re here to help!
  82. 82. virality is a science more analyses on mozza.io

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