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How to Make Your Startup Go Viral The Pinterest Way

How to Make Your Startup Go Viral The Pinterest Way
On Thanksgiving, Pinterest’s co-founder Ben Silbermann sent an email to his entire user base saying thanks. It was fitting, as Pinterest was born two years ago on Thanksgiving day 2009. Ben had been working on a website with a few friends, and his girlfriend came up with the name while they were watching TV. Pinterest officially launched to the world 4 months later. Some startups go crazy with hype and users right after launch. And some don’t. Take a look at Pinterest’s one-year traffic on Compete from Oct 2010 to Oct 2011, which is the picture in this post, and shows Pinterest rising from 40,000 to 3.2 million monthly unique visitors. Backing out of Compete’s numbers, we see Pinterest grew about 50% month over month from a base of zero since its inception (on average, smoothing the curve). Note these numbers are approximations and also do not count the significant traffic the service sees from mobile (Pinterest’s app currently takes the #6 social spot in the iTunes store).

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Marketing, startups and the importance of achieving a lot with a little (for startups) Over the weekend I was talking with an early stage VC about how much traction he likes to see in a company before he invests (answer: enough to have some confidence that the product works, the go to market works and there is some demand). Subsequently I was thinking through how companies would get themselves to that stage without needing the sort of funding he provides. There are a number of answers of course, including true seed stage friends and family and angel funding, but the most important answer to to find a way to achieve a lot with a little. Don’t Forget Your Logged Out Users I find myself saying this quite often these days to entrepreneurs and their product teams. It's something that I've noticed working with leading social platforms like Etsy, Twitter, Tumblr, and others. Services such as these have a large number of their users accessing the service regularly on a logged out basis. I can visit my friend Daryn's tumblog without logging into Tumblr and often do. My son can visit LeBron James' Twitter without logging in and often does. My daughter can check out vintage items on Etsy without logging in and usually does.

The Science of Social Timing Part 1: Facebook and Twitter Social Networks It’s important to know when the highest percentage of your audience is eavesdropping on your social networks—so that when you share content you’ll get maximum exposure. Use the following data to learn when your audience is most likely to tune in. Be sure to check in with us next week when we discuss timing & email marketing. Data courtesy of Dan Zarrella (@danzarrella) and HubSpot. Content available as a webinar by Dan Zarrella here. View an enlarged version of this Infographic »

The Logged Out User (continued) I brought this subject up a while back. It's a big one that doesn't get enough attention. And yesterday we got some stats from Twitter that I'd like to talk about. Dick Costolo gave a "state of Twitter" press conference yesterday at Twitter HQ. Danny Sullivan was there and live blogged it. Vanity Metrics vs. Actionable Metrics – Guest Post by Eric Ries Vanity metrics: good for feeling awesome, bad for action. (photo source: UK Guardian) This is a guest post by serial entrepreneur Eric Ries. Eight Ways To Go Viral Editor’s note: This guest post is written by Uzi Shmilovici, CEO and founder of Future Simple, the company behind Base—a simple CRM for small businesses What do Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, Dropbox and Skype have in common? Except for being ridiculously successful, they all enjoyed a strong viral effect that helped accelerate their growth. How did they do that?

10 Questions to Evaluate a Social Media ‘Expert’ If you know more than 5 people, chances are you now know someone who declares themselves a social media expert. How can you tell if someone’s claim of expertise is legit? Here’s my quick quiz. Ask each question and take the appropriate action: 1: Do you have a blog? Never Take Your Eyes Off This Hacker Metric If you’re like me, you’ve had enough of the Facebook IPO story. For tech entrepreneurs struggling to build stuff, the cacophony of recent press is just more noise. That’s why when my friend Andrew Chen posted an insightful analysis of Facebook user data, I was happy to get back to learning from what the company did right instead of debating what its bankers did wrong. Chen calculated Facebook’s historical ratio of daily active users (DAU) to monthly active users (MAU) and the stats are startling.

9 Ways To Make Your Startup Grow Virally Vinicius Vacanti is co-founder and CEO of Yipit. Next posts on how to acquire users for free and how to raise a Series A. Don’t miss them by subscribing via email or via twitter. If you want your start-up to become the next big thing, it’s not good enough to just build a great product. Why Marketing is Becoming Like Software Development Software development is influencing marketing a lot these days with the emergence of Agile Marketing and Test-Driven Marketing - Agile and Test-Driven concepts being two concepts that have dominated software development for the last 5 years. The reason is not a fad crossing over, but rather a more fascinating and powerful phenomena. As the Internet has become pervasive in our lives Marketing has become testable , much like software, as well as more impactful due to the amount of reading buyers now do during the buying cycle. Agile software development embraces change and measurement, allowing responses to “market” signals that are leading indicators of failure.

Understanding the key variables in Viral Marketing A short study of this web site reveals that a hugely important factor for success in startup companies is finding ways to acquire customers at a low cost. In the Business Models section, we looked at the perfect business model: Viral customer acquisition with good monetization. However viral growth turns out to be an elusive goal, and only a very small number of companies actually achieve true viral growth. Eye-Tracking Study: How Consumers Use Mobile Apps Which types of content do people spend the most time viewing on mobile apps? Should publishers present images first? How much does load time impact engagement? Plastic Mobile recently set out to answer those sorts of questions by examining how consumers interact with the mobile commerce applications of Best Buy, Hyatt, and Pizza Pizza. The attentional and emotional activity of 30 paid participants (14 men, 16 women) was measured with EEG neuro-headsets and eye-tracking glasses in the study.

Game Mechanics: Sounds dry, actually fascinating. Attended a dynamite workshop this week on Gamification, run by Gabe Zichermann. He’s written a book on it, is consulting for Google about it, and is doing a video and another book on the topic for O’Reilly, the well-regarded tech publishing house (responsible for my beloved Head First HTML/CSS book, highly recommended to anyone looking for a basic primer on website building blocks). The workshop was on game mechanics. Now, I am not a big video/computer game fan. When I first encountered this topic, it sounded pretty dry and irrelevant: “I’m not building a game,” I thought, “so I can’t see how this will be of much interest.”