Therefore, you decide to make the goal to increase content creation by 2x. Implement Analytics to Track Your Goals Now that you’ve decided to increase content creation by 2x, the next question is, are you in a position to know if you actually attain this goal? Furthermore, analytics will give you valuable data which can change your goals. Your startup’s unique leverage comes from the size of your email list and your email distribution system, not the amount of engineering horsepower that you can throw at problems. Execute the Experiment You’ve already completed step 1, and you defined your goal as increasing content creation by 2x. You’ve already completed step 2, and now you are tracking the necessary data that will tell you if you’re successful in your goal. Write Down Your Hypothesis Before You Execute an Experiment Before you actually run the experiment you should write down your best guesses at to what will happen. They are not things you do one time and then move on. You re-run experiments. When to Give Up on an Experiment I usually will not give up on an experiment until my leverage has proven to be weaker than I initially thought, or I can’t logically conceive of the experiment yielding better results without an inordinate amount of resources dedicated to it.
Every world-class growth hacker relies on a series of steps in their growth process.
We’ve broken down the six core steps below.
Define Actionable Goals
Everything begins by focusing on a narrow, actionable goal. This is important because a growth hacker can easily have a focus that is so broad it becomes meaningless. Yes, the overall goal is growth, but you don’t attain that kind of end-result without breaking it into smaller, achievable, tasks.
Let’s say you have a product and you want your DAU (daily active users) to increase, but that’s too broad of a goal. Then you decide to focus just on the retention of existing users since this will increase the DAU, but retention is still too broad. Then you decide to focus on helping current users create content because your numbers show that when someone becomes a content creator (and not just a consumer) within your product then their activity on the site is far greater. Content creation leads to retention which leads to increased DAU. Therefore, you decide to make the goal to increase content creation by 2x.
Too Broad: Increase daily active users
Appropriate: Increase content creation by 2x
Many people have a hard time knowing when they’ve narrowed their goal enough. Here is a rule of thumb that I use. Think about your goals as nested hierarchies, and until you reach the “nest” where things can actually be marked off as individual tasks which can be completed once and for all, then you’re not narrow enough. In this case our hierarchy might look something like this:
Will there ever conceivably be a day when you can mark off “grow my startup” from a to-do list? No. The goal is too broad. Is there ever going to be a time when you can say that you’ve finished “increasing DAU.” No. Too broad. However, you can mark off that you’ve “educated members about content creation through an email.” When you find yourself at the part of the hierarchy that can be checked off as done, then you’ve narrowed your goal appropriately.
Implement Analytics to Track Your Goals
Now that you’ve decided to increase content creation by 2x, the next question is, are you in a position to know if you actually attain this goal? Are the appropriate analytics in place? Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Do you currently track content creation metrics at all?
- Do you track content creation by cohorts or just in aggregate?
- Do you track metrics around the content itself (file size, length, views, shares, etc.)
- Do you track the devices that are used to create and consume the content?
- Do you track the referring URL’s which are most responsible for content creation?
Without analytics, goals are empty. If you can’t definitively say when a goal has been reached then you have not completed the requisite requirements before moving ahead. Furthermore, analytics will give you valuable data which can change your goals. Your analytics and your goals create a reflexive equilibrium, where they actual inform, refine, and shape each other.
As an example of a reflexive equilibrium, consider this. If your goal began as “increase content creation by 2x,” but then you realize that there is something more important than just content creation in general as it relates to retention, then you might restate your goal. If content over three minutes is the only kind of content which improves the retention of the creator and the consumer then your goal might need to be refined.
One of the great things about implementing specific analytics to track goal progress is the effect this has over time on your overall analytics. Once you’ve spent a few years on a startup, attacking one goal after the other, you’ll realize that the amount of historical data you have to work with has become very powerful. Eventually, when you create a new goal you might already have the relevant metrics being tracked, and now you have past data to look at which predates even the goal creation.
All growth hackers begin with a dull axe, but the edge gets sharper as a function of time. Just don’t give up.
Leverage Your Existing Strengths
Every startup has inherent strengths or assets that can be used as leverage. When there is something at your disposal which requires little energy, but can produce big results, then you’ve found a lever.
Continuing our example from above, you may be trying to decide if you should send out the educational email first, or if you should add a “what’s new” category first. If you have 200,000 emails on file, and you have a system of email distribution that is rock solid, and you can probably create the email in question within a day, then this looks like a promising lever.
If the “what’s new” category will require at least a few days of planning, a few days of design mockup revisions, a few days of programming, and your engineers are already completely stressed out about their to-do list, then this doesn’t look like a promising route. Especially, if you’re looking for low hanging…