Basic Concepts: Growth Hacking

You probably know we’ve recently launched our brand new Growth Hacking Experiments Template, a partnership with 500startups, inspired by Brian Balfour, VP Growth at Hubspot. The template is awesome mostly because it took the growth strategies of over 1200 startups and tightened it all up as a great template ready for you to use and boost your company’s growth.
This new launch may have gotten you thinking “But what on earth is Growth Hacking and why should I experiment it?” Fear not, we’re here to make it all clearer:

Growth Hacking: Concept

Growth hacking, as wikipedia wisely put – don’t look at me like that, I know you trusted wikipedia with your academic papers just as I did and we turned out just fine – is a marketing technique (wait a bit and on a future post I’ll explain why growth hackers are not here to replace marketers, they’re just different) developed by technology startups.

It’s focused on the use of the triad creativity + analytical thinking + social metrics to boost products sales and increase your market exposure.

It’s frequently seen as a very important part of the online marketing strategies – in many cases, growth hacking bases its initiatives on known online marketing techniques, such as SEO (search engine optimisation), online analytics (your website’s data, social media indicators, etc.), content marketing and A/B testing.

The term “Growth Hacker” was originally brought up by Sean Ellis and defined as “a person whose true north is growth. Everything they do is scrutinized by its potential impact on scalable growth.”. Aaron Ginn’s definition for a growth hacker is “One whose passion and focus is pushing a metric through use of a testable and scalable methodology.”.

Growth hackers are commonly known for focusing on innovative (and cheaper) alternatives to the traditional marketing approach, such as social media/viral marketing instead of advertising on traditional media (newspaper, magazines, radio or television).

Growth hacking happens to be very popular amongst startups and it’s obviously not a coincidence – it allows for products to be launched in a “leaner way”. As Aaron Ginn put it in his 2012 “Defining a Growth Hacker” article, it focuses on growth first, budgets second. Quoting Michael Birch, Ginn also noted that giving excessive attention to budgets make people lazy – they tend to think in more traditional terms and forget innovation.

You could ultimately say growth hacking is the process you go through while looking for the best alternative for achieving fast and cumulative growth.

Some companies known for using growth hacking techniques have very known names, such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Paypal, LinkedIn, Groupon and Dropbox. If they’re all using it, it must be good for you, right? Along with these very known names, come a few A/B tested Growth Hacking examples you may have heard of.

Growth Hacking Examples:

Sticking with the “big names”, let’s look at a couple of interesting known experiments:

Paypal Friend Referral system

Early on its existence, when its difficulty was attracting new costumers, Paypal launched a strategy in which every time you referred a friend to their service, they’d pay both you and the referred friend $10 each. It achieved astronomical proportions, as they were able to hack their growth to tens of millions of users before the action was over.

Dropbox Referral Incentive program

Roughly inspired on Paypal’s strategy, dropbox incentives referrals by offering more storage space for free whenever a referred user signs up. Their strategy was also a huge success, since they grew their user database from 100k to more than 4 million in under two years.

Pipefy’s Growth Hacking Experiments Template:

Pipefy’s Growth Hacking template, as said before, was developed mashing up the growth techniques developed by over a thousand companies and comes to you with the goal of stimulating innovationexperimenting means trying new things on the search for a better result, and that’s how this Template will help you.

It comes divided in 6 phases to better structure your experimenting process and help you analyse your results, here’s how it works:

1. Brainstorm:

Time for creativity and innovation, this is the phase where you tell more about what you want to experiment with: your goals, desired impact, etc. All the information you put here will be essential for the next phase, where you’ll prioritise your test.

2. Prioritize:

In this phase you’ll take a closer look at all the key info you input on the previous phase and decide what should be done first, then what comes next, etc.

3. Build it:

Time for action! Here’s when your experiment takes a real form and your tests will be built by your team. Don’t lose any time, once they’re ready, start running them ASAP.

4. Test :

Show time, people! Run your newly developed cool experiment to collect all the data you can and discover more about your market.

5. Analyse:

You wouldn’t collect all that data for nothing, right? So get down to analysing it to figure out whether you were successful in achieving your targeted improvement goal.

6. Winners and losers:

To wrap up your experiment, separate the successes from the failures and judge the final outcome of your experiment.


All phases come with instructions and tips on how you’ll have to proceed on each step, to make it clear what it is you should actually be doing in each one. I know I got you curious so…what are you waiting for? Try Pipefy’s New Growth Hacking Experiments Template!

Written by Isabelle Salemme, Product content manager at Pipefy. She uses her extensive Pipefy knowledge to write informative pieces teaching users to make the best of Pipefy. Besides being responsible for all product-related content, she's an avid reader, a coffee lover and a professional photographer.