October 25, 2020

June 11, 2020

How we failed getting in top #5 on Product Hunt

Table of contents

This is the story of a failure, in quotes, and what we learnt from our first experience launching on Product Hunt the SaaS we have been developing for a year and a half.

Discover how we stayed in top #5 for hours, before falling to position #10, and the mistakes you should not make if you are thinking about launching!

Our checklist actions

Two months ahead to launching date, and after reading a lot about it, we started working on a specific strategy based on these points.

1. Video & Upcoming page

A month before launching day, we published our upcoming page on Product Hunt, allowing interested people to subscribe to receive information and a special offer for subscribers on the launch day: six months of our enterprise plan for free!

2. Publishing on Twitter & LinkedIn

We spread this information also on social media, to start generating expectation about it. It did not have a huge impact, but metrics changed on the launch day!

3. Audience & Community growth

We focused our marketing efforts on explaining our use cases well, disseminating them on our blog and social media, getting presence on online communities where we believe people could take advantage of our product and, fundamentally, where we could get feedback from qualified users to check which improvements seemed most important to them.

4. Looking for a maker on Product Hunt

We made this search using the web 500 Hunters, a continuously changing list of the top 500 hunters on PH, and we were lucky to have Kevin William, number #2 on the list, for the release date we planned, who also guided us on the best way to launch. Thanks!

5. Notifying friends & community

A few days before the launch, we asked all our people for feedback and any kind of support or dissemination on social networks on the launch day, in addition to sending an email to our upcoming page subscribers, and their response was incredible!

The launching day 🎉

09:01 AM (GMT+1) Arengu was launched! We choose this time as usual recommendations indicate, with the idea of ​​getting votes from the EU. Most of our audience and users was there (52%), and we thought that this would allow us to stay at the top at USA's dawn.

Relying on our previous work, friends and followers, we relied on the 'snowball effect' to achieve our goal: reaching soon first positions to get visibility and votes. And we made it!

During the first 2 hours we were in the top #1 and, although other projects were heavily competing for this position, throughout the morning we were in top #5.

But as the hours progressed, projects with less than half the votes began to occupy positions above ours and, although we continued winning votes... we finished in position #10, being the 5th project with more votes. How did that happen?

Postmortem & insights

How Product Hunt algorithm works is almost a state secret but, after the experience and analyzing the available data, we have reached a few conclusions.

1. Votes seem to count differently

We consider that one of the reasons is due to the huge support we received from people who were not registered in PH: friends, community, followers and people without previous activity on the platform. We think that Product Hunt might have penalized this despite the 472 upvotes we got, but we really appreciate it anyway! 🖤

2. We received 'too many' votes from new users

After downloading available voting data, we saw that the previous activity on the platform was counted, so this argument would make sense.

In the graph above, you can see the number of users that voted for Arengu and the two projects that were finally ranked first on the list (How to say no and Assembly), based on the range of votes that they had previously given in Product Hunt. As you can see, we were the project with the highest number of votes from people who had never voted (33%).

3. Maybe votes distribution over time counts?

We were also struck by the fact that projects with fewer votes were ahead of us in the ranking, regardless of whether some votes count more than others, we think that PH could reward votes distribution throughout the day, instead of being concentrated in a time slot.

As our audience was mainly Spanish and European, we received most of our votes in this specific time slot and, although we continued to be voted, the frequency was lower in the last hours of the count. By the end of the afternoon, we were already hidden inside the ranking list dropdown, being the 5th project in number of votes, and the 'snowball' was over.

So, what did we really get?

A huge amount of new users, feedback and information, and this is the fundamental reason why we would repeat the experience!

1. Great visibility & New sessions

Appearing for several days on the Product Hunt homepage, the impact of the email marketing campaign, online communities activity and publishing social networks resulted, for our SaaS, in many new visitors. As you can see in the graph below, the number of sessions we received was multiplied x10 compared to the previous days!

2. Metrics about our users' profile & behavior

Traffic generated from launching and previous campaign really helped us verify a series of hypotheses about our different targets and their use of our product.

Just on launching day we obtained +110 registrations, and we began to see interesting things such as 33.71% defined themselves as developers, 21.35% as marketers, 19% of product and the rest other roles, and which use cases interested them most.

Due to the good reception and volume of registrations, that lasted several days, we got a volume of information that otherwise would have taken much longer to collect, and that it is helping us to evolve our content strategy.

3. A lot of feedback from qualified users

In addition to all the platform usage data we obtained, we also received a lot of feedback from new users that helped us see how to improve the UX, new use cases, features and ideas, and also to check which templates and use cases from those we already had seemed more important for their needs. Thank you too!

4. And a big amount of community support

Without any doubt, and apart from everything we learnt during and after the launching process, one of the things that most impressed us was the support we received on social networks from the people we asked for support. We are really grateful for this!

We were also able to verify that most of the people (67%) who supported us on social media also upvoted on Product Hunt, without asking directly and even if they were not registered, and the truth is that we are enormously beholden.

And just as a conclusion...

This has been a short summary about our experience on Product Hunt. We hope that this post has been useful to you if you are thinking on launching soon. If you have any questions or just want to know more, do not hesitate to contact us.

In case you are thinking on launching your product, good luck! Just remember not to make our mistakes! Hope to see you there, because we will repeat it for sure! 🚀✨

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