What is Growth Hacking
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Growth Hacking is a very common term in digital marketing. It is directly related to growth and strategies differentiated. And we know that growing is an arduous task for any company, of any size. And what's worse, grow sustainably, without astronomical investments.

Coming up with measurable and scalable growth strategies became possible with the internet boom. Therefore, in this post, we will talk about what Growth Hacking is and how to apply it in the company's daily life.

What is Growth Hacking

Immediately, when we look at the term Growth Hacking, we think of the old computer pirates, the hackers, and their strategies to circumvent and invade systems. But time passed and the term itself hack It is no longer pejorative and discriminatory. More linked to creativity and productivity, hack ended up migrating to marketing, especially when we talk about growth processes.

The term Growth Hacking was created by entrepreneur Sean Ellis, currently CEO of GrowthHackers, in 2010. The term means, according to the creator himself, “experiment-oriented marketing” and illustrates the constant search for growth in companies. Sean Ellis was Dropbox's first marketer, one of the most important cases in the history of Growth Hacking.

The most important thing is that it is associated with companies of any size, especially startups and aims at accelerated business growth.

How Growth Hacking works

Growth Hacking is much more a way of thinking than a set of specific actions. Many companies have used the concept, such as PayPal, Linkedin, AirBNB, Dropbox and even Hotmail, among others.

Professionals who work in Growth Hacking focus on innovative actions, based on research and experiments. Using analytical data and tests, they apply small “hacks” that, together, bring significant growth.

These hacks are tested several times and are not always a “win-win”. To better understand how it works, we have separated some famous cases and how the techniques were applied.


The first known case is from Hotmail, in 1996. To scale its growth, the service included a footnote in its emails inviting users of other services to open a free Hotmail account. At that time, there were only paid emails. Thus, the platform quickly achieved success, gaining a significant number of users.


Twitter experienced user retention problems, who left the service after a few weeks of use. Studies showed that users who followed more than 10 profiles ended up joining the service, which led Twitter to start suggesting new accounts to follow based on users' interests. In this way, the application grew again and stands out among social media.


Using the “Craiglist” service, an accommodation search network, AirBNB grew and built a huge list of users. When an AirBNB form was filled out, it could be shared on Craigslist. To achieve this integration, the development team had to understand how the competitor worked, as there was no API for integrating the two. Therefore, AirBNB grew by seeking out its audience wherever they were most.


Using public profiles that could be found in a simple Google search, the LinkedIn ended up advertising himself. Another hack that boosted the professional network was inviting great professionals to be brand influencers. Thus, the union of these two strategies meant that the platform quickly reached more than 200 million users.


Dropbox used two very interesting hacks to achieve its growth. The first of these is in the product's very DNA: the possibility of synchronization across multiple devices. The second, also centered on the product, a cloud storage platform, allowed users to refer other people for more storage space.


Tinder's main hack is also directly linked to the app's DNA. The fact that searches are within a radius close to the user made it much more attractive and grew quickly.

In the early days of the app, the founders organized parties where the ticket was installing the app. It was a really cool way to show what the company was all about. In this way, they demonstrated the application in real time to its users, who spread the news in the region and started the popularization of Tinder.

And how do I apply Growth Hacking in my company?

The first step is to create a team that is specifically dedicated to the task. This team can start by optimizing processes that already exist, testing ways to improve existing results. Doing the basics well is a great way to start.

From there, using the main cases as inspiration is a great way to explore the concept. After all, these methods have already been tested and can be improved to suit each company’s reality. The idea, obviously, is not to copy the great cases, but they serve as a basis for application in companies of any size.

The most important thing is that Growth Hacking, after its application, is adopted as part of the company's culture. As in all processes, there is a moment when the curve stabilizes and then the team must try new ways to resume the company's growth.

And, as we often say around here, it is always important evaluate and evolve at every step, testing and improving methodologies, resources and processes. Therefore, define KPIs for your Growth Hacking projects and always analyze the results.

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What is Growth Hacking and how to apply it to your company
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