It was the American Independence Day in 1996 – a deliberately chosen day. Developers Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith released their free email service Hotmail that day.
After a little more than 20 days – at the end of July, 1996 – the service was already being used by 20,000 users of the still young Internet. A respectable success, but the two founders wanted more.
The first growth hack in history
And so Smith and Bhatia discussed things with their investors. The discussion focused on the question of how the company could quickly get new users without a significant marketing budget.
The result of the brainstorming was a single line at the end of each e-mail sent via Hotmail:”PS: I love you. Get your free e-mail at Hotmail.” This is reported by author Adam L. Penenberg in his book* Viral Loop: From Facebook to Twitter; How Today’s Smartest Businesses Grow Themselves.
If you clicked on the blue “Hotmail” link, you were redirected to a registration page. There, you would receive all the relevant information on Hotmail’s offer. In addition, you were given the opportunity to create your own free e-mail account immediately. (That wasn’t standard at that time.)
Microsoft pays 12 million US dollars
Even though nobody knew the term “growth hack” in 1996, it was exactly what the Hotmail founders had succeeded in doing. With a simple trick, the company generated several million users – without having to place an ad.
While Hotmail took six months to break the 1 million-user barrier, the company reached the second million just five weeks later. When Microsoft took over Hotmail for 400 million US dollars just under a year later, the service already had 12 million users. At the turn of the millennium, there were 65 million users.
Today, Hotmail no longer exists. Since 2013, Microsoft has been promoting the first growth hack in history under the name Outlook, which has now spread to millions of computers and smartphones.
No More Noisy Surprises: Chrome Prevents Autoplay
There’s nothing more annoying than a website that automatically plays a video with sound right after loading. Google knows this and will update its browser Chrome. This almost always suppresses the autoplay function of videos and advertising.
Mounir Lamouri works as a software engineer at Google – more precisely, he works in the team for the company’s own browser Chrome. in Chromium Blog, Lamouri reports about a serious change included in the upcoming version 64 of the browser.
Starting in 2018: No more autoplay in chrome
As the software specialist writes, the new chrome version, which is due to be released in January 2018, will be extended by a particularly user-friendly feature.
Specifically, the Google browser will be supplemented by a technology that blocks all autoplay functions. This means that site operators and advertisers will no longer be able to surprise Chrome users with video and audio content that starts automatically with sound.
With this step, Google is sending out a clear signal for more satisfaction among its own users – and there are not just a few of them. In Germany, 34 percent of Internet users use Chrome. No other browser is used more often.
Although Google turns off the autoplay feature by default, there are some exceptions. Users of version 63 and above can create exceptions for individual pages in the browser settings.
For example, if you use YouTube a lot, you can bypass the block and allow videos to start automatically. Everyone should be aware that this permission also applies to advertising.
Even without access to the settings, the technology behind the browser detects when you manually start videos on certain pages over and over again. As a result, the algorithm may reactivate the autoplay function for these situations. If you don’t want this, you can undo it in the settings.
Despite the built-in protection, advertising can start automatically with sound. This is due to the settings of the site operator, if they consciously decide to present you with the ads.
Online Dating: How the Tinder Algorithm Works
Tinder is a single success story in the dating field. In a few years, Tinder has managed to make online dating salonable – it is no longer embarrassing but a lifestyle. We look at the algorithm that decides about the love of tomorrow.
In short, for those who don’t know the principle behind Tinder (and almost all of today’s dating apps): Tinder shows profiles of contact-friendly singles (or non-singles) in the surrounding area.
With a left-swipe, they are skipped, while a right-swipe shows you are interested. If you right-swipe someone that also right-swipes you, you are matched up and move on to the next stage. At Tinder, there’s no run-around.
But what is the best strategy for using Tinder? Does it make sense to right-swipe as many profiles as possible to increase the chances of a match?
With Facebook, the Tinder profile is created automatically
Since 2012, the social network has been on the market and currently counts over two million users in Germany. To log in to Tinder, a Facebook account is required, which gives the app access to all the information posted by Facebook and automatically creates the profile.
Publicly visible photos, name, age, occupation, location, common friends as well as details appear in Tinder. In addition, it is possible to add a short profile text. The images can be deleted, supplemented and sorted manually.
If the photos are not enough for Tinder, you can also link your Instagram account. Since 2015, the app has expanded to include a few payment functions: with the appropriate package, you can change your name, hide your age and even see who right-swiped you before you decide yourself.
Other in-app purchases, such as boosters and additional super-likes, are also available. From a privacy perspective, the app is questionable, since peoples identities are basically served up on a silver platter. However, it is assumed that the number of fake profiles is limited.
The “Elo Score” provides information about the popularity of users
The aim of the algorithm is to make as many matches as possible. This is how the ones “Elo Score” is involved. It raises the popularity of users, which in turn is measured by numerous factors.
One part of the “Elo Score” is, for example, the so-called “Desirability Score,” which provides information about the placement of a user in the internal ranking of other users.
In addition, the “Elo Score” is pushed up not only with information from users, but also by the act of contributing itself. This means that anyone who provides more information to the broad masses is already better off, independently of the information itself.
In principle, one could assume that especially attractive people have a higher “Elo Score.” According to Tinder CEO Sean Rad, however, the factors taken into account are many.
“Play hard-to-get and you’ll be the star!”
But what exactly does Tinder do with the information provided by users? What it does with the hard facts about their age and interests is obvious: searches are facilitated. But this by itself is not an algorithm.
The right and left swipes are relevant to the time and location. For this, Tinder counts the green hearts (right-swipes) that a user gives and then puts them in relation to the green hearts he receives.
In doing so, the awarded green heart gains its value on the basis of the assessment of the other users who return either many or few green hearts. It is, therefore, true that the less green hearts someone gives and the more he receives at the same time, the more valuable the individual heart is – to express it in a very simple way.
Value can be increased
So it does not do much good to simply right-swipe if you aren’t getting more right-swipes in return. And even with a one-to-one relationship of right-swipes given and received, due to the algorithm, your Elo score is likely to go down.
So the advice for Tinder: “play hard-to-get and you’ll be the star.” Of course, users who are more generous with their likes are not undermined, but they mostly receive suggestions that do not seem to be very selective. And so the circle closes.
Location and time of the likes
Tinder also evaluates the location and the time at which many left or right swipes are made. On Saturday evening, at his favorite restaurant, user X may be able to distribute green hearts more generously than on Monday mornings at the office. However, Tinder has covered the details with regard to his attractiveness and “Elo score.”
Of course, much more information and measurements are still flowing into the algorithm, such as the increased matching with people who share a certain interest in a limited time and a particular location. How many variants there are, can’t be known for sure.
Frequently change user behavior
In summary, it can be said that the only sure way to increase “Elo Score” is by receiving right-swipes. No matter when and to what extent: fewer left-swipes increases your attractiveness and thus your score.
It also can’t hurt to vary your user behavior from time to time and change search criteria. The Tinder algorithm will perhaps answer with a wider range of proposals.
Why Reddit is Also Exciting for Advertisers
If you want to attract attention as an advertiser, you must place it as best as possible. An exciting platform for this is the social media aggregator Reddit.
Why you should consider using Reddit, how to generate traffic and why the service is also exciting for advertisers: here, we’ll explain it all.
When the two American students Steve Huffmann and Alexis Ohanian founded Reddit in 2005, they wanted to create a large collection of posts that would make it easier for internet users to search for the right content.
The self-proclaimed “homepage of the Internet,” is now ranked eighth among the most visited websites in the world. In the US, it is ranked as the fourth most popular website. Over half of the users are male and have an academic degree.
In 2015 the operators of the website published official user figures, which amounted to 230 million visitors and 10 billion page views per month. 36 million people had a profile on the platform at the time of publication.
Openness and honesty
Former US President Barack Obama used the internet forum in his 2012 election campaign even for a so-called “AMA,” which stands for “Ask me anything.”
The politician used the platform in order to be in touch with the users as well as with the political issues at a private level, which was a major part Democratic strategy, along with good press.
Reddit users submit articles in the form of links, create a corresponding headline and let their content be evaluated by the community. However, registration is optional on the multilingual website, which is largely English-language.
However, visitors to Reddit who want to submit content in the form of texts, links, or media files must create an account.
Karma – the reputation of Reddit
Elemental for the site is their rating system. All featured content is categorized by the community with a thumb up or down. This creates a ranking from which the best posts are put at the top of the homepage.
If a user’s posts are rated positively, his karma will increase. This happens when a comment is commented on. The sum of the upvotes minus the downvotes are displayed with a counter for the comment function and one for the evaluation of the post under the profile name.
The subdivision of the content into the so-called “subreddits” facilitates navigation on the platform. These sub-categories can also be subscribed to. For example, the sub-category “Worldnews” is followed by over 17 million users.
Advertising for 200 million users
With over 200 million visitors a month, the forum-like platform is a good option with regard to generating traffic.
Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian presented the relaunch of the website in June 2017 at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity – one of the most famous advertising festivals in the world.
Advertisers are now able to switch ads in the form of videos. Reddit also offers advertisers a new team of employees. Major brands such as Coca-Cola and E-bay have already used the new advertising opportunities.
“There is no other place on the internet where people come together just for a conversation,” Alexis Ohanian describes his platform in June 2017. He considers the users of his site to be very honest and open.
The blunt communication of users: A threat to advertisers?
And this openness can quickly become dangerous to advertisers. Reddit users are critical of advertising, as it interrupts their entertainment in the forums, is often not relevant enough, and is merely about selling or generating clicks.
With the new advertising format, the platform promises to improve this problem. Reddit employees are available to the advertisers in order to avoid serious mistakes.
The advertising is no longer involved in conversations, but only in the marginal column. For interested parties, Reddit has compiled an overview of the advertising formats.
Top target groups instead of wide spread
As on any digital advertising platform, advertisers should also be very well informed about the target group they want to reach with their advertisements at Reddit. The interests of the respective group can be well identified through the subreddits.
It is to be expected that a wide spread can result in image damage because of critical users. As Reddit is well aware of the fact that developing a commercial strategy for its platform takes a lot of time, a Help section has been set up.
The importance of Reddit as a space for public discussion on the internet is very significant. Even if the platform has not yet been able to build on its American success in Germany, its enormous influence should not be overlooked.
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