Operational Excellence for Founders

How impactful is Product Hunt really?

Decorative banner with Product Hunt badge

A lot of founders and product people are paying special attention to Product Hunt right now, as the voting for the Best Products of 2023 (aka the Golden Kitty awards) closes tomorrow.

But even as everyone lobbies for votes for their product, there's an undercurrent of discussion around whether Product Hunt actually drives real impact in user acquisition.

Experiences differ by startup

📈 Some founders say that the Product Hunt community of early adopters was absolutely critical to their success, as it immediately gave them hundreds of active and supportive users. Note: I hear this mostly from people who launched on PH years ago.

💤 Others tell me that it was surprisingly low impact. Most of your upvotes these days come from people that are launching on adjacent days and asking for your vote in return. Or the PH audience is simply not the right target for most products. And the small fraction of people that do actually try the product are low-intent tire kickers that churn right away.

What we gained by launching Relay on Product Hunt

What was our experience at Relay? We had a pretty good launch by PH standards: 1158 upvotes, 🥈 for the day overall, 🥇 for productivity for the week.

In terms of actual usage, we got about 700 new signups, but they activated at a significantly lower rate than our typical new users. We did get a few great users out of it, but we also got the classic launch bump and dip 📈 📉 as most of the new users churned.

But despite that churn, our baseline of new signups per week increased significantly after the launch. I'm not totally sure why, but I can think of a few second-order effects:

1. Top launches get picked up: Newsletters, blogs, and creators will often pick up top PH launches and review them.
2. Badges show social proof: Having good and recognizable PH banners on our website add legitimacy and social proof.
3. Long tail discovery: An ongoing trickle of users look through reviews and past launches and have found us that way.

So net net, the launch was positive for us, and I'm glad we invested the time in it that we did–BUT it was more for the ongoing benefit than the pop on launch day.

I hope this is useful as you think about how to plan your Product Hunt launch!

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