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What is Growth Marketing?

Tips for Getting Started with Successful UA Strategies

Growth marketing is the cycle of acquisition, activation, retention, and reactivation of users or customers. The concept is derived from the term “growth hacking,” created in 2010 by Sean Ellis to describe how agile organizations like Airbnb and Amazon approach growth. Although at its core, it’s not a hack, growth marketing uses data-driven marketing as a method to optimize demand generation.

The key to growth marketing is to build a system that produces overall user growth. Rather than focusing on a particular channel, tactic, or funnel stage. Also, to experiment and learn as much as possible, as quickly as possible. About who wants your product and where they can be found.

Get started with growth marketing. Here is how:


Experimental Approach in Growth Marketing


Most marketers know about A/B testing, for instance:

  1. Use a web or mobile landing page to increase conversions
  2. Follow through with an idea for a way to increase that conversion rate
  3. Put a new version of the landing page on your site,  but keep the old version. You randomly send 50% of the traffic to each, and measure which one drives more conversions.

You will have evidence that one variation performs better than the other by running an experiment. And by closely watching the data. As a result, you end up with validated learning backed up by data.

This process of validated learning is fundamental to the entire growth marketing approach.

Growth marketing starts with articulating a hypothesis about the effect of a specific advertising change. For instance, a hypothesis that using different creative will drive 10% more conversions to the landing page. Or changing the button color or placement on the landing page will increase converting subscribers by 5%. Next:

  1. A test is then designed to test that assumption. Seeing whether a new version of ad creative will drive more conversions is fairly straightforward; the new creative can simply be A/B tested against the first.
  2. The results of the test are then tracked. And this information is used to either act or to design further tests.

Another way to track this information is by using a spreadsheet. Along with all the hypotheses, tests, and results. That is if you are not using a tool or platform for running tests.

Pro Tip: Not all creative testing is created equal. We have extensive experience in creative testing and you can read more about Facebook Creative Testing here.

Key Areas to Apply Growth Marketing


Growth marketing can be applied to many areas in the marketing funnel. Specifically, Brand Awareness, User Acquisition, Activation, Revenue, Retention, and Referrals.


Brand Awareness

Awareness is the brand-building efforts that educate prospective users about your brand or product. This encompasses tactics like social media outreach, SEO-optimized content, and offers. To address this, marketers might experiment with social media strategy. They might test what frequency of posts is most effective for driving traffic or what kind of content gets the most engagement.


User Acquisition

Acquisition is the process of generating leads and acquiring net new customers. This can be through performance campaigns, gated content, chatbots, a freemium sign-up, or something else. For example, using Facebook marketing, a growth marketer may try to increase the number of clickthroughs on ads to download their mobile app by experimenting with creative messaging, button orientation, and colors.



Activation is getting people to use the product they have purchased as much or as quickly as possible. The onboarding process is part of this. For example, Facebook found that users were extremely likely to return and keep engaging with the platform if they added seven friends within their first ten days on the platform. Growth marketers might look at ways to ensure that happens by experimenting on how they find and add friends in-app.



Revenue involves all the actions that make a company money, like users buying in-app goods or purchasing a subscription. Growth marketers can address revenue-related metrics by experimenting with pricing strategies. They could also test upselling tactics, like sending messages when a user is almost out of an in-game currency. A growth marketer might look at how the pricing of in-app items is presented. Then conduct experiments around the way the tiers are displayed.



Retention is keeping customers delighted. To improve retention, growth marketers might look at how to offer personalized support. Or how to improve the value users gain from an app. For instance, personalization is a keyway to help users discover more value from a product.



Ideally, people are so happy with your product or app they will just refer friends. But marketers can also create referral programs to incentivize this. A growth marketer could experiment with different incentives or promotional methods around the referral program to increase results.

Growth Marketing on Mobile


The best growth marketing channels are digital, and mobile is an especially valuable channel for applying growth marketing lessons. Mobile devices have huge audiences and are with users all day. Also, they allow for extremely granular and detailed measurements of marketing effectiveness.


Final Thoughts


Growth marketing can be as small and detailed as changing a button color. Or as complex as redoing an onboarding process. Growth marketing isn’t the right marketing method for everyone. But if you’re at the point where scaling your company is your main goal. Or you’re seeing high growth and need to adjust your marketing efforts to get more ROI. Then, consider implementing some growth marketing experiments to improve the metrics.

We want to help you stay up to date with all the latest changes and strategies to succeed in growth. Here are a few resources to get you started: check out the 2020 Definitive Guide Of Facebook Ads Creative Strategy, Creative Testing, and Launching New Games.

growth marketing

Read our blog post, UA Media Buying Model, and see how it works in tandem with our Ad Concept Model. Learn the media buying best practice strategies for Facebook Android, Facebook iOS SKAN, Google, and TikTok.

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