Viral growth statistics with and without Facebook Login
Context: AdGoggle is a start-up company that went live on 18th July 2012, and is currently in pre-registration. AdGoggle believes that a user’s interest graph belongs to the user, and that the user should derive some benefit from it. The quote should be ‘If you are the product, you should get paid for it’.
AdGoggle went live solely using Facebook Login for it’s sign up. The main reason we decided to use Facebook Login was because of verification purposes. We did not want users creating multiple accounts. The irony is that it was recently disclosed that Facebook has 83 million fake users, with many people assuming that that number is significantly higher.
For the first 6 days (18-25th July) we had a grand total of 61 users. Mainly friends. On the 7th day I started putting up some Facebook ads. Nothing significant. A daily budget of around $75. On 26th July we had 211 new user sign ups. On 27th, 532 users. On 28th, 1875 users. From 29 July to 6th August, we were averaging 1,594 new users per day. Roughly 66 new users every hour. By 6th August, we had a total of 17,032 users in our database. Mostly quality names and emails derived from Facebook. At this rate, we would hit 100,000 users within 2 months. We were already being ranked on Alexa. Our Insights stats were on the rise. We had a few hundred thousand results on Google for the search term ‘adgoggle’. However, admittedly, our overzealous users were spamming their invite links all over Facebook. Hundreds of thousands of invite links were being posted on Facebook.
- Facebook ads are effective, to some extent.
- Facebook is essential for viral marketing.
On 6th August, everything came to a standstill. Facebook banned our URL ‘adgoggle.com’ for being spammy. All posts with the URL adgoggle.com were immediately and automatically removed. More details here. I also wished I had read this article earlier. This was not something I had planned or foresaw. My bad. The effect of this ban was that our Facebook app (for the Facebook Login) was immediately unusable. Thus, nobody could sign up, or log in to our website. Total standstill. I wonder how eg. Fab.com got away with this. Nothing against Fab.com. I’m a big fan of theirs, and their site is an inspiration. But their users also have vested interest to share their invite links all over the internet and Facebook (which they did), but they never got banned. Anyways…
- Relying on a 3rd party provider for your processes is dangerous. They can ‘turn off the switch’ at any point of time.
- If you are using Facebook, try to educate your users (extremely difficult to enforce) to NOT spam and invite/share with people they don’t know on Facebook.
We took 2.5 weeks to code our own sign-up process, redesign some aspects of the website, migrate the database, testing, tweaking etc. We relaunched on 23rd August. It’s only been 5 days since the relaunch, and we are picking up momentum again. However, the rate of new user sign ups has dropped significantly. We are averaging about 240 new user sign ups per day (about 10 every hour). But it’s only been 5 days, so hopefully things pick up again.
On another note, I personally feel that the Facebook ban is a blessing in disguise. It is better that this Facebook ban took place at this early pre-registration stage, compared to eg. after we had launched our app. It would have been a nightmare then. Also, the team feels ‘freer’ without a sword hanging over our heads. We can now focus on what we need to do to move forward.
- Running a start-up is stressful takes a LOT of mental energy from you. You WILL face setbacks and hitches. You just have to take them head on, find solutions, implement, and keep on chugging along. Don’t take things too seriously.
- Whether you like Facebook or not, Facebook is truly one sticky website. It is a key component of any viral marketing campaign, imho.