A lot of digital product makers dream about being featured on the Product Hunt website and have high expectations for this presence. But what kind of effects can they count on? To answer this question, I have invited several dozen people who have personally experienced being on PH and wanted to share their experience and data.
How to be featured on PH?
Before I move on to the information about benefits, surprises, disappointments and concrete analytical data, I would like to briefly explain how you can be featured on PH. Of course, your product can be hunted, in other words, one of the hunters will find it independently and simply publish it. This is what happened to Gustav Larsson and his product FreeWrite:
I had just launched my product online, www.freewrite.org, and was suddenly posted on the site. I ended up on top 3 and got a couple of thousand visitors with almost 20% of those signing up for a free trial.
In this context you should remember that having your product hunted down by a hunter poses a certain risk, if the hunter does not inform you about the publication in advance. On the one hand, you and your team will not be ready for it. On the other hand, the infrastructure of the product may not be ready. This is exaclty what happened to Roberto Simões (Germany), maker of Stacktile:
We were featured on Product Hunt without being previously notified. This messed up our plans. We were expecting a certain number of users but we received 10 times more. The server went down and many people couldn’t experience our product. My advice is to be prepared for a huge amount of visitors before launching a campaign.
However, in most cases, we are dealing with new, unknown products so hoping that someone will find them, does not always end in a success. That is why it is a common practice to find the right hunter and to skillfully ask him/her to hunt your product down. It was done by the founders of IssueFly application. The CEO at IssueFly, Adam Pogorzelski recalls:
We did research on product hunters. Gregoire Gilbert seemed the most appropriate as regards our product. We wrote an email which was as short as possible, but it contained the info about what sets our product apart from the rest. We also attached a set of materials required for the product to be published on PH (tagline & pictures). Gregoire Gilbert agreed.
What are the main advantages of being featured on Product Hunt?
It’s a question I asked a number of people whose product was selected to be on PH. Analysing the answers, 4 crucial advantages stand out.
1. Feedback from the community
Product Hunt embraces a community of creative people who give fantastic feedback about the product – its weaknesses and strengths, but also opportunities for growth. Matt West (UK), maker of Astrum, says:
The biggest advantage of being featured on a site like Product Hunt is exposure to a community of passionate early adopters. Product teams thrive on detailed feedback and Product Hunt is a great place to gather that.
On the other hand, there are product makers who use tools to analyse users’ behaviours, such as Mixpanel and they talk about random/accidental “feedback” which is based on people simply using the app:
The main advantages for Paste was a huge amount of invaluable feedback, I’ve found a lot of interesting ways how users use Paste.
The owners of products which starred on PH talk about the value of product public display in connection to two aspects. Firstly, they discuss market visibility which means making the product available to people who could be potential buyers or clients. Secondly, the important aspect is showing the product to influencers or other partners who could contribute to the product promotion:
I’d say for us it was mainly being on the radar of potential influencers/partners (for example got an article in a Dutch news website, which I think might have been caused by being featured on PH).
Another advantage listed by product owners is verifying the product based on its technical reliability and sensibility of the concept, its user value. Validation can take different forms. For example it can be a direct approval:
Product Hunt is a big approbation showing us that we are on the right way to make YEAY big! Especially for me it was a big push because Rayn Hover, the founder of Product Hunt, gave me a very good feedback regarding the design and the branding of the App.
Also, it can be reflected in the number of votes cast on the product:
Are you a serious startup/product if you don’t have decent upvotes on PH?
4. New users
Last but not least, important advantage are new users. Let me give the floor to Patricik Blasing (Germany), maker of Popflake whose fantastic testimony perfectly illustrates the importance of new users and summarises all the advantages that have been mentioned so far:
Popflake landed on the front page as the number 1 app in tech and the adrenalin ride began. We got plenty of feedback from the PH community which was overwhelming. (…) around 3000 downloads (iOS) in 3 days and around 300 email list signups for our Android version. We did not expect to hold the number 1 position for the whole day and we did not expect what came next. 3 large online magazines and a bunch of small blogs wrote about us which resulted in around 6900+ downloads (iOS, total) since the PH submission without spending a cent or energy on any type of marketing.
Was there anything that didn’t meet your expectations of being on ProductHunt?
There are a few things that may be disappointing about the presence of the product on PH. The way I see it, this disappointment rather stems from too high expectations of the clients than real limitations of PH. It is worth remembering to avoid dissatisfaction.
Obviously, the area which may not live up to the expectations is the expected traffic because the level of expectation with reference to this criterion is very subjective:
To be fair it was my first time on Product Hunt (even as a user). From what I’ve heard I expected much more traffic.
The same applies to the number of new users (application downloads) which is expected by the makers.
The downloads were not that relevant to us (…) but if you compare it with an App Store feature it’s not that significant”.
However, there is one more crucial but unclear element – the algorithm which defines the ranking on the homepage.
Gaddr finished second eventually, but for the biggest part of the day we were on the third place despite the higher number of upvotes & comments than the product placed second had.
Was there anything that surprised you while being on Product Hunt?
A lot of interviewees felt surprised by being on PH but it was a pleasant surprise in each case.
Product Hunt is also said to have a high impact and the effects are quickly experienced.
I was surprised by the speed of which news travelled and that PH seems to be a source of information for many journalists/bloggers/influencers out there.
What is common to all the PH reviews is positive and constructive feedback which is shared by the PH community.
The one thing that surprised me the most, was all the positive- and constructive feedback that we got. It helped us a lot in the process of making Type Anything better.
In the context of not always satisfactory traffic, what surprises is the quality of visitors.
The number of clicks was low, but the clicks we did get were high value. Lots of people signing up.
But probably the greatest and the most valuable surprise is fantastic support of the team who is responsible for Product Hunt.
What really surprised me […] was the amount of support and encouragement Ryan and the PH team show! They really know how to make you feel appreciated. Receiving a postcard in the mail with glasscat stickers was awesome! And the tweet about being part of “the 100 votes club”. Very cool!
What should be remembered
If you arrange a publication of your product with a hunter, remember to take into account the hour of publication. It is important because it determines how long your product will be on the first page when the biggest number of views occurs.
– Our product appeared on PH at 11:30 am (GMT+2). Thanks to this fact, its presence on the first page was optimally long (21,5 hour). However, it would have been better to be published at for example 9:30 am. Then, we would be present almost maximally (23,5 h) – says Adam from IssueFly.
But, most of all, you should be ready to deal with a great amount of feedback, participation in discussions and big traffic on your website (it is important to ensure appropriate and reliable infrastructure). It is well described by Justas Malinauskas (Lithuania) CEO & Co-Founder of Whatagraph.com:
You need to be prepared for it 100%, because there will be a lot traffic coming over your website, and all the team should keep an eye on that, and respond to client enquires as fast as possible. It is a great opportunity, to be featured there, but you have only one chance to be there, so you need to make best performance.
Traffic data while on PH: Number of visitors, where they come from and what devices they use
The following data refer to one product and they entail just one day of being on PH. Let me add that the data concern a B2B product which appeared on PH at 11:30 am (GMT+2) on Tuesday 27 July 2015.
On the first day of PH 980 users visited IssueFly product website.
When it comes to geographic scope that is the number of countries where the visitors came from, it was impressive – 66 countries. It is also interesting from which countries the traffic was the biggest. Let me list the top 5: US 30,2% of the whole traffic, UK – 6,9%, India – 5%, France – 3,1 %, Canada – 2,9%.
The important information can be gathered from the types of devices (mobile/desktop) which the PH community uses. In the examined case, 81,5% of visitors were using desktop equipment (18,5% mobile devices). So if the PH community will be sent to the internet website of your product, it has to be responsive because of the significant percentage of people who browse PH on mobile devices.
It is also worth adding the information about the approximate traffic which is related to a product recently published (June 2016) and placed first on the rank for the whole day. Unfortunately, the data are approximate and concern not the first day but three first days on PH:
I would like to thank everyone who helped me prepare this article devoting time and giving wonderful answers to my questions. Special thanks to:
Vittorio Banfi (BotSociety)
Patrick Bläsing (Popflake)
Nikola Bojkov (Facebook Album Plugin)
Simon Busborg (Type Anything)
Alexey Chernikov (Artpaper)
Alexandre Debache (Mealou)
Francisco Gallardo (UCast)
Philipp Holly (Swell)
Claes Jacobsson (Lookmark)
Guido Knook (Mimi Music)
Gustav Larsson (Freewrite)
Kevin Liebigt (YEAY)
Justas Malinauskas (Whatagraph)
James Mundy (Foundbite)
Sebastian Mutsson (Simplyday)
Dmitry Obukhov (Paste)
Florian Oliveira (FootLoop)
Olena Rogozina (Gaddr)
Sammy Schuckert (thangs)
Roberto Simões (Stacktile)
Francisco Méndez Vilas (Hitch)
Matt West (Astrum)
Robert Wiblin (80,000 Hours Career Guide)
Maarten Wolzak (Enso)
Lukáš Zajíc (Smartmockups App)
Do you need team for web or mobile app development? We’re happy to help.