Growth Hacking - Is Digital Advertising a part of Growth Hacking?

Breakdown of growth hacking funnel

Growth hacking may be a relatively new field in marketing focused on growth. It started with early-stage startups who need massive growth during a short time on small budgets but has since then also reached bigger corporate companies. The goal of growth hacker marketing is generally to acquire as many users or customers in a short period while spending as little as possible.

As a growth hacker, every strategy you execute, every tool and technique you implement or develop should be inspired by your desire for growth. It might seem self-evident that the singular goal of growth hacking is growth, but the sweetness of this, and what makes growth hacking such a valuable practice, is its flexibility. It doesn’t matter if you’re a one-man startup or a multinational corporation; growth hacking doesn’t discriminate and anyone can leverage it.

What does it have to do with digital advertising?

The digital medium is a battleground on which marketers are fighting to gain a competitive advantage. There can be uncompromising targets, constraining budgets, limited resources, and a surplus of competitors against a backdrop of advancing tools and platforms. A conventional marketing approach is no longer enough. The only way to survive is to adapt.

Growth hacking with digital marketing is hand in glove, and it’s a tactic that can help your business grow.

Growth hacking uses digital marketing strategies, specifically designed to build or expand your customer base.

“Traditional” digital marketing consists of SEO, PPC ads, social media marketing, content marketing, product marketing, and more.

When you turn to growth hacking for your digital marketing strategy, you’re taking more “traditional” digital marketing strategies and using them in unique ways to captivate and grow your audience. You’re constantly testing new ideas to see what works for your business, always with a growth mindset.

Growth Hacking Funnel

The regular sales funnel is much broader than the growth hacking funnel. It was also called “Pirate Metrics” because of the initials AARRR.

Growth Hacking Funnel

Does Growth Hacking Substitute Digital Marketing?

Growth hacking isn’t a substitute for digital marketing. Far from being separate entities, growth hacking and digital marketing are intrinsically linked. The fundamental principle remains the same for the two; increased engagement, conversion, and retention.

The key difference lies between the scope of their goals. A digital marketer could use the engagement rate to analyse an overall goal of building brand awareness. A growth hacker, by comparison, could set a goal of accelerating social sharing by 50%. The obvious difference being setting up short-term goals and overall brand development.

To put it simply, marketing activities can have a broad focus that encompasses many parts of the funnel, whereas growth hacking depends on setting highly defined, achievable goals during a short period, to reach a specific, singular outcome, i.e., growth.

So how do you use growth hacking for your business?

You do not need any out-of-box ideas all the time to set the wheel rolling. You can use something from your existing resources and apply them in different creative ways. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, just need to use it differently. There isn't a fixed formula that can apply to all businesses but what is needed is experimentation and the use of different tools and techniques to achieve fast growth.

But before you come to any decision, you need to ask yourself a few questions while making a strategy:

  • Where is your audience available online?
  • What does my audience value?
  • Who would get the maximum benefit from my product/service?
  • What can I offer my audience that is unique enough to compel them to become customers and spread the word to others?

Once you have answers to these questions, you can determine which is the fastest way to reach your audience.

There are three types of growth hacking strategies:

  • Content marketing (using content to promote your business)
  • Product marketing (promoting your product within or via the product itself)
  • Advertising (paid promotion)

Using these strategies will help you optimize your growth hacking funnel.

Always remember before making a plan:

1. That your product/service has a demand and solves the problem for your user, if not keep perfecting your product

2. That everybody is not your target market, define your audience and why they need to buy from you

3. Set measurable and achievable short-term goals which will lead to an action

4. Keep testing and working on different ways to market your product. One approach does not fit all.

5. Optimize; whether this involves implementing a completely new approach or refining a previous effort, there’s value within the “learning-by-doing” concept. Success, like most things, will come with a little bit of patience and consistency.

6. Analyze the performance constantly and keep tracking your progress. Use the data to make improvements and plan other ideas as well.

7. Integrate digital advertising with short-term goals and go full aggressive and creative with your marketing ways.


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