When we planned our strategy to launch Adadot on Product Hunt, we had dreams of getting into the number one spot. With a combination of careful planning and – to be honest – a smidge of luck on the day, we made it a reality. Check out exactly how (and why) we did it below!
What is Product Hunt?
Product Hunt is an online platform featuring a daily round-up of the best new product releases, with a competitive ranking algorithm based on interest and engagement. With millions of users creating a community devoted to finding the best new tech and software projects, getting to the daily top spot on your release date can be a huge boon for a tech startup.
Why does it matter?
Getting to the number one spot is crucial in making sure your product gets in front of as many tech fans as possible. Not only does this (hopefully) increase traffic to your own site and buzz around your release, but it also opens up more conversations around your product with engaged experts who can offer some invaluable insights.
How did we get to Number One on Product Hunt?
Hunters are the cool kids of Product Hunt. They are the ones who will submit your product and schedule it for release on the site. Whilst you can be a Hunter for your own product, finding one with a large following and connecting with them to organize a release is generally the better move. You’ll enjoy a launch that benefits from the momentum of the Hunter’s reputation onsite, as well as some extra exposure: all the Hunter’s followers are notified of the products they are involved with.
We were lucky enough to partner with one of the site’s top Hunters, Kevin William David, who we connected with through one of our founders. With over 12k followers and thousands of successful product launches on the platform, having Kevin as a Hunter lent momentum and legitimacy to our release that was crucial to our success on the day.
Product Hunt works on a 24 hour cycle, one that begins at 12.01 PST regardless of where you or your audience is based. Outside of that time zone? You’ve just got to make it work!
Based mostly in the UK, we turned this to our advantage by warming up our European leads first on the day. By the time 12.01 PST rolled around (early evening for us), we launched with some serious forward momentum, having spent the day building buzz in Europe whilst the US was still waking up. We could then turn our attention to the other side of the world…
Launching without any lead-up or ceremony is a surefire way to miss the top slot on the day. We made sure to engage with our network in advance of the release, letting them know what we were doing, when we were doing it, and why they should be a part of it. Securing interest beforehand allowed us to launch with anticipation on our side, rather than going in cold.
Product Hunt is a very visual platform. To stand out from the crowd we invested in creating content that would help Adadot be noticed, the most important asset being a short video detailing the software and our goals. One top tip from us: make sure your video is text-centric. Product Hunt auto-plays videos on mute; forcing users to put the volume up to understand your video is a surefire way to make half of them keep scrolling past.
Here is our submission: https://www.producthunt.com/products/adadot#adadot
Whilst you can time your release window to land when your users are most engaged, and keep your ear to the ground to know when other big launches are happening, there is always an element of luck on the day, and a similar product launching on the same day as yours can have a dramatic effect on your ranking.
For us, this worked out – whilst there were big releases on either side of our day, we didn’t face much competition from other productivity tracking developer tools, helping us to stand out and be heard.
Building buzz, putting your product out there, and then sitting back and hoping for the best isn’t a recipe for Product Hunt success. Instead, we spent the day monitoring our channels and engaging with each and every comment that came our way on the platform.
Upvotes are all well and good, but the ranking algorithm places a lot of value on comment-based engagement, too. Fostering an environment of lively discussion allowed us to keep the comments coming, and keep people talking about Adadot.
What we did wrong
Product Hunt is a 24-hour platform, but the preparation for a successful launch should be in the pipeline months before your intended date. Whilst we spent a few weeks creating buzz, in reality, this should have started even earlier, giving us time to engage with more platforms and increase our reach. We also should have spent more time product testing with our launch date in mind, which would have allowed us to present a more polished product on the day.
The time we spent creating excitement for our launch was mostly spent engaging with users outside of Product Hunt, which brought a lot of new users to the site to show their support. The problem here is that the platform places a lot more value on existing users’ engagement, and works this into the ranking algorithm. We should have spent more time networking and connecting with people we knew were already an active part of the Product Hunt community, whose upvotes would have contributed much more to our ranking than brand new users.
We hoped to do well, but we didn’t expect to do so well that our analytics broke! Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened. With all the buzz generated by hitting the top spot, we surpassed the visits included in our monthly plan and Fullstory simply stopped tracking, costing us valuable analytics that could have really helped us. Moral of the story is? If you’re aiming to be number one, make sure your site is set up for the crowds!
Getting to the top spot was invaluable for our company, giving us some useful and actionable feedback, bringing in a host of new users, and even putting us in contact with new investors. Find out more about how getting to number one on Product Hunt changed Adadot for the better here.
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