Growth “Hacks”

From Dropbox, Wise, Revolut, HubSpot, HotJar

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Growth “Hacks” from Dropbox, Wise, Revolut, HubSpot, HotJar

There’s one question we’ve been asking almost all our guests so far – have you ever done a small UX tweak or a product improvement that had a disproportionately high impact on the product, considering the effort it required? Something tiny that turned out to be a big win.

In fact, finding out the answer to this question was our main motivation to start this podcast. Can we all learn tactical tips from successful founders and product managers at some of the greatest companies and use them as an inspiration for our own product experiments. Or sometimes even apply them straight away.

In today’s episode, we’re sharing how 11 of our guests answered Desi’s favourite question – small UX tweaks that turned into big product wins.

We have:

  • Callum McKeefery, Founder and CEO of
  • Tessa Pettman, Global Head of Product Marketing at Wise
  • Emeric Ernoult, co-founder of Agora Pulse
  • Faris Aziz, Lead Product Manager at Bloom & Wild
  • Megan Murphy, VP of Product at HotJar
  • Ari Last, CEO and Founder at Bubble
  • Eric Peters, Senior Growth Product Manager at HubSpot
  • Irina Scarlat, ex Global Head of Growth at Revolut
  • Zoe Desmond, founder and CEO at Frolo
  • Matt Lerner, founder of Startup Core Strengths, ex-PayPal and 500 Startups
  • Phil Vander Broek, Design Group Lead at Dropbox


Please note this transcript is automated

Desi Velikova 00:00

Hi, everybody, and welcome to another episode of the product Show. Today we have planned something a little bit different. There is one question I’ve been asking almost all our guests have ever done a small UX tweak or a product improvement that has a disproportionately high impact on the product, considering the effort required tiny UX tweak that turned into bitcoin? In fact, finding out the answer to this question was my main motivation to start this podcast? Can we all learn tactical tips from successful founders in some of the brightest minds in the product community, that we can use any inspiration for our own experiments, or even apply them straight away? Today, they’re not our guests are answering my favorite question, smaller tweaks that turned into peak weights. We have people from Dropbox HubSpot hub, char revolute, why Seymour, enjoy this episode. And don’t forget to subscribe to our channels, wherever you’re watching.


Welcome to the product show, insightful interviews with founders and tech leaders sharing how they hack product growth. Some of the smallest

Callum McKeefery, Founder and CEO of 01:19

things that we’ve ever done, you know, I’ve actually made the biggest impact from a you from a UI point of view. So we actually put a rating on the on our profile pages that actually showed people’s review score in a different way as a percent rather than as a five star, we still showed the five, you know, the star rating, but we change that to a percent. And that, you know, that people went crazy for that they absolutely loved that. And that was probably one of our biggest tweaks. And one of our one of our most interesting tweets on the review collection side is we changed how people selected their actual rating. And that UX to absolutely put our conversion through the roof. It made, I think we got like 300% higher conversion just by how they were selecting the star ratings. So it was it was really interesting.

Tessa Pettman, Global Head of Product Marketing at Wise 02:19

So we originally had bank details as part of your currency balances, you would open your GBP balance and see you don’t need tells you to open your euro balance into your euro, I ban etc. And so we ran a bunch of user research and and tested some prototypes around a change to that UI. And by moving bank details into a separate section in the app under account settings, we found that discoverability changed immediately, people really suddenly understood and were better educated about what these were and how to use them. And as a result, the number of people using transferwise to receive money from around the world has seen really high growth from a result of that.

Emeric Ernoult, co-founder of Agora Pulse 02:58

It’s usually a lot of small tweaks that eventually get you results. So but but on the other hand, the one thing we did and I advise not to do is we did something that was unusual that people were not used to. And that was a very bad idea because people were not used to it. So they were they they didn’t understand it. And that was a blocker in subscribing. And what we did, instead of being a pricing page that says 4999 199, we just had like a scroll bar where you say, Well, how many users do you need? How many profiles Do you need, and so on and so forth. And then he would give you the price, so you couldn’t see the price up front? Okay, she’s it. And that was really bad. And when we move switch back to a more regular pricing page, you know, 99 199? Yeah, yeah, this is all you get conversion skyrocketed. So don’t try to reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to, or if it’s or if it’s not going to create tremendous value.

Faris Aziz, Lead Product Manager at Bloom & Wild 03:56

guess this is sort of small, I think in the way that a user with a small idea. Yeah, years of experience. So what was a really cool change we made this is quite a while ago, was switching the way that we surface products on our product list pages. So classically on ecommerce, it would be a grid view products just in grid lists, and you’d be able to scroll down. However, a year ago, we actually had a horizontal carousel that you’d swipe across. During very early user interviews with some customers, people were finding and they were saying and nobody will find us interviews is actually they’re very likely to be okay with certain friction that often like much more open to it because it in an interview that I yeah, I’m not too bothered with doing that thing. But actually, what we found was interviewing them was the flicking horizontally through these products. They’re actually getting mentally tired during the interview, which for me was a big alarm bell. If they’re surfacing that kind of issue in an interview is is much more likely to even be amplified when you know you’ve got a few minutes, you just want to quickly look at a site and quickly find something to buy, you’re in a rush, you’re on your phone, you’re not in an interview situation where you’ve got loads of time. And they were saying that basically, they were getting tired from looking through all these products. And by the end of the kind of swiping process, they weren’t sure exactly what they saw at the beginning of the process. So from that, really simply, we thought, why don’t we try thinking about a grid view, our range has expanded since we had this horizontal kind of browsing experience. So we changed it to be vertically scrolling and a grid view. And, again, not a huge amount of conversion rate. sounds quite simple, it sounds quite small. Obviously, it took a lot of kind of effort to get there a bit of surfacing that insight. But yeah, really, really interesting change that dramatically changed the way our users actually interacted with the site.

Megan Murphy, VP of Product at HotJar 05:53

So we recently launched a slack integration, it was toward the end of last year, and in the slack integration. So I’ll speak as a customer, this is like how I speak every day. So as a hunter user, I use hotjar. And I also use slack within my company. And whenever I receive, whenever my company collects some feedback from our users, we want to see it and not let it go on listen to right because the voice of the customer matters so much. So actually, what we did at Hunter was we launched an integration with slack such that any time a customer leaves feedback, or you have a new recording come in, and you can receive this in a Slack channel set up for this or you can choose where they’re routed to in your slack channels. And the results of this have been pretty astonishing. So far, I wouldn’t say that this is an improvement, per se, it’s just a really small, like, lateral move into into some new space and thinking about what are the use cases of our customers, right? What are their jobs to be done, their job to be done is to listen to the voice of the customer, make sure that they can hear it and then take action. And so this slack integration, we’ve seen a really, really healthy uplift in retention in the frequency of use and the number of users per accounts that are added. Because when some folks see, hey, this user just left you feedback, that’s a really nice loop for us to attract new users within the same account. So I would say that’s one good example, specifically about the experience in terms of an improvement. My mind goes to something that I worked on at Skyscanner, which was when you’re traveling, and you could choose your travel dates, we noticed that a lot of a lot of travelers base this is pre COVID. By the way, I know that sounds like ancient history, but a lot of travelers once upon a time used to used to, like choose their travel dates based on public holidays, right? So you say Oh, okay, there’s a three day weekend. But if I take off two days of work, I can go away for five days, right. And so what we did was we used to, we used an API from a holiday, like public holidays calendar and open source API out there. And we built that into our products such that as a user based in the UK, when I go to choose dates, it showed me on the calendar, which dates were public holidays, that way I wouldn’t have to go Google. When are the August bank holidays this year, right. And so we did this for I think it was like the top 10 markets by volume of of flight search for first Skyscanner. And we saw some really, really nice results there. And this is something that I built while I was there. And we actually went on to build on top of this further and further in some marketing campaigns and some nice landing pages. So so just a small tweak of like, show on a Friday that this is the holiday and you’ll get people to say, oh, okay, this is more realistic. I don’t have to jump from my Skyscanner tab to go look up the holiday schedule, and then come back, because you know that anytime somebody leaves your product to go somewhere else to do research, the chance that they actually return to finish the job to be done. Thanks. Right. So this was a this had an outsized impact.

Ari Last, CEO and Founder at Bubble 08:58

So look, I think one thing we did recently was we ran a pricing experiment, for a for it was three or four months, we ran it. And I mean, what we did like an A B test effectively, of we have booking fees on the app, and we we had two different sets of pricing for a booking fee. The output from it was you know, the high fees had no impact on on new activation of new users. Which was really insightful in a way because I’d had a or not just me, probably largely me, you know, you have a you have a worry like his price because as I was talking about earlier, no pricing. childcare is expensive. And we put a huge amount into our service and we think we’re getting amazing value. But keeping it affordable is is the challenge when you’re when you’re approaching mass market is so we think a lot about our pricing. So we ran this AB AB test experiment, and it almost surprisingly in a way it made no impact. And pricing is like one thing I’ve always admired They struggled to test for, you know, naturally, you’re getting a lot, you know, the natural thing people tell you is test test test AB test everything, I always found that really difficult to do with pricing. Because so much of how customers respond to your pricing is framing and behavioral economics. And, you know, asking customers, what they pay for something is impossible, you know, it’s almost like that you need to see what they do. So I think pricing testing is really hard, full stop, but actually run an experiment. And seeing, seeing no impact really, it kind of, in a way, it proved out some of our hypothesis, which is like price with a product like ours isn’t the determining factor, you know, it’s trust, we know Parents need our service. And our price is only a fraction of the overall price that they’re paying for childcare. And it proved that out for us. Because naturally, instinctively, you can think we’re low and low and my pricing, and I’ll get more customers. And that’s not actually true sometimes as the opposite effect, you know, we have what, if you want customers to value your service, you know, in a way you need to charge them. And as I was saying, framing is so important. If you charge a really low amount, or you give it away for free, all of a sudden, that benchmark is set and your customer leaves your you know, your product not worth anything. And then when you try and raise it later, or try and explain to them why it is. It’s a really hard battle to win. So that was something we did recently, which was, which was really interesting for us. Yeah,

Eric Peters, Senior Growth Product Manager at HubSpot 11:35

I think the the amazing thing about HubSpot Academy is going back to what we were saying about how there are different personas and people in HubSpot Academy who are trying to get different things out of it. Early on, we focused a lot on the certifications, and what they could do for our users. There came a time when when we were really bolstering upside Academy as a acquisition channel and we wanted to attract new people in and we found that the people looking and searching Google for certifications, we’re kind of different than people who are looking for online courses. And so we made this little positioning tweak, where we just started referring to HubSpot Academy more as a online course provider, and the courses and HubSpot Academy as a online course rather than a certification. And we saw not only a big increase in organic search and kind of conversions into those courses, but also the type of user who was finding them with slightly different so rather than having people who are looking for jobs, or you know, looking for this kind of badge of approval to add to their resume or their LinkedIn profile, which by all means we want those people to like there’s no reason to not have those folks come in as well. But we saw more kind of business professionals who are like upskilling, and just trying to learn the latest, greatest tactics. And that was interesting because those users lend themselves more to monetizing and buying HubSpot, because they had some challenge. They wanted to learn content marketing, by taking an online course about content marketing, they didn’t necessarily need a certification. They had a job that they were comfortable in and they were good. But the tools that they could then apply to do that content marketing strategy. They all exist in HubSpot. So it was kind of a nice easy connection between Okay, here’s this online course about content marketing, you can learn all these great strategies and tactics. This is really hard to do without some kind of automation and software to help you do it. Particularly if you’re, you know, a small team in a small or medium sized business. Here’s a whole bunch of software that can help you do that. And like the free tier of HubSpot has a whole bunch of tools that they can use to help improve their content marketing strategy. So just that positioning change kind of better aligned the new users with HubSpot software at the end of the funnel.

Irina Scarlat, ex Global Head of Growth at Revolut 13:52

I think it’s I’m a firm believer in the butterfly effect. And I think that with experience experimentation, constant experimentation, and by doing small tweaks here and there, you can get very, very strong results. So I don’t know one of the one of the most impactful, there were two things that we did to be campaigns that are very close to my heart. So one of them was a referee tour. So basically, I embarked on a journey picking the picking the cities in Romania with with the biggest communities of revolute users. And I organized events in order to meet with these users. What are they differently as opposed to how we were doing things back Back then, was that I, instead of inviting to those events, just our most active users, I kept those events open to the public because this was going to later on create network effects. If you speak in front of a room, half of our active users of your product and evangelists. Half of them are just interested in finding out more at the end of the event, you’re not going to be the only one answer. Questions about the product, half of your room is, and this actually got the ball rolling. And then on other things back then we had, we had the possibility of offering for users when signing up The First card for three. So in order to do that they had to sign up at a specific promo link. And again, I did a very small tweak. I said, I don’t want my users to get the first card order for free only if they sign up at the promo link. Because this means that we’re going to create a lot of business debt for the for the customer support teams, there are going to be people that are just going to download the app, and then they’re no longer going to be eligible for their for the card. And this creates a barrier to growth. How about we just changed the pricing for the first card order enough to zero for five days straight, just give me five days to test it out. And we were 75k users by by then. And we acquired 25k users the remaining until 100k over the next five days. Because it went like it went viral online. So it’s basically looking at the low hanging fruit, the playbook looking at what your colleagues did, and just doing small tweaks in order to in order to in order to improve and to get exponential results.

Zoe Desmond, founder and CEO at Frolo 16:22

Yeah, the we did a tweak in the onboarding. So we looked, we discovered that we were losing. And we were losing users during during onboarding. And you know, too much and too many users during the onboarding. So we decided, Okay, well, what if we gave people an opportunity to, you know, onboard to certain extent, but then see a bit of the, but so we basically, users can see users who are onboarding, can see a taster of the app, but without seeing anyone’s personal data. So say, if someone’s writing a post on the feed, they’re not going to see who that person’s name is. But then if the the person onboarding then wants to actually get involved, they need to finish, you know, if they want to comment or connect with anyone, they have to finish the onboarding process. So I think it’s just a bit of a try before you buy, not that you’re buying, it’s free. But you know, and that’s me, that’s made a really big difference. And with Yeah, with people completing onboarding, so that’s, that’s the, that’s the, that’s the main one I can think of. We also did in at the beginning of lockdown last year, we had in the pipeline to launch a virtual meetup and group messaging, and group chat option, and we brought that forward and just bashed it eight as quickly as we could. And that proved to be hugely important and impactful. I mean, group group chats for us is massive. And the virtual meetups, I think has kept the Froelich community sane during the last year. So So they’ve been to they the engagement levels kind of went through the roof once once we launched those two features.

Matt Lerner, founder of Startup Core Strenghts, ex-PayPal and 500 Startups 18:18

Yes, yeah. I mean, just very recently, right now I’m working with a company. And it’s a marketplace for a business catering. And I think they were, you know, what, what their, what they’ve learned is recently is that people don’t necessarily need to trust the marketplace, they need to trust that they’re gonna find good caterers. And so having messaging around, hey, where this great marketplace, didn’t do, as well as messaging around, you know, just giving them feedback on the different caterers and making it easy for them to select the right and caterer for their needs. And so they did some, you know, they had this idea from customer interviews, and they did some AV tests of different messaging. And they found that this had a really big impact on their conversion rate.

Phil Vander Broek, Design Group Lead at Dropbox 19:04

I’m gonna I’m going to share one particular story that I really like, because to me, it embodies the ideal growth team win. And what that win looks like, is when a growth team does research to understand what the problem is, works with all cross functional partners that are required to make a better experience, meaning we really actually improve the user experience, and that user experience tribes business results. To me, that should be the playbook that growth operates on and I really like that idea. Because sometimes growth is considered like hey, designers need to balance user experience and business results. And it’s very true, we do but the aspirational state is not not necessarily even just balancing but we create better experiences that create more business results and there’s that Win Win world Where we can really focus on maximizing experience this drive business route. So to grant us an example at Dropbox, one of the teams we have is called acquisition and growth and they manage the, basically the dropbox comm where again, people will discover, evaluate and determined to try particular products. And one of the areas of opportunities for us was in one of our key pages and journeys where, which you can go to it’s, slash individual. And you can see we recently updated that page. And we had been doing a lot of research on the website and how people go through that journey. Meaning, you know, there’s a lot of different entry points, a user might land on the homepage, then they might determine that a particular product is right for them, and go to the individual page and then go to a plans page. And from doing a lot of research, we found that people didn’t understand what Dropbox was and what it could do for them, particularly if they were a personal user. So you know, how does Dropbox help me? Share my files? What does it mean for my files to be in the cloud? You know, questions like that. And knowing that there was a problem, okay, people don’t understand what Dropbox is what it can do for them, we set out on exploring different ways to solve that. And one key to successful approach here is, we worked with brand design, we worked with marketing, we worked with writing, marketing, writing, basically content, product design. And then of course, the key like engineering, product research and analysts. And it was really important that we worked with brand, and marketing and writing, which maybe are sometimes considered less key partners in a lot of product development, but for growth is really, really essential. Because some of the areas, some of the problem areas more of brand problems. Or maybe I should say we an opportunity to use brand to help people understand what Dropbox is and what it can do for them and an opportunity to use writing clear language to help users understand so did a lot of kind of typical design process where we brought people in, we did some brainstorming, we came up with some key principles about how we would approach the solution space. And some of them map to our company values, such as one of our company values is network human, which I really love. And when we took that company value in to our sessions, and we looked at the current experience, we realized, there are some gaps between our how our webpage is, and when our value is, such as there were some of our imagery was overly abstract, and a little bit more like, you know, almost like modern art, and less about like people using software. We didn’t have as much images of what the software was. So people didn’t really understand Dropbox. But we weren’t really showing them what it was and how it could fit into their world. And then when we looked at some of the ways, some of the ways that some of the copy was written again, it was there was an opportunity to make it about what the value we provided to a user in terms of whether either to their job to be done was or given their potential needs. So the end experience was basically


a page that had a much better flow. So kind of the true user experience stuff, we knew where users were coming from, and where they would land and how they would work through that page in a productive way. And used updated brand imagery that had real people and copy that was about users and what it could do for them. And overall, a much better user experience people could more easily determine what Dropbox was and what it could do for them. It fit in with our brand and marketing guidelines, and ultimately drove business results. So I love that story. Because we were able to win across the board. We updated the page to be more in line with our company values of making it human. It was a better brand experience better market experience, overall better customer experience, and people ended up converting better and I just love that that that playbook.