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airbnb growth meet up summary

A Behind the Scenes Look at Airbnb Growth Engineering Meetup: How It Was in 2019

They say it’s better late than never, so it’s time for a small throwback to Growth Engineering Meetup I visited two weeks ago, and to share my impressions of the event.

airbnb growth meetup summary

A group of product managers, marketers, and other tech people got cozy in a huge Airbnb basement on May 7, 2019, to listen to top growth hackers from the host and guest speakers from Reddit and Netflix.

So, the first to speak up was Chris Beaumont, Data Scientist from Netflix.

Chris explained that in developing product messaging, it is really important to focus on churned customers and drop-offs, as you need to return the first and onboard the latter.

Apart from that, Chris outlined the 5 pillars of product messaging. These include:

  • Platform
  • Personalization
  • Customer engagement
  • Customer growth
  • Account

Chris also emphasized the importance of two things that are crucial for ongoing product development. These are:

  1. A/B testing. It allows you to test out different concepts and measure the causal effects they may have on your product.
  2. Interaction analytics. Ongoing measurement of interaction signals (number of views, sign-ups, clicks, etc.) allows you to collect the data needed for quality decision making.

Vaibhav Sahgal, Head of Growth from Reddit, was the next to share his growth tactics.

In his talk, Vaibhav covered the history of push notifications, explaining how their evolution transformed the trends in mobile.

The most insightful thing to learn was the secret of Reddit’s success. As Vaibhav explained, channels do eventually burn out. And it is essential to keep up with the trends to ensure your product is still relevant and of value.

According to Vaibhav, the mobile app is 10x more likely to retain the user than the web. And it is one of the main reasons Reddit is pushing for more users to switch from website to mobile app. It will help the platform remain popular and engaging, no matter what trends shape our digital consumption habits.

Zhentao Sun, Engineer from Airbnb, was super insightful. He dived into the ways you can turn abandoners into true brand ambassadors. But before we proceed, let me first explain who abandoners actually are.

As Zhentao said, these are the users who interact with your brand but never complete a transaction. No matter the reason they never do it, one thing is clear: when it comes to getting these users back, things get really tough.

That is why Zhentao introduced us to the methods brands use to bring users back to their websites. These include:

  • Ads
  • Notifications
    • Emails
    • Push notifications
    • SMS

Then he outlined a few rules to live by to make abandon notifications truly efficient. Noteworthy is that these notifications should not be sent to random users. Countless follow-ups will not work here as well. According to Zhentao, it is really important to understand the persona you are targeting and choose it considering that.

First, you should find the right abandoners. Criteria choice (number of interactions, openings, clicks, etc.) is up to you.

Second, you should choose the rules of the game. They will help you strike the firm balance between being pushy and professional. Such rules should be set individually. Some of the examples used by Airbnb are:

  • Don’t send if the user didn’t open the last email
  • Send if the user searched with dates for at least 4 times
  • Don’t send if the user didn’t view any listing details page

Third, target the right abandoners. Instead of writing generic emails, craft personalized pitches and count on the results.

The insights I got from attending the event are wonderfully practical. I will gladly apply Netflix’s and Airbnb’s and Reddit’s experiences to what is currently happening at YouTeam, and perhaps, we’ll also have 5M+ data points one day! (fingers crossed!)

I also have to mention that the event would not have been such a success without the tireless work of its organizers.

Kudos, AirBnB, and can’t wait for more 🔥

I had lots of fun and did I mention the great pizza?🍕

Yura Riphyak

Yura Riphyak

Yura Riphyak is a Co-Founder and CPO at YouTeam.

A serial entrepreneur, Yura has founded 4 companies since 2010, with 1 successful exit. Before starting YouTeam, Yura co-founded Hubbub.fm - a “Twitter for Voice”.
Yura is also an LSE-graduate in Economics, mentors a number of startups and teaches a crash-course on business modelling in several universities.

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