Experiences from launching in Product Hunt

Apr 15, 2015

Three weeks ago we officially launched our Agile team dashboard on Product Hunt after two years in the making. We knew PH is an active community of early adopters but didn’t have any experience of it and therefore did not really know what to expect.

This post is to share our experiences for those who are in the same situation, with some practical tips on how to make most out of you PH submission. 

We’ve blogged about our preparations for the product launch here and here.

Before that, we had “soft-launched” six months earlier at Betalist, another great community of beta testers. We got 25 signups from there, which also resulted some early paying customers.

Notice that Betalist only accepts products that are in beta i.e. there’s no signup form available for everyone, but only beta invites or such. 

We were thrilled! We also tried some other similar sites - there’s plenty of those - but Beta list was by far the most active community.

Well, that was until we experienced Product Hunt. 

When posting to PH, you enter the name of the product and a tagline that is used to create an entry. After pondering different alternatives we ended up to a tagline Screenful - Visualize your project progress on large screens. You can see it here shortly after it was posted:

Product Hunt works so that every day there’s a bunch of new products posted, and the community upvotes those that they like the most. It’s a closed community in a sense that while anyone can submit a new product, only community members can comment them. However, once your product is submitted, you will receive an invitation to join the discussion from the PH staff. Then you get to introduce yourself and answer any questions that community members may have.  

So I posted my first comment:

We started to get some discussion going on and people voting us up. A real surprise was waiting once I checked the real-time stats from Google Analytics. People were actually visiting our site - the numbers grew from 20 to 30 and 40, eventually up to close to 100 simultaneous visitors. That’s something we haven’t witnessed before! 

These visitors came from all over the world as can be seen on the map:

What that map tells us is that now it’s easier than ever to get your product launched globally from the start! And it’s completely free to submit your product to Product Hunt. That’s awesome!

So what did we get out of these visitors. Did they provide us useful feedback? Did they sign up? Here are some figures:

  • we got about 15 000 unique visitors to our website from PH

  • we got total of 114 signups during the following 48 hours

Here’s a distribution of signups by geography

The ‘other’ category contains signups (not in any particular order) from China, Australia, Croatia, Italy, Germany, India, Denmark, Israel, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal, Russia, Brazil, Netherlands, Turkey, Greece, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Sweden, and Finland.

Notice that these are figures for the first 48 hours - we’re still receiving visits (and signups) from Product Hunt three weeks after the submission but those are not included in these numbers. 

One thing that is striking me is the small number of Finnish companies in the signups. There was only one signup from Finland but 5 from Sweden. 


Why is that? Are Finnish companies slow to adopt new technologies? I hope it ain’t so. 

But how do these numbers rank compared to average PH submission? We don’t know, at least I haven’t seen such stats being published by PH. Every day there’s tens of products submitted and the "winner of the day” seems to get closer to 1000 upvotes. We ended up at fifth place with about 300 upvotes.  

Why does it matter how many upvotes you get? It’s because top voted products are featured in the daily and weekly emails that can provide even further distribution. We felt that the next day when there was another peak of visitors coming via "daily top 10” newsletter. What a nice aftershock! 

Lessons learned

Here are some lessons we learned from our product launch. 

Launch at Betalist when you are not yet ready for a full launch but you would like have some early adopters trying out your product to get some early feedback. 

Launch at Product Hunt when when you’re ready to handle a large number of signups. Resist the urge to launch at too early stage. 

Many of the products listed on any given day are targeted for consumers. So is Product Hunt suitable place to launch a B2B product? Based on our experience, yes. But that also depends on your target audience. Product Hunt attracts lots of developers, designers and savvy internet users in general. Many of them are freelancers, startup founders and other small business owners. However, we also got signups from some really big companies so there’s diversity in its user base.  

If these are your target users, then Product Hunt is an extremely good place to launch your B2B product. 

Here a some tips to help you make most out of your submission:

  • Don’t post yourself but use someone who’s active in PH. That gives your product some extra credibility. 

  • Timing matters - try Betalist first, then PH when you’re product is polished enough

  • Think of a good tagline. Have few alternatives and ask opinion from others - which one would draw their attention?

  • Reach out to your networks. While it’s not allowed to game the system by asking for upvotes, you can still let others to know that you’re there. 

  • Be prepared to work on signups for the next few days, they’ll have questions to ask, and chances are there’s few bugs to be uncovered now that there’s more people using your product. Reserve some free space in your calendar. 

  • Automate your on-boarding process. That includes automating tasks like account creation, drip emails, metrics collection etc. Otherwise you may find yourself spending a lot of time doing manual tasks!

That’s it. Good luck for your product launch!

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This article was written by Sami Linnanvuo

Sami is the founder & CEO of Screenful, the company that turns data into visual stories. You can find him on Twitter.