Retention: Growth Beyond Acquisition

Product growth is not only getting more users to try your product in the short term. We need to be focusing on getting more long-term users to actively engage with growth products.

As product leaders, we tend to prioritize acquisition in order to get more people to use our products. The reality is that growing your product is not limited to acquisition. You can drive growth by improving retention or creating a resurrection for users.

The maturity of your product will impact which growth lever you choose to drive adoption. For example, companies like LinkedIn and Pinterest are in a resurrection stage. They have a large user base but need to keep enhancing their product to drive engagement. At Slack, we are focused on increasing active users through acquisition and increasing retention.

Shifting focus from growing total users to growing active users can be difficult to understand. With this, I like to use an analogy using a bucket of water. The bucket is your product and the water coming into it represents your acquisition funnel.

Any water that leaves your bucket is user churn or a loss of retention. But if you are able to get that water back into the bucket, you are able to refill your funnel and reset the direction for your product. As a result, by holding onto more water, your growth products retain more active users.

Even if you have a small acquisition funnel, you can still grow quickly if you can maximize your retention and engage with more active users.

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