Growth teams at the some of the most successful startups have learned to identify leading indicators of whether a user will turn into an engaged user later on. Josh Elman, Twitter’s product lead for growth and relevance until 2011, took a look at their usage numbers and realized that once a user follows 30 people, they’re more or less active forever… Chamath Palihapitiya, who ran Facebook’s growth team, said that the Aha! moment they used was a user reaching 7 friends in 10 days… Nabeel Hyatt, former GM at Zynga, realized in their case that if someone came back the next day after signing up for a game, they were much more likely to become an engaged and paying user…
In most cases, the best way to identify these moments is to look at different cohorts of users that became engaged and cohorts of users that didn’t and see what sorts of patterns emerge. Once you’ve identified your Aha! moment, focus your UX to get as many people to reach that moment as soon as possible. Try to get them to complete that step during their first interaction with your product.
(1) One word of caution about this excerpt: it confuses the “Aha! moment” with the actions which bring a user to that moment.
(2) Using Facebook as an example: Facebook’s “Aha! moment” is an experience of connection to your friends. The way the user gets to that experience, Chamath discovered, is by adding 7 friends in 10 days.