This the story on how we (the PixelMe team) launched a side project marketing during summer 19’ and why we decided to build a Saas product out of it. You might want to take a ☕️, it’s going to be a bit long!
Everything started in Corsica
On June 19’ we decided to gather the team for 1 month somewhere in a lovely place. Because we all love warm and sun, after many thoughts we finally found an amazing villa somewhere in Corsica. Let’s be honest, Corsica is true Paradise, one of the most beautiful places in the world for sure 😉(I don’t say that because it’s a French island 😅). So we were all working hard and enjoying some afternoon at the beach when Tom and Stephen started talking about the Facebook Ads Library.
For some context, at the end of March 19’, for transparency purposes, Facebook launched what they called the “Facebook Ads library”(let’s shorten it FAL for the rest of the article). A new place where you can search for any Facebook page and see their live Ads. Super interesting website for Paid marketers who are looking for inspiration and monitor their competitors.
Since Facebook rolled out the FAL, we were chatting a lot internally on how we could leverage the Library for PixelMe. How we could use it to find companies that are doing paid ads, find inspiration for our paid experimentation and look at what our competitors were doing!
So back in Corsica, the team came up with an idea that would go one step further: what if we could monitor the FAL for you, and send you an alert every time a competitor or a company you admire would launch a new ad on Facebook? It would be much much easier than searching every day the FAL!
After a quick team brainstorming, we realized we could do it technically and this would perfectly help our PixelMe target customers: Traffic Manager, Paid acquisition manager, Lead generation manager, etc. They are always on the lookout for creative ideas and they’re always trying to spy on their competitors!
Ok! Let’s do it then 💪
How to build a service with tight resources?
So a couple of days in, we’ve started to think about how we were going to build this service, as the team was very busy working on PixelMe attribution!
First, the idea was to cut all the unnecessary options in order to reduce the scope of the service to its minimum. The goal here is to deliver the core value of the service: “Send an Alert (email) when company X launch a new ad”. If nobody would signup for this, then it’s not necessary to add Slack notification, or add any extra library… I am sure you got our point here?
We ended up deciding, the service would be a simple website, no signup form, so no account. The users would fill the link of the Facebook page they’d love to monitor. Then fill their email to receive the alerts and that’s it! What if they would monitor several different competitors? they would have to do the process again! We know it’s “boring” but it allows us to avoid a lot of unnecessary development without any validation!
Tom mocked up the website and the requirements and we found a freelance to build the service. A quick note here: In case you hire someone out of your organization, it’s super important that you clearly design what you want to build and properly described the product requirements. So it’s easier to come up with a clear brief.
To do this job we decided to hire Leo as a freelancer. We always had a good relationship with Leo, even though he left PixelMe to focus on his side project. Leo had some bandwidth to help us.
Tom quickly handled all the task like finding a name, creating a logo buying a domain. The team quickly crafted the copy content of the landing page, the tagline, etc. Of course, when you already have a team it’s easier and faster to accomplish all these tasks.
In two weeks, we’ve been able to put together a website with a fully functional service. It costs us about $1,000 to pay for Leo's salary and other stuff like domain name etc.
Introducing Adinbox.me to the world
Like many other people, in the tech ecosystem, our go-to solution to share a new product with the rest of the world is usually Product Hunt! For those who don’t know it yet, PH is a curation of the best new products, every day!
This is the best channel to attract early users quickly for a product like Adinbox. You can usually get a sense pretty quickly if the product will be of any interest to your audience.
To properly launch on Product Hunt, you first need to find the right “hunter” for your product. A hunter is a person who is sharing the product on a specific day. You want someone who is in your target audience, who hunt products regularly and who have a big enough list of followers on PH.
Our favorite person at PixelMe is Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré (@NikkiElizDemere on Twitter 😄). She is a rock star in Saas and the perfect person to hunt Adinbox. We were super happy she was ok hunting it.
First, we wanted to announce the birth of Adinbox to our community and create momentum. So we crafted a newsletter to our beloved PixelMe users. They would be the first to know about Adinbox and on our side, we would be able to see their feeling about this new service.
The reactions were pretty positive!
So with the right hunter and early validation, we were ready for the big day. We didn’t have any idea of what to expect with this launch. We had some stats from the PixelMe product hunt back in the day but that was only it. (I think it was about 900 upvotes the first day which generated 200 signups).
Our goal was to spend the less possible time on Adinbox, deliver a super simple service that would help our target users and would generate some traffic for PixelMe. Of course, we already had a long list of features we wanted to implement, but the goal was to stay as lean as possible.
Big launch day — Product Hunt quick reminder
Here a list of a few things we try to respect for every launch to maximize our chance of success:
- Launch the product in the morning in France, so you get all the European upvotes first before the US wakes up.
- Never ever ask for upvotes directly, instead share your product in different communities, groups, etc.
- Find an influential maker who will hunt you.
- Prepare a crystal clear presentation of your product
- Reply to all the comments during the launch day
Our expectations were very low. Indeed we thought if we got 100 signups at the end of the first day we will consider the PH launch as a success.
Here are a few metrics: Product Hunt page
- We ended up the PH launch as #3 product of the day. Good but not enough
- We had 500+ upvotes and 50+ comments
- We had 4,000+ visitors in 2 days (July 25th & 26th) on Adinbox.me
- 500+ signups at the end of the first day
Honestly, at the end of the first day, we were pretty much happy with the results.
The Power of the press and the flip side of it
The icing on the cake came about a day after the PH launch. We discovered Andrew Hutchinson featured us in an article on social media today 😱 New Tool Provides Email Alerts Whenever Your Competitors Launch a Facebook Ad Campaign
We immediately started to see a huge spike of visitors and signups. Suddenly we passed the 1,000 signups. Everything went super fast and unfortunately, the service was never build to support such a huge spike of users. So our CTO Jérémie had to fix it quickly many times, but after a few days, everything crashed completely…
We had to take a hard decision, stop the service, time for us to rebuild it from the ground up.
But because we’re marketers we were not going to let the momentum go and decided to use this opportunity to initiate a waiting list!
Again we used Prefinery, our favorite tool to do that.
So we offered our visitors to signup to our waiting list and still asked them to list their competitor’s Facebook Page.
After completing the form, the waiting list was asking them to invite their friends in order to skip the waiting list and access the product faster.
As you can see in the screen below, we had a 20% sign up rate even though the waiting list. From what we use to see, this is a great conversion rate 💪The viral effect of the waiting list was about 16%. It means that 16% of the new signup came from a referral.
Ok so now, we have to work on the product and deliver the value again.
What about the impact on PixelMe?
Remember, the initial goal of Adinbox was to create a side project marketing that would generate some leads for PixelMe Retargeting & Attribution.
We wanted this new project fully independent from PixelMe and we were not necessarily planning to use the email collected to reach out to the signup users.
So we decided to go with this mention of PixelMe at the bottom of the landing page:
“Powered by PixelMe. The first customer attribution Platform”.
A couple of days after the launch:
- PixelMe got 2,000+ visitors from Adinbox.me link, 25 signups mostly for Attribution and 1 subscriber for Audience Builder.
- PixelMe was mentioned in a lot of social media posts alongside AdinboxMe name.
- We never did anything with the 6,000+ signups database. No communication, no retargeting 🙈
- But we jumped on many calls with Agencies or new signup users interested in our solutions.
So we can say that the Adinbox launch was a real success for PixelMe.
What’s next for Adinbox?
Since then, in order to focus on PixelMe and not Adinbox.me. We partnered with Phantombuster to help us scrap the Facebook Ads Library. The FAL is not available through Facebook API yet!
The product is fully working and has a lot of active users. (I’ll share them in my next article 😉).
You can signup for free here
Looking at all these metrics, it’s pretty clear Adinbox provides real value for many users. So we’ve decided to build a fully functional Saas product. At the same time, we’re adding much more Ads library (Linkedin, Twitter and Google Ads). Also, we’re adding a new feature, that will let you get an alert every time someone is bidding on your brand/product name or simply any keywords you’d love to monitor 😄.
In my next article, I’ll tell you everything since when we relaunch Adinbox, the number of users, Alerts, etc…
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