internal Facebook memo shows how the company used a
"psychological trick" that could attract teen users to a
memo, obtained by BuzzFeed, was sent by executives at tbh,
the once-popular teen polling app that was acquired and
recently shut down by Facebook.
tbh staffers shared how they attracted so many teens to
their app — by creating private accounts on Instagram and
then following attendees of a particular school.
wrote that this was a "novel method" of attracting new
users, if difficult to scale.
An internal memoobtained
by BuzzFeedshows how a group of
Facebook staffers became "obsessed" with finding ways to
attract high schoolers to a new product — and landed on a
"psychological trick" that worked.
note was put together by executives at tbh, the once-popular
viral polling app that was bought andrecently
shut down by Facebook. It isn't
clear when the memo was sent.
though Facebook shuttered tbh for "low usage," it did
provide learnings for Facebook's own polling tools,
according to BuzzFeed. And, it appears, it provided a
playbook for targeting younger users.
created private Instagram accounts, then followed teen users
to trigger their curiosity
reason tbh was so successful in attracting young users to
its app, its founders wrote in the memo, was because it used
growth hacking-style methods.
than relying on a blowout press campaign, tbh used Instagram
to create a sense of mystery. This, they said, was "a novel
team obsessed with finding ways to get individual high
schools to adopt a product simultaneously," they wrote in
the memo. "We designed a novel method that was reproducible,
explained how tbh would create dedicated, private Instagram
accounts that targeted users of a particular school.
advantage of the fact that many high schoolers list their
school on their Instagram profiles, tbh found a school's
location page, then followed any accounts that included that
school's name. The tbh account would be blank, except for a
call-to-action inviting people to stay tuned for its future
to BuzzFeed, young users would be curious and follow the
tbh had collated enough follow requests for its private
account, it would wait till 4 p.m., when schools typically
finish, known as "The Golden Launch Hour" internally at tbh.
would then add the App Store URL for its main app to its
private Instagram profile and set the account public, which
notified teen users that their follow request had been
accepted. They would often follow the link and download the
app and like magic, tbh essentially went viral among teens.
note's authors wrote that these kinds of hacky tactics "are
certainly too 'scrappy' for a big company," but added that
Facebook could learn from their methods. That might include
sending out push notifications instead of download links,
"to ensure critical mass" for a new launch.