Learning from Hacker News

On May 29th MemCachier was on the front page of Hacker News for just over two hours.  Although I was initially super excited about the exposure we got, the excitement faded when we observed hardly any impact to our meaningful metrics — new and upgraded customers.  The rest of this post will explain exactly how the Hacker News exposure impacted us.

The Blog Post That Made It

I’ll summarize the blog post quickly.  It was about a customer success story for an app that was pretty cute and relevant for the Hacker News community — facebookipodayclosingprice.com.  It started by introducing facebookipodayclosingprice.com and then shifted to explain how facebookipodayclosingprice.com used MemCachier to scale.  The call to action at the end of the post was to “learn more about MemCachier.”

Results by the Numbers

We were on the front page from about 2:30-4:30pm PST.  We got as high as 16 but stayed mostly around 21 or 22.  Here are some raw stats from Google Analytics:

  • Page views: 2,347
  • Uniques: 2,067
  • Bounce rate (percentage of people who left after reading): 83.74%
  • Average time reading the post: 1:47
  • Percentage of page views that visited our home page after reading: 4.2%
  • Number of customers who signed up in that period of time: 3
  • Number of paying customers who signed up in that period of time: 0
  • Number of upgraded customers in that period of time: 0
  • Tweets from non-bots: 2

Results for the Days that Followed

Sadly, our two hours of fame didn’t make much different in the days that followed.  The next day our traffic was back to normal, we didn’t have a spike of new customers, and we didn’t have a spike of upgraded customers.  Business as usual.

Summary

The Hacker News post didn’t help us all that much.  The only lasting effect is awareness — more people have read the word “MemCachier” now than they did before.  Awareness is important, yes, but right now we’re focussed on acquiring new customers and upgrading existing customers.  Although I expect we would have seen better results if the blog post was more actionable and more about why hackers should care about our service.

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