Advanced marketing insights. By email.

This is a special newsletter. Twice a month, we ask hundreds of Y Combinator founders which advanced growth tactics are working for them. Then we share those insights with you.
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"I open and read every email that Demand Curve sends. The content is advanced and teaches something novel and useful in each issue."
Hiten Shah
Co-founder, FYI + KISSmetrics

Example insights

Ad Creatives

How do startups make their video ads?

  • SaaS and mobile apps: They often use Screenflow or TechSmith to record a 45 second timelapse of their in-app experience. Then they pair that recording with a professional voice over from VoiceBunny.
  • Ecom business: They often create stop-motion animations of their product in action, for which they’ll hire an inexpensive animator through Upwork. Or, they’ll intercut stock footage from Shutterstock alongside footage of their product being used. They’ll use Animoto as their video editing tool and they’ll source product videographers through Thumbtack or Yelp.
  • Some companies make animated explainer videos. One inexpensive way to make these is to pair a Fiverr animator with a professional voice over from VoiceBunny.

Insights sourced from the following founders in our community: Connor Mooney of Zestful and Asher Abramson of Demand Curve.

Ecommerce Insights

Tips for working with influencers

  • Create a referral system for influencers: Influencers who sign up others get a % of their sales or signups. This makes a mini-pyramid structure and turns your influencers into a salesforce. Why is this important? Some influencers don't actually sell products, but just sign up tons of other influencers. Find these people.
  • Geo rollouts: Your ROI increases when a bunch of influencers in the same category / region share your product within an interval of 2-4 weeks. It gives the impression that everyone is talking about your product.
  • Initially focus on influencers with 10-150k audiences. They’re smaller and more willing to accept bartered deals. There are enough influencers in this range willing to work in exchange for a free product. Most may not be producing results, but some work well, bringing in 50-200 customers within 24 hours. As you build up your following and reputation for your brand, it becomes much easier to work with more influential people.

Insights sourced from the following founders in our community: Barron Caster of Rev and Cezar Grigore from BUMP.

Email Marketing

Don’t abandon email unsubscribers. They’re still useful.

You’ve launched a new feature and want to tell your audience about it. You can send an email to your newsletter subscribers, but how do you reach the 20%+ who unsubscribed? Most people mistakenly consider this audience to be a lost cause.

  • Create a custom audience of all newsletter unsubscribers on Facebook.
  • Run ads announcing the new feature to that audience.
  • Now you’ve reactivated people who at one point had an interest in your product — instead of forever ignoring them.

Insights sourced from the following founders in our community: Matt Sornson of Clearbit.

Search Engine Marketing

Should you run Bing Ads if you have Google Ads working?

"I tested Bing on many clients for whom Google Ads worked. With Bing, however, volume is very low for the same terms. I find conversion rate is also lower (CPC’s were lower, however, so it can net out okay). Rarely was Bing a significant revenue driver, BUT you can have Bing Ads auto-sync with Google Ads. So it’s set-it-and-forget-it. Might as well test it and see."

Also, keep in mind the ‘average user’ on Bing skews older and less technically sophisticated. If that aligns with your target demographic, great.

Insights sourced from the following founders in our community: Jeremy Gurewitz of Imperfect Produce and Neal O'Grady of Demand Curve.

Other Ad Channels

How do you sponsor YouTube influencers cost-effectively?

  • Influencers often expect compensation proportional to subscribers, but conversions happen proportional to views. So go after the influencers with high views and low subscribers. That’s the trick.
  • We’ve had the best success with 30-60 second promo spots at the beginning of the influencer’s video.
  • We’ve seen success depend on the video it’s attached to and what time of day/week it’s posted, so we’re strict about setting rules around that. Or, we give them a bonus based on the video’s view count to incentivize them to put our spot on a high-quality video.
  • Be careful with repeat promotions with the same influencer. These haven’t yielded noteworthy returns for us — even after months. It’s likely that the audience becomes saturated.

Insights sourced from the following founders in our community: Bjarke Felbo of Rune.

Growth Engineering

Overcoming ad blockers that screw up your conversion data

  • Ad blockers can block FB's tracking libraries and underreport ad conversions (even by 50%). The trick? Consider using the static IMG FB pixel — not the JavaScript one — which ad blockers don’t appear to block.
  • Here’s another ad block workaround: You can extract UTM tags from the URL then save them into LocalStorage using JavaScript. Next, send that stored data plus the user’s on-site conversion behavior to a custom backend that, inherently, will circumvent ad blockers. Just be diligent about ensuring your marketing links all have UTM tags.
  • Remember that the use of ad blockers varies heavily by audience and device type. Depending on who your audience is, ad blockers can either be a huge problem or a non-problem. So, for example, few people on mobile have ad blockers. Not much of a problem there. However, on desktop, up to ~75% of millennial gamers and techies may have it installed.

Insights sourced from the following founders in our community: Aaron Cheung from Homeaglow.

"Demand Curve has trained many YC company founders and employees — and are a course we regularly recommend."
Gustaf Alströmer
Partner, Y Combinator

10,000+ startups rely on our newsletter to grow

I’m not sure where I could even go to get these same insights. Seems like the only place, and it’s high-leverage.
Jimmy Joe
VP, Papa & Barkley
Shockingly non-spammy. Clean, concise content. Would love to get this weekly instead of biweekly even.
Landon Brand
Founder, Project Wren
This is one of four newsletters I willingly subscribe to. Don’t hesitate. It's reliably useful.
Connor Mooney
Growth, Zestful
I’m new to marketing, and this newsletter was an effective shortcut for getting me up to speed.
Bjarke Felbo
Founder, Rune (YC)
Probably the only newsletter I look forward to. It’s fun seeing what all the other YC founders are doing for growth.
Jeremy Cai
Founder, Italic
This. Is. Actually. Good. I read every issue.
Liron Shapira
CEO, Relationship Hero (YC)
I read every issue. The growth marketing insights are legitimately good.
Jeremy Gurewitz
VP, Imperfect Produce
I look forward to every issue. Insights are always interesting and rarely self-evident.
Anthony Zhang
Growth, Blockfolio
This is the best community for growth professionals — period.
Wes Wagner
Growth, Microverse (YC)
It’s a very high-leverage newsletter. You’d have to do a lot of trial and error to get these learnings.
Neal Jean
CEO, Beacons (YC)
Have feedback? Tweet us your thoughts: @julian @nealogrady @asherthoughts
Everyone who has a newsletter should subscribe to this one just to see how to do it properly.
Warren Wu
Growth, UpKeep

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"I read every issue. The growth marketing insights are legitimately good."
Jeremy Gurewitz
VP of Growth, Imperfect Produce