Search-driven vs. discovery-driven products

Whenever I evaluate a venture or consider a potential new product, my first step is to understand how this idea will engage its initial users.

On a high level, I categorize them into two groups: search-driven and discovery-driven products.

Search-driven implies that users are aware of the problem and actively search for a solution. My task is then to comprehend where they are searching and how they are conducting their search. Some of the most popular channels for search-driven products include SEO and SEA.

A collection of search-driven and discovery-driven acquisition channels (taken from a venture I evaluated)

Conversely, discovery-driven products must be found by users and actively marketed to them to encourage usage. This does not necessarily mean that the problem is less significant, but rather that the solution is not yet in the user's consideration set. Hence, the focus shifts to creating awareness and interest, often through social media, influencer marketing, and content marketing.

Understanding whether your product is search-driven or discovery-driven is essential in strategizing your marketing and customer engagement approach. This insight allows you to tailor your methods to meet your users where they are, whether they are actively seeking a solution or yet to discover the need for one.

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