Three months ago, we launched Email Hunter for Chrome and today we had the pleasure of reaching the 10,000 installations milestone.

This is one of our main KPI because the extension is at the heart of our growth mechanisms. In this article I’ll explain what are these mechanisms and how we managed to reach this growth.

The web app / browser extension duo

Email Hunter for Chrome is a convenient way to use Email Hunter, making it available where people need it. Nevertheless, it’s not replacing our web app. It is just an other way to access Email Hunter’s core value (technically speaking, to access our API).

In our case, it appeared very efficient for our growth to put forward the browser extension, sometimes even before the free sign up:

  • Having an extension installed is a good way to promote a regular usage and boost retention. Most of the time, people use Email Hunter when they have to find an email address, but having an icon directly in the browser is a good reminder. People with the extension connect 24% more often on the website.
  • It’s very easy to ask someone to install a Chrome extension, thanks to inline installation. Actually, it can be much easier to ask someone to install your plugin rather than asking him to give its email address (which is paradoxical because installing a browser extension is more intrusive and can raise more privacy issues than giving a few personal information to create an online account).

What’s interesting is that the browser extension is both an acquisition and a retention engine. It plays a role in two different funnels:

The first funnel is the conventional one. A visitor discovers your service, creates a free account, and then your present him your Chrome extension that makes your product even more awesome.

Conversion funnel 1

In the second funnel, the browser extension plays the role of an acquisition engine. First the visitor discovers the extension (directly on the Chrome Web Store, or from any place online promoting the extension). After a few tries, the extension requires the user to create an account, and he discovers your complete service.

Conversion funnel 2

The same mechanisms apply for many SaaS products which provide a browser extension adding value to the intitial product. For example, Buffer, SimilarWeb or Pocket are much more interesting when they’re used with their browser extensions.

From 0 to 10,000 installs

Installations statistics

There were 2 steps:

  • The launch: once again, Product Hunt was very helpful and generated most of the launch’s traffic. We also emailed our users to promote the new feature. We got 3,000 installs the first week.
  • Then we had to build a sustainable growth promoting the extension at the right moment in our conversion funnels. We iterated on multiple ways to promote it (with dedicated message in dashboard, email notification, etc.). In the last 3 months, the number of installations per week has been growing. As of today, we get almost 1,000 new users per week.

## Where our installs came from

The “one-shot” sources

  • Product Hunt
  • Email announcement to our users using Chrome
  • Articles talking about us in blogs
  • Shares on social medias

In this cases, our job was just to make sure people share the link to our landing page rather than the Chrome Web Store. This helped us to increase the conversion rate.

The recurring sources

These are the most important sources. The goal here is to build scalable and repetable growth mechanisms. Week after week, we iterated on multiple points of contact to get more installs.

Popup on homepage

  • Homepage: It’s is by far the most visited page on Email Hunter, and it would have been a shame not to use it. We added a notification bar and an exit popup (opening when the visitor intents to leave the page). These only appear once and are limited to Chrome users that haven’t installed the extension yet. Never bother people if you know they won’t be interested!
  • Email Hunter’s dashboard: We also remind current users to give our Chrome extension a try with a call to action in the dashboard.
  • Email notification: Every user on the Chrome Browser who hasn’t installed the extension yet will receive an email notification 7 days after signing up.
  • Blog: if you’re using Chrome, you may have noticed that the main call to action of this page is to install the extension!
  • Chrome Webs Store: we’ve optimized our page on the store to have a good ranking. I’ve written an answer on Quora about SEO on Chrome Web Store if you want to know more about it.

What is important to notice here is that there is no silver bullet. For us, growth is an accumulation of small improvements that drives users one step closer to our goals and not the result a miracle “growth hack”.

I would love to hear your own experience about growing a Chrome extensions!

François Grante
François Grante