Alverta Shani · June 13, 2019

GOJEK’s Growth Story: The Secret Behind Our Hypergrowth

When Nadiem Makarim built the ojek call center under the name GO-JEK in 2010, the number of completed orders per day was only 10.

In January 2015, the call center transformed into a tech company with the launch of the GO-JEK app. As of December 2018, the app has grown 1,607x, based on our recorded total downloads of more than 125 million.

If you think about it, the growth of our company is extremely fast and I can tell you,

It’s not because of pure luck.
It’s because we have an awesome growth team (and incredible product teams as well!)

If you are wondering how the growth team affects GOJEK’s fast growth, you have come to the right place. I sat down with Puti Ara Zena, Head of Growth, as she patiently explained (to me) what her team does.

To be honest, I didn’t really understand the function of the Growth team when I first talked to Puti. My first question was:

Does every company need to have a Growth team?

Not necessarily.

The Growth team is perfect to have when the product is already market fit. Chandini Amminenin describes the product market fit (P/M Fit) as a product that solves a problem “well enough” for “a big enough” market.

How do you know if your product is already a market fit?

When the product already has a stable long term retention and when the retention numbers are already in accordance with industry standards. Your product is also P/M Fit when new users who just signed up have better retention numbers than the old users.

If your product is still in a pre-P/M Fit stage, the only thing the owner can do is to experiment with the root problem of the products. They might need to change the target customers or the way they communicate the product to the users before forming a Growth team.

If your product is already P/M Fit, then your goal is to optimize the experience and expansion. The methodology you use to achieve this goal is Growth SCRUM & Machine while the metric that should be utilized is the growth rate.

So when a company declares that their growth for a year is 3x or 5x, you know they probably have a growth team or a team that has a similar job to the Growth team, because these numbers are created based on this particular measurement.

I mentioned the Growth SCRUM earlier, the methodology that the Growth team should use when the product is already P/M Fit, but what exactly does it mean?

Scrum is a methodology that our Growth team usually uses in order to accomplish our goal. It is the process when they want to do a whole bunch of experiments.

The table above pictures the typical day-to-day activities of the Growth team every week. They start with a weekly meeting at the beginning of the week to know what kind of experiments they are going to run this week. Sharing insights and reviewing last week’s experiments are also included in this meeting.

Over the next three days, the Growth team will run experiments and the week will be closed with a retrospective to know which experiments worked and what they can learn from the failed ones.

After they discover which experiments are working, the team will do a systemization to put all the proven experiments into automation, so it can be released to a larger number of users.

Now, do you think that being part of the Growth team is challenging enough? And have you ever wondered what background you should have to become a full-time explorer doing all these experiments?

Let’s get to know the Growth team members.

The Growth team consists of multiple small independent and cross-functional teams. Each of these small teams are formed by a growth manager, developer, UI/UX writer & designer, and data analyst. These people with different backgrounds are expected to do the experiments independently and quickly because once the experiment is proven, it can be rapidly scaled.

Why does GOJEK need a Growth team?

Puti says that we have a lot of people using our products daily so the retention numbers of the users are stable. We also know that some of our users have understood the value of our product, so by industry standard, we can say that our product is good.

Then why exactly do we need a Growth team if the product is already good enough?

Well, it wouldn’t be GOJEK if we weren’t looking for other problems to solve.

Although the number of user retention is quite stable, we still want more people to benefit from our products to solve their problems daily.

This is where the Growth team becomes relevant because their main objective is to increase the number of North Star Metrics (NSM) that influences the company the most.

What exactly is North Star Metrics?

It’s the one metric that matters and captures the value of a product that can be delivered to the users. For Facebook, it’s the number of daily active users. For Airbnb, it’s the number of nights booked.

For GOJEK, it’s the numbers of completed orders. We always want to increase these numbers and that’s why we need the Growth team to figure out how to do it.

Okay, now that you have understood what NSM is, let’s talk about how the Growth team works to increase those numbers.

The picture above portrays a marketing funnel, an important tool that helps us visualize the users’ journey to become more and more familiar with our products. The funnel helps the Growth team to identify opportunities by analyzing users’ behavior throughout.

The funnel contains 6 stages, from the stage of awareness where users are aware of the product to the stage of referral where users are already loyal and willing to refer the product to other people.

However, in every stage, there’s a decrease of numbers of users represented by the faded colors. That’s why the main goal of the Growth team is to find the quickest ways for users to move from one stage to another and reduce the decreased numbers.

And the quickest way to reach our goal is to reduce friction and accelerate the value perceived by customers.

You might be wondering what reducing friction means. Let me give you an example:

Let’s say you want to order GO-RIDE, there is a huge drop off in each step from clicking the GO-RIDE button in the app home until you actually click the “ORDER GO-RIDE” button.

Some users might only click the GO-RIDE button without putting their destination. Others might go through all the steps, but when they find out about the calculated price, they don’t proceed to order because the price isn’t suitable for them. These things that trigger users to not finish their orders is called drop off and causes friction.

Another problem that might decrease the number of retention is when the users don’t fully understand the value of our products. So, the Growth team needs to better communicate the value to the users.

The most amazing part of the job

Since GOJEK has been downloaded more than 125 million times, you can guess how large our users’ database is — and each user has their unique problem.

To reduce friction and to accelerate the value of the product itself, the Growth team has to come up with a personalized approach to each customer.

But, how do they do it?

To know which approach is the best to move the users to the next stage of the funnel, the Growth team has to do a correlation analysis to identify users’ activities that we want to target.

Let me give you an example of correlation analysis to explain.

We have data showing that if users explore GO-FOOD’s social feed, their transaction is higher. But we don’t know whether…

Their transaction is higher because the feed inspires them to order
They are power users who happen to open the app and explore the feed more often

This is when the Growth team does an experiment to solve the main problem so they can give users a personalized approach that will increase their GO-FOOD transaction.

The experiment contains elements that will trigger users to scroll down GO-FOOD’s social feed. It can be giving users push notifications with a deep link to GO-FOOD’s social feed, so users are more likely to explore it. The experiment will be done for a small sample of targeted users and is divided into the control and experimental group, so they are able to understand what the real problem is.

Exploring all possible problems

The method that we use to experiment with a lot of ways to identify the problems is exploration. In a way, the Growth team has to be a group of explorers to find the root of the problems.

First things first, the Growth team will explore all the problems that occur. Then, they will come up with a lot of proposed solutions as well.

When approaching the problem with the exploration method, it will more likely get us closest to the best solution.

Have we ever failed using this approach?
Sure! But for us, failure is a part of the experimentation.

A reasonable hypothesis will get us closer to an understanding of why and how the experiment failed when the inevitable happens. So, never be afraid to take risks!

Here at GOJEK, we always want to make millions of people’s lives easier. One of the things that we do is to solve all the problems that never seem to fade away. It doesn’t matter what your background is, but if you are interested in doing explorations and experiments that will affect the growth of the company swiftly, maybe being a part of the Growth team is the right career path for you!

Embark on a magnificent #adventure with us by discovering #infiniteopportunities on GOJEK’s Career Page.

Illustrations by Achmad Fauzi

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