Product-led Growth

User Acquisition: Product Led Growth Explained

Yves Delongie
Yves Delongie
September 18, 2023
User Acquisition: Product Led Growth Explained

In the realm of business and marketing, the concept of user acquisition is a critical one. It refers to the process of gaining new users for a product or service. In the context of product led growth, a strategy that focuses on product usage as the main driver for acquisition, conversion, and expansion, understanding user acquisition becomes even more crucial.

Product led growth (PLG) is a go-to-market strategy that relies on the product itself to drive customer acquisition, conversion, and expansion. In this model, the product is the main vehicle for customer acquisition, and the value of the product is demonstrated before a purchase decision is made. This glossary entry will delve into the intricacies of user acquisition within the PLG framework, providing a comprehensive understanding of its mechanisms, strategies, and benefits.

Understanding User Acquisition

User acquisition is the process of gaining new users or customers for a product or service. It's a key performance indicator (KPI) for businesses, as it directly correlates with revenue and growth. The more users a business can acquire, the more opportunities it has to generate income.

However, user acquisition isn't just about increasing numbers. It's also about acquiring the right users - those who will find value in the product, become long-term users, and contribute to the product's growth. This is where product led growth comes into play, as it focuses on demonstrating the product's value to attract and retain the right users.

Importance of User Acquisition

User acquisition is crucial for business growth. Without new users, a product or service can stagnate and eventually decline. Acquiring new users allows a business to expand its customer base, increase its market share, and boost its revenue.

Moreover, user acquisition is not just about getting any users, but about acquiring quality users. These are users who are likely to stay with the product for a long time, use it regularly, and potentially become advocates for the product. Quality users contribute to the product's growth and sustainability in the long run.

Challenges in User Acquisition

While user acquisition is critical, it's also challenging. One of the main challenges is the increasing cost of user acquisition. As competition in the digital space grows, so does the cost of acquiring new users. Businesses need to find ways to acquire users cost-effectively to maintain profitability.

Another challenge is attracting the right users. Not all users are created equal. Some will use a product once and never return, while others will become loyal users and advocates. Identifying and attracting these high-value users is a significant challenge in user acquisition.

Product Led Growth and User Acquisition

Product led growth (PLG) is a business methodology where the product leads the growth of the company. Instead of traditional marketing and sales tactics, the product itself is the main driver for customer acquisition, conversion, and expansion.

In a PLG model, user acquisition is primarily driven by the product. The idea is to create a product so good that it sells itself. Users are attracted to the product because of its inherent value, not because of marketing hype or sales pressure.

Benefits of PLG for User Acquisition

One of the main benefits of PLG for user acquisition is that it can lower the cost of acquisition. Because the product is the main driver for acquisition, there's less need for expensive marketing and sales campaigns. Users are attracted to the product because of its value, not because of marketing tactics.

Another benefit of PLG is that it can attract high-quality users. When users are attracted to a product because of its value, they're more likely to become long-term users and advocates. This can lead to higher user retention rates and more sustainable growth.

Strategies for PLG User Acquisition

There are several strategies that businesses can use to drive user acquisition in a PLG model. One of the most effective is freemium or free trial offerings. By allowing users to try the product for free, businesses can demonstrate the product's value and attract users.

Another strategy is to focus on product quality and user experience. A high-quality product that provides a great user experience can attract users and keep them coming back. Additionally, businesses can leverage customer reviews and testimonials to showcase the product's value and attract new users.

Measuring User Acquisition in PLG

In a PLG model, measuring user acquisition is crucial for understanding the effectiveness of the product and the business strategy. There are several metrics that businesses can use to measure user acquisition in PLG.

One of the most important metrics is the number of new users. This is a straightforward metric that measures the total number of new users that a product has gained within a specific period. However, this metric alone doesn't provide a complete picture of user acquisition. It's also important to consider the quality of the new users.

User Quality Metrics

Quality of users can be measured in several ways. One common method is to look at user engagement levels. This includes metrics like daily active users (DAU), monthly active users (MAU), and user session length. High engagement levels indicate that users find value in the product and are likely to continue using it.

Another way to measure user quality is through retention rates. This measures the percentage of users who continue to use the product over time. High retention rates indicate that users are finding ongoing value in the product, which is a positive sign for user acquisition.

Cost of User Acquisition

The cost of user acquisition (CAC) is another important metric in a PLG model. This measures how much it costs to acquire a new user. In a PLG model, the goal is to keep CAC as low as possible, as this indicates that the product is effectively attracting users without the need for expensive marketing campaigns.

However, it's also important to consider the lifetime value (LTV) of a user. This measures the total revenue that a user is expected to generate over their lifetime as a customer. Ideally, the LTV should be higher than the CAC, indicating that the user is profitable for the business.


User acquisition is a critical aspect of product led growth. By focusing on the product's value to drive user acquisition, businesses can attract high-quality users, lower acquisition costs, and drive sustainable growth.

However, successful user acquisition in a PLG model requires careful strategy and measurement. Businesses need to focus on product quality, offer freemium or free trial options, and leverage customer reviews. They also need to measure user acquisition carefully, considering not just the number of new users, but also their quality and the cost of acquisition.

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