Is Product Hunt worth it?

While Product Hunt has been a popular launchpad for new products, it may not always be the most effective use of your limited time and resources.
Jason Walkow
March 11, 2024

Product Hunt has long been touted as the go-to (and necessary) platform for launching new products and gaining traction in the tech world. However, as the digital landscape evolves and new platforms emerge, it's worth considering whether Product Hunt is still the best option for your product launch and if it’s worth putting the time in yourself, using a launch agency, or just skipping it altogether. In this blog post, we'll explore some reasons why Product Hunt may not be worth the time and effort when introducing your new product to the market.

In a recent Lenny’s Newsletter post, How to successfully launch on Product Hunt (when it’s right for your startup), there was a takeaway that stood out: “On average, startups that do well on PH invest 50 to 120 hours preparing for launch.” This quote came from Leo Bosuener of Social Growth Labs, a Product Hunt marketing agency that aims to cut that time down to 10 hours with a targeted strategy. PSV has launched a handful of products on Product Hunt - and spent anywhere from an estimated 4-12 hours on each launch - with varying results…but nothing outstanding. Hearing the investment needed made us balk a bit and dig a little deeper into whether it was the right move for everyone, and here’s what we found:

Saturated market

Product Hunt has become a victim of its own success. With thousands of products being submitted every month, it's becoming increasingly difficult to stand out from the crowd. This oversaturation makes it less likely that your product will be noticed by your target audience, reducing the potential impact of your launch.

Short-lived attention

The attention span of the Product Hunt community can be fleeting. A product can quickly climb to the top of the rankings, only to be displaced by the next big thing in a matter of hours. This transient nature of the platform makes it challenging to maintain visibility and engage your target audience over a sustained period.

Limited target audience

While Product Hunt attracts a tech-savvy crowd, it may not be the best place to reach a wider, more diverse audience. If your product is designed for a specific niche or industry, there might be more appropriate platforms or communities to focus your launch efforts on.

Vacuum effect

Even when you get hundreds of upvotes on Product Hunt, it doesn’t always translate to signups or conversions or even waitlist spots. The problem is that most of the community upvoting your product is just looking for cross-pollinating votes on their own launch. If you were looking for real customers looking to solve real pain points, you’ve come to the wrong place.

Potential for negative feedback

Product Hunt is known for its active and engaged community, but this can be a double-edged sword. While constructive feedback can be valuable, there is also a risk of receiving negative or unproductive comments that could potentially harm your brand's reputation, especially when you consider just how competitive Product Hunt can be.

Time and resource-intensive

As we mentioned, launching on Product Hunt requires a significant investment of time and resources to create a compelling product page, engage with the community, and promote your listing. For small teams or bootstrapped startups, these resources may be better spent on other marketing efforts or product development to reach your ideal customer.

In PSV’s own experience, the Product Hunt juice just hasn’t really been worth the squeeze. We had far more signups and shares from posting on design inspiration sites (more on that in a later post) and didn’t really get out of Product Hunt what we had hoped.

Another frustrating thing was the lack of reliability that Upvote stats provide. For instance, Pano had a ton of upvotes and a feature in the Product Hunt newsletter, but just a few signups. Stop, on the other hand, had less than 10 upvotes but remains our most popular product to date. Jive was the closest thing to what we might consider a Product Hunt launch success, with a fair number of upvotes and tracked signups. Though, we all agreed that it would have served us better to share in more targeted markets.

In the end, it’s really up to you whether the time and effort is worth it. Maybe Product Hunt is right for some products and not for others. But before diving into the Product Hunt universe, carefully consider your target audience, marketing goals, and the current digital landscape, and then decide whether to invest in a Product Hunt launch. You can always explore alternative platforms, communities, and marketing strategies that are more tailored to your product and audience, and new universes are popping up every day. If you do decide to launch on Product Hunt, be sure to check out Lenny’s tips and make a real go of it. For us, we’re going to see where some other channels might lead.

Thanks for reading!

Jason Walkow

Jason Walkow is Head of Design at Plain Sight Ventures. In his free time, Jason enjoys running, eating at the newest spots, and anything coffee-related.

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