The Secret of Early Adopters

In every field, the early adopters can easily be typecast – those people who are the first to jump on board and tell all their friends about it. It’s important to reach those early adopters since they can become a big part of your marketing strategy, especially in its early product awareness and education stages. These early adopters are useful not only for spreading the word about you, but can also give you valuable insights that you can use for:

  • Optimizing your product
  • Adjusting your messaging
  • Defining your company’s main goals and road map

The two main challenges that you’re facing are understanding who these early adopters are and learning how to reach them. One of my personal hobbies is trying to identify the early adopters of every new product I come across and which I greatly enjoy. One such recent product is the mobile app – ‘Secret’. I’ll show you how I run this analysis of users, based on content within the app combined with data from SimilarWeb PRO. As a special treat, I’ve included stats from our new Mobile Analysis section, which is currently on Beta.

A Few Words About The App ‘Secret’

Secret is an app that launched very recently, with an interesting concept – you get to post whatever you want anonymously. It’s similar to what you would do on Facebook or Twitter, with one big difference – no one knows who’s behind these posts. The app includes two tabs – one of friends and one called ‘Explore’ with posts from people around the world. The ‘Friends’ tab is also anonymous, and the only thing you know about the posts is that they were written by someone in your network.

I’m not going to detail all the features on Secret, since this post is not about Secret. It’s about the people using it and how you can understand what kind of people they are just by going through the things they post.

An Analysis of a Secret Thread

There are all kinds of posts in Secret, some are plain stupid, and some are really eye opening. There’s something about hiding behind a virtual wall that brings out the truth in people. They share things that they never would have shared on their Facebook wall or with their Twitter followers. I’ve extracted some of the most interesting ones to try and explain how I reached my conclusion about the identity of the early adopters of this specific application:

One of my personal favorites was posted by a friend of a friend and it talks about something that is very common in the hi-tech industry:


The second is one that most probably belongs to an affiliate manager/PPC manager or a media buyer. I mean, who else is going to know what url parameters are? And who will turn this knowledge into an ongoing prank? To tell you the truth, I was a bit a shamed of myself for LOLing when I first read this. Made me ask myself – could it be that I’ve become a marketing geek?


The next one brings up a phenomena I believe we have all come across at least once in our professional lives – a boss or a colleague that is using big words that to avoid sounding like he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. This New York Secret user apparently had enough of that:


Decision making in big corporate companies can be scary. A mistake can cost your company thousands of dollars, or more, depending on your managerial rank. So when I read this next post, I immediately understood what stands behind it:


This is the definition of zero-sum game from Wikipedia:

In game theory and economic theory, a zero-sum game is a mathematical representation of a situation in which a participant’s gain (or loss) of utility is exactly balanced by the losses (or gains) of the utility of the other participant(s).

And this is how an anonymous user from New York chose to describe love:


And another one from San Francisco:


Looking at evolution is just like A/B testing (I’ll give you 1 guess who would say something like that). I wonder what Darwin would say about that:


I thought that marketing jokes are the worst, till I came across this one – this graphic snob actually judges people by the font they using in their presentations. But then again, can’t say I haven’t done it myself at least once in my career life:


All I can say to this ‘friend of friend’ here is – I really hope, for our sake, you’re not a SimilarWeb employee:


I think you’ve got the idea already – this audience is tech savvy and knows its way around online marketing, possibly also knows its way around graphic design. Even the post about love sounds like it came from a programmer or a mathematician. There were other posts, of course, many were about love and sex, as you would expect from such apps, but I believe that joining in at this early stage of this application, exposes you to a very specific audience that comprises the majority of its current users.

I ran an analysis on, the developer’s website of ‘Secret’, using SimilarWeb PRO, and checked the Audience Interests section just to see if my theory was right. Guess what? In the ‘Category Distribution’ section I found, in the first positions, ‘Business and Industry’ and ‘Internet and Telecom’. In their topic distribution I found things such as ‘Web.2.0’, ‘technology’, ‘interface design’.

topic-distribution-secret-ly Audience Interests – Topic Distribution – By SimilarWeb PRO

A quick look into the off-store referrals for the app itself, which I found on the PRO’s new Mobile Analysis section, showed that out of the top 30 referring websites to the app page on the store, 11 were tech oriented websites (excluding websites that are all about mobile apps):


Referrals to the mobile app ‘Secret’ – By SimilarWeb PRO

This is not an exact science – it’s only based on hours of scrolling in ‘Secret’ – I suspected my husband of writing this post, but he denies it:


The stats from SimilarWeb PRO indicate that I’m at least headed in the right direction. Now we only need to wait and see which direction is ‘Secret’ going to take – is it going to be:


Or is it going to serve as a platform for intelligent, creative individuals, looking for a way to express themselves without direct criticism?

About the Author -

Natalie Halimi is the Head of Marketing Communications & Education at SimilarWeb. With over 10 years of experience in marketing, Natalie has promoted services and products in the B2C and B2B arenas, in various industries.

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