Beyond the ‘Toothbrush test’

Some time ago, I mentioned ‘The Toothbrush Test’ – which offers a shorthand to judge potential success of products. If people use it twice a day, the product will be successful.

But of course, this is not always true. Andrew Chen’s new post talks about it in detail, and I suggest you have a look. A few things stand out:

  • You still want daily use. Or, a high DAU/MAU ratio (also called ‘Stickiness‘). This ratio ranges from 20% to 50% for good to world-class products. Facebook, in it’s initial days had this ratio at around 70%.
  • You cannot increase this ratio easily. This can be tried through notifications, but does not work too well.
  • Monetization should work well in case of low stickiness. Think AirBnb. You may use it 2 times a year, but you spend quite a lot with each use (wheres you spend little on games and nothing on social apps).
  • It’s good to think about hardcore users – those who use the product daily and see how you can add more value to these users. This can also link to the factors which make the product more likely to be used.

So, you need to look at the kind of the product, as well as monetization, to figure out better if the product will be successful. Sometimes it may be enough to have lesser use if there is enough monetization; like most things in life, it depends.

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