How to Calculate Organic vs. Paid User Growth

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The digital world is a vast playground where businesses vie for visibility and relevance. In this ever-evolving landscape, understanding the nuances of user growth, specifically the distinction between organic and paid growth, is pivotal. This guide will provide a comprehensive overview of how to calculate and differentiate between organic and paid user growth.

What is Organic User Growth?

Organic user growth refers to the increase in users or customers that a business attracts without direct advertising expenses. It's the result of word-of-mouth marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and the inherent value and appeal of a product or service.

Key Indicators of Organic Growth

  1. Natural Referrals: This is when users land on your platform through non-paid search results, recommendations from friends, or other organic means.
  2. Engagement Metrics: High user engagement indicates that your platform is genuinely appealing, resulting in natural growth.
  3. Social Shares: When users voluntarily share your content, it's a good sign of organic reach.

What is Paid User Growth?

Paid user growth, on the other hand, is the result of deliberate advertising campaigns. Whether it's through pay-per-click (PPC) ads, sponsored content, or other paid promotional strategies, this type of growth is directly proportional to the advertising budget.

Key Indicators of Paid Growth

  1. Ad Impressions and Clicks: The number of times your ad is displayed and clicked on can provide insights into your paid growth rate.
  2. Cost Per Acquisition (CPA): This metric tells you how much you're spending to acquire each user through paid campaigns.
  3. Ad Spend: A straightforward indicator of paid efforts. The more you spend, the more users you're likely aiming to acquire.

Calculating the Growth Rate

To understand the overall user growth rate, businesses need to assess both organic and paid growth. Here's a step-by-step approach:

1. Determine the Number of Organic Users

This can be done by subtracting the number of users acquired through paid campaigns from the total number of new users.

2. Calculate the Organic Growth Rate

Organic Growth Rate=((Number of Organic Users at End of Period−Number of Organic Users at Start of Period)/Number of Organic Users at Start of Period) ×100

3. Determine the Number of Paid Users

This is typically the number of users directly resulting from advertising campaigns.

4. Calculate the Paid Growth Rate

Paid Growth Rate=((Number of Paid Users at End of Period−Number of Paid Users at Start of Period)/ Number of Paid Users at Start of Period) ×100

Why Differentiating Matters

Understanding the balance between organic and paid user growth is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Budget Allocation: It helps businesses decide where to allocate their resources for maximum ROI.
  2. Sustainability: Organic growth is generally more sustainable in the long run, whereas paid growth requires consistent investment.
  3. Brand Loyalty: Organic users often exhibit higher brand loyalty as they discover the brand without direct prompting.

In Conclusion

The digital landscape offers myriad opportunities for businesses to grow. By effectively distinguishing between organic and paid user growth, businesses can strategize more effectively, ensuring a balanced and sustainable growth trajectory. It's not just about numbers; it's about understanding the story behind those numbers and acting on them strategically.

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