Acquisition Channel Opportunities: 67 App Stores, Pinterest, Quora

If you want to get more paying users, you'll either need to experiment with new acquisition channels, or find better ways to use existing distribution channels. Its that simple.

After looking at last week's tech news I've identified 3 such opportunities:

  • Marketplaces: An indie hacker recently compiled a list of 67 major SaaS app stores. Learn why.

  • Pinterest Ads: Pinterest recently enabled you to better target users in their Ads. Learn why this is a big deal for user acquisition.

  • Keyword research for Quora: If you've done any SEO, you know you should be striving for keywords with low competition and high search volume. It turns out you can do the same type of research on Quora with a simple Google query.

1. 67 Marketplaces to Integrate Your Product With

In my Zero to Users research, I've identified 30+ distribution channels that consistently work for founders. App marketplaces, like the WordPress plugin store or the Shopify app store, were the second most mentioned channel group. Over 78 founders said they helped get them new users.

Rocket Gems recently released a comprehensive list of 67 of these marketplaces that indie hackers can tap into. You'd be surprised how many products you frequently use have their own dedicated app marketplace. The marketplaces are separated in 7 categories:


I originally found this list on Hacker News, and some of the HN comments there were quite interesting:

The "indie hacker" part is underselling the value of hooking into these marketplaces. The Atlassian marketplace is how we're able to make draw.io/diagrams.net free everywhere else. We don't have to handle any licensing or billing and it's a commercial market where users expect to pay. We generate 8 digits annually there with 5FTE people, you can build a medium sized company around just one of these marketplaces.

Wow. 8 figures with the Atlassian marketplace being their main acquisition channel? Another interesting comment I've seen:

I work with Salesforce, so I'm quite familiar with the ecosystem. I think a lot people on HN would have a hard time believing the kind of apps that exist on AppExchange and the number of companies that are willing to spend money on them.

What this means for you: App marketplaces are an under-utilized acquisition channel. They're also the only channel group where the saying "build it and they will come" still holds true (I wrote a post on this recently).

2. Pinterest Ads Now Has Better Targeting

Pinterest just launched a "dynamic creative" ad process where you could target users based on their behavior.

Why I think this is big news: According to my research, the #1 reason founders fail with paid ads is bad targeting - not bad copy.

So many advertisers have failed with Facebook because they couldn't get their targeting right. This is why I'm excited about a major platform like Pinterest improving their targeting capabilities. Take the excerpt from the original article:

The process essentially responds to how users interact in the app — if a user is searching for 'decorative lights' for example, and they narrow their search for specific items, the system will then show ads for items from your uploaded catalog which best match the users' stated interest.

What this means for you: You'll find this change extremely relevant if you're selling many products, or many variants of the same product. The good news is that Pinterest is actively working to improve their targeting, so more and more smaller advertisers will find them relevant in the future.

Want to get opportunities like these each week? Subscribe:

3. A New Method to Find Unsaturated Questions on Quora

Quora is currently the most popular Q&A website in the world, with over 537k visitors/month. Chances are, there are people in your niche asking questions there.


The problem: It's hard to find unsaturated (but valuable) questions there. David Baer recently made a Twitter thread where he pointed to a simple Google query that could help you identify these type of questions:

site:http://quora.com keyword "1 answer" "view 1 upvoter" "k views"

Several days ago, another person made an improved version of this query:


The goal of both queries is to find answers with a high number of views, but low number of answers.

Could you do the same with YouTube (identifying videos with many views but low number of comments) or any other major acquisition channel? Let me know in the comments below.

  1. 8

    The hack for Quora doesn't really make sense. He pointed out the question that has 3,300 views, BUT this question was asked in 2013. It means this question has probably zero traffic and views now.

    We are building a free Quora marketing tool that discovers the real potential of questions.

    We track monthly traffic of questions on Quora + checking how much organic traffic this question has from Google.

    On top of that, we offer advanced analytics for your Quora profile 😉

    1. 6

      Can you post a sample report from your tool here? Else I think most people would perceive your comment as self-promotion mostly. You mention your tool is free and yet you ask me to register, confirm my email, then connect to my Quora profile...

      The Quora hack was a quite popular post on IH. Yes, it doesn't track when the questions were opened, but maybe that can be solved partly by using Google to filter pages created/updated in the last year, for example. So yeah, it has its own drawbacks, but saying it "doesn't really make sense" is a bit too much.

      1. 1

        Hi @zerotousers, thanks for testing our tool. Yes, we do ask people to confirm their email address to avoid misuse of our tool. You don't need to connect your Quora profile at all. It's optional.

        I created a quick demo report for you to see our example data.

        Sure, you can still use a Google hack. I just wanted to point out what I believe is the better option. Feel free to let me know if you want any other info related to Quora marketing.

        1. 2

          How can you tell the organic traffic from Google? You have access to their analytics?

          1. 1

            We use SEMrush API to get traffic estimation per a specific region. Therefore you can filter questions with traffic in the US, India, UK...

            For some clients, we are getting even more advanced data from Ahrefs.

            1. 2

              Curious what your monthly costs are (with the SemRush API and everything else).

            2. 1

              Very cool feature! Thanks for your response!

    2. 2

      Simple tweak: limit your Google search results to Past Year

      1. 1

        Yep, that's also what I mentioned.

      2. 1

        Yeah, that helps to get the better results for sure 👍

    3. 2

      How do you plan to monetize this? I'm always suspicious when I'm trying to sign-up to something that's free, there's usually always a catch.

      1. 1

        That's a great question. We try to bring as big value as we can and don't go bankrupt too. 😅

        In our free tier:

        • We show you 10 questions per keyword.
        • You don't get the SEO data.

        We pay quite a lot for SEO data, so we can't offer it for free. We believe our free tier is a great way to run research on Quora, and you can still buy premium data for as low as $10 (2x ☕).

        1. 1

          Hope things work out for you man. Good luck with QApop :)

          1. 1

            Thank you so much 🙏

    4. 1

      Are you guys in beta? The results are incorrect sometimes. It says 0 answer for a question, but I see plenty https://www.quora.com/What-are-some-of-the-best-social-media-marketing-tools.

      1. 1

        I'm sorry you have this issue. Yes, we are still working on the product. Quora doesn't have a public API. We use our data mining scripts, and today they changed something on their website. We are working on improvements, rigth now.

        1. 2

          You must be scraping 1000s of their pages right now. I'm trying to do that atm but with another site, feel free to reach out to darko [at] zerotousers , maybe we could exchange some insights.

  2. 4

    I was thinking of compiling a list of marketplaces similar to the one above, so this comes really handy, thx.

    1. 1

      I wish there was more curation, because this really just is a random gigantic list of app directories.

      Would have been a lot better if they picked just 5-10 that really fit with the indie hacker's model.

      1. 2

        It's not really random...a huge % of these sites get a lot of traffic (take a look at their SimilarWeb profile). The top 5 that worked for IHers in my research were: The Chrome Extension Store, WP Plugin/Themes directories, Shopify App Directory, Slack App Directory, App Stores (Apple/Google Play).

    2. 1

      Me too, glad someone did it for me.

  3. 4

    Nice post. As far as I can see, YouTube also caches the # of views a video has, so maybe someone can come up with a similar method for YouTube.

    1. 1

      With YouTube it's also hard to leave URLs in the comments, although I've seen some people successfully overcome this.

    2. 1

      Just wanted to put this at the end of the post as food for thought :)

      1. 1

        What are some other platforms (except YouTube) you could use this with in your opinion?

        1. 1

          Any platform that publicly displays the # of views for each of its pages and the # of posts on it.

  4. 3

    Hi Darko, as always, great post on acquisition channels.

    I really wish the Rocket Gems list came with the price of listing though.

    I looked into a bunch of these to list my app, Zlappo, and they cost quite a bit of money with no guarantee of any traffic or sales.

    E.g. Adobe's Partner Program is $10,000/year, Stripe Partner Program is $250/year, etc.

    1. 2

      I put this list together to see if there was general interest, before committing to doing more research. There's been a lot of interest, so I'll likely revisit! How much was Zlappo asking? $10,000/year for Adobe is wild!

    2. 2

      Thank you for pointing this out. I'm thinking of making v2 of these listings. It would be useful to also include the overall traffic each platform and some other criteria as well.

      1. 1

        Yes, thank you, that would be amazing.

        Indie hackers are usually solopreneurs, and between product development and customer support they don't usually have a lot of time for marketing/sales, so these "build and they will come" directories are a godsend that allows us indie hackers to focus on our product.

        And then all we really have to do is to get listed in a few strategic marketplaces with the greatest overlap of audiences with our target niche, and let those distribution channels/revenue streams stack up.

        1. 2

          The problem is hitting the sweet spot, being there where things are growing and there isn't much competition. I think having access to Notion's beta API is one of the best opportunities for IHers right now.

  5. 2

    Thanks for sharing the marketplace list I put together 😃

    1. 2

      Thank YOU for compiling the list :) It would be nice to see a v2 by criteria some people mentioned here, like whether it's free/paid to list yourself and the SimilarWeb rank on each site.

  6. 1

    Thank you for drawing light on techniques that literally no one is talking about but are actually proven to work. Your effort is very much apreciated. Thanks for another great piece!

  7. 1

    Great insights againnnn! Thanks Darko!

  8. 1

    The Pinterest news is more about better automation, but they also mention integrating with different user-behavior companies. Interesting...

  9. 1

    WOW, didin't know anything about Pinterest's "dynamic creative" ad process where we can target users based on their behavior. I will try it right away and give my feedback!

    Another great post Darko!
    Thank you!

  10. -1

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