Marketing August 15, 2020

Free for Limited time: Went viral and sold 50k units in 24 hours [summary]

Hieu Nguyen (Jack) @hieunc

Matt Lane wrote and analyze how 2 students who made $600k within 24 hours by "giving away". Here is the summary:

In 2017, Alan and Brady post a picture of a girl in a bathing suit, sitting at a pool. They promised anyone who reposts it within 24 hours will receive a FREE bathing suit (retail value $64.99), just pay $12 for shipping.

Overnight, the post was shared and tagged 346k times. Their followers jumped from 7k to 784k. In the end, they can only handle 50k units give away.

Which, the total money received is 50k x $12 = $600,000.

Estimated profit

The profit could be over $240,000 for 50k units:

  • Cost per item: $3 (negotiate when bulk buy at 50,000 items on Alibaba)
  • Delivery per unit: $3 (UPS First Class)
  • Packing/branding: $0.50
  • Payment processing: $0.70

Estimated profit = $12 - $7.20 = $4.80/unit

Factors contributed to the virality

  1. It's free: People love it
  2. It's urgent: Create fear of missing out
  3. It's appealing: Looks like the typical likable post for their audience (rather than ad)

Take away: Understanding the power of the “free for a limited time” model. A side note, make sure giveaway items quality is carefully inspected.

  1. 4

    I guess that the basic it's to have a huge audience first.

    1. 2

      They had about 7000 followers, then jump to +784k after the campaign.

      They needed the initial audience, but it wasn't huge. Also, lots of luck!

      1. 3

        7k is definitely something, What I wrote seen by 10 people max.
        7k to 780k = 10 to 1100? and it's a way too optimistic calculation.

        1. 2

          Yup. Anyone who assumes the 7k wasn’t the driver is blinded by optimism or success.

        2. 1

          If that's the case, definitely spend some time to build and understand the initial audience first

  2. 3

    Thanks for sharing.

    I see a lot of companies offer a free book if you pay for shipping and handling. Offering a product like this is even more interesting.

    The company now has 325k followers so it looks like they lost more than half of those followers, but still impressive.

    I wonder why their account was shutdown. Is this against the terms of service of Instagram?

    There are only 157 monthly views on Pinterest. I wonder why the traffic didn't translate there?

    Interesting nonetheless!

    1. 1

      That's an interesting point, John.

      I didn't think about their current number of followers until you mention. I tried to check if it jumped to 784k+, and it was correct.

      I guess the followers that left weren't serious fans.

  3. 3

    Ahh, I read of that article before

    It went so viral that they ran out of stock and was forced to profit on their remaining inventory.

    They didn't expect it to be such a huge success

    1. 1

      That's true. In the end, they can only handle 50,000 units for that event.

  4. 2

    Aaaaaand - its illegal.

    1. 1

      Yeah, I thought it's cool too!

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