/// How Indeed Hit 100 Million Monthly Users Without Any Marketing
When Indeed launched its job search engine in late 2004, there was already plenty of competition in the space from well-established and well-funded companies like Monster and CareerBuilder. With that in mind, Indeed decided to use the resources it had — the company raised a single $5 million round in 2005 — to compete on product rather than marketing.
“When we launched Indeed in 2004, Monster spent $250 million on advertising that year,” Rony Kahan, Indeed’s CEO and co-founder, told Mashable in an interview. “The only way were going to be able compete with Monster being bootstrapped was to provide a product that is 10x better.” That thinking has continued up until the present: As Kahan tells Mashable, Indeed has “never done any consumer brand advertising.”
Indeed’s innovative idea was to apply what Kahan refers to as the “Google search model” for job listings. Rather than only show paid listings, Indeed crawls other job boards and company career pages to get a comprehensive selection of job openings by industry, location or keyword.
While that strategy hasn’t exactly helped Indeed to become as much of a household name as some of its competitors, it has nonetheless proven effective for attracting users to the site.
Indeed first passed Monster to become the top site for job search activity in the U.S. in 2010, according to comScore, and now has almost as many unique visitors in the job search category as Monster and CareerBuilder combined. On Wednesday, Indeed announced that it had 100 million unique visitors in January, the first time the job site has ever hit that milestone.
Indeed isn’t the only company to reach 100 million monthly users with minimal advertising — as it happens, Instagram hit 100 million active users last month as well without marketing — but it’s all the more notable considering how aggressively its competitors market. Both Monster and CareerBuilder have continued to air Super Bowl ads in recent years in addition to commercials and print ads year-round.
Even though Indeed was acquired in September by Recruit Co., a Japanese company, and presumably has more resources at its disposal, Kahan says he’s not really planning to change the company’s marketing strategy.
“It’s been effective,” he says. “We’ve got far more traffic than anyone else by just following this model, so I’m not sure there’s a reason for us to change it.”