How long should we expect to get traction for a product?


We know that a product of a startup can not gain traction on the first release because basically people are still skeptical about a new product/website, but when should a product/website expect traction based on your experience? Until how long should we wait that a product should gain traction? Please share your experience on this.

EDIT The product itself is an opensource product for businesses. You can say it's something like MySQL, it's opensource but it is sold to businesses.

Product Management

asked Apr 5 '10 at 21:59
1,342 points

5 Answers


This sounds like a high tech product thats going through a product cycle. The best book i have read that would help you with this problem is called "Crossing the Chasm" You should look it up. It describes how to bring "traction" to your idea and product and hopefully make it go mainstream.

answered Apr 6 '10 at 10:56
418 points
  • Great advice vnchopra! That book is really great in explaining how products evolve in time and what you need to focus on to avoid falling into the chasm :) – Mike 14 years ago


You should ask more specific questions of yourself and/or set goals for yourself. (e.g. 10 visits, 4 paying customers, 500 downloads, etc.)

"Traction" is a nebulous term and means nothing without specific details. You should also figure out what you will do with answers you get and if your question is meaningful. If I said "two weeks" what does that mean? If I said "two years" what does that mean? Does it have any bearing on your business? Is it relevant at all?

Focus on what results you want, not on nebulous things like "traction".

answered Apr 6 '10 at 11:11
Tim J
8,346 points
  • Thanks for the insights. I always thought that traction specifically means that you attract millions of users to use your product. – Jpartogi 14 years ago


I'm not in a position to give a precise answer to your question, but some observations:

  • Your blog and your Scrum8 site, as linked from your profile, have no content. If you're just starting out, and you have no incoming links from anyone else, then expect the first traffic to be quite hard to get. When you have no content and no inbound links, you're essentially in the www-limbo -- search engines won't include your site in the primary index, or at least they'll rank you pages very low for all search terms. You have 15 pages indexed by Google alredy, which is quite good, but they appear to have a PageRank of 0 in my quick look-through.
  • The words "community effort" and "we already have" on your front to me signal that this isn't ready for heavy use yet. That would turn me away, I don't have the time. Consider your words very carefully.
  • I went to Yahoo Site Explorer and looked for links (a.k.a. backlinks) to Projexionist. I didn't find any. Once you begin to have links expect 60-90 days before the major search engines have recalculated their rankings and have included you in the primary index.
  • I think you should purchase some traffic via Adwords so that you have a usable volume of traffic to measure abandonment rate on, for A/B testing, etc. Otherwise any experiments you're doing will take a too long to get to a statistically valid sampling size.
  • Get serious about link building -- engage with bloggers in your field, all your friends, trade associations in your area, anyone you can think of who can provide a relevant back link.

Good luck on you journey! :-)

answered Apr 6 '10 at 19:27
Jesper Mortensen
15,292 points
  • You are right that the product is not ready yet. Can you explain why you would turn away by looking at the words "community effort" and "we already have" ? – Jpartogi 14 years ago
  • @jpartogi: Sure -- the "community effort" aspect to me signals that you don't have the resources to build your vision yourself, you rely on open source developers to build parts of it. Getting a open source collaboration up and running, getting a critical mass of developers on board, is a very fickle and unreliable process. There are far more projects than there are skilled people who want to donate time. Thus the majority of source projects worldwide are always understaffed. You can go open source, but the wording & external image needs careful attention. – Jesper Mortensen 14 years ago
  • Thanks for the insights Jesper. Never thought of that before. =) – Jpartogi 14 years ago
  • Jesper, would you mind telling me what is wrong with "we already have"? – Jpartogi 14 years ago
  • @jpartogi: Please don't take it as an absolute truth that there is something wrong with the wording -- I reacted negatively to it, but perhaps your target market will love it. Do A/B test. On my first viewing, I was already a bit negative because of the open source element above this, I was already in a context of negativity / doubt about viability, and then the word "already" ended up signaling "surprise" or "happy-go-lucky attitude" to me. – Jesper Mortensen 14 years ago


Some good feedback here, especially from JM. Best advice is for you to recognize your own lack of business experience so you can get out there & accumulate some.

Your in a shark tank & you're not aware of it. Be careful, find a mentor & take your time. Do your homework & practice intelligent failure. For example, have you performed a feasibility analysis? Market research? Have you proved your concept?

Like most techies, marketing, selling, finance, etc. are foreign languages at this point & without those important skill sets it will be difficult to be successful.

Most businesses that have a solution (product) that's still looking for a problem to solve don't make it. Instead of seeking answers here try speaking to your customers or potential customers - that's where your real answer to "traction" lies.

answered Apr 7 '10 at 12:59
Tommy Jaye
231 points
  • Thanks Tommy. You are right. I am still learning how to do business. Really appreciate your feedback and support. – Jpartogi 14 years ago


Can you be more specific?
Is this a product for consumers or for businesses?
Is it something sexy like all those social media apps that are popping up everywhere, or very targeted and only interesting to a very specific group of people?
Does it have a free version of is it all paid? Is it cheap or expensive?

All these elements are relevant to figure out how fast you can get traction (from the product itself).

However, at the end of the day, you will need to push all the right buttons for people/companies to use it and promote it proactively.

answered Apr 5 '10 at 22:34
825 points
  • I am not sure whether all this details that you ask would effect traction. But would you please explain? I am eager to learn. – Jpartogi 14 years ago
  • Hi jpartogi. What I was trying to figure out is if this was a product that could reach the masses with some sort of "coolness" factor. Those products can sometimes fly quite quickly if you can get people to talk about it to their friends. Expensive products, targeted at small niches tend to take some more time to get traction. I guess that 3 years is the average time you'll take to see if you have traction or not. – Mike 14 years ago
  • Thanks for sharing Mike. Your last sentence is what I am looking for. – Jpartogi 14 years ago

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