You might have been hearing a lot about Coinbase lately, especially after their controversial Super Bowl ad came out a few weeks ago featuring nothing other than a QR Code. Unique? Maybe. Did it drive results? Depends on how you measure success.
If you google Coinbase right now, you’ll most likely find thousands of articles surrounding this topic, but if there’s something we want you to get out of this article, it is that Coinbase is so much more than an ad. It is the dominating force behind the crypto market and must be respected as such.
Coinbase is the most in-demand digital currency wallet and platform through which merchants and consumers can transact cryptocurrencies today. It has redefined not only the space through which crypto enthusiasts buy and sell coins but has become a leader in the game through the way they promote their services to maintain and grow their massive consumer base, all through an unbeatable marketing strategy.
Coinbase’s growth marketing strategy is certainly one to admire. Through innovative marketing efforts ranging from referral programs to even providing users the ability to send crypto as gifts, Coinbase is building the crypto-economy ー and positioning itself as the leader in the industry ー through a fair, accessible, efficient, and transparent financial system enabled by crypto.
Without further ado, let’s dive into how Coinbase, to say the least, powers the world of crypto, all through a growth strategy like no other.
What Makes Coinbase’s Marketing Strategy So Great?
Founded in 2012 by businessmen and investors Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam, Coinbase has emerged as the absolute king for crypto-asset investors, solidifying a substantial price appreciation that’s been listed on the assets available on its exchange.
Their holding title has been granted by the way their marketing strategy has achieved its goals of user acquisition and retention. Not only Coinbase’s excellence in security, regulatory compliance, and ease-of-use have led millions of crypto enthusiasts to use their platform, but their overhauled messaging and exquisite user experience have made this possible as well.
The greatness of their marketing strategy lies in their numbers. As per Similarweb, Coinbase received more than 60 million user visits to their website during the month of February with an excellent percentage in bounce rates. An even more unbelievable stat is that 76% of its website visits were a result of direct traffic, or by simply typing “coinbase.com” into their browser.
This means users already know the brand and what value it offers to them. It signifies the users’ desire to use the app before even landing on the Coinbase website, touting some serious brand awareness simultaneously.
By harnessing the power of cryptocurrency and creating more economic freedom, Coinbase was founded with the goal of creating an open financial system for the world. As the company operating the most popular and largest cryptocurrency exchange platform in the United States, it grew with the belief that open protocols for money would drive innovation, equality, and financial freedom, similar to the way the internet did for the spread and delivery of information.
Moreover, just as Bitcoin emerged as an alternative store of value and vehicle for investment, Coinbase was there to leverage this trend. The increase in investors wanting to hop in on the trend of investing in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies led to an exponential growth in exchange platforms like Coinbase. Coinbase’s launch took place exactly when it needed to, and its position in today’s world of crypto is proof of it.
At first, Coinbase had visibility only from crypto enthusiasts like us when it first launched; by May 2021, however, the Coinbase mobile app reached the top spot on Apple’s App Store for the first time since holding that position way back in 2017. Even though the #1 position didn’t last long, it boomed Coinbase into popularity and made it the go-to crypto exchange platform for investors.
Coinbase is a mission-focused company; its goal today is to bring economic freedom to people all over the world through the use of cryptocurrencies. To achieve this, they have positioned themselves as a safe harbor among crypto-asset exchanges; just as previously explained, they’ve positioned themselves as the crypto exchange of choice.
Unlike its industry competitors of the likes of Robinhood and Binance, Coinbase has never been hacked, providing the security that users expect from crypto platforms when it comes to handling and investing their money. Not only have they positioned the company as the safest among all, but as one that is on the right side of the law by continuously pursuing compliance with set regulations.
At first, Coinbase’s website used to welcome users to “the future of money,” merely positioning themselves as innovators through the use of cryptocurrency and its exchange. As of today, however, Coinbase positions itself as the platform to “buy and sell digital currency” through, specifically the on-ramp for mainstream crypto investors.
Coinbase’s Initial Plan of Attack
Ready, set, crypTO!
Coinbase first began its marketing plan by securing a solid initial user base with early adopters of cryptocurrency; they appealed to pioneers and visionaries who desired to be innovators in the world of crypto and began using cryptocurrency to secure transactions by offering them a platform through which they could buy and sell crypto safely and easily.
Having converted them into Coinbase users, they leveraged those users to increase their user base even further. Through tactics such as referrals, propaganda, incentives, and more, Coinbase was capable of taking advantage of its current customer base to promote its services in a quick and effective manner.
Through the combination of community-led growth and acquisition loops in their strategy, Coinbase was able to successfully market its services to its audiences in a way that encouraged users to continue using their platform and incentivized them to promote Coinbase by themselves through their networksー by sharing their experience with the exchange platform with them and stimulating others to join the community.
Growth Loops: The Foundation of Coinbase’s Strategy
Coinbase’s growth journey, by all means, is powered by its emphasis on providing a convenient, easy-to-use platform, educating its consumers, and even letting the users carry out their marketing efforts by themselves. Coinbase’s genius lies in developing a series of growth loops that are driven by their products and services and the way users interact with them.
In short, they built a sustainable model that not only attracts new consumers to use their platform but continues to bring them back to using their services. A customer acquisition model like Coinbase’s leads to an ever-growing community of loyal consumers and keeps their acquisition costs at their lowest.
Having this in mind, let’s take a look at six of Coinbase’s distinctive growth loops:
Growth Loop #1: Referral Program
1. Coinbase establishes a referral program for users to refer their services to a friend so that both the referrer and referee can earn a bonus (which may vary from time to time and by location)
2. Coinbase generates a customized link for the user to send to his friend or invitee and the user sends it to them.
3. The friend or invitee receives the link and signs up for a Coinbase account through their friend’s unique referral link and makes an eligible crypto trade.
4. Both the referrer and referee receive the bonus and get to spend the bonus given to engage with the Coinbase platform. The new user will later be exposed to the same referral program and will seek to refer Coinbase to another friend to receive another bonus.
In this loop, everything works together to not only promote the brand but to retain current users and acquire new ones as the output. Through the variable reward of incentivizing its users to invite their friends to join the Coinbase community by consequently receiving a bonus for doing so, Coinbase retains the customer and encourages it to continue using their platform. The same happens for the friend of the current user; they are invited to join the platform, receive a bonus for joining, are given the opportunity to refer other friends to receive more money, and become Coinbase users themselves in the process, further allowing Coinbase to excel through their marketing strategy.
Growth Loop #2: Easy to Use Payment Methods
1. Coinbase provides easy-to-use payment methods so that their users can buy the cryptocurrency of their choice in a fast and easy manner.
2. Coinbase users see that the Coinbase platform is user and beginner-friendly and want to purchase crypto.
3. Users resort to the Coinbase app or website to purchase the cryptocurrency they want and look for the buy button to do so.
4. By clicking the buy button, selecting the asset they want to buy, and previewing their purchase, users are able to purchase the type and amount of crypto they desire. Through an incredible user experience design, Coinbase users are capable of buying crypto on their own without having to think too much about how to do it, leading them to continue using its platform to buy and sell crypto in the future.
In this loop, the output consists of Coinbase users getting retained through the smooth and seamless experience the platform offers them in terms of buying cryptocurrencies. Through the variable reward of easy-to-use payment methods, which simply require you to connect your bank account to your wallet and transfer funds so that you can purchase crypto through the platform, Coinbase seeks to remain a dominating force in the world of crypto exchanges. These beginner-friendly payment methods allow both experts and first-time investors to buy crypto without complicating the process too much for their users. Through an enjoyable buying experience and one that accepts debit and credit card payments, Coinbase takes the cryptic out of crypto, allowing consumers to continuously seek to use its platform for crypto purchases and hence retaining them in the process.
Growth Loop #3: Earn Crypto While Learning About Crypto
1. Coinbase introduces Coinbase Earn, which allows users to take a series of crash courses on their platform about various cryptos through instructional and informative content and incentivizes users by giving them a reward.
2. Users get encouraged to take the course to not only receive the crypto reward but to learn more about the world of crypto and the assets that are involved.
3. Users watch the educational videos that teach them about cryptocurrencies and complete a simple quiz testing what they have learned.
4. Upon completion, users are awarded crypto to their Coinbase wallet and are encouraged to take another course to learn more and receive another crypto reward.
In this loop, current Coinbase users are given the opportunity to enhance their knowledge of the cryptocurrencies they’re investing in via an uncomplicated and engaging manner. Through the variable reward of teaching them more about crypto trading and testing their understanding of the topics covered through the educational videos, users are constantly being pushed to learn about Coinbase and the world of crypto, and at the same time, they’re being rewarded by passing the short quiz they are asked to complete. Being rewarded with more crypto as part of Coinbase’s marketing strategy encourages users to repeat the process to win even more assets for their wallet, integrating them into a cycle in which they are learning actively and receiving a reward for it, further retaining them as Coinbase users as the output.
Growth Loop #4: Coinbase Debit Card
1. Coinbase launches a new Visa debit card, funded by your Coinbase account balance, offering the easiest, quickest way to spend your crypto worldwide, and thus encouraging current users to get it.
2. Coinbase users apply for the debit card without a sign-up fee to see what it’s all about.
3. With the card in hand, users spend the crypto of their choice online or in brick-and-mortar stores that support their form of payment.
4. With their purchases, they receive 4 percent back in crypto rewards for each purchase made. With this incentive, they are encouraged to continue using their new debit card to receive even more rewards while making purchases with their new card.
In this loop, consumers are given the opportunity to use their crypto assets in the same way they use the money they have in their traditional bank accounts. With a new debit card funded by the assets they own which are stored in their Coinbase wallet, Coinbase users will be given the variable reward of easily accessing their funds and making real-time purchases without the need to sell or convert their crypto into dollars. Moreover, as the debit card comes with a crypto rewards program that promises to give them back 4% for every purchase, they are even more encouraged to continue using their card and show it off to their friends and relatives. With this said, non-Coinbase users who understand the benefits of this new form of payment will in turn be motivated to join the Coinbase platform to be in the know and test it out by themselves. As an output, these incentives made through their marketing strategy will continue to retain the loyal customer base and, at the same, encourage others to join the furor.
Growth Loop #5: Get your paycheck deposited into Coinbase for no trading fees, Coinbase card automatically included
1. Coinbase now allows you to get your paycheck deposited directly into your crypto wallet, removing the time-consuming inconvenience of making frequent transfers into Coinbase.
2. Coinbase users, whether they want to make short or long-term investments, set up their direct deposit in just a few steps without leaving the Coinbase app.
3. Having their paycheck allocated, users receive the money they earned instantly converted into their crypto of choice, making it easier to tap into their crypto through their debit card as well.
4. Users now have access to their recently earned money in the form of crypto and can invest instantly. When they receive their next paycheck, they can immediately deposit it into Coinbase easily, and access their funds quickly with their new card.
In this loop, Coinbase users are given the chance to make the transfer of funds into crypto easier. Through the variable reward of allowing its users to deposit their paychecks instantly, Coinbase encourages its consumers to continue using their platform to trade their crypto assets, offering a convenient way to use the money they earn and turn it into crypto assets. Moreover, being able to deposit their checks instantly allows current users to take advantage of their Coinbase debit card and spend their balance as they wish. With no trading fees, Coinbase users are also encouraged to deposit their checks given they will eventually have to transfer their funds from their bank accounts if they don’t do so. This marketing strategy provides an easy and convenient experience for users, removing the hassle of transferring funds and immediately earning them interest on their income while simultaneously retaining them as users of the exchange platform as the output.
Growth Loop #6: Crypto Gift
1. Coinbase introduces crypto gifting, a gift that keeps gifting. These gifts have the potential to increase in value over time and are delivered in a digital card with your choice of crypto-forward, NFT-inspired art.
2. Current users take these now-tangible assets and send a digital card featuring a piece of art to a lucky recipient who will receive the gift via email. They don’t even have to have a Coinbase account at the moment.
3. However, once the recipient gets the gift, the Coinbase email incentivizes and helps them sign up to the crypto exchange platform so they can make the most out of their gift.
4. Gift recipients sign up for Coinbase to save their gifts in their wallets and are encouraged to continue using the platform. Now, they can not only get started in the world of crypto but they’ll be able to send gifts by themselves to other recipients, creating a never-ending cycle of crypto gifting.
In this loop, Coinbase takes a win when it comes to acquiring new customers. By allowing users to send crypto in a creative, digital card as the variable reward, gift recipients are exposed to the Coinbase platform and stimulated to sign up for the platform to view and take advantage of their gift, which can easily increase in value over time. With this, the newly converted Coinbase user will not only have joined the community of crypto enthusiasts through Coinbase, but they will be able to do the same for their friends or anyone they would like to send a crypto gift to. This creative aspect to their marketing strategy helps Coinbase continue to promote their services and in turn acquire new users in the process as the output.
Creative, Engaging Campaigns
Bored Ape Yacht Club Collab
For those who want to be considered crypto connoisseurs but don’t know what the Bored Ape Yacht Club is, let me break it down to you quickly. It is one of the most popular NFT collections in the market consisting of 10,000 unique Bored Ape NFTs ー unique collectibles living on the Ethereum blockchain. A year ago, a collection of 101 Apes with unique attributes and qualities was sold for more than $24 million. Having this in mind, it’s safe to say that this is a top-performing collection in the NFT world.
Going back to Coinbase, both the crypto trading platform and the NFT collection creators teamed up for an incredible marketing stunt. Knowing the popularity of NFTs and wanting to capitalize on their buzz, Coinbase promoted their new Coinbase Wallet through which users could not only send and receive cryptocurrencies but could store their newest NFTs, by introducing a giveaway for one of the Bored Ape NFTs.
The campaign invited current and prospective users to download the Coinbase Wallet app, import an existing wallet or set up a new one, follow Coinbase on Twitter, and tweet their wallet username accompanied by the hashtag #CoinbaseWalletSweepstakes. Having done this, the user would be entered into the contest to win a Bored Ape NFT.
The value that the Bored Ape NFTs have encouraged people to sign up for the Coinbase platform for a chance to win. This had millions of users downloading and sharing on Twitter rapidly, further increasing awareness of the brand and growing the Coinbase customer base in the process.
QR Code Super Bowl Ad
…and now we’re back to talking about this. Coinbase broke the internet with a simple 60-second Super Bowl ad spot that didn’t bear resemblance to the rest of the ads featured during the commercial breaks. A clever riff on the iconic bouncing DVD logo, the ad featured a colorful bouncing QR code which redirected its viewers to a registration landing page with a surprise. The Rams may have won the football game a month ago, but Coinbase’s latest ad won them the Super Bowl ad game this year.
When scanned, the QR code led viewers to a promotional website that offered them a limited-time promotion of $15 worth of free Bitcoin to new users who signed up and invited them to participate in a $3 million giveaway.
But the ad may have actually been too popular; it temporarily crashed the app due to the massive traffic that resulted from the spot. The advertisement led to installs jumping 309% week-over-week after it was aired and 286% the next day.
Coinbase’s marketing campaigns never disappoint. They always seem to know exactly what to do to promote their ads and cause a mass buzz around their original campaigns. Campaigns such as their collab with Bored Ape and their own Super Bowl ad have allowed Coinbase to continue growing as the leader in the crypto trading world, further converting more enthusiasts into users and providing easy-to-use access to cryptocurrencies.
Kevin Durant: The New Face of Coinbase
NBA star Kevin Durant was an early believer in digital currencies ー having initially invested in Coinbase back in 2017 ー and he’s continued to show his interest. Durant, his venture capital firm Thirty Five Ventures and his sports media network Boardroom have announced a strategic partnership with Coinbase, joining forces in a multiyear deal that would make him the face of the platform.
Through this partnership, the Brooklyn Nets’ sharpshooter is ready to promote Coinbase across all of his channels. With Boardroom, he’ll be promoting and sponsoring content related to crypto, and through Thirty Five Ventures, his alliance with Coinbase will be even bigger. In a joint venture, KD’s company and the crypto exchange platform are expected to release exclusive NFTs and plan on educating sports fans on digital currencies and collectibles. At the same time, Coinbase will be supportive of his foundation and be active in supporting his youth programs.
This partnership goes way beyond crypto. It is set to take advantage of sports fans who can easily be translated to the crypto space as they typically are involved in community gambling with fantasy leagues and sports betting so that they can join and explore cryptocurrencies. With this said, this audience is not particularly new to financial risk, and through the Coinbase x KD partnership, they’ll gain a better understanding of the world of crypto while leveraging their basketball fanaticism through an NBA player as a hook to this new world.
“Kevin does very, very few brand deals and that was by design. They’re this new model of brand partner for us, where they do integrate in all different parts of our business,” stated Rich Kleiman, KD’s manager and co-founder of Thirty Five Ventures, regarding Durant’s partnership with Coinbase.
MasterCard x Coinbase: Frictionless NFT Purchases
Amid a wave of recent crypto partnerships, specifically between payment and crypto giants, MasterCard struck a deal with Coinbase to offer Coinbase users the opportunity to make payments using their debit and credit cards in their upcoming NFT marketplace. With the inevitable increase in NFT purchases over the past months, Coinbase unveiled their plans to launch their own platform for minting and buying NFTs, and now MasterCard users will be able to make purchases through it.
Through this partnership, Coinbase is looking to reduce the inherent friction the NFT buying process brings along. Currently, the crypto exchange requires its users to open a crypto wallet and buy crypto, and that’s when they’ll be able to buy their NFTs in an external marketplace. By teaming up with the leader in global payments, Coinbase will expand their users’ choices in buying NFTs, offering a simpler and quicker way to purchase them.
“Getting more people involved safely and securely is perhaps the best way to help the NFT market thrive,” said Raj Dhamodharan, MasterCard’s EVP of Blockchain, Digital Asset Products, & Strategic Partnerships. “As it does, MasterCard sees even greater potential for NFTs’ underlying tech to go beyond art and collectibles into many more areas.”
With this partnership, Coinbase seeks to simplify its user experience to attract more people into the world of NFTs. Just as they helped millions access Bitcoin for the first time through a trusted platform, they want to do the same for NFTs.
Marketing efforts like this truly showcase the effectiveness of Coinbase’s growth strategy. Traditional marketing teams tend to isolate themselves from the product team, but Coinbase does the complete opposite. Rather than siloing away from them, Coinbase’s marketing team joins forces with product specialists to build a strategy with the product as the core function of growth. Through its strategic partnerships, Coinbase champions an incredible product experience for its users, creating more awareness for its brand and simplifying the user experience in the process.
Price Alert Push Notifications
If there’s one thing Coinbase does right through their marketing strategy it’s constantly fostering re-engagement with their customers. In 2019, Coinbase introduced real-time price alerts for any digital currency offered and supported by Coinbase. With these price alert push notifications, Coinbase users don’t have to go into their app or website to find out when and how the market moves on your crypto of choice.
Tracking the prices of crypto in real-time is a very inconvenient, time-consuming task. Because of this, it is difficult to know how the market is performing regularly and even to decide whether it is the right time to buy or sell. With this new feature, however, the dark days are over. Coinbase’s push notifications for all tradable currencies provide the information necessary to allow their users to make informed decisions in a timely manner.
The price alerts feature is very simple; through the Coinbase app, you just have to enable notifications and you’ll start receiving alerts for the cryptos on your Watchlist. When the value of those assets either increase or decrease, you’ll receive an alert about the shift, and you’ll be informed to make rapid decisions regarding the buying or selling of your assets. With these notifications, Coinbase retains consumers and positions itself as the go-to platform to receive prompt, important information regarding your cryptocurrencies.
Creative & Useful Email Campaigns
Coinbase continues to foster re-engagement with its platform through educational and insightful emails that are delivered when a user signs up for the Coinbase Bytes newsletter. This newsletter is beginner-friendly, allowing readers to easily digest news about Bitcoin, NFTs, business, and culture. Through these emails, Coinbase is able to not only keep its loyal customer base informed about the cryptoeconomy, but to position itself in the minds of its users as the main source for crypto trading and news relating to such.
Through emails delivered once a week, Coinbase leverages its current user base to continue its mission of educating the world about cryptocurrencies and opening it up to everyone interested. With short bytes of information that can be read by everyone ranging from beginners to crypto experts, Coinbase seeks to provide an easy learning experience that empowers individuals to create a better life for themselves and their families, all with the ultimate goal of increasing economic freedom at a global level through an educated crypto community.
If you’re still thinking Coinbase’s greatness is all because of their Super Bowl ad, let us formally invite you to scroll back up and re-read this article. Coinbase’s growth marketing strategy is one not only crypto exchange platforms, but anyone should take note of. Through a series of growth loops that constantly attract consumers and prospective users to continue using it and referring it to others, strategic partnerships with high-profile athletes, and the fostering of re-engagement through price alerts and emails, Coinbase continues to successfully market itself to its crypto-loving audience as the king of crypto trading.