Why We Love These Referral Marketing Examples (And You Would Too)

Team AppViralityGrowth Hacks, Referral Marketing9 Comments

Why We Love These Referral Marketing Examples (And You Would Too)

In a time when everything comes with a hefty price tag, who’ll not love a free ride or the next best deal on a hotel? Coming to think of it, it’s an easy-peasy task.All it requires is a simple click on the ‘refer-a-friend’ or ‘invite and earn’ or a different tagline bait that means something similar (we mean you get the drift).

We are assuming that you might be already hooked to at least one or many of such services/products that choose referral marketing as a tactic either for brand promotion, marketing or business development. Whatever be the reason, referral marketing always earns brownie points with the users.

That’s when we decided to do a quick round-up on the products/services that are hugely popular owing to their referral marketing program.The idea is to analyze the best in the business and discover a few new ones on the way!

The Veteran Referral Marketing Champs!

A lot of brands have been at the forefront of referral marketing. However, a few have carved a niche for themselves. We call them the ‘Adam and Eve’ of referral marketing, simply because they have left an everlasting impact on an average user and proved that simple tactics are always the best.

Analysing DropBox’s Referral Program

No list that cites referral marketing as a tactic is complete without the mention of Dropbox’s iconic (yet simple) strategy. It has to be noted that it is one of the very few SaaS product that has achieved success like this. Dropbox sign-ups increased by over 60% owing to referrals.

Dropbox Referral

Dropbox Referral

What they Offered: Free 500 MB of space on every successful referral.

Analysing Airbnb Referral Program

If you are a marketer and haven’t heard about AirBnb’s referral marketing campaign, you are not qualified for your job. Yes, you read that right. AirBnb’s referrals are the best in the world, and we have reasons to state that.

Whether it was hacking Craigslist (to catapult growth) or bringing in awareness about the referral program, Airbnb has learnt and improved every step of this tactic and, therefore, mastered the art. More of it here >

What they Offered: Airbnb offered a two way incentive program to its users. This meant that both the referrer and the recipient would be eligible for $25 credit when the recipient completes their first trip. The referrer was also entitled to $75 if the recipient hosts someone. The program is still open to users.

Airbnb Referrals

Airbnb Referrals

Analysing UBER Referral Program

Going ahead with our Adam and Eve theory, it’s hard to miss UBER, especially due to its incentivized referral program (which is a huge hit) with the users across the globe. UBER is a great growth story and more can be read about it here.

What also made a difference to UBER’s success was their decision to incorporate referral marketing in their mobile model, through the app. Today, this model is successfully replicated by other cab and ride sharing apps.

UBER Referral

UBER Referral

What they Offered: UBER referrals are based on the concept of free rides. The referral model is also open to drivers, which has also picked up very well by users.

Analysing Evernote’s Referral Program

Here’s a company that touches the life of over 100 billion people every day, at least that’s what Evernote claims! In our opinion, Evernote is not just a product…it is a cult.

What They Offered: Evernote elevated their user count through referral marketing. New referred users are entitled to a free month of Evernote Premium, and in return the referrer gets points that they can redeem for Evernote freebies, premium services or even boost in their monthly upload limits.

Analysing Google-For-Work

It’s apt to say that Google has seamlessly twined itself into our everyday life and beyond. When a giant brand like this uses referral marketing to promote a product, it speaks volumes about the effectiveness of the tactic.


Though this program is functional in only a few countries, it still attracts a huge amount of referral traffic due to its simplicity.

What They Offered: Google for Work offers a one-way referral program, which is quite vanilla. For every recommendation, the referrer gets $15. Here’s a quick glimpse of how it works>

Google For Work Referrals

Google For Work Referrals

While the ‘best referral marketing campaign’ is a matter of debate, the above-mentioned programs have excelled in term of providing ease to the customer, a value add to their existent life (in means of productivity or otherwise) apart from introducing  ‘never heard before’ deals, thus making them hugely popular with the masses.

A few chose to stay and offer a continual referral program to its patrons, others have put a stop to it in the long run.

For someone whose bread and butter revolves around creating growth hacks (one of the tactics being In-app referrals) we are on a constant look out for new products/services that are using referral marketing in unique ways to highlight their products.

The Fresh New Entrants In The Referral Marketing Arena


While UBER has simplified travelling within the city, LuxeValet is determined to change the way ‘valet services’ function. The start-up runs a referral program where the referrer is entitled to a $20 credit on their first park. Urban cities where ‘parking’ is a standard nuisance, this service coupled with referral marketing is bound to strike the right cord with its users.

Never look for parking ever again with @luxevalet Use referral code: DENISE for a $20 credit on your first park!http://t.co/eAsvBivcAA #SF

— Denise Terry (@denisehterry) April 26, 2015


Imagine living a workaholic life and having no time to dwell in a healthy meal. Even worse coming home to an empty refrigerator. If you are living in US, Sprig may be your answer to a healthy meal delivered in 15 mins! It also offers a great referral program to its users.

Love Sprig? Give $10, get $10 when your friend uses your referral code. Check the app for your personal code today! pic.twitter.com/2JiaP5rKVU

— Sprig (@Sprig) March 23, 2015

Post Mates

PostMates is an on-delivery service that has been growing at an exaggerating pace. It has become widely known due to its ‘1 hr’ delivery concept. Its referral model has also soared its popularity many folds.

This is the coolest app ever lol. Try Postmates! http://t.co/5kWDZQIsWp. Use my referral code, qrhb, for $10.00 in delivery fee credit.

— AlecClawson (@AlecClawson) May 6, 2015


Shyp is a shipping service that facilitates pick up of your shipments, and the service is supported through a cool app.

The service offers a $30 off  (on first shipment) when a recipient signs up using your referral code


Everyone loves Buffer. But we love it more. It’s a growth story that makes us learn something unique everyday. Though we regularly use the product for our social media scheduling, we weren’t aware of their referral program until we  this e-mail in our  inbox a few days back.

Buffer's Referral Program

Buffer’s Referral Program

Though there isn’t a monetary element in Buffer’s referral model, it does provide an important value add for its daily users.

Are you a business (with an app) that believes in the power of word-of-mouth? If so, how has it benefitted your product? We would love to have a chat with you and help your app grow through our plug and play growth hacking toolkit.

Do you think referral marketing can help you scale your business? Talk to our experts now!

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About the Author

Team AppVirality


Sound growth hacks, tips and tricks from the team at AppVirality. AppVirality provides a drop-in SDK to implement Uber/Airbnb like in-app referrals, without having to code.Do drop us a line and we'll be glad to help you!