To meet a population’s needs, you have to know who your population is. That’s why we started the @meafterwe project by doing a bunch of user research, which we’ll get into in another post. But you also have to understand how big your population is–your TAM (Total Addressable Market), SAM (Serviceable Addressable Market), and SoM (Share of Addressable Market).
The tl;dr is that our TAM for @meafterwe is 17 million teens and young adults (TYA), our SAM is 12 million, and we’re aiming for 235k SoM over three years (2% of SAM).
In the spirit of transparency, we’ll go into a little more depth on how we reached these numbers.
Total Addressable Market Definition: An estimate of the potential users of a product in the target population at a point in time.
Our target population is teens and young adults, aged 15-24. Our sweet spot within that age range is 18-22.
So first, we needed some population data. The US Census Bureau’s most up-to-date population estimates are from 2018, so that’s what we used. There are more than 21 million 15-19 year olds, and the same ballpark for 20-24 year olds, bringing us to over 42 million teens and young adults (TYA) in the US.
Yes, but how many of them have been through a breakup recently? For that, we went to the literature. In a 2019 paper, O’Sullivan et al. report that 40% of TYA have experienced a breakup in the last 20 months (O’Sullivan et al., 2019). Now, 20 months is an interesting timeline. At first, we questioned whether we should shorten (or even lengthen that timeline). But, anecdotally, our followers @meafterwe have run the gamut of time-since-breakup. They’ve reported to us everything from thinking about breaking up with their partner to having broken up years ago and still suffering. Thus, 20 months seemed to be recent enough to be relevant while not cutting off too many who are still suffering months after society’s expected grieving time. (Ask around for how long someone should grieve and you’ll be surprised by the range of answers, but most are less than a year.)
TAM: 17 Million
|15-19 year olds1||21,873,579|
|20-24 year olds2||43,970,800|
|40% of TYA have had a breakup in the past 20 months3||17,188,320|
Serviceable Addressable Market (SAM) Definition: An estimate of the proportion of the TAM we have access to through our distribution channel.
To calculate our SAM, we had to find a definition that made sense for a digital product. We turned to Hopelab.org’s definition, which accounts for how much of your TAM you can actually reach dependent on your distribution channels. That means, if we were to change or expand our distribution channels, our SAM would change as well.
In this case, our distribution channel is solely Instagram. Our choice to build @meafterwe as an Instagram-based mental health education program came directly from our research with Gen Z and their daily habits.
If you search the internet for how many TYA are on Instagram, you’re going to find a lot of different numbers, but they’re all over 71%. We decided to go with the Pew Research Center’s findings that 72% of teens are on the gram and 75% of young adults are. (We know, we know, we’re eventually going to have to crack Tik Tok. (Joking aside, we considered it. Not many brands have cracked Tik Tok, and brand engagement on Instagram is impressive)).
SAM: 12 Million
|72% of teens are on Instagram4||6,076,000|
|75% of young adults are on Instagram5||6,562,074|
Share of Market (SoM) Definition: An estimate of the portion of the SAM we believe have engaged with our product over a three-year period, informed by relevant industry/product norms or benchmarks, and product history.
For this one, it was a bit more guesswork, as it’s an estimate of where we think we’ll get over the next three years. First, we had to define what we meant by “engaged with our product.” For that, we went to the industry norms for engagement on Instagram.
First, we’re looking to our reach. Reach in this case means the number of unique accounts that have seen our images. From there, we wanted to know how many of those reached have engaged. So, we needed our engagement rate, which shifts from week to week and day to day. Still, most instagram services (we use Planoly) will calculate your engagement rate for you. Planoly defines the engagement rate as “the total number of engagements such as likes, comments, and saves divided by reach.” So, to calculate our engaged users, we multiply our engagement rate by our reach.
Doing so, we find that we’re currently on track for 53k engaged followers in year 1.
From there, we’ve done some research to think about how we’ll grow over the next three years. Back in 2016, year on year growth for an account of our size was a whopping 42%. In 2019, it’s more like 12%.
Still, 12% seems too conservative for our taste. We currently have incredible follower acquisition costs and clickthrough rates, and we haven’t even fully deployed our press or influencer engagement strategies. Thus, we decided to be ambitious and push for the 2016 average growth rate of 42% year on year growth, which is how we get to our 235k share of market (or 2% of SAM) over the next three years.
|Avg growth year on year||.42|
|First year goal||50k|
|2nd year goal||75k|
|3rd year goal||110k|
|Sum||2% of SAM|
Product Initiation Definition: The actual number of TYA who have engaged with our product.
Product initiated is how Hopelab (and now All Mental Health), think about our SoM. These are individuals who have engaged with our content and who we feel may find some benefit from doing so.
But, initiation isn’t the ultimate goal. We’re aiming to meaningfully impact lives.
Lives Impacted Definition: The calculated number of those who have meaningfully engaged with the product and are thus likely to receive benefit on proximal health indicators.
We are defining meaningfully engaged as all individuals who have followed us. These individuals have opted in to having our content show up in their feeds daily.
Currently: 1096 individuals
Okay, that was likely more information than anyone wanted. But, in the spirit of transparency, and for anyone else who wanted a primer on how to work through TAM, SAM, and SoM, we hope this can be helpful.
In future posts, we’ll talk more about how we conducted our user research, what we’re tracking to get at the effectiveness of our product, and more.
For now, we’ll leave you with a quote from one of our followers, which we find incredibly heartwarming:
“I’ve completely moved on thanks to this account. I really appreciate this account and I’m glad I started following! Thank you for helping me get over my breakup that I thought I would never get over.”
1 Bureau, U. S. C. (n.d.). American FactFinder—Results. Retrieved January 23, 2020, from https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=PEP_2018_PEPANNRES&src=pt
2 Bureau, U. S. C. (n.d.). American FactFinder—Results. Retrieved January 23, 2020, from https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=PEP_2018_PEPANNRES&src=pt
3 O’Sullivan, L., Hughes, K., Talbot, F., & Fuller, R. (2019). Plenty of Fish in the Ocean: How do Traits Reflecting Resiliency Moderate Adjustment After Experiencing a Romantic Breakup in Emerging Adulthood? Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 48. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-019-00985-5
4 NW, 1615 L. St, Suite 800Washington, & Inquiries, D. 20036USA202-419-4300 | M.-857-8562 | F.-419-4372 | M. (n.d.). 10 facts about Americans and Facebook. Pew Research Center. Retrieved January 23, 2020, from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/05/16/facts-about-americans-and-facebook/
5 NW, 1615 L. St, Suite 800Washington, & Inquiries, D. 20036USA202-419-4300 | M.-857-8562 | F.-419-4372 | M. (n.d.). Share of U.S. adults using social media, including Facebook, is mostly unchanged since 2018. Pew Research Center. Retrieved January 23, 2020, from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/04/10/share-of-u-s-adults-using-social-media-including-facebook-is-mostly-unchanged-since-2018/