North Star Metric: What Is It and How To Find It For Your Company

 

What Is a Company’s North Star Metric?

A north star metric is a key metric that demonstrates the value consumers gain from a company’s products or services. It’s the metric a company determines is the single most important driver of success and it provides an initiative for the whole company to rally behind.

However, identifying your company’s north star metric can be challenging at first. For example, a rideshare app may think that tracking the number of app downloads would be a great measure of success. 

However, a more accurate measure of value may be the number of miles ridden by users. 

Unlike the number of app downloads, which gives us very little information, tracking the number of miles ridden by users reveals more about the value and use of the product. Therefore, the north star metric should be a key component to the company’s long-term success and sustainability. It should also give you actionable information you can use to grow your business.

What Is the Purpose of a North Star?

A north star metric has three primary purposes: it helps measure your customer value, it represents your product strategy, and acts as a leading indicator of revenue.

Measure Customer Value

A north star metric helps you measure how often your customers engage with your product, which allows you to measure your customer value. It should indicate whether or not customers experienced the true value of your core product. For example, a library would not want to choose how many active library cards their location has as a north star metric because it doesn’t reveal much about how customers use the library. 

Instead, you would want to measure the number of books checked out, which indicates how customers are actively using their library cards. 

By measuring how much time the customer has spent engaged with your product, you can see how much value the customer is getting and make important decisions about your core product line to help improve customer value.

Represent Product Strategy

Your product strategy is key to the success of your business. A product strategy should be well-defined and measurable to make it easy to track. 

A good north star metric will capture your product strategy and show your progress in a form that’s easy to understand. A simple sales or profit chart will not provide enough information to guide your product strategy on its own without a solid north star metric. 

Companies can use their north star metric to focus more clearly on the true purpose of the product and what value the customer is receiving from it, which can inform product strategy. 

Act as a Leading Indicator of Revenue

Although your north star metric is not the only measure of revenue for your company, it should be a leading indicator of revenue. Simply put, if your north star metric increases, you can expect your revenue to increase as well.

It is essential to keep the north star metric’s relationship to revenue in mind when choosing one. For instance, simply measuring customer satisfaction will only tell you if your customers are happy, but it may not correlate to revenue. But customer referrals could be a measurement of both satisfaction and an indication of revenue.

Why Does My North Star Matter?

In many ways, your north star metric reflects the core values and voice, or internal mission statement, of your company. Your chosen north star metric should capture the purpose of your product and how it provides value to your customer. 

When your north star metric performs well, your company is more likely to stay true to its original goal and core values. In addition to serving as a leading indicator of revenue, the north star metric should also directly measure positive impact on your customers. 

In short, the north star metric matters because it tells the story of how successful your company is and gives you a clear picture of the sustainability and long-term outlook for your company.

Should a Company Only Have One North Star?

The number of north star metrics that your company has depends on the goals of your organization. Choosing one or two north star metrics helps to keep your evaluations simpler while still providing meaningful information. 

When choosing a north star metric, the idea is not to over complicate your keys to success; just to find the key metrics that matter. 

However, some companies have large footprints and have many different products and services that are not closely related. In these situations, it may be appropriate for different departments and teams to have their own north star metrics as long as they contribute to the company’s primary metric. 

How Do You Choose a Good North Star?

When choosing a north star metric for your organization, make sure to use the right tools to ensure that your metric meets the following criteria:

  1. It expresses value.
  2. It represents vision and strategy.
  3. It indicates success.
  4. It is measurable.
  5. It is clear.
  6. It is actionable.

It Expresses Value

Your north star metric should be measuring the value you bring to the customer. A simple purchase or subscription metric is not enough to understand if your customers benefit from your product.  

Your north star metric should capture what the customer uses your product for and the value it brings. Thishelps you better understand what keeps customers coming back. 

It Represents Vision and Strategy

Your north star metric should represent the vision and strategy or long-term plan for your company. Getting clear on your vision for the company and the strategy you’ll employ to get you there is vital to setting you apart from your competitors. Then communicating that vision and strategy company wide will help employees perform their jobs with them in mind. 

When you incorporate your vision and strategy into your north star metric, you’ll be able to measure how close you are to realizing that vision and how well your strategy is working. It also ensures your company stays true to its roots as it grows instead of losing its way in the name of chasing profits. 

It Indicates Success

Your north star metric should always indicate the success of your company. It should go beyond just the purchase of your product and provide details about how it’s impacting your customers. 

A product that sells well but doesn’t perform well will not have long-term success. Often success will tie back with sales, customer satisfaction, and other good indicators of business performance. 

Make sure your north star metric indicates success to keep your long-term outlook sound. 

It Is Measurable

Your chosen metric has to be measurable. A clearly defined north star will have values that are objective, not subjective. For example, tracking opinions or immeasurable data will not deliver reliable results. 

When choosing and tracking your north star metric, make sure you select a metric that has readily available data.

It Is Clear

Your entire company must understand your north star metric and why it is essential to rally around. A simple and understandable metric helps employees keep their goals at the forefront of their minds during their day-to-day andensures the entire company is pulling in the same direction. 

It Is Actionable

It’s critical to ensure that your north star metric is within your control and something that not only you can improve, but that every department can have a hand in improving. 

Once you have chosen an actionable north star metric, your organization can create strategies and tactical plans to help improve your metrics.

How Can My North Star Drive Product Strategy?

The north star metric should be a driving factor for your product strategy. If you’ve picked a good metric, you’ll see what products and features truly benefit your customers. You’ll gain valuable insight into how your product justifies your customer’s investment, hopefully to their satisfaction.

With a clearer understanding of your product’s value, you can better shape your product strategy to improve on your delivery to customers. With your north star metric helping to keep your organization close to your core values, it’s an excellent tool to help shape your future products and keep your customers coming back. 

Conclusion

The north star metric is a popular measure for innovative companies looking to improve their value to customers. The metric should be true to your company’s core values and not just a simple profit chart. 

Your north star metric should be a simple, actionable measure that helps keep your employees driving toward your company’s success. Get started with measuring your north star metric with Kissmetrics.

 

Sources:

How To Find Your Company’s North Star Metric | Forbes

How to Drive Your Startup With Just 2 North Star Metrics | Midstage.org

The 3 True-North Metrics that Your Product and Business Need | LinkedIn 

What is Customer Churn?

 

 

 

Understanding why customers stop purchasing from your company is critical, regardless of industry. However, it can be challenging to differentiate between solvable issues with your product or service versus external problems that exist for your company. 

Here we explain what customer churn is, why it’s important, how to measure it, and how to reduce it and keep your customers satisfied.

The Definition of Customer Churn

Churn is when a customer decides to stop using your product or services for some reason. This might mean canceling a subscription, ceasing their logins to your website, or not buying anything else from your company. A high churn is often a bad sign for companies, even if you’ve got plenty of new customers, as we explain below.

Why is Customer Churn Important?

Customer churn is a metric measuring long-term satisfaction with your company, products, and services. It’s more expensive to appeal to new customers than to retain existing customers. So businesses who inspire devoted brand loyalty often find that their profits increase significantly when they reduce their customer acquisition costs.

Knowing how long users typically engage with your products or how long they subscribe to your services is a major indicator of how satisfied they are. If people aren’t sticking with your products for very long, that usually means there’s room for improvement on your end. 

Causes of Customer Churn

There are plenty of reasons why customers churn, some are within your control and some are external. Any one of the following reasons might inspire some of your customers to churn.

  • Replaced by a competitor with lower prices/more features/features that add more value
  • Need no longer exists
  • Money is tight
  • Dissatisfaction with the product/service
  • Dissatisfaction with your company’s customer service
  • Dissatisfaction with your brand’s message

How Do You Identify Customer Churn?

Identifying customer churn isn’t as simple as you might think. The reason is that the majority of metrics measure the number of active users at any given time. If you have a large number of new users signing up for accounts, your user numbers might look steady over time. 

However, if most active users are new users and not existing ones, you’ll be spending more on customer acquisition costs than you need to.

Cohort Analysis

Cohort analysis is the process of segmenting your website visitors or users into groups based on their behaviors and interactions within a specified time. Everyone in a single cohort has made the same decisions and triggered the same events within the period and parameters you input in your product analytics tool

Kissmetrics’ cohort report shows you the people who progress from doing one event to doing another event. It also shows you if people are repeatedly doing a single event. This can demonstrate whether you have a high churn rate among existing customers and are only seeing consistent user numbers because of incoming users or if your users are sticking around for multiple cycles. 

What is Churn Rate?

Your churn rate is the rate of existing customers who stop doing business with your company over a given timeframe.  

Churn Rate vs. Growth Rate

Churn rate and growth rate aren’t opposites like their names might lead you to believe. Your growth rate is the number of new users your brand acquires in a given timeframe. It’s essential to distinguish these new users from your existing users because otherwise, enough new users could disguise an alarming churn rate if you only measure currently active users. 

How to Calculate Customer Churn

Calculating a customer churn rate requires you to choose a timeframe first. For example, if you wanted to calculate customer churn during the month of June, you would take the number of subscribers who canceled their subscription or failed to renew it and divide that number by the total number of subscribers at the beginning of the month. The answer is your churn rate. 

What Does a High Churn Rate Mean?

Typically, a high churn rate means your product or service is not providing long-term satisfaction. This might mean people try your app for a few days before becoming bored with it and moving on. Or that the customer doesn’t value your service enough to continue paying for it. 

Is There an Acceptable Churn Rate?

Churn rates often vary widely between industries. However, product analytics tools and informational websites often present reports on rough estimates for churn rates in some of the largest industries at the end of each fiscal year. 

According to Statista’s 2020 report, the industries where companies saw the most considerable churn rates were credit card companies and cable companies, with an average churn rate of 25%. Conversely, big-box electronics stores saw an average customer churn rate of only 11%. 

How Do You Reduce Customer Churn?

While every business must deal with some amount of customer churn, there are also steps you can take to reduce your customer churn and incentivize customers to stick with your company.

Listen to Your Customers

Everyone likes to feel like their complaints are being heard. When customers leave you negative reviews or feedback on surveys, it’s easy to dismiss them and forget about it, but that feedback is quite valuable. When customers specify where they had issues with your product or service, you can take them into account and look for solutions.

Similarly, when customers praise your company for a feature or function, you might consider focusing on it in the future. If you’ve made something that meets or exceeds their needs, maybe that is what you should be advertising or updating in time. 

Provide Great Customer Service

Whatever your product or service may be, customers will likely need to contact your business directly at some point. Whether it’s because they’re having trouble setting up your software, they’ve encountered a major error, or something else altogether; most companies must interact with their customers.

You should try to provide as many avenues of customer support as possible. Nowadays, people aren’t always content to call a hotline; they want options. Including an email and a live chat are a step in the right direction since no one likes to be on hold for hours at a time. 

Generally, customers contact support when there is a problem, and emotions can run high. That’s why you need to ensure that your customer service/customer success representatives are patient, helpful, informative, and proactive. Customers are already in a bad mood because something went wrong, but you can demonstrate why they should stick with your brand with great customer service. 

Exceed Expectations

You should constantly be looking for ways to exceed your customers’ expectations. Whether that means taking surveys to see which features need some improvement, making more customer support available, or otherwise interacting positively with customers, you should be proactive in reaching out to your existing customers and making them feel valued.

You can also exceed expectations by building great products. Use an analytics tool like Kissmetrics to track what customers use/buy and what gives them problems. Track your UX to see where customers get stuck. By spotting and solving problems before customers bring them to your attention, you’ll not only exceed their expectations but likely reduce churn in the process. 

Let Some Churn

Some customers are going to churn for reasons you can’t fix without a complete pivot. For instance, if your brand makes a luxury product, an economic downturn or global pandemic might make it unaffordable for some previous customers. Alternatively, customers might have a more intimate change in their lives like having a baby that forces them to change their habits, they might move away, or find a replacement. 

One way or another, you’ll have to come to terms with some amount of customer churn.

Identify Problems and Fix Them

Knowing where users drop off in your conversion funnel is a powerful antidote to a high churn rate. If you can see exactly where users become frustrated or stop interacting with your product, you’ll be able to pinpoint the problems and find solutions. 

For example, if you see that customers who churn within a month are never using one of your product’s key features, it could be they need more instruction or encouragement to use it. Especially if that feature is popular amongst power users. But if no one is using that feature, then it might be too complicated to figure out, or users don’t find it useful. Kissmetrics’ activity report will show you what users are doing with their accounts so that you can see which features are being used. 

Similarly, the cohort report will provide information about clients who complete designated events. You can see if the people who are churning haven’t completed specific events and whether that may have affected their decision. 

Conclusion

Customer churn may be a part of doing business, but you don’t have to just accept it for your company. By identifying how many customers are churning, how long they take to churn, and why they’re leaving, you can retain more existing customers and lower your customer acquisition costs. 

Get in touch with us to learn why customers churn and how you can prevent it.

 

Sources:

Cohort Analysis: Beginners Guide to Improving Retention | Clevertap.com

How to Calculate (And Lower!) Your Customer Churn Rate | Wordstream

Customer Churn: Definition, Rate, Calculation, Analysis, and Prediction | Questionpro.com

Customer service: churn rate by industry US 2020 | Statista.com

What is a Good Bounce Rate For Your Website?

 

 

 

Understanding how bounce rate works and what you should aim for on your website can be challenging. There are several factors that can affect your bounce rate, such as where the visitor is coming from, the type of page they land on, and your website’s goal. 

In this article, we delve into what a bounce rate is, why it matters, and how to improve yours. 

What is Bounce Rate and Why Does It Matter?

A bounce rate refers to the percentage of visitors who visit a single page of your website before navigating away. These visitors do not visit any other pages on your website and typically don’t interact with anything on the page. 

Essentially, your bounce rate measures how many people take one look at your content and exit.

What is a Good Bounce Rate?

Depending on your industry and what you offer on your website, your ideal bounce rate may vary. For example, if your website is informational, you can expect a higher bounce rate since people will visit, find the information they were looking for, and leave. This is typically true for websites geared towards students or research.

The type of page also impacts bounce rate. Product description pages and home pages tend to have a lower bounce rate than blog entries or informational pages. 

What is the Average Bounce Rate?

The average bounce rate is between 26-70%, depending on the industry and purpose of the website. Given the wide range, you’ll want to look up the average bounce rate for your industry and site type to get a read on how your site is doing..

How To Check Your Bounce Rate 

Some analytics tools offer the ability to monitor your bounce rate, although Kissmetrics does not. Typically, you would find the bounce rate as a metric available to track and could click on the report to see your bounce rate through a specified timeframe.

We don’t offer tools like bounce rate monitoring because our funnel report provides more actionable information about who is flowing through your sales funnel and how many steps they get through before exiting your website. The funnel report gives you inverse information from a bounce rate by showing the number of people who complete a sequence of designated events. 

Why is Your Bounce Rate High? 

There are plenty of reasons why your bounce rate might be higher than the average. However, before you start panicking at an exceptionally high bounce rate, you should consider if any of the following apply to your website:

  • Traffic from social media platforms – if you place ads on social media platforms, plenty of casual browsers might click on your ad only to find that they weren’t particularly interested in your product, and they bounce away.
  • Publishing informational blog entries – if you’ve written great content, people might be looking for your blog. While that’s great, those people likely just want to consume that one blog’s content and have no interest in exploring the rest of your website.
  • People are browsing on their phones – regardless of your website’s formatting, people just have a shorter attention span when browsing the internet on their phones. This could be because they’re browsing in public or at work and need to be able to quickly see everything and then finish what they’re doing. Whatever the reason, bounce rates are often higher for mobile viewers. 

How to Analyze and Report Bounce Rates 

While some analytics tools automatically report bounce rates, they are considered a vanity metric and don’t usually provide valuable insight as to why your visitors are bouncing. Therefore, it is difficult to analyze bounce rates and draw any conclusions about what to improve. 

  • Are visitors leaving because they aren’t impressed with your website? 
  • Have they found the necessary information and are ready to move on? 
  • Is your website useful in their search? 
  • Do they feel that your advertisement misinformed them about your products and they don’t want to buy them? 
  • Does your product fail to resolve their issue for them?

None of these questions can be answered based solely on your bounce rate. Instead, you can monitor bounce rates through more useful reports that show how people interact with your website. 

How to Improve Bounce Rate 

Your website may have a high bounce rate for many reasons, some of which have nothing to do with your content or your product. However, we’ve compiled some of the aspects that you have control over within your website and what you can do to entice visitors to take off their coats and stay awhile. 

Improve Your Page Load Time

A slow load is one of the most common causes of a high bounce rate and low time on page. People expect pages to load in under a second, and the longer they wait for your content to load, the more likely they are to navigate away without ever seeing it. While some users can try refreshing the page, you can’t expect everybody to have high-speed internet, so you’ll have to build your pages for the lowest common denominator.

Limit the use of complicated graphics, fonts, or formatting on your website to reduce load time. Moving photos, embedded videos, automatically triggered music, and other fancy items will also slow down the loading of your pages. A clean, streamlined appearance never hurts, particularly if it makes the difference between people remaining to see what your website looks like and leaving in dissatisfaction.

Improve Your Page Design

We’ve all seen web pages with large amounts of pictures, fancy fonts, and blaring colors. They’re entirely distracting and often serve no purpose other than to distract viewers. However, if your visitors can’t immediately determine whether this website will meet their needs, they’re highly likely to just exit from it immediately.

Your website doesn’t need to be spartan, but it must have clearly defined links to your home page, product description pages, and other ways of navigating. Many websites with lots of pages employ a search bar in the upper right-hand corner.

Check Bounce Rate vs. Time On Site

Time on site, also known as session time, refers to the total amount of time a single visitor spends on your website. This encompasses any time they spend on any of your pages, from the time that they land on your first page to when they leave. Time on site alone only provides a vague picture of what’s going on – what if someone visits and leaves the tab open in the background? 

On the other hand, bounce rate measures the percentage of new visitors who see a single web page and navigate away or close the tab. 

Keyword Relevance

You might have the best content in the world, but it won’t matter if the right people can’t find it. Writing an in-depth article about when to use a skin care cream won’t be of any use to people looking for information about suntan lotion. If you don’t use relevant keywords, your article may come up for people who aren’t looking for skin care cream or not come up when people search variations on the terms. 

Optimize for Mobile

Nowadays, many people do their web surfing from their phones. If your website has lots of dense paragraphs, it can look like an unappealing wall of text on mobile. Instead, try to use as many bullet points, pictures, or breaks in paragraphs as possible. Keep each section to four lines maximum to facilitate readability.

Make Navigation Easy

Navigation via internal links is critical and shouldn’t be underestimated. It’s easy to forget to link to that product your blog just mentioned or link to a page with detailed instructions on installing your application. Still, without those links, your visitors won’t be able to continue down your conversion funnel. 

Keep Important Elements Above the Fold

For visitors on laptops, you want all of the crucial elements of a page to be located near the top or middle, anywhere that is above the fold of the laptop, aka where they have to scroll down. You should never forget that visitors can quickly leave the page. There are thousands of search results that likely deliver similar products or information, so you need to capture and keep their attention from the get-go.

Conclusion

Bounce rate is one of the vanity metrics that some product analytics tools will provide, although Kissmetrics does not. It depicts the percentage of visitors who only see one of your website’s pages before exiting the session. However, since the bounce rate rarely provides actionable information, we offer other metrics like path reports and funnel reports, so you can see what your customers are doing online before leaving.

Keep your bounce rate down by leveraging Kissmetrics’ tools today. 

 

Sources:

13 Reasons Your Website Can Have a High Bounce Rate | Search Engine Journal

What Is Bounce Rate and What Is a Good Rate? | SEMRush

High Bounce Rate? Here are the Reasons & What You Should Do | Crazy Egg

https://www.digitalinformationworld.com/2020/02/report-shows-that-attention-spans-are-shortening.html

Retention Analysis: How to Analyze and Report on Retention

 

 

 

Tracking and analyzing customer retention should be a high priority for any company with the hope of becoming successful. Your customers are the people who keep you in business, and customer retention is a measure of how well you satisfy them. Dissatisfied customers will not continue to give your business their money.

Understanding how retention rate works, calculating it and other KPIs, and gleaning insights from your data are all crucial steps  to making your business work. Keep in mind that retention rate is just as critical to a subscription or membership-based business as a company selling consumables. In other words, it’s viable for all businesses. 

What Is Retention Rate?

Your company’s retention rate is a measurement of customers who return to your brand to purchase more products or continue using your services. 

For example, it would measure the number of customers who continued to resubscribe to your service month after month. However, it is less important for companies selling cars, furniture, or other items that are not replaced frequently.

What Is Customer Churn?

Customer churn refers to customers who discontinue their business with your brand. This can happen for a variety of reasons. It can mean the customer was dissatisfied with your product or service or that they decided to discontinue service because it was no longer needed or affordable. 

Why Is Retention Important for My Business?

Customer retention helps to increase your profits because existing customers who choose to stick with your company are consistently profitable. They are also more valuable than new customers because each dollar they spend costs you less to attain.

Additionally, retention rate gives insight into whether your brand is meeting and exceeding customer expectations. When your company constantly satisfies its customers, they’ll stay out of trust instead of experimenting with competitors. 

How Do You Analyze Customer Retention?

Analyze your customer retention by first identifying why your customers return and then why customers churn, then compare the results to find out how to increase retention and decrease churn. 

Why Do Customers Churn?

Customers churn for a number of reasons:

  • Poor customer service experience
  • Decreased quality of products or services
  • Additional benefits, features, or functionalities found elsewhere
  • Price differences with competitors
  • Your product is no longer convenient
  • Customer’s budget or schedule changed
  • Promotional period ended

While it is important to consider all of these reasons, some are more likely to happen than others, and all of them, except for a customer’s changing needs, are within your company’s control.

How Do Customers Churn?

One example is, in subscription or service-based companies, customers cancel their subscription or membership. With products, the customer stops purchasing the items. 

How Do I Calculate My Retention Rate?

Calculating your retention rate is simple. First, choose a period of time to measure. Record the number of customers your company had at the end of the period and subtract the number of new customers. Divide that number by your total customers. Then multiply that number by 100 for your final retention rate.

(ending customers – new customers) / total customers * 100 = retention rate

(300 – 25) / 450 * 100 = 61.1%

Which Retention KPIs Should I Measure? 

Knowing which KPIs to measure is an essential part of analyzing your brand’s success. Having the right metrics on your side makes it easier to understand where to focus your company’s efforts for improvement. While there are plenty of different indicators, these provide some of the most valuable information. 

Customer Churn Rate

Customer Churn Rate measures the number of customers who have churned during a specific period. The rate of churn doesn’t explicitly list why the customers are leaving, which means it is up to your company to perform other evaluations to learn what is driving customers to leave. Is it poor customer service? Does your brand have a competitor who is undercutting your prices? Or is it a product issue?

Knowing how many customers choose to leave and why they’re leaving is crucial for growing your business and your bottom line. 

Customer Lifetime Value

The Customer Lifetime Value measures the contribution of a customer throughout the entire business relationship. The longer the CLV is, the more loyal your customer is.

Net Promoter Score

The Net Promoter Score is a measure of customer loyalty. It asks the customer a straightforward question: how likely are they to recommend your brand to a friend? The customer answers on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the worst score and 10 being the best score, meaning that they are going to recommend you. 

MRR Churn Rate

Monthly Recurring Revenue (or MRR) Churn Rate refers to any fluctuation in your company’s churn rate each month. Since you want to avoid churn, a negative MRR churn rate is good for your company. On the flip side, a positive MRR churn rate is bad news because it means that you’re losing customers for some reason.

Customer Engagement Score

Your Customer Engagement Score can vary depending on which inputs your company wants to measure. However, it is essentially a way to track customer activity through purchasing products and other KPIs.

This score can be helpful if you plan to separate customers into groups based on ethnicity, age, gender, and other factors. By identifying who is most likely to become a customer and stay a customer, your company will have a better idea of how to market itself and who the target audience currently is. 

Business-Specific Metrics

We’ve listed the basics, but there are plenty of other retention KPIs that your company can mix and match to create reports that are meaningful.

Some other KPIs to consider are:

  • Customer Satisfaction Score – a measure of how much your customer enjoyed their experience or product.
  • Customer Retention Cost – if your company has a loyalty or rewards program, this can add up to an expensive proposition over time. You want to ensure that it makes financial sense.

What Is a Retention Report?

A retention report records the number of customers who have both purchased a product or service and then repurchased that item or renewed their subscription within a specified time period. This can be a great way to see if your product or service satisfies customers over time, especially if your company just ran a promotion or free trial.

Suppose the majority of customers who signed up for the promotion or free trial canceled their membership after the promotional period ended. That may be a sign that your product needs improvement, the price needs to be reduced, or that the trial period wasn’t long enough for customers to understand your product’s benefits. 

Conclusion

Armed with the information about customer retention, your company can analyze it’s retention reports and other KPIs to see where improvements need to be made. These reports can shed light on specific areas of your product or service where customer satisfaction is lacking and help your company retain customers for longer, increasing your profit margin one happy customer at a time.

Let Kissmetrics help you analyze your retention and churn to increase your customer lifetime value.

 Sources:

How to Measure Customer Loyalty | Survey Sensum

Retention Rate | Definition and Overview | Productplan.com

Net Revenue Retention Rate vs Net MRR Churn Rate | Klipfolio.com

What is Source Tracking and Why is it Important?

 

 

 

 

Sadly, asking your users, “How did you find my business?” won’t get the answers you need. For the majority of companies, you never end up speaking with visitors and users, and even if you did, the chances are high that they would say, “Uh, I don’t know. Maybe Google?” 

Some websites have surveys for visitors to ask how they found them, but the surveys are often optional and rarely provide coherent information.

So, how can you discover which avenues of marketing are working? In this post, we break it all down by addressing how source tracking works, what it is, and how it can benefit your company. 

What is Source Tracking?

As the name implies, source tracking is a way to plot the course that led your website’s users to your landing page. Did they find one of your articles in a Google search? Did they see your ad on Twitter and click-through? Were they dormant users who signed up for the email list and were suddenly tempted by your irresistible discount offer in an email campaign?

What’s the Difference Between Source Tracking and Visitor Tracking?

Keep in mind; source tracking is solely focused on how a visitor gets to your website. Once they have arrived, any further monitoring of their interactions and behavior falls under the visitor tracking category.

Visitor tracking is more comprehensive than source tracking. While source tracking only looks at where your visitors are coming from, i.e., the source that brought them to your website’s landing  or home page, visitor tracking follows their journey through your website. 

Full-fledged visitor tracking might note which other pages visitors navigate to after leaving your landing page, how long they spend on each page, if they eventually commit to a purchase, and provide other insights on individual users throughout their session.

What are the Types of Source Tracking?

There are two main types of source tracking: onsite and offsite. As we explain below, you’ll likely be primarily concerned with offsite tracking when you want to monitor ad campaigns and other marketing strategies. 

However, onsite source tracking can provide valuable insight into your content creation and your calls to action on each page. There is also a third type of source tracking, so we’ll talk a bit about that, as well. 

Onsite

Onsite sources are internal links that visitors can click. For example, these sources might send the visitor from an article to another blog entry about related content or mention a specific product and include a link leading directly to that product’s description page. 

Understanding which pages funnel visitors to priority pages, like registering for an account with the website or purchasing items, is fundamental to building a website that is easy to navigate and provides users with what they’re looking for. 

Onsite source tracking may also fall into the category of visitor tracking, as we note in the section above, since you are following the visitor from one page to another while remaining on your website. 

Off Site

Off-site source tracking is your central funnel of information. This measures how people are getting to your website in the first place. Once they start doing other things and clicking through various pages within the website, off-site source tracking no longer applies. 

However, when it comes to A/B testing two different email campaigns, this is the type of source tracking you’ll utilize. 

Outbound

Outbound tracking is something of a mystery to many companies. So why would you want to track the pages that cause people to leave your website? The answer is surprisingly simple: the key to enticing visitors to stay is in those particular pages. 

When potential users leave your website, they have decided that your website no longer adds value to their current session. This might be a result of something more interesting catching their attention, your page not answering their questions, or feelings of frustration at a complex UI/UX.

Whatever the reason, tracking the pages that people see just before they navigate away from your website provides valuable information about the type of content that may need to change. 

Why is Source Tracking Important?

Simply put, you need to know what works and what doesn’t. Email campaigns, for example, cost time and money to put together successfully. If you track the link provided in the email and see that it is generating very few visits over a given period, you’ll probably conclude that your user base is not responding well to your campaign. From there, you and your marketing team can strategize different ways to reach users.

Is the email going into the spam folder? Is the wording not appealing to your audience? Should you be offering a better promotion to entice website visitors? Or is email not the right format for your users at all? These kinds of essential questions can only be raised and answered if you’re tracking where website visitors come from. 

When you pair source tracking with A/B testing, you can see precisely what type of message works in each medium and what doesn’t draw as much attention, so you can spend your money wisely. 

How Does Source Tracking Work?

Source tracking works relatively simply. By using a specialized code snippet added to the end of a URL, your company can generate parameters for tracking those URLs. Though they will all take the visitor to the same landing page, the URLs will vary depending on the parameters that you set in the tool.

Standard parameters include your source, your medium, the content, and the name of your campaign. This makes it easy to compare email campaigns versus Facebook ads and multiple campaigns in the same medium by using an A/B test report

Later, you can search the URLs used during a given timeframe and see which of your campaigns successfully attract visitors to the website and which ones you need to take a second look at before continuing. 

How Do You Set Up Source Tracking?

To set up source tracking, you’ll need to generate your URLs for various types of marketing. This may mean generating distinctive URLs for multiple email campaigns, Facebook ads, Twitter ads, or any other form of communication between you and the potential visitor.

Once these URLs have been generated, Kissmetrics will record which of them are used by visitors to your landing page. Keep in mind that the visitor will not see any of this behind-the-scenes tracking despite the distinctive URLs. Instead, they’ll be provided with a link or button click through to the same landing page.

All of your visitors will see the same thing; however, you’ll see how people arrive on your landing page in the reports. That data will be compiled in your analytics tool to analyze and incorporate into your decisions about which marketing campaigns to use and the right platforms to reach your audience. 

How Do I Use Source Tracking Information in My Business?

Source tracking provides valuable information about which types of sources provide the most return on investment for your company. This type of information can shape your marketing strategies, budgeting, content creation, internal marketing, and customer journey. It can even affect product decisions.

Both off-site and onsite tracking provides data about the calls-to-action and the type of content that your viewers want to see. All of that data can add up to a more extensive user profile and help you create a viable sales funnel for visitors, whatever stage of the buyer’s journey they’re in. 

Source tracking can also be beneficial if you want to advertise for business partners and affiliates by creating links on your website that lead to your partners. You can monitor those outbound links to see how effectively you marketed your partners and how many of your users reached out to your affiliates based on your recommendation. 

Conclusion

By tracking where your visitors come from, whether your landing page provoked them into visiting other areas of your website, and then knowing where they ended their sessions, you can get a complete picture of your visitors’ experiences and interactions with your company. Then, when you understand what the user is seeing, you can tailor it for their needs and desires. 

Visit our website to learn more about how Kissmetrics can help you collect and make the most of your user data.

 

Sources:

Source Tracking vs. Visitor Tracking: What’s the Difference? | Callrail.com

Track External Link Clicks on Your Website | Absentdata.com

How URL Tracking Works and Why It’s Important | Dashthis.com

The Definitive Guide to Strategic Marketing Planning

 

 

 

No matter your goal, it’s always better to have a solid plan with defined steps in place than to try and haphazardly complete tasks. With strategic marketing planning, you can ensure that every step your business takes, regardless of which team contributes, will all coherently move towards promoting your brand and attracting new customers. 

For guidance on how to identify problems before they become serious issues, Kissmetrics outlines the strategic marketing planning processes.

What is the Strategic Marketing Planning Process?

The strategic marketing planning process allows you to outline your company goals for reaching your audience and the steps of how to reach them. Each step of the process defines your business objectives, your customers’ needs, and how your products can meet those needs. As your goals are defined, the steps of the process also track your implementation and progress toward your objectives. 

Mission Statement

The first step for strategic marketing planning is to outline your mission statement. We describe in the section below what a mission statement is and how to write it to effectively describe your business objectives. 

What is a Mission Statement?

The mission statement is a short description of your long-term plans. These are your plans for your business as a whole, detailing things like growth plans, expansion ideas, and where you want to go. With each goal, you’ll need to add one or two objectives that build up to your overall success. 

How to Write a Mission Statement

A mission statement should be no more than three or four short sentences and should contain your long-term goals as a business. Your mission statement should be concise and inline with your North Star metric. Outline your objectives and ensure they can be measured. Then, break them out into examples so that your mission is clear. 

Situation Analysis

The second step is to evaluate the situation and analyze any internal or external factors that affect your business. Depending on your industry, these factors can incorporate a large number of possible aspects. Some examples of factors include:

  • Industry competitors
  • Available resources
  • Current sales revenue
  • Customer desire

Analysis Methods

There are many methods to analyze your business’s health, but the three most common ones are the SWOT, 5C, and PEST analyses. We cover each one in-depth in the sections below. 

S.W.O.T.

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. To break these down further, strengths and weaknesses refer to internal aspects which your company controls, whereas opportunities and threats are external. These assess what your business does well and areas where you could use some improvement. This part of the situation analysis requires you to be self-aware and use product analytics tools to gather data about your services.

Strengths might include competitive advantages, how your products stand out in the market, what you hope to improve or do with your services, or how your employees work together. Weaknesses might include limited resources, issues your business is facing internally, or areas where you aren’t reaching your goals.

Opportunities are external and therefore not under your control. It’s important to be aware of the socio-political climate to monitor your customers’ changing needs. For example, a company that produces cleaning products likely saw the COVID-19 pandemic as an external opportunity to take advantage of by producing more and increasing their advertising. Threats are the opposite of opportunities and present unpredictable problems that your company must notice and address immediately.

5C Analysis

The five Cs in the title refers to Company, Customers, Competitors, Collaborators, and Climate. These Cs include both internal and external factors to accurately analyze the entire situation for your business.

  • Customers – Who are the people buying your products?
  • Climate – What kinds of external factors affect your business?
  • Competitors – Which other companies are producing similar products?
  • Company – Do people know your brand name? What do they think of you?
  • Collaborators – Do you work with distributors, suppliers, or other affiliated companies, and how do they affect your business?

PEST Analysis

A PEST Analysis measures the Political, Economic, Social, and Technological factors that affect your business. Unlike the previous analyses, the PEST Analysis only measures external factors, so we recommend using it in addition to another type of analysis that measures your internal factors, so you can have the complete picture of your business.

The political aspect looks at the laws and regulations that influence your customers and their purchasing habits—economics shows how the stock market, taxes, and exchange rates affect your services. Social demonstrates the attitudes and lifestyle demographics that define your customers. Technical examines any patents, technologies, or production trends that might influence your product.

Marketing/Strategy Plan

With the data you collected in the prior steps, you can start brainstorming which metrics you want to collect and leverage. Depending on your industry, some metrics may be more valuable than others.

How Does a Plan Help

With a marketing plan, you can identify the audience you want to appeal to and define the best ways to reach them. You’ll also be able to estimate how your marketing efforts will affect your business by predicting the rough costs and benefits.

What to Include in Your Plan

Ideally, your marketing plan should include overall cost, how you’ll place your product or brand among your competitors, and what your predictions for customer reactions are.

Audience

As every company knows, not every product or service will appeal to every buyer. Buyers have specific wants and needs based on demographics like age, locale, gender, pet ownership, family size, the presence of children, and similar factors. Understanding which aspects make your product essential means that you can target your advertisements for your specific audience.

Using Kissmetrics, you can create a report documenting certain factors about your customers to see who is buying your product. You can also offer surveys and accept feedback from your customers to monitor their changing desires. Another option is to monitor social media interactions with your brand by your existing customers.

Goals

In order to see if your plan is working, you need measurable goals. The best goals are tangible, realistic, and have milestones for you to monitor during the timeline you choose. Your goals depend on what you want to achieve with your marketing plan. Do you want to grow your sales revenue? Brand awareness? Are you looking to increase the number of users on your website?

Be careful not to set any goals that are outside of your control. If you have a goal to increase the number of social media engagements on Twitter and a large number of people stop using that platform, you won’t be able to achieve the goal through no fault of your own.

Budget

Likely the first part of your marketing plan outlines the estimated budget. As with all plans, you should budget an extra amount for emergency funds, but you should be able to give a rough estimate of how much it will cost to create, implement, and monitor your plan.

Marketing Mix

Now that you’ve established what you want to achieve, who you are as a company, and what is happening inside and out of your business, it’s time to begin planning how you’ll actually accomplish your goals.

Product

The first part is knowing what your company offers. What kind of product or service does your brand offer to your customers? How do you want them to interact with your offerings? The answers will dictate your metrics and how you measure your plan’s success. 

Price

Knowing your customers also means knowing how much they’re willing to pay for what you have to offer. 

Promotion

Promotion includes the platforms you plan on using to appeal to new and existing customers. Incorporating social media postings, a contact email, reviews, a phone number to call for support, and other communication methods are all essential for promoting your brand and spreading awareness. 

Place

This aspect is more important for physical products because you’ll want to plan how you’ll get them to the customer. Are you planning to ship them from online orders? Will the customers need to come to your store to pick up their purchases? 

Implementation and Control

The final step means it’s time to put your plan into action. This means measuring your metrics over time and comparing them to your established objectives. As time goes on, you’ll likely need to come back to your marketing strategies to update them or change them in accordance with your company’s needs. 

Conclusion

With this knowledge about strategic marketing planning, you and your company can build the right plan to fit your business’s individual needs. Understanding the five steps and how they synchronize to provide valuable insights about your products and customers is the best way to spend your marketing dollars wisely. 

 

Sources:

The Strategic Marketing Process: A Complete Guide | Cleverism.com

Marketing Strategy: The Secret behind the World’s Top Brands | Mayple.com

Marketing Strategy: How to Plan Yours in 12 Steps With a Template | Coschedule.com

What Is Marketing Analytics? Definition and Examples

 

 

 

 

Marketing in the digital age is moving quickly. Companies from all industries are taking advantage of this boom by leveraging on what is perhaps the most precious resource of modern commerce—data. 

Marketing analytics is the way companies use this data to their advantage.

What Is the Definition of Marketing Analytics?

Marketing analytics is when data is collected from marketing platforms to create complex models to visualize and understand user behavior. Businesses that use marketing analytics can ensure the money they allocate for advertising gets the highest return on investment (ROI) and that all of their marketing efforts remain lean. 

How Is Marketing Analytics Different from Digital Marketing?

Digital marketing is the overall process of using digital platforms to advertise a product, service, or company. Digital marketers use marketing analytics to make digital marketing efforts more efficient and more profitable.

Why Is Marketing Analytics Important?

Executives from the biggest companies in the world all agree that data is fueling the future of marketing. With proper insight and implementation of marketing analytics, you no longer have to rely on expensive trial and error with your advertising campaigns because the data you retrieve will help you continuously optimize your campaigns for higher returns. 

That means lower marketing costs, more valuable customers and more feasible and effective growth and scaling plans. 

What Are the Benefits of Marketing Analytics?

For a more concrete idea of how powerful marketing analytics is, here are a few of the benefits of implementing marketing analysis into an organization’s promotional strategy. 

Get to Know Your Audience

With marketing analytics, you can target the audience to which you intend to advertise through a process called behavioral segmentation

This means that you will understand what your customer’s purchase patterns are, what products they are most likely to buy, and what types of ads they click on the most. This is beneficial to your business. 

Not only will you be able to personalize your company’s advertising campaigns to suit specific target audiences, but you can use this information to improve your efforts continuously.

Identify Trends

You can use marketing analytics to identify various trends within your industry, especially in e-commerce. The volume of consumers who have taken your shopping efforts online has grown exponentially so the scope of e-commerce is continuously shifting. But there are clear patterns that unveil themselves by analyzing your marketing data. 

For example, one trend that can be identified is whether buyers tend to go to specialized websites during the holidays or more prominent and more general platforms like Amazon or eBay. 

Forecast Future Results

By looking at the marketing analytics patterns of previous marketing campaigns, you can more easily predict the outcomes of your future marketing campaigns. 

Measure KPIs

Marketing analytics is a way to determine whether or not a company achieves its Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

When you run marketing campaigns, for example, one of the things you pay attention to is your conversion rate. A conversion rate is a desired action taken by the customer or user that is influenced by marketing efforts. 

With marketing analytics, you can tell if your marketing efforts are working because the associated conversion rate will either rise or fall compared to the previous month.

Optimize Campaigns

One word that can be used to describe the goals of marketing analytics would be ‘refinement.’ In the past, companies relied on more traditional methods to make sure their marketing efforts were working. 

Now, you do not need to resort to those methods as frequently because you have a wealth of data to use to optimize your campaigns daily.

How Can I Make Sure My Marketing Analytics Effort Is a Success?

As powerful as marketing analytics are, a company needs to actively make sure that its processes are well-defined and it uses best practices to make sure its analytics are effective. Here are some of those best practices.

Use Multiple Processes 

You should rely on multiple processes like conversion rate optimization and product positioning

Product positioning  is what consumers think about a particular brand. By using the data obtained through marketing analytics, you can make sure that your consumers know the value of your products and what makes your products stand out from your competitors. 

Product positioning  is the best way to highlight a unique selling point. 

Optimize Workflows

You can use marketing analytics not only to optimize advertising campaigns but to optimize workflows as well. This means that your company’s efforts will be a lot leaner, and your company will have more apparent objectives and a more well-defined process to achieve these objectives. 

An example of this is social media content creation. With marketing analytics, companies can eliminate the guesswork of which pieces of content are valued by their target audience, which ones get the most engagement, and which draw the most traffic to the company’s landing pages. 

You can then focus your efforts on the pieces of content most likely to be successful as well as creating more content that your audience loves.

Make Changes Based on Your Findings

You should use the information you obtain to create better success and to mitigate future failures. 

An example of this would be an e-commerce fashion brand adjusting to the information obtained for a particular clothing color during winter. 

After analyzing their data, the retailer found that specific colors were not popular among its buyers. Based on this information, it didn’t include this clothing color in  the following winter line to prevent low conversions.

Predict Customer Lifetime Value

Another important metric that a company should obtain about its customers is something called Customer Lifetime Value. Customer Lifetime Value is the amount of money that a specific customer will likely spend at their business over their entire relationship. 

Predicting Customer Lifetime Value can provide you with an indication of how your efforts influence your relationship with your customers. With marketing analytics, you’ll receive a clearer picture of your Customer Lifetime Values and get better ideas on improving these values. 

A very powerful aspect of Marketing Analytics is that you have the tools to predict how specific metrics will fare for the next few weeks and well into the future.

Conclusion

Data is now one of the most influential factors in marketing. 

Marketing analytics is a way of measuring your company’s marketing efforts. Greater insight leads to better profits and a more robust brand image. The information is readily available—marketing analytics is simply a way to give this information structure to visualize what needs to be done and take the appropriate action.

If you represent your organization and want to know how you can look deeper into your marketing analytics — Kissmetrics is a great way to start.

 

Sources:

A Guide to Marketing Analytics. Marketing teams must rely on analytics | by Abizer Jafferjee (Waterfront Analytics) | Jul, 2020

The Need for Marketing Analysis. Exactly how analytics can transform… | by Muhannad Haj Ali | The Startup

How Data Is Fueling The Future Of Marketing | Forbes

Which Product Metrics & KPIs Matter?

 

 

 

Product metrics and KPIs are great tools for companies to track success in the key areas that matter to their business. There are many different examples of KPIs and product metrics and, when used properly, they can provide great insight into your company’s health. 

What is a Product Metric?

A product metric is a measurable data point on the performance of a product. It should be quantifiable, meaning it can be measured as a numerical value or quantity, and it should capture how a user interacts with a product. Once analyzed, product metrics will tell you how beneficial those interactions were to the user and the company. Various teams in your company can use a good product metric to gain more insight into what’s successful about your product and what isn’t. 

What is a Key Performance Indicator (KPI)?

A key performance indicator, or KPI, is a progress measurement towards a goal or achievement. A KPI should be quantifiable and should have a clear endpoint that can be reached. 

By tracking objectives over time, a KPI can give you a good indication of your progress and how close you are to completing a goal.  A key performance indicator can be created for a specific product, department, or individual employee. 

Unlike product metrics, KPIs are not limited to products alone, as they are applied as a measure of progress in achieving a specific target. 

Are KPIs and Performance Metrics the Same Thing?

KPIs and performance metrics are similar in that they are quantitative and should show measured value over time. Both performance metrics and KPIs should give you a clear picture of progress in meeting the goals your organization has set. But while KPIs and performance metrics share some similarities, there are key differences between the two measures. 

KPIs measure the progress towards a goal or a checkpoint, a performance metric simply measures the performance of a metric over a period of time. Therefore, a performance metric could be considered part of a KPI, but a KPI would not be part of a performance metric. A good KPI could have multiple performance metrics to give you a more in-depth look at your progress towards the end goal. 

What are the Most Important KPIs and Product Metrics?

There are countless KPIs and product metrics that your company can collect, but which should you monitor? Some of the most important KPIs and product metrics are:

  • KPIs
    • Monthly recurring revenue (MRR)
    • Customer lifetime value (CLV)
    • Customer acquisition cost (CAC)
  • Metrics
    • Session duration
    • Bounce rate
    • Retention rate
    • Churn rate

Monthly Recurring Revenue

Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) is an important KPI, especially for businesses that rely heavily on subscription-based services. For example, when businesses want to measure reliable income that will come in on a regular schedule, they measure MRR. Consistency is key for this KPI because it measures a recurring expected income, not a one-time purchase. 

MRR allows for easier planning around future income. 

Customer Lifetime Value

When tracking the value a user brings to a company over the entire relationship of the user and business, that is considered Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

Like MRR, CLV is measured over time. This KPI is important for companies looking to develop strategies to retain users and create increased loyalty to the company. 

Customer lifetime value is a crucial KPI for companies to improve relationships with their users. Understanding the potential loss a company could suffer by losing users prematurally to competitors makes it easier to justify investing resources in keeping users loyal to your company. 

Customer Acquisition Cost

Customer acquisition cost (CAC) calculates how much it costs you to convince a user to buy your product or service. CAC focuses on analyzing costs associated with marketing, advertising, and other tools used to bring users to your company to purchase your goods or services. 

While this is a fairly simple calculation, the CAC is important to calculate the true profit each user can bring your company. 

This is a key KPI for budgeting advertising campaigns and measuring how effective strategies are at attracting new users to your company. In addition, the CAC is a great KPI to compare against CLV. These KPIs can paint a clear picture of the actual profit that users bring to your company. 

Session Duration

Refer to the session duration metric if you’re interested in tracking how much time users spend interacting with your website. The session duration metric is a measurement of how long users actively engage with your website before a timeout. 

Once there is no activity from a user for a set length of time, the session will then timeout, and the measurement will stop. An important key to the session duration metric is that it records the time spent on your website, not just a single webpage. Therefore, going back and forth between web pages will all be totaled in the session duration metric. 

This is a useful metric for understanding how users interact with your website and if they are really spending the appropriate amount of time navigating your pages. 

Bounce Rate

Another simple metric that companies often track is bounce rate. For example, if someone were to visit only one page of your website and then leave without completing an event or navigating to another page on your site, that would be considered a bounce. 

What the bounce rate really tracks is how many people navigate to your website and then immediately leave. However, what bounce rate does not do is give you information that can help you determine why a user left. 

Depending on your website design, bounce rate may not be a bad thing. A single page site design, like some blogs or articles, may have a high bounce rate and still be successful. 

On the other hand, many ecommerce sites have a checkout process that goes through different pages so it would be difficult for them to be successful with a high bounce rate. . Bounce rate can be a helpful metric to track, but you’ll want to make sure you’re using this metric with other, more illustrative metrics to get a clear picture of what’s going on on your site and what you can do about it.

Retention Rate

Your user retention rate is a handy metric for understanding how you’re performing against the competition. A retention rate is how many of your users return to your business over a certain period of time. 

The parameters for retention rate vary based on your type of business and how you get users. If your business requires repeat user visits to create a good profit, then retention would need to be high. The time span over which you would want to measure retention would also vary based on the type of business and how users shop for your goods or services. 

Churn Rate

This metric is useful for subscription based products that rely on maintaining or growing their MRR. Churn rate is defined as the percentage of users that leave your business over a period of time. 

If you have a high churn rate, you have to attract a lot more new customers to maintain the same MRR. Which is costly and means it could be difficult to maintain profits. Measuring your churn rate and comparing it against new users is the best way to get a clear sense of your company’s growth. 

How Do I Know Which KPIs and Product Metrics to Measure?

Knowing which metrics and KPIs to track depends on your business type and your situation. If you have a subscription based product, MRR, churn and retention rates will be important. If your business is new, growing, and looking to track growth-related metrics and KPIs, tracking user acquisition cost could be helpful. If you have an ecommerce company you’ll want to track CLV. 

The important thing to keep in mind is that the best metrics and KPIs for your business provide the most useful information you need to help your organization maintain growth. 

How Do I Measure KPIs and Product Metrics?

To measure your KPIs and product metrics, you’ll need a behavioral analytics tool like Kissmetrics. You simply install the code in your product or on your site, choose the events (i.e. user actions or metrics) you want to track and then check in at regularly scheduled intervals to run your reports.  

How Can I Optimize My Product Performance?

Your product performance is key to your company’s success. The best way to optimize your product performance is to use a behavioral analytics tool like Kissmetrics to track user behavior within your product. Track both your power users and unhealthy accounts to which user actions are indicative of each category. Which features are most popular? Where do users get stuck? What are the most successful customer journeys? 

Use the information you gather to make decisions on what to change, how to change it, and when to change it (i.e. how to prioritize your resources). 

Conclusion

Product metrics and KPIs need to be tailored for your type of business and where you are in the growth process. They offer much needed detail and provide a path to action to help your company succeed. Make sure you choose the important metrics and KPIs and monitor them with the best product analytics tools for your company to help improve your product performance. 

 

Sources:

What Does KPI Mean?: An Introduction for New Leaders | Indeed.com

Customer Lifetime Value: What is it and How to Calculate | Clevertap.com

Bounce Rate Benchmarks: What’s a Good Bounce Rate, Anyway? | CXL.com

User Analytics Overview

 

 

 

 

As the name implies, user analytics is the process of evaluating your user’s actions, so your company can provide services or make products that your customers enjoy. The insights offered by user analytics software can help you do that by showing you features of your product, service, or sales platform work well (i.e. users use them regularly) and which give users problems or go unused altogether. This will help you decide which bugs to fix and what to build next and to prioritize that list. .

Learn how user analytics work, what kinds of information it provides, and what to do with that data once you have it. 

What are User Analytics?

User analytics is the process of collecting and analyzing data on actions users take within a product. Using an analytics tool like Kissmetrics allows you to take this data and create a comprehensive user profile that can be combined with the information the user provides for a holistic view of the people and companies who use your product.

User analytics differ from self-reported surveys because there is no potential for deceit. You’re tracking what they actually do, not what they say they do.

How do You Perform User Analytics?

You start by installing a user analytics tool in your product and choosing the events (i.e. user actions) you want to track. The events you track should answer key questions that indicate your product’s success. 

For example, are they regularly logging in? Which features are they using? Which features seem to cause them problems?

Choose the Right Events for Your Business

In order to gain the insights that will allow you to pull the right levers to grow your business, you have to track events that are indicative of user success (or failure) within your product. If you don’t know what these are, create a hypothesis about which user actions are most important, then test it. You may change the events you track over time as you collect more data and gain greater insight.  

Break it into Sub-events

Once you have defined the events you’re interested in tracking, you need to break them down to understand user motivations and what the user needs to do to get there. 

For example, product managers can employ user analytics to monitor which features their power users seem to gravitate towards, and which features casual users seem to prefer. Inversely, user analytics can help product managers determine which features are not commonly used or understood by their user base; they can even determine which groups of users are the most likely to cancel their subscription or discontinue service.

Watch Users Conducting Events

As the name implies, this step requires your team to observe the process. They will have certain concepts in mind during their observation like:

  • The motivation behind each subevent.
  • Information required by the user to complete the subevent.
  • If the user can tell when they’ve achieved their results.
  • If the user needs specific tools not included on the website or app to complete the task.

Draw an Event Diagram

An event diagram is a flowchart where your team documents the entire user process from beginning to end. This should include all subevents and how the funnel connects and creates the ultimate event. 

Write the Story

The story documents user motivations or the “why”. Writing the story entails the team figuring out what motivated the customer to proceed through each subevent and how those motivations and emotions tie into the ultimate event.

Validate Your Findings

At this point, your team should run their event diagram past others who aren’t familiar with the process. The fresh set of eyes may find some subevents that should be separated and called out or ones that ought to be bundled together. 

Analyze Your Results

This is where the fun starts. Your company has collected in-depth information about an event or process, but sometimes customers don’t behave how you predicted. 

Where in the event did people do something unexpected? What could have caused that deviation?

How do I Evaluate My User Analytics Platform

The best user analytics platforms are the ones that store lots of data points about users to compile a comprehensive profile. However, platforms need to do more than just store data. They need to showcase said data in a way that makes it easy to see who your customers are, their retention rate, how well marketing performed in various places, and the actions taken by users in your product. 

To evaluate your user analytics platform, it is essential to take the following into account. 

Integrations

Knowing which software is compatible with a proposed user analytics platform is crucial. Transferring data between different programs is time-consuming and costly. Having a platform that will efficiently work with the software your company already has in place, will save you a lot of energy and expense. 

Automation

Great user analytics platforms do the work for you and give that time back to your teams for other work. The best types of software make your team more productive by automating certain manual tasks that save your team time and energy. 

Scale

Another consideration is the current size of your company now, how many events you want to track, how many users will need access to the tool and your projections for the future. It can be a waste of resources to install a user analytics platform that only works for your current operations but may become obsolete as your business expands. 

Optimization

Some user analytics tools are made for individuals or small team use instead of larger project teams. So think about who is using the tool and whether or not it’s the right fit.. Individual use software might have more tempting integrations or fancy features, but if it isn’t optimized for team use, it will probably end up being more trouble than it’s worth. 

Accessibility

Ideally, your user analytics platform is intuitive and doesn’t take a lot of training to use. You want your teams to begin using the information as soon as possible, so choosing a platform with a steep learning curve that requires hours of onboarding might not be the best way to go. 

Why are User Analytics Important for Your Business?

User analytics provide deeper insight into what your customers are doing, how they’re engaging with your product, and how making changes based on that information could affect your churn rate. You can also segment customers into cohorts and break down your user base into users, power users and unhealthy accounts (i.e. those who haven’t used the product in a while and are at risk of cancelling). 

This will allow you to target your marketing to attract more people likely to become power users, and it presents a customer service opportunity to save accounts that might otherwise churn. It also shows you which features are most popular with your power users so you can strategize how to direct other users to said popular features. And then hopefully turn “regular” or “unhealthy” users into power users.

Additionally, user analytics can reveal where in the funnel users are most likely to drop off and stop using your product. This could be especially good if you weren’t aware of your product’s weaknesses before. 

Understand User Behavior

Knowing why customers and users behave the way they do is the key to growing your business successfully. If users only engage with a handful of features and the rest don’t get much play, you can better prioritize your resources to supporting the more profitable segments of your business. 

Understand User Demographics

Grouping customers into cohorts based on demographics like age, gender, or location can be a handy way to identify your company’s target audience and do more to appeal to them. 

Alternatively, by identifying traits that make customers less likely to stick with your company, you might be able to take steps to broaden your product or service’s appeal. 

Increase Profitable Product Decisions

One of the most critical insights user analytics can glean is exactly what makes you money. Then you can choose to build more of that or make those profitable features even better. You’ll receive data about how customers respond to changes in your products or services which can inform your company about which decisions were the right ones. And make more of those in the future.

Empower Your Teams

Product managers and marketers may have plenty of experience on the job, but no one is infallible. With everything going on inside a supposedly simple application, it can be difficult to monitor where the problems are coming from and address customer concerns. With user analytics, you don’t have to worry that your teams only see what they want to see.

Interviews and surveys with users are unlikely to yield the best information because users may forget individual steps or only focus on saying what they think is expected of them. Instead, user analytics gives your teams relevant information about real user experiences that can shape and inform your company’s steps moving forward. 

Conclusion

User analytics works by connecting multiple data points on your users to form holistic profiles. These profiles give you insights about user cohorts and the processes that users undertake when interacting with your product. With a product analytics tool like Kissmetrics, you’re able to understand your user habits on a granular level.

By understanding actual user behavior and experience, your company can grow and expand in a way that customers will love.

 

Sources:

What are User Analytics? | Pendo

User task analysis to better understand your customers | Mixpanel

User Analytics Overview | Mixpanel

What Are Conversion Paths in Inbound Marketing?

 

 

 

Attracting new visitors and converting them into customers for your brand is no easy task. For inbound marketers, this process often begins by changing website visitors into potential leads by persuading them to submit their contact information. How can your brand capture the interest of website visitors and entice them to come back for more?

That’s where conversion paths come in. In this article, Kissmetrics delves into the specifics of inbound marketing, a breakdown of conversion paths, and how to create your own innovative conversion paths. 

What Is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is the business strategy of enticing potential visitors and customers. By attracting them to your brand instead of simply presenting services or products, you get the customers to invest in learning new ideas and concepts before being pushed into buying something. 

Customers are attracted to innovative solutions and ideas. Reeling them in using conversion paths eventually leads to customers who are ready to complete a purchase because they’ve already invested time and thoughts into your brand. 

Inbound marketing has changed significantly for the digital marketing world. Traditional inbound marketing relied primarily on advertisements like TV commercials or spreads in newspapers and magazines. 

Unlike digital marketing, traditional marketing wasn’t interactive and had to present everything in a limited format. On the other hand, the internet gives brands innovative ways to pursue inbound marketing via social media, educational content creation using educational resources such as Studocu.com, and search engine optimization or SEO.

What Is a Conversion Path?

A conversion path takes a new visitor to your brand’s website and converts them into a potential customer. While the content and brands may differ, some aspects of a conversion path always come into play to entice visitors to register their contact information with your website. 

With digital inbound marketing, brands can now interact with customers socially instead of pushing themselves or being “sales-y.” This type of marketing is customer-oriented, so you must understand your customers’ demographics. 

Tracking your existing customers by age, locale, gender, and family structure are excellent starting points of information for structuring content.

Depending on your products or services, this content may demonstrate varying concepts, but the key is to relate the content back to your brand. For example, subtly show the reader that your brand is reliable and use a call to action to direct their attention towards your website’s landing page. 

As we discuss below, the journey has multiple elements that work together to convert visitors to leads. 

How Do Conversion Paths Work?

A conversion path guides the user from casual content reader to registered lead. Though they may not purchase at that time, they have signed up for your brand’s mailing list and will receive access to promotional offers down the line. With the right content and call-to-action, your brand can attract more potential customers.

An example of a conversion path at work may include:

  1. First, the visitor searches the question, “How do I know if my cat has fleas?”
  2. Your brand’s SEO content appears high in the search results with the title “How to Tell if Your Cat Has Fleas.”
  3. The visitor clicks on your brand’s content and learns relevant, accurate information presented in a friendly way.
  4. At the bottom of the page, there is a button or clickable link associated with a call-to-action that says, “Learn more about protecting your kitties from fleas and other diseases here.”
  5. Having become invested in the content, the visitor clicks the button.
  6. They are then directed to a page asking for their contact information to register with your website, where they can unlock a deal for a 30% discount for their first month of your brand’s flea and tick medication.
  7. The visitor registers and becomes a potential lead.
  8. The visitor finishes on a landing page thanking them for registering and where they receive a confirmation email with the discount code.

What Are the Parts of a Conversion Path?

There are five main elements of any good conversion path.

Well Written Content

The basic idea of giving a visitor answers to a question isn’t revolutionary. Many visitors will simply click on a webpage to get their answer and leave without giving it a second thought. Your brand’s content needs to stand out from the crowd and keep the reader interested with thought-provoking questions.

Well-written content is the beginning of your conversion path. It’s the first thing your visitor sees, so it needs to be excellent. Be sure to include credible sources throughout the page so that visitors will gain confidence in your brand’s credibility. 

At the end of your content, include a call-to-action as their next step of the conversion path. 

An Enticing Call-to-Action

A call-to-action turns the visitor from a passive reader into an active participant with more than just “Sign Up.” The best calls-to-action entice the visitor to learn more about the topic or explore products that can deliver the benefits mentioned in the content. 

Calls-to-action often appear at the end of your content and feature a clickable button or link that leads to a landing page on your website. 

Examples of calls-to-action include:

  • Discover more with YOUR BRAND
  • Try out YOUR BRAND risk-free!
  • Watch YOUR BRAND’s new video

Appropriate Landing Pages

The call-to-action leads your visitor to a landing page where they are asked to input their contact information in exchange for a discount code, access to more information, a free trial with your service, or something else of value. 

Of course, your offer must be valuable to them, or they won’t continue along the conversion path. 

A good landing page includes a high-level overview of your product or service, as well as the benefits of using them. Be friendly without overwhelming them. Don’t be too pushy, or the visitor may not decide to enter their information. The best landing pages are customized for your customers based on their personas. 

Optimized Thank You Pages

Once visitors have finished inputting their contact information, your conversion path will take them to a thank-you page. The thank-you page signifies that the visitor has nearly reached the end of the conversion path. 

Depending on the structure of your conversion path and the offer advertised, leads may be able to download their reward for sharing their information on this screen. The thank-you page can also include other items like additional links to related content, products, or complimentary services. 

Personalized Confirmation Email

The personalized confirmation email marks the end of the conversion path. If the user has signed up to utilize the website’s services, they may need to click through a link sent in the email, but it could also be another way to thank the customer and link them to related products or landing pages. 

For companies worried about users signing up using fake emails, it might be prudent to include a personalized confirmation email that contains the offer advertised in your call-to-action. 

Whether the discount code or other offer is sent through the confirmation email or is available on the thank you page depends entirely on personal preference. 

Creating A Conversion Path

To effectively create a conversion path, you need to know about your customer personas. One of the main aspects of a customer persona is the channels through which they interact. For example, tracking customer metrics might reveal that your customers primarily click through your brand’s Facebook ads instead of Instagram or Twitter ads. 

Understanding user behavior is critical for designing an appropriate conversion path that will initially draw new visitors and make them interested in completing the conversion. For example, understanding what steps the visitor went through, which pages they visited, and how long it took for them to become customers is essential to designing a successful conversion path for customers who follow.

Once you have created a conversion path, it’s vital to monitor the success. It’s best to make adjustments along the way to any of the elements if you don’t see the path living up to your expectations or gain new information about your customer personas. 

Conclusion

Inbound marketing in the digital age puts the focus on the customers instead of the brands. By opening up the conversation and including customer preferences in the equation, brands can understand what their customers want and deliver those products and services more effectively. 

Conversion paths are one way to take advantage of the social media era by rewarding visitors who want to learn more about your brand’s products. 

Kissmetrics can help you track user behavior to craft a more effective conversion path and generate more leads.

 

Sources:

What Are Conversion Paths In Inbound Marketing? How Do They Work? | Transfunnel.com

Conversion Path | Mixpanel.com

Inbound Marketing | Optimizely.com

Metrics vs. Analytics: Track the Right Data and Ask the Right Questions

 

 

 

Though the terms are often used interchangeably, metrics and analytics actually refer to two different things. One is a noun (i.e. a thing) and one is a verb (something you do with that thing). So when people don’t differentiate between the terms, conversations around data collection can get muddy. 

Get clear on what a metric is, what it means to analyze those metrics and how to do it all effectively so you move those ever important needles. 

What is the Difference Between Metrics and Analytics?

While both metrics and analytics refer to ways of interacting with collecting data, they don’t mean the same thing. In the simplest terms, metrics are the data you collect  and analytics are the insights you draw from your data. We’ll dive into the specifics below.

Metrics

As we said above, your metrics are the data you collect. Anything that can be objectively measured in numeric form counts as a metric. Some examples of metrics include:

  • Your total revenue for a timeframe
  • Number of customers in a month
  • Average amount spent per customer
  • Number of visitors to your website

Your metrics are also used to define your KPIs and how you measure your business’s success. For example, your company could watch the customer acquisition cost metric and set a goal to reduce those costs to better fit your needs. Your KPI would measure how successful your initiatives have been at reducing your CAC.

Metrics differ based on industry and it’s crucial to know which ones work best for companies who have been successful in your industry. 

Analytics

Analytics is the process for analyzing your data. Analytics has nothing to do with actually gathering the data, it’s the second step where the data is given meaning. Then, based on your analysis you can make realistic goals and decisions.

Why Are Metrics and Analytics Important?

As noted, the sheer amount of data available means you need parameters to whittle down said data and decrease the amount of background noise in your information. Monitoring specific metrics can provide valuable information for your company, as long as you know what to look for.

Analytics are important for similar reasons. Setting your parameters for data collection is fine, but what you do with that data is vital. Analytics requires critical thinking to look for data trends and to understand why customers behave the way they do. It can be challenging to estimate what’s going on in people’s heads, but with the right analytics, you can make educated guesses about which features they prefer and what they want from your company or product in the future. 

How You Should Track Your Metrics

There are many software tools available to track specific metrics. Some social media platforms, like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have built-in tools that allow you to measure your performance within the apps themselves. These native tools are effective and collect accurate data, but it is time-consuming to compile data from multiple websites and accounts.

Instead of gathering that data manually, you can enlist the help of Kissmetrics to automate the data gathering according to your parameters. This saves time, energy, and overhead costs by keeping all of your data from multiple sources in one place. You can then run the reports you need and make fact-based decisions for the company. 

What Metrics Should You Track?

Choosing your metrics can be challenging with so many available. Some metrics, like total revenue for the year and operating expenses are particularly useful across the board. Others only apply in certain situations, like businesses with a subscription model, e-commerce or retail companies, or companies who must invest in long-term depreciable assets. 

Upper Funnel Metrics

Upper funnel metrics like those found in the Kissmetrics Funnel Report measure how aware people are of your brand and how widespread your audience is. The majority of people who know about your brand may not become customers, but it is important to have as much exposure as possible. These metrics can include:

  • Pageviews
  • Pages per session
  • Branded search
  • Website traffic
  • Bounce rate
  • Targeted engagement
  • Inbound links
  • Brand awareness

Lower Funnel Metrics

The lower funnel metrics measure customer conversion and following up with leads. This is where your audience starts to not just become aware of your brand but become customers. 

Usually, people aren’t ready to buy the first time they hear about you; they need some time to think over their purchases. These metrics can include:

  • Sales qualified leads
  • Revenue
  • ROI
  • Conversion rate

From these metrics, you can create KPIs to measure your progress like:

  • Customer acquisition costs
  • Quality of leads
  • Customer retention
  • Customer lifetime value

How to Analyze Your Metrics

Your metrics will bring in a wealth of data, but that data is meaningless if you don’t know how to analyze it. As an example, if you send out a survey asking your customers how likely they are to recommend your brand to friends and family, (known as the Net Promoter Score), you’ll receive data showing the percentage of people who would recommend you, who wouldn’t recommend you, and who feel neutral about your brand.

However, with critical thinking, you can pull out many more insights than percentages. You might look into which customers were more likely to recommend your brand. Who are they? What are their demographics? The Kissmetrics person profile will give you specific details about a customer. 

Did their experiences differ significantly from people who had lower scores or was the score based around other preferences? Our path report demonstrates how a customer went through their user journey and might shed light on any significant differences. 

Questions to Ask During Analysis

As you analyze the data gathered for your given timeframe, it’s important to keep a few questions in mind as you dive into the reports. 

Have We Set Up Our Tracking Tools Correctly?

The only thing worse than making decisions based on no data is making decisions based on bad data. So make sure you check, then double-check your parameters, how your tools are working, and how reports are generated. If you see something in one of your reports that stands out as strange, it might be an issue with how you’ve set up your tracking tools. 

If you think there is a problem, but don’t know how to resolve it, Kissmetrics provides resources for support. It’s annoying to find that you’ve wasted time by tracking data incorrectly, but it’s better to find out now and solve the problem.

Is the Qualitative Data Accurate?

Hopefully, the answer is yes. However, there are a variety of reasons why users may not respond accurately to surveys or deviate from expected journeys. Users may have had a bad day and answer negatively. Or, they may not remember precise answers for your survey. 

To compensate for this, you should carefully consider the wording of your questions and how many questions a survey contains. Single-question surveys are often the easiest for busy people to complete. You should also ensure that your questions are simply worded and plainly ask for the information you want. 

Do Other Systems Deliver Similar Results?

While we don’t recommend having multiple software systems all tracking the same metrics, we do think that there is merit in comparing metrics with ones natively tracked through social media platforms, for example, just to ensure that your software is providing similar results. Small deviations can occur because of differences in certain parameters like timeframe. For instance, your timeframe parameter in your analytics tool might be “last 7 days” and “last week” in the social platform. And if the social platform defines “last week” as in the previous traditional 7-day week, then the data you collect will probably look a little different.

But if your results differ wildly between systems, that could be a sign that you haven’t set up the metrics correctly or that you aren’t measuring the same data.

Are the Metrics You’re Tracking Important to Your Business?

While you may be able to receive some guidance about which metrics would provide essential information for your business, the best guidance you’ll get is from the experience of trial and error. Some metrics, like sales revenue, customer satisfaction, and total profit are common to all industries, but many metrics are more variable.

We recommend selecting some of the more common metrics of your industry, to begin with, and then give them some time to collect data. If you notice that they aren’t providing any value, there are plenty of other metrics for you to try. 

What Decisions Can Metrics and Analytics Help You Make?

Metrics and analytics should be the basis for the majority of your business decisions. Fact-driven decisions are always more likely to be successful than random shots in the dark. 

This extends to decisions about which features to build, how to prioritize bug fixes, which types of products you should produce in the future, allocation of resources and much more. 

They can also guide your marketing team with insights and measurements about your user base. When it comes to attracting new customers, the insights gathered from your existing customers can give your marketing team ideas for everything from email campaigns to landing pages to social media campaigns.

In short, metrics and analytics allow your company to optimize its revenue and profit. 

Conclusion

Collecting the right metrics is just as important as your follow-up critical analysis of that data. Company decisions about product development, services offered, and merchandise expansion should all be driven by fact-based insights into current market trends. Tracking the right data can give you an edge over your competitors and keep you in the game.

Check out Kissmetrics to see how you could be leveraging your data.

 

Sources:

Data, Metrics, and Analytics: What’s the difference?

What are business metrics? Definition and Examples

Analyzing Marketing Data: Differentiate between Metrics and Insights

The Proven Process for Developing a Go-To-Market Strategy

 

 

 

 

When your company unveils a new product or service, you must launch with a proper go-to-market (GTM) strategy. 

Without proper planning, it’s nearly impossible to know which  audience to chase, whether you’re too late or too early to the market, or how you’ll differentiate yourself from your competitors. You could also waste your time and valuable resources with inefficient processes and misprioritized projects. To avoid this, it’s of the utmost importance to craft a carefully thought out go-to-market (GTM) strategy. 

In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about developing an effective GTM strategy and the most common mistakes to avoid right off the bat.

What Does a Go To Market Strategy Include? 

A GTM strategy is an action plan that determines how a brand will reach its target audience and achieve a competitive edge. When defining your strategy, include information about your unique selling proposition (USP), positioning, messaging, sales and support materials, and customer journeys, personas, and use cases in your strategy. Here are the necessary components.

Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP): Why are you launching this product now? How does launching this product align with your overall business strategy? Understanding why you’ve decided to introduce your new product to the market in the first place is the foundation of your GTM strategy and will help you with later steps.

Definition of your product-market fit: How does your product fit into the current market? Answering this question should be at the heart of your GTM strategy. This doesn’t have to be in-depth — it’s just a way for you to get an overall sense of how your product sits in the market.

Create your marketing plan:  Your marketing plan is important no matter what stage a product is at — but if you expect your customers to find your product through ads, social media, or other content-heavy communications, then your marketing plan will make or break your product launch. Including information about branding, messaging, lead generation, content, where your marketing content will live online (i.e., a website, social media, etc.), and the types of events, advertising, and PR you’ll create surrounding your product.

Define a sales strategy and a sales support plan: Your sales team is the bridge between between your product and your target customers so a flexible sales strategy is imperative to  your product launch. What kinds of training support, tools, and resources will the team need to sell successfully? How should they go about generating leads and finding new customers? How can your product and marketing teams support your sales team so that everyone’s jobs are more efficient and effective?

Customer Support (CS): With any new product comes the inevitable customer service kinks and you want your CS team to be prepared. The best way to handle this is to try to anticipate things that could go wrong at launch and mitigate what you can. For everything else, engage your product and marketing teams to help develop scripts and CS protocols to fix the potential issues. By arming your CS team with the right tools and retention strategies, they will be better equipped to solve customers’ problems efficiently and satisfactorily. Also ensure there is a feedback loop that flows from CS back to product and marketing.

Determine which metrics will measure your GTM strategy success: To determine if your launch is a success, you’ll need to define what success is and decide which metrics will show you if your product is successful or not. One of the most common metrics used is conversion rate, i.e. how many users purchased your product or signed up for a demo. But there are many other metrics that could define success for your company. The key to determining whether or not you’re gaining traction in the market is to choose the right metrics for your company and the stage it’s in. You can find a good article about this here.

Proven Step-by-Step For a Go-To-Market Strategy 

Need help developing a successful GTM strategy? Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of how to do it. 

Step 1: Identify Target Markets, Assess Feasibility and Analyze Market Demand

Undoubtedly, one of the strengths of a GTM strategy is its ability to determine whether your new venture is feasible and your product is in demand. It will help you identify your target market and how to get their buy-in. But first, you have to do the research. Conduct the necessary market research and feasibility studies before you even think about creating a GTM strategy or product plan. 

Step 2: Develop a Product Plan, Product Roadmap, and Other Tools

The next step involves the logistical outline of how you’ll build your product or execute your project. Naturally, this is quite an involved process on its own, but it can be especially difficult if you didn’t do Step 1.

Building on your research is the key to developing a product plan and product roadmap that works from the very beginning. The goal is to set yourself up for success later on down the road by creating a flexible roadmap that allows various teams to sync seamlessly on any project — whether it’s a marketing campaign or a new feature that will get your customers excited. 

You can read more about product planning here.

Step 3: Develop a Marketing Strategy 

Buyer personas: Who is your target market? Describe all the different cohorts that exist in that specific market. 

Buyer journey: What is the process a customer takes from first discovering your product or service to ultimately buying? 

Messaging: To develop your messaging, ask yourself these questions below:

  • What pain points are you addressing?
  • How are you solving the problem?
  • How can you make your audience feel empowered? 
  • What is the biggest fear of the buyer you are selling to? How can you leverage this fear through your messaging?
  • Can you address your current users and prospective buyers at the same time? 
  • What paid avenues will be most effective for reaching your target market?
  • What are your marketing strategies to reach prospects at each separate stage of the buyer’s journey?

This is the first time your target audience will be introduced to your product (and perhaps your company), so the way you talk to them and about your product will leave a lasting impression. Craft your messaging carefully. 

Common Mistakes To Avoid 

Creating an effective GTM strategy can be tricky — you need a well-thought-out, well-planned roadmap and a thorough understanding of your customer and product or service category. But thankfully, a little insider’s knowledge will go a long way, too. 

Here are three common mistakes to avoid right off the bat:

Price to Value Miscalculation

A Price to Value (PTV) miscalculation is also known as underpricing your product or service. Price is rarely ever the key consideration for a  purchase — especially in the considered purchase environment. 

On their own, customers will determine the value of your product or service in their everyday lives — and in doing so — may be willing to pay a little bit more if it resolves their issues. In fact, according to controlled, measured price testing scenarios, we’ve seen higher sell prices consistently convert at the same rate (or higher) than a lower price. 

Underestimating Pain Points for Your Product

Certain consumer categories (i.e., wellness, home improvement, etc.) are perfectly positioned for facilitating immediate transactions and engagement. If your product falls into one of these categories, does your sales infrastructure support speedy delivery to customers? Or the immediate download of purchased material? Or direct contact with a rep? How about quick add-ons that increase your average order value

It’s critical for your business that you understand your target markets mindset and not just its demographics.

Going to Retail too Soon

We get it. You’re full of enthusiasm and are eager to secure quick retail distribution of any kind. After all, your product will be in stores, right? Well, the truth is that without the required advertising support, sales can — and typically will — languish at the store level. This can lead to a wide variety of problems, including putting your price integrity in jeopardy if units are marked for reduction too early in your launch. 

The Bottom Line 

A successful GTM strategy helps you develop a clear path for launching new products or services and to carefully assess all the aspects of your future operations. Apart from solidifying your vision, it will help you to look at your offerings from the buyers’ perspective and work out the optimal presentation and marketing of your new products and services. 

 

Sources:

Examples of Advertising in the Wrong Market

3 Reasons Home Improvement Is The Fastest-Growing Retail Category, And What To Watch For

The Buyer Persona Manifesto

Why You Need To Do A/B Testing | Marketing 101

 

 

 

When marketing gurus create landing pages, design call-to-action buttons, or write email copy, it can be tempting to use intuition to predict what will make customers click and convert. But basing important marketing decisions on a “feeling” can be detrimental to your results. 

Rather than relying on assumptions or guesses to make these essential decisions, you are much better off running an A/B test — sometimes called a split test. 

A/B testing is valuable because different audiences behave differently and something that works for one brand may not necessarily work for another. That’s why conversion rate optimization (CRO) experts despise the term “best practices” simply because it may not be the best practice for you, specifically

A/B tests can also be intricate, and if you’re not careful, you may make incorrect assumptions about your visitors — crucial decisions that could easily misinform other parts of your marketing strategy.  

What is A/B Testing? 

In a nutshell, A/B testing is a way to compare two versions of an email, web page, or other marketing asset and measure the difference in how they perform. 

You do this by giving one version to one group and the other version to a different group. Then you can see how each variation performs. It’s best to think of it as a competition — you’re pitting two versions of your assets against one another to see which comes out on top. 

Understanding which marketing asset works better can help inform future decisions regarding email copy, web pages, or other campaign assets.

How Does A/B Testing Work? 

Conducting an A/B test requires performing a series of steps you might see in a scientific study. Like any scientific experiment, you’ll pick one variable to test. Your variable can be anything you like: the color of a banner ad or the placing of a navigation menu.

With A/B testing, the possibilities for maximizing your marketing campaign and website’s full potentials are at your fingertips. Here are the steps for conducting an insightful A/B test. Once you’ve picked your variable, you:

  1. Develop your hypothesis. (What do you expect from the result?) 
  2. Create a “control” and a “challenger” group based on chosen criteria.
  3. Randomly split your sample groups into equal-sized sub-groups.
  4. Determine your sample size (if applicable to your test).
  5. Define what qualifies as a statistically significant result. 
  6. Make sure you’re only running one test at a time on any campaign. (Running more than one test at a time can compromise results, rendering your test pointless.)

To illustrate how A/B testing works, here are some examples. 

Example #1: Imagine you have two different slogans, and you want to know which one converts more customers.

After you create your slogans, you give one to Group A, and you send the other to Group B. Then, you analyze how each performed using metrics, such as click-throughs and sales. 

Example #2: For this example, imagine you have four landing page variations, and you want to see which converts more customers. 

Just like the first example, you provide one landing page (LP) to each group. Then, you see how each LP performed using metrics such as clicks, traffic, or conversions. You can then start digging into why that is, which will help you to create more effective landing pages in the future. 

Conducting Your Own A/B Test: Do’s and Don’ts 

A/B testing is extremely beneficial for businesses at any stage. But if you’re unfamiliar with it, A/B testing can be an overwhelming project to start. While you want to use logic and basic user psychology to conduct your tests, sometimes it can be surprising what actually works and what doesn’t. Here are five dos and don’ts of A/B testing.

DO: Test Multiple Variables

Variables that can influence the conversion and sales of your website are not scarce. They are always available for testing on different grounds. For instance, you can effectively test these variables:

  • Size
  • Color
  • Offers
  • Subject line
  • Layout
  • Templates 
  • Messaging
  • Images
  • Checkout process
  • Navigation

Identify and test as many variables as you can. The more variables you test, the better insights you gain in your marketing strategy.

DO: Test Simple Variables To Start Off

Rather than diving in headfirst, dip your toes into the A/B testing pond by testing something simple like your offer or call-to-action. There’s nothing wrong with simple tweaks before gradually advancing your approach.  

DO: Always Be Testing

You should  always be  testing something. If you happen to have the bandwidth to do so, you can try to run two tests at once. For one test, measure the effectiveness of the CTA on one page. In another test, measure the layouts of two other pages. 

The more data you can generate at one time, the more quickly you can optimize your marketing efforts. 

DON’T: Test All Variables at Once

Marketers that use A/B testing understand the importance of focusing on just one variable during each test. If you’re testing the effectiveness of one offer over another and you modify different variables, how will you isolate the reason one offer is more effective? 

Stick to one variable per test, so there is absolutely no guesswork involved in determining why one test subject worked better than another. 

DON’T: Be Afraid To Level Up With Advanced Testing

Once you feel comfortable with simple A/B tests, don’t hesitate to graduate to more complex tests such as A/B/C tests, page-level test designs, mobile testing, and so on. Advanced testing structures will provide two almost completely different page designs to test.

How Can A/B Testing Help My Conversions? 

Accurate A/B tests can make a major difference in your conversions and, ultimately, your bottom line. Using controlled A/B tests and gathering empirical data, you can figure out exactly which tactics work best for your brand and your product or service. 

When you figure that one marketing mix might work better than another, the idea that you would conduct promotions without testing starts to seem a bit ludicrous.

The Bottom Line 

A/B testing is arguably one of the most powerful ways to strengthen sales and marketing efforts. It gives you guidance on the tactics that convert the most customers and shows you which messaging brings you your most valuable customers. 

When you pair your A/B testing with a web analytics solution, you’ll be able to segment your data in a way that makes the most sense for your company. That way, you can make smarter decisions that boost your bottom line.

 

Sources:

A Refresher on A/B Testing – HBR 2017

3.1 Factors That Influence Consumers’ Buying Behavior – Principles of Marketing

The Key to Happy Customers? Happy Employees

Product Planning Fundamentals You Should Know

 

 

 

When you have a unique idea for a new product or feature, the temptation can be to dive right in. The idea is that the sooner your product is out there, the sooner you can drive sales and generate revenue.

But this perspective overlooks the crucial product planning steps that are integral to your product’s journey. Without proper product planning, your great idea could fall flat. 

So why is product planning essential and what are the fundamentals you should know?

What Does It Mean To Product Plan? 

Product planning is the research, development, creation, and market strategy involved with launching a product. It’s also an ongoing process that allows you to continually market a product to your target audience by monitoring customer interaction with it.

Product Planning: The Step-by-Step 

Product planning encompasses every stage of a product’s life cycle — the road mapping, Minimum Viable Product (MVP), iterations, and product maturity. It’s a crucial exercise for product teams as it allows them to successfully manage a product throughout its lifecycle and every stage of the customer journey.

Here are the five key steps of product planning for developing a new product or feature:

Step 1: Create your product roadmap.

A product map can be a great tool for product marketers and product developers because it’s high-level, can be easily understood by all, and can be referred to at any growth stage of your product life cycle. It outlines your product vision, short- and long-term goals, and your product life cycle and is intended to help you visually map your product’s direction and how it will reach business objectives. 

It will guide various product teams — particularly product managers — through your product’s introduction to the market, its growth, and, eventually, to its maturity. A well-planned roadmap has clear timelines showing when full product maturity is expected.

Think of it as a living, breathing document because you’ll continuously adjust your roadmap throughout the product life cycle. 

Step 1a: Conduct market research.

Market research is where you will learn about your competitors. Here, you’ll identify what they do well, where their weak points are, and how you can establish a unique place in the market for your product. 

Pay close attention to the following when sizing up your direct competition:

  • Who is their target market?
  • How are they marketing to their audience?
  • What are they doing really well?
  • What are they doing poorly? 

Step 1b: Define a high-level product vision.

The first crucial step to developing your product roadmap is to define your product vision. It will give concrete shape to the vehicle you’ll be driving down your roadmap and provide a high-level outline you can use to pitch your product idea to potential customers. This high-level outline should detail these points:

  • What your new product or feature does.
  • What problem your new product or feature solves. 
  • Who, specifically, could benefit from using your new product or feature.
  • Why your new product or feature is better than the competition.

While a product vision describes the nature of your new product, it should be more than just that. It should be aspirational and motivate your teams to see this as not merely another job, but an essential mission that fulfills an important need. 

Step 1c: Estimate your timelines.

Your timelines should balance input from the engineering, marketing and sales teams with business objectives to arrive at realistic goals.

Step 2: Plan your MVP

The next step is to plan how you’ll build the Minimum Viable Product (MVP). The MVP is important because you want to get a real-life product in the hands of potential customers as quickly as possible so they can look at it, test it, and provide feedback. 

Entire books have been written about the process for successful MVP planning. Below, we’ve pared it down for you:

  • Identify business and market needs: To understand your business and market needs, ask yourself: Who needs your product, and why do they need it? You may cover some of this when you conduct your market research in Step 1a.
    These answers are the key to establishing long-term goals and success criteria for your product. The more clearly you define these, the greater your edge on the competition.
  • Map out the customer journey: You’ll need to gain insight into your customer(s) from a buyer standpoint. With this insight, you can identify who they are, the actions they’ll take during their customer journey, and what the outcome should be.
  • Decide on your features: With a deeper understanding of your customers, you will be able to discern which features to include in your MVP. The features you decide to have in your MVP should serve your overall product goal.
    Tip: Remember, quality product design also utilizes the customer perspective.

Step 3: Plan your product iterations

You won’t know the exact shape future product iterations will take or the features you’ll build and in which order, because these will all depend on the user data you collect. But you can plan for how you’ll determine which features to build and bugs to fix and the order in which to do it. To plan your product iterations, define the metrics you’ll use to measure: user engagement, user adoption, power users and anything else that’ll help you determine what’s working and what isn’t. 

Step 4: Flesh out what product maturity looks like.

Product maturity is the final stage of your product’s life cycle, and it happens once the market becomes saturated and product sales peak. Competition at this stage will become fierce and you’ll use your product roadmap to keep you in the ring.

Best Practices in Product Planning 

Product planning is a broad concept. Using these best practices can help guide your journey:

Agile Product Planning

The three stages of agile product planning include:

  • Vision: This is a common goal that all can work towards but isn’t about any particular product. It reflects how your company views the world and the problem it’s trying to solve.
  • Product Strategy: This is all about how the product will enable the objectives and goals of your vision to be reached. It includes identifying the target group, the target group’s demands, the benefits of the product being offered to the target group, and the company itself. 
  • Product Tactics: This focuses on the basics of functionality, user interaction, design, and sprint goals. 

Know Your Audience

You need to be clear from the start on all of your customer’s needs. If you lack the opportunity to speak with them directly, ensure you work closely with your internal stakeholders who speak on their behalf.

Create Multiple Roadmaps and Be Flexible
It might be obvious, but because every internal team has differing priorities, multiple product roadmaps can help you organize various product tasks and nail down timelines that are more realistic. 

For example, your Marketing team wants to know the feature set and appearance of your product to more effectively market it, and Sales wants information about when the product will be ready for purchase (i.e., when it will be brought to market). Avoid hard publishing dates and instead, go with time ranges that allow for maximum flexibility.

At the end of the day, you want your product roadmap to be flexible and allow for cross-team collaboration.

What Are the Benefits of Product Planning?

Product planning is a crucial part of every product’s implementation journey. It allows for secure product development as it helps to gauge possible risks as well as threats. Product managers use the assumptions of product planning to achieve best practices and outcomes. 

Product planning is beneficial for:

Effective Brand Image

Defining a high-level product vision — the first step in our product planning process — will help to create and maintain an effective brand image. Vision and branding go hand-in-hand because, without a vision for your product, your brand message won’t be clear and effective.

Better Customer Awareness

If you’re doing product planning right, you’re constantly checking in with how the customer is using your product, where they get stuck and what seems to work well. This doesn’t just lead to a better product, it also helps Customer Success teams anticipate issues and provide better support. 

Optimum Resource Utilization

When a product is adequately planned, it results in the optimized utilization of available resources. This reduces waste and the overall cost of the product or feature. Product planning also assists in exercising better control over raw-materials — which contributes to more effective purchases.

Better Inventory Control

An effective system of product planning and control helps manage inventory at proper levels so you don’t end up with excess product.

Conclusion 

An effective product plan lays the foundation for successful product management. It provides the basis for your marketing team to plan, develop, and introduce your new product into the marketplace. It ensures product managers identify the appropriate target audience and niche market crucial to your new product’s success. And it keeps the engineering and business teams aligned.

 

Sources:

The Best Ways to Do Market Research for Your Business Plan
(PDF) Customer Loyalty: An Empirical Study

What You Really Need To Know To Build Better Products

What Are Monthly Active Users (MAU)?

 

 

 

Many product teams swear by monthly active users (MAU) as a metric to measure the health of their overall product strategy. Others say it’s just a vanity metric that you should ignore. Which of these is closer to the truth? Can any valuable information be gleaned from this KPI, or should it be abandoned for more fine-grained metrics? 

In this article, we’ll look at MAU as a metric and discuss how to calculate it.  

What Does MAU Mean? 

Monthly active user or MAU is a term that refers to the number of unique customers who interacted with a service or product of a business within a month. 

Essentially, MAU is a key performance indicator (KPI) that measures online user engagement. Many online businesses use this metric, including online gaming, social networking, and mobile app companies. But other types of companies use MAU as well.

Investors generally look closely at the number of MAUs of a business. Why? Because the metric provides a quick overview of the business’s user growth. Furthermore, MAU delivers some crucial insights into the business’s ability to attract new customers and retain the existing ones. 

Although this helpful metric is a measure that is not recognized by current accounting standards, it’s still reported by public companies in their financial reports. For instance, social network titans such as Twitter and Facebook both devote a substantial amount of time to discussing the trends of MAUs in their quarterly reports. 

What Can Measuring MAU Tell Me? 

From a business standpoint, it’s helpful to know how users interact with your brand’s website or landing pages, and MAU is an accurate metric to determine this. A high MAU number indicates that customers are frequently interacting with your product. It’s an indication that your product receives good customer engagement and retention over a certain period. 

By measuring, you can better position your company to assess the efficacy of its marketing strategies and customer experience. Thus, monthly active users come in handy to provide a rough overview of your company’s general health and act as the basis for calculating other essential metrics.

How To Calculate Monthly Active Users 

Even though almost all online businesses calculate and report the number of MAUs, there’s still no industry standard regarding the definition of ‘active users.’ Because there is no standard, calculating MAU is not as straightforward as it may seem.

For instance, some businesses define active users as those who just visited their site, while others include only actual users of their product in their MAU figures. Thus, each company uses its methodologies to identify the monthly active users. Twitter’s definition of MAU is the following:

Twitter Monthly Active Users: A Twitter user who logged in or was otherwise authenticated and accessed Twitter through the website, SMS, mobile website, mobile, or desktop apps, or registered third-party applications or websites in the 30 days ending on the date of measurement. 

Facebook, on the other hand, defines this metric slightly different:

Facebook Monthly Active Users: A registered active user who logged in and visited Facebook through the website, messenger application, or mobile app in the last 30 days as of the date of measurement. 

Generally, the number of MAU is calculated using a business’s internal data. The recognition of unique users is executed using an identifier such as an email or even a username. Additionally, companies must carefully monitor the number of false, duplicate, and spam accounts that can substantially distort MAU data to ensure they are getting accurate information. 

Many businesses adjust their MAU figures for such items to prevent the artificial inflation of the metric. 

Issues with MAU by Itself 

As we’ve mentioned, there are no uniform standards for the individual components of monthly active users. Other metrics used to qualify trends in social media can be highly inaccurate and myopic. You simply won’t get the whole picture. 

In 2015 Facebook revised its MAU definition as a response to skepticism about its monthly active users’ accuracy. It would no longer include “third-party pings” — that is, individuals who are not active Facebook users but who share content only via another website integrated within the Facebook login.

Did the other social media sites also make this change in their monthly active user calculation?

For years, social media giant Twitter has asked investors to judge its daily active user (DAU) — not its monthly active user — growth. On its 2015 fourth-quarter earnings call, investors asked Twitter to explain why it had lost a whopping four million monthly active users during the previous quarter. 

The reason? It turned out that most of those four million “users” did not use Twitter at all. It turned out that Apples’ Safari web browser counted them when it performed an automatic Twitter data pull. 

However, Twitter only began sharing its daily active user data back in February 2019. Switching from MAU to daily active user counts showed that the brand was gaining — not losing.

It’s up to you whether MAU is the best way to measure the number of users on your website. But you should be aware of the pitfalls of using MAU on its own without the insight of other KPIs. 

But what other KPIs can you use in conjunction with MAU to more accurately measure user engagement, and ultimately, a successful product? 

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): The Basics 

A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is a measurable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives. By now, we know that MAU is a powerful KPI — but are there others that go hand-in-hand that are just as important? 

  • Daily Active Users. We touched on this metric a little earlier. Rather than calculating the monthly active users, DAU calculates active users daily.
  • Customer Churn Rate. This crucial KPI is the percentage of customers lost during a given period. For eCommerce, that means customers who fail to make repeat purchases within a time frame established by the company, such as 30 or 90 days. For Saas or mobile apps, that means customers who end or cancel their subscription.
  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC). CAC is your company’s average expense of gaining a single customer.
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). Sometimes referred to as LTV, this critical KPI is the average revenue a single customer is predicted to generate throughout the time they hold an account with your business.
  • User Cohort Retention. A cohort is simply a group of users that share a common characteristic. Cohort analysis looks at the retention analytics of those users over time. This metric is so critical because growth distorts MAU and DAU counts — if your app is rapidly growing, new user signups will mask where your existing users are dropping off in your MAU and DAU numbers. And if you only look at MAU and DAU, you’ll be blind to retention issues that’ll kill your app if left unaddressed.  

Best Practices for Analyzing and Utilizing KPIs 

Like any tool, KPIs — including MAU — are most useful when they’re used and analyzed properly. Any metric is meaningless unless you know what you want it to tell you. Some KPI best practices include:

  1. Setting KPIs that are aligned with business goals.
  2. Tracking only the metrics that help answer questions, prove, or disprove hypotheses you have about your business goals. 
  3. Ensuring that key performance indicators are achievable.
  4. Determining how frequently you will measure each KPI.
  5. Setting short and long-term goals for the performance indicator.
  6. Sharing KPIs with the company and stakeholders.

For KPIs to be helpful, you might also consider developing key performance questions (KPQs) or the questions that determine whether you have met the objective. 

When crafting these questions, try to avoid simple yes-or-no questions such as, “Have I met my sales quota?” and try to come up with open questions that are thought-provoking such as, “How well am I marketing my product or service portfolio?”

The answers to your KPQs will provide you with the information you need to make well-informed decisions and set more productive goals.

The Bottom Line 

The ability to segment your audience is valuable. You can discern between groups of active users — those who are prospects and those that are clients. 

When using a powerful analytics marketing tool, you’ll know details of everyone that has visited your site, what they browsed — from the very first time to the last — and you’ll gain a grasp of why the return users keep coming back and why your lost users leave. 

 

Sources:

Facebook, Inc. Class A Common Stock (FB) Stock Quotes

Apple Inc. (AAPL)

Fake Social Accounts: Another Problem for Marketers to Monitor