If you’re wondering what to do with web app analytics – you’re in the right place.
The point of this post is to get your brain working in the right direction.
I will not discuss implementation in this post. If you have questions about implementation of these web app analytics please leave a comment.
External Web App Analytics
This stuff happens outside the app. These are the keys to acquisition.
Key to Success: Quantify each step in the sales funnel process.
Associate either a value or a conversion rate to each of those steps. This is your baseline. When changes are made to any of the steps in the process compare conversion rates to see how the change affected your sales funnel.
Example: I’ll use organic search as an example.
- 1,000 prospects search for your key term.
- 800 click on the search result (80%)
- 200 view the product page (20%)
- 50 sign up for a free trial (5%)
- 20 upgrade to the paid version (2%)
- 5 upgrade to premium (.5%)
Key to Success: Optimize and reward the referral process.
Figure out how much you’re willing to pay for acquisition from other sources like advertising, content marketing or social media and offer the same amount to existing users that are willing to refer new users. The best part is that you don’t have to pay them cash. You can pay in credits within your app or free month of usage.
Make referrals easy. Give them a link to share with friends and a way to share it.
Example: Dropbox offers more storage to users who get their friends to sign up.
Key to Success: Two words – Cohort Analysis.
A cohort analysis splits current and past users into groups based on a characteristic they share. This is usually based on when they signed up for the app. By segmenting users it’s easier to analyze the life cycle of a user.
Check out this post about cohort analysis for start-ups.
It’s also important to consider user segmentation in addition to join period cohorts:
- Large Companies vs Small Companies
- User Demographic Information
- Industry of the Business Using the App
- Any Other Segments
Example: This retention analysis post from keen.io has a better example than I’ll be able to fit in a few lines here.
Key to Success: Identify the most profitable sources.
Get to know your best customers by knowing came from. Don’t forget to take everything into account when calculating value of a customer: lifetime value, referrals, high-profile users etc.
Example: The top 2 referral sources for your app are the Smart Passive Income Blog and the Empire Flippers. You dig deeper and find out that visitors from Empire Flippers are twice as likely to convert. Finding more ways to reach that audience will probably be worth your while.
Key to Success: Use service provider results to prioritize cold calls.
By reviewing the visits to your landing or product pages from specific Service Providers you can watch for specific organizations that have checked out your landing page, sign up page or any other step in the funnel.
Large corporations, institutions and organizations usually have their own service provider. That means if someone from a corporation visits your landing page you will see that corporation in your analytics.
Example: If your app appeals to universities review the list of visitor service providers in Google Analytics. If you see multiple visits from a particular university, but no one from that university has registered for your app – give them a call.
Key to Success: Expand to mobile as soon as the numbers and technology support it.
Compare web app usage between mobile and non-mobile and tablets. If you see signs of decreased usability on mobile devices consider a mobile version of the app or even better a mobile app. You can even charge for the mobile app to cover the cost of building it.
Maybe not all app functionality will work on mobile, but just like browser add-ons it’s often helpful to have some functionality mobilized.
Example: Mail Chimp’s mobile app allows users to check email lists and campaign stats.
Key to Success: Explore the value of developing a browser add-on.
If 75% of your users are on Chrome it might be time to develop a Chrome browser add-on.
Add-ons don’t have to include all app functionality. Some browser add-ons assist or compliment apps.
Another consideration is compatibility. It’s probably not worth it to optimize your app for an old version of Internet Explorer if only 1% of users are using it. If your clients are corporations it’s not uncommon for large companies to still be on an older version of IE, so it might be worth the time to make sure your app works on those browsers.
Example: Evernote has a Web Clipper browser add-on that allows you to capture all or part of a page you are looking at. Evernote as a whole has much more capabilities, but Web Clipper a good compliment to the Evernote package.
Key to Success: Prioritize and invest in the support processes that grow your valuable user base. Having valuable users doesn’t always mean having more users.
This is an umbrella topic that would include call tracking, ticket requests, online chats, email support and any other way potential or existing app users request support.
Since this one varies greatly for each app I’m going to keep it broad. If you have questions leave a comment and I’ll respond or write a separate post about it.
Internal Web App Analytics
This stuff lives inside your app. Use these metrics to optimize user experience and value.
In-App Purchase Funnel
Key to Success: Treat the in-app purchase funnel as an extension to the app sales funnel.
In-app purchases is just an extension of your sales funnel. The original source of users still matters.
Additional questions to think about:
- What actions do users take before making an in-app purchase?
- How long does it take for a user to make an in-app purchase?
- Which user segments are more likely to make in-app purchase?
Other Goal Funnels
Key to Success: Identify all valuable actions app users can take.
I mentioned user referrals as part of external web app analytics. Building referrals into the nature of your app is a great way to expand your user base.
Example: A good example here is online games. Most games have added a social component to the app. This can take the form of sharing your success on social media, inviting your friends to get bonuses, leader boards to promote friendly competition and more.
Key to Success: Start by segmenting users by their actions within the app, then find other attributes those groups of users have in common.
Start with segments that complete in-app purchases or valuable actions. Those are your best users. Once you know who makes up the crowd of your best users you can adjust you marketing and sales funnel to bring in more like them.
Example: Your app does analysis on pro sports fans based on ticketing data. You sell to pro and college teams. Let’s say the app has 3 subscription levels. Each level is more expensive and gives the user more detailed reports. An interesting segment would be to isolate users who upgrade to the top-level plan. It turns out that 90% of users in that top-level plan are baseball teams. You look at baseball teams as a segment and see that 60% of them have upgraded to the top subscription. Now you have quantified justification to approach the baseball users in the lower levels to up sell them. You can also start your pitch to baseball teams at the top-level plan, knowing that they will likely be interested.
Key to Success: Focus on pain points first.
The easiest way to get error tracking with all the information you need to reproduce and prioritize issues is by using analytics tools. You’ll be able to see what page the user was on right before the error and the technology they were using to use your web app.
Track errors that users make in forms, 404 errors, timeout errors and more. Pretty much anytime users see an error you can send that error to analytics.
Example: Track your 404 page and other error pages. Set up a goal in analytics when a user sees your 404 page. Either add the goal to a dashboard you review weekly or set up a notification that emails you when it happens. Leave a comment if you need help setting this up.
Key to Success: Don’t forget to track data fetching.
It’s pretty easy to check page load times in Google Analytics or webmaster tools.
Processes that fetch data is another story. No one wants to sit and wait for an AJAX call to load for 2 minutes.
Example: A reporting tool that allows users to upload spreadsheets and analyze the data within. If the upload process is taking too long think about optimizing the process, using a max file size or at least showing a progress bar so the user knows something is happening.
Key to Success: Only track data changes that have been an issue in the past.
I think some people would disagree with this, but what’s the alternative?
If you have time to identify and track every possible data change made within your app you’re a better man than I. If your app is making changes to data it will soon become clear what to track. Record the user and time of each important change and a history of what the data looked like before the change if that is necessary.
Audit tracking is not always used to cover liability. Specific changes in the app might mean up sell opportunity for account managers.
Example: Let’s user a calendar app as the example. The calendar is free, but you offer paid plugins that make the calendar better. If a user enters something in their calendar with the title “event”. This might be a good time for a member of your sales team to call that user and offer them a discount on the event add-on to your calendar app.
Key to Success: Prioritize and quantify the value of adoption for each feature in your app.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Which features of your app are used the most?
- Which user segments use which features?
- Are some features not being used?
Key to Success: Establish a target frequency as a baseline to analyze how user segments perform compared to the target.
If your target usage is once per week, dig into the user segments that use less than once per week and more than once per week. Look for trends and remember to associate value to each segment.
Example: You have an invoicing web app. Target usage frequency is once per week. Analysis shows that users who log in 3 or more times per week only have a 4% upgrade conversion. Users who visit the app twice per month upgrade at a rate of 20%. After asking some questions it turns out that the first group are mostly large companies who have dedicated invoicing staff. The second group are solo-preneurs who are looking for automation, which comes with the premium version.
Key to Success: Define the ideal process you want users to take when using your web app.
If users are taking the path you expect all is good. If they aren’t you might want to experiment with your interface to nudge them in the direction you prefer OR if the unexpected process is working you need to adjust your ideal process.
Let me know if you have anything to add to this list.
If you want details about implementation of any of these topics let me know and I’ll write a post about it.