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Top 10 User Engagement Metrics to Measure Product Performance

2022 marks the 20-year anniversary for The Bachelor, the legendary reality dating show where dozens of contestants vie for the attention of one eligible single in the hopes of hearing that famous phrase: “Will you accept this rose?”

It’s a show about many things—love, drama, hot tubs—but most of all, it is a show about getting someone to notice you in a crowd. Ultimately, The Bachelor is about engagement, in more ways than one!

Product and customer success managers often find themselves in the same position as a Bachelor contestant, trying to get the attention of an eligible product user in the hopes of getting an elusive renewal or upsell. The kind of engagement they’re looking for doesn’t lead to marriage, but it does lead to a successful customer relationship, which means sustained recurring revenue and higher profits. 

The problem is that it’s not always easy to know whether users are actually engaged with your product. Product experience (PX) professionals don’t have the luxury of one-on-one dates with their customers. To find out how they’re doing, they need to gather data and then interpret it using metrics that tell the user engagement story. 

What Is User Engagement?

Put simply, user engagement measures whether users find value in a product or service. How you define value will depend on the product, but typically it is based on how frequently the product is used and for how long. User engagement is highly correlated with the likelihood of renewal and thus profitability. If customers are not using your product, that usually means they don’t see the value of it, and will probably cancel (churn) when they get the opportunity to do so.

How Measuring User Engagement Helps Your Product

User engagement metrics can give you invaluable information on how users engage with your product. Selecting the right user engagement KPIs will let you know what features are working, which ones are going unused. You can also determine trouble spots in your product that are causing friction and possibly churn. 

The insights you gain from user engagement metrics will help you improve your product, gain visibility into the customer journey, and identify opportunities for expansion. But because there are so many different ways to measure user engagement, choosing the right metrics can be a daunting task. That’s why we’ve put together a list (by no means exhaustive) of important metrics for you to consider when measuring user engagement.  

The Top 10 User Engagement Metrics

User activity will vary greatly depending on the product. For example, some products are used every day—think Microsoft Office or Google Docs. Other products, like billing software, might only be used once a month. The key is to determine what kinds of user activity signify that your users are finding value. 

But user engagement is more than simply using the product. You also have to understand how customers are interacting with specific features and functionalities. The goal is to get a clear picture of your product from the user’s perspective.

1. Daily/Weekly/Monthly engagement (user activity)

Daily Active Users (DAU), Weekly Active Users (WAU), or Monthly Active Users (MAU) measure how many unique users are actively using your product during a particular time period. The definition of “active” will vary based upon your product. For example, for some products simply logging in is an acceptable proxy for activity, but for others you may need to see specific actions performed.

2. Time in product

Another core user engagement metric is how long users are active in the product, on average. If a user is really getting value, they will use it for longer—though of course, that will depend on how the product is used. Once you have a significant data set, you can create a benchmark to compare with individual users. 

3. Stickiness

“Stickiness” is a measure of how indispensable your product is for your users. In other words, how often does a user keep returning to the product? This is a powerful indicator of value. Typically this is calculated by dividing your Daily Active Users by your Monthly Active Users.

4. Retention

Retention rate measures what percentage of users in a certain cohort are still users after a certain time period. For example, for all the users who began in May 2021, how many are still using it six months later? This metric can help you determine big-picture trends in product usage. 

5. Churn

Churn is the inverse of retention and measures the percentage of users who stopped using the product. Not that with B2B products, user churn is not the same as customer churn. But high churn among a customer’s user base is a sign that the customer could be in danger of dropping your product.

6. Feature usage

Feature usage is a pretty self-explanatory user engagement metric: which features are users using? Seldom used features may not be valuable to users and might be candidates for elimination, while frequently used features may be ready for expansion or price increases.

7. Week 1 engagement

Week 1 engagement is sort of a subset of DAU or MAU that focuses on adoption. If a user isn’t engaging with your product within the first week, they are likely to churn. This could be because of issues with the onboarding process, or could be a sign of a more fundamental problem.

8. Exit page (contrast with bounce rate)

Exit page is a drill-down metric that can help you understand how customers are using your product at a more granular level. This user engagement metric tracks the last page or screen that a user accessed before leaving your product. This is interesting because it can tell you whether the user leaving after completing a certain task or perhaps out of frustration due to a friction point.

9. Ticket volume by support channel

Ticket volume by support channel is an interesting user engagement metric that can help you identify the best ways to communicate with users about updates, fixes, and new products. For example, do users seek support via phone, email, or in-product chat? Understanding this metric will help you build a stronger relationship with users.

10. Feedback response rates

User feedback is a core component of optimizing your product. The best way to understand what customers want is to hear it straight from the source. But beyond the feedback itself, the feedback response rate is a good measure of overall user engagement and enthusiasm for the product. 

Powering User Engagement Metrics With Gainsight PX

Gainsight enables you to collect and visualize user engagement data from your products in one central platform. And once your data is aggregated in Gainsight, you can leverage our powerful rules engine to evaluate positive and negative trends in behavior, proactively notify team members when action should be taken, and quickly prepare for customer and internal meetings.

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