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3 Tips for Getting Started with Product Usage Data

Your company’s product usage data is a treasure trove of insights—one that gives you a valuable window into your user’s experience. Unfortunately, most SaaS project and product managers end up drowning in usage data with few ways to sort through it, understand it and use it to enhance their product.

Enter the hero: product usage data analysis. In this article, we dig into the details of product usage and lay out three tips to help you start squeezing the most out of your usage data.

Why is product usage data important?

If your company offers software products, apps or other tools, you’re sitting on a potential gold mine of usage data. Product usage data is information that displays how users navigate your product, how long they interact with features and how they’re using it.

Wondering why this data is so critical?

It shows you what features your user cares to access and what parts of your product they’re neglecting. By digging into exactly how users are moving through your product, it’s easy to pinpoint friction, adjust for a better user experience, reduce churn and skyrocket user satisfaction. That all makes product usage analysis a foundational tool that can inform your most critical decisions at every stage—whether you’re building your product road map, launching a new feature, trying to drive adoption, or working to secure buy-in from stakeholders.

With those advantages in mind, here are three tips to help you start harnessing the power of your usage data:

1. Fully understand your product usage data.

Once you instrument your product, and data is streaming in, you’ll have the raw materials to build a masterful product road map and back critical decisions. The trick is understanding how to tap into that user data in a way that reduces your workload but still clearly displays the best paths toward a better product.

Here are a few metrics to pay extra attention to when analyzing your product user data:

User and Account-Level Activity
Knowing who is using your product, how they’re using it and at what frequency is prime information as you’re mapping your product road map. To get the most out of data, you’ll want to track the actions your user is taking, but it’s also best to understand how those actions tell a broader story about your user’s journey. For instance, if users are clicking a button at a high frequency, you may want to see if button clicks also lead to higher retention. Zooming in and out on this user activity can back those decisions that have a dramatic positive impact on your product.

Golden Features
There may be golden features sitting within your product that are just waiting to be identified. By drilling into the data and pinpointing these features, you can direct a bigger chunk of users to live training or other paths that encourage adoption—a recipe for driving higher engagement and retention.

Sticky Features
As users move through your product, your product’s sticky features capture their attention. These features are reliable engagement drivers that inspire repeat uses. By spotting these sticky features, you’ll be able to see what friction points to clear out of their way and create an even more valuable product road map.

2. Use product data to fuel user adoption.

You spend hours and massive resources upping your product’s potential. But those efforts are wasted if your users aren’t embracing and using your product wholeheartedly. Usage data can validate your road map decisions and red flag any friction points that are stopping your user from fully accessing your product. It also shines light on the improvements that will make your next product or feature launch a hit.

Here’s where path or funnel analysis becomes essential. Path and funnel analysis track the in-depth steps your users take as they move through your product. That means you can identify any sticky points in your product or any hot spots that you can capitalize on. By setting up and tracking a funnel report, you can see exactly where users are falling off and repair that step to drive higher adoption.

3. Let usage data inform your retention strategy.

Chances are that eliminating product and feature churn is already at the top of your priority list. After all, according to a CallMiner study, avoidable customer churn costs companies $136 billion a year. By digging into data and identifying how different product features influence retention, you can see exactly what tweaks you need to make in order to drive unwavering engagement.

There are a few key product user metrics to zoom in on if you want to understand and increase retention:

Correlation Features
Is usage dropping off during the holidays? Maybe users that adopt a specific app or feature are more open to upsells. These are a few examples of correlation data that can propel your decisions. To get a firm grasp on user retention, you’ll want to identify correlation metrics that paint a clearer picture about what’s influencing user retention.

User Steps and Product Flow
By tracking the steps users are taking within your product, you can spotlight inefficiencies in your product flow. For instance, perhaps users consistently drop off when they run into one of your more complicated product features. Analyzing user steps reveals this issue, so you can add an engagement that encourages the user to join a meeting or watch a walkthrough clip, helping them get over the hiccup in your product flow.

The Full Retention Journey
To get the most out of user analytics, you’ll want to examine the entire retention story and how the stops along the way are influencing retention. By mapping out your user’s full retention journey, you don’t just find ways to improve their experience. You can also see how the adjustments you make to your product or features are impacting retention — an especially valuable bit of information if you need to justify moves to stakeholders.

Unlock new ways to enhance your product with data.

Usage data and analysis give you the fuel to enhance your product and carve out a rock-solid product road map. However, if you want to easily unlock the most critical insights throughout your product journey and use them to drive results, it takes clear reports and dashboards.

For other ideas and strategies on product-led growth, download our e-book Product Led Success: The Professional’s Handbook and receive strategic and tactical guidance on driving onboarding, adoption, retention, and growth using in-product experiences.