Guest Post by: Nate Turner
Whether a product starts out in beta or go straight to a public launch, startups often spend a good chunk of time trying to gain feedback from users on the new product. This feedback is helpful and sometimes critical in understanding what is missing or what shouldn’t be there to make it really work well for the user.
However, what the emails, phone calls, chats and surveys won’t tell you is how the users are actually interacting with your product. Where are they clicking, how much time are they spending on each page/section and what is the typical ﬂow of a user once they’ve gone beyond exploring the site/application? In order to have context and hard data to compliment the qualitative data received, you need to implement speciﬁc tracking and reporting within your product.
With the free and seemingly-ubiquitous Google Analytics, you can get all of this quantitative data and more. Below are three suggestions to help you get started:
1. Event Tracking
Make the effort to add a line of HTML to the links, buttons and videos in your product and the data you get should be pretty revealing. When you can see where the most clicks are occurring, you can guide changes in the application to give certain items more prominent real estate than others.
For example, if a new user is presented with a features tour modal, you may ﬁnd that over 50% of them are clicking ‘Skip This’ instead of ‘Next Feature’. This data can be used to test which feature is shown ﬁrst, the design of the modal and even the timing.
onClick="_gaq.push(['_trackEvent', 'Videos', 'Play', 'Homepage Testimonial']);">
Within your product, ﬁgure out what actions you think are most important for users to be successful and then create goals around them. It could be as simple as meeting a certain threshold for visit duration or as complex as a speciﬁc group of click events. By having these goals in place, you will be able to see how changes within the product affect your top goals.
3. Content Reports
The ﬁrst two suggestions have been more granular, so to back out and see a bigger picture, the ‘All Pages’ content report is great. As long as you have GA tracking code on all your product pages, you should be able to open the default report and start to understand what sections/pages users are spending the most time in.
As you look through the volume of pageviews per page along with the standard metrics provided (Time on Page, Bounce Rate, Entrances & Exits), you can start to get a rough picture of how users are interacting with your product at a macro level.
Once you ﬁgure out your tracking goals and get everything set up, you can start to weave together your qualitative and quantitive data to get a better picture of how users are interacting with your product, what they want and how your changes may potentially impact your goals. As you make changes and updates to your product, the data will serve as a good baseline to understand user behavior and again, give context to the feedback you receive.
If you have a new product or are nearing a launch, I hope you consider setting goals and tracking product usage to see the full picture and make intelligent changes to your new and growing product.
Nate Turner is currently the Online Marketing Director for Sprout Social, a powerful social media management platform that enables businesses and brands to more effectively manage social channels and provide an exceptional customer experience.