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To know if a digital product such as a mobile or web application is successful‚ you need to have quantitative indicators that measure its performance.
Digital product metrics allow you to troubleshoot product issues and make informed decisions on how to fix them. They are also a great indicator of the ‘general success’ of a product: Whether users still need your solution‚ how much they like it‚ whether it solves their problems‚ etc.
There are hundreds of metrics associated with digital products‚ but not all of them will be a key concern for the majority of businesses. In this article‚ we run down some of the reasons that tracking product metrics is crucial to success‚ including how metrics allow you to identify problems and make informed product decisions.
Why Product Metrics Matter
Determining the right metrics to monitor and analyse leads to more intelligent decision-making throughout the product development process.
These metrics‚ sometimes called key performance indicators (KPIs)‚ give the company quantifiable evidence about which aspects of the product or user experiences which are resonating with customers‚ and which aren’t.
Product‚ marketing‚ and sales teams can all use this data-driven information to gain a better understanding of what motivates their customer personas. This data helps you to continually optimise your product(s).
Without such metrics‚ product managers are forced to rely on educated guesses when deciding which products or features to prioritise. This can be catastrophic to the development of your product‚ as one wrong decision has the potential to lead to months of wasted time and money.
The Right Metrics Start With the Right Questions
Where most businesses struggle is they don’t know how to ask the right questions before they start measuring. Doing this requires a collaborative partnership between analyst and product development team‚ rather than a more traditional stakeholder-resource relationship.
- If we imagine an ideal customer who is getting value from our product‚ what actions are they taking?
- What are the individual steps a user needs to take in our product in order to achieve a goal?
- Is this feature designed to solve a problem that all our users have‚ or just a subset of our users?
Are Your Product Metrics Sending You a Warning Sign?
Another value of monitoring product metrics is that they provide an early warning signal that some aspect of your product or user experience might not be working for your users.
Sometimes‚ these metrics represent the only feedback you’ll receive about a problem area of your product. Users might not call your customer support team for help. They might stop using some aspect of the product and never contact you to tell you why. Over time‚ this leads to increased churn rates and damage to your product’s reputation.
If you are monitoring the right product metrics‚ you are more likely to spot these trends early‚ so that you can address them.
Examples of warning signs your product metrics are sending:
- A steep drop-off in the usage of a feature or area of your product
- Users taking longer to complete specific tasks in your product than you had estimated
- Average user time spent interacting with your product decreasing over time
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What Can You Do with Product Metrics?
Let’s say you’ve analyzed your product metrics and made a conclusion about what they mean. What should you do next? We recommend a three-step process for taking action.
Step 1: Confirm
If a product metric suggests that a feature needs to be updated or added‚ you will need to first confirm that your theory is correct.
Speak with your customers and ask them for their thoughts on your plans. Are they having the problems you think they are with your product? Will they use the new feature you’re thinking about building?
You will then want to confirm that this will be the most strategically advantageous use of your limited resources. Remember‚ building or modifying some areas of your product will come at the expense of other work those development resources could be working on. So you might also want to conduct a cost-benefit analysis.
Step 2: Communicate
When you’ve decided to move forward with your plan‚ the next step is to communicate the plan to the relevant people in your cross-functional team. This communication will include the stakeholders contributing to the product as well as your executive team .
It will be a difficult sell internally‚ especially if you are asking people to adjust their priorities or to undo the work they’ve already done. Fortunately‚ though‚ you will have real-world data—your product metrics—to support your new plans.
Step 3: Rally your troops
When you’ve made your case to the relevant stakeholders‚ you will then want to help them relay this new information to their respective teams. So you’ll want to give them the data and the key messages they’ll need to do so.
You’ll also want to work with these stakeholders to help them identify the way to adjust the plan that will give the most significant benefit to the company while also minimizing any negative impact on the teams responsible for making it happen.
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