Product Analytics Newsletter
Edition #9

Empowering Product Owners With Analytics
By Lantrns Analytics

(Image Source: DailyMail)

Good morning product owners!

The analytical stack presented in the last newsletter (see the Showing Off Analytical Stack section in newsletter edition #8) seems to have caught your attention. And some of you were disappointed to learn that I do not have a Event Configuration file in place yet… Sorry about that 🤷‍♂️

The truth is that this is something often discussed amongst data engineers and no silver bullet has yet been found to control the definition of your events and how you implement your tracking plan. There are some DYI solutions,  some solutions associated to a specific product and some newcomers that want to tackle that problem, such as Iterative.ly.

It’s not enough to have a tracking plan, you need to enforce a common definition and configuration of those events throughout your touch points. This is so foundational to any product analytics initiatives that it’s a bit surprising to not find more solutions out there for this. Looking to seeing how this space will develop in the future. We’ll keep you updated on new developments.

With that, on with our 9th edition of the Product Analytics newsletter 🙂

Olivier

TL;DR
  • In Product News, we assist to Mailchimp’s evolution – take me there
  • In Strategy, we guide you towards your upcoming IPO – take me there
  • In Practices, we rethink how content marketing should be done – take me there
  • In Behind The Scenes, I launch a Product Analytics R package – take me there

QUICK POLL
Do you currently have a tracking plan that defines your user’s most important events in their journey?
*|SURVEY: Yes|* *|SURVEY: No|*

PRODUCT NEWS
Mailchimp’s Transformation
Bringing It All Together: Introducing Our All-in-One Marketing Platform

Have you heard? Another all-in-one marketing platform has just emerged. Are you just super excited about it? Nah? Not even a little bit?

It does feel crowded in that space. But still that’s the bet that Mailchimp is making to grow beyond their well-known and loved core product: mailing lists.

What’s the incentive? In their own words: “We’re dedicated to democratizing marketing technology for small business, and providing the latest, most powerful tools at affordable prices.”

Here’s a list of products being introduced by Mailchimp…

“They include technology to record and track customer leads; the ability to purchase domains and build sites; ad retargeting on Facebook and Instagram; social media management. It will also offer business intelligence that leverages a new move into the artificial intelligence to provide recommendations to users on how and when to market to whom.” (Source: Techcrunch)

To be honest, I like Mailchimp and what they stand for. And I think it’s absolutely legitimate to want to improve their service offering to their users. But I’m not sure how essential it is for small business to get access to all functionalities through a single company. With platforms such as Segment, you can take a more modular approach and build an ecosystem of tools that best fit how your product needs to be marketed.

Personally I’d like Mailchimp to be more open with the data they collect on our mailing list users, so that I could improve the integration of Mailchimp with the CRM I love (Intercom). The current process to extract that data is to say the least, painful! Instead, it feels like they’re further building a walled garden with their own CRM, which will reduce my choices as to what tools I prefer for specific product development tasks.

How do you guys feel about that? Is that the right move for Mailchimp? Or should they have embraced a more open and modular approach?

STRATEGY
The Long Term Stock Exchange
*|YOUTUBE: [$vid=DPfVM17M-WA]|*

Ready to go public yet? You ain’t? You built a business around that product you love and want to keep control of its destiny? You don’t want shareholder value to be the ultimate metric?

Eric Ries, author and guru of the Lean Startup movement has your back. This guy dreams big. And he dreamt a while back of a stock exchange where long-term thinking and strategy got rewarded, over short-term results.

“We are building a market where companies are rewarded for choosing to innovate, to invest in their employees, and to seed future growth,” LTSE CEO Eric Ries said in a statement.

Nice idea, huh? Well, that was met with a lot of scepticism (as you can imagine). But Ries surrounded himself with other Silicon Valley dreamers (Marc Andreessen, Tim O’Reilly and Peter Thiel to only name a few) and finally has that LTSE project off the ground with the Securities and Exchange Commission giving its go-ahead.

How does it work? Essentially, it rewards shareholders who are in it for the long ride. The longer you own shares, the more voting rights are associated to it. Meaning that your product/business strategy won’t be highjacked by speculating sharks, but by investors that feel your long-term vision and understand how that can grown and eventually make them a profit.

Be honest, the idea of launching your own IPO now sounds a little more enticing than just a few minutes earlier, right?

More on the latest developments

PRACTICES
Rethinking Content Marketing
The future of customer acquisition with HubSpot’s Meghan Keaney Anderson

Content marketing is important to products as it relates to the acquisition of users. It used to be that we only needed to regularly create content for it to be indexed and shown on search engines. It still holds true, but SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a really dynamic field that needs to understand not only how humans are using search engines, but also how the latest are now indexing and showing content.

Starting at minute 5, Meghan Keaney Anderson talks about how they’ve split content in 2: discovery vs shared. Discovery are those pieces that are built to get users who are looking for a specific topic on search engines. Whereas shared pieces are the ones built to be more like opinion pieces that will trigger exchanges of ideas and hopefully be shared amongst users.

Lots of us are betting on discovery pieces to get some organic traffic to our websites. And it’s useful to understand the mechanic of how search engines associates content to the right queries and how they rank that content in the results page.

This podcast does touch on a broad array of subjects but it did make me rethink my whole content strategy.

For me, I have about 3 articles that generates more than 50% of traffic. Those are really the pieces that definitely fit the discovery type of content. They are guides to specific topics and are highly technical.

The other pieces I’ve written through the years almost all have a very limited lifespan. They talked of a subject that made sense at that time, but that might not be as relevant today as it was then. So, what to do with this? Meghan Keaney Anderson argues you should clean up that mess, join posts together and build discover pieces out of that scattered info.

Lots to ponder on.

BEHIND THE SCENES
RProductAnalytics R Package
RProductAnalytics GitHub repository

In the spirit of openness and sharing, I created my first R package last week with a limited set of product analytics functionalities. The goal is to provide utilities to analyse interactions between users and product, how experiments and introduction of features are impacting key metrics, product-market fit and overall alignement with business objectives.

I invite you to have a look at the repository’s README file to see an example of an analysis that uses the package. Obviously, this is in its infancy and has many flaws and opportunities to improve, but you know, work in progress.

If you’re interested in playing around or even contribute to this project, go ahead and fork it and submit Pull Requests that you think might improve the package. I plan on building RProductAnalytics as I continue building my product analytics ecosystem for this newsletter (and other upcoming products).

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How can you leverage data to strategically grow your digital product? This newsletter’s mission is to share data analytics’ best practices and new ideas with product owners, so they can incrementally and intelligently improve their product.