Product Analytics Newsletter
Edition #10

(Image Source: The Middle East Media Research Institute)

Good morning product owners!

Lantrns Analytics is growing up ‍🦱‍🦳

I’ve been working for the last few years as a product analytics consultant and am enjoying this tremendously. But I did notice a common challenge amongst product owners I’ve worked with: how to build an effective product’s analytical stack and what to do with the data.

There are so many analytical options out there (SaaS, BI softwares, programming languages), but none that answers all the questions you might have. So you need a mix of those. That requires expertise to set up and can get really complex to maintain.

Long story short, I’ve decided to add a packaged service to my offering, where my team and I become a product owner’s dedicated team of analytics experts. That means we setup and maintain your analytical stack and dashboards for you.

Your can learn more by visiting our revamped website (have a look at our cool animated Infographic on “How It Works” ) and if that is of interest to you, you can book a time with me to chat.

With that, on with our 10th edition of the Product Analytics newsletter – wouhou! 🙂

Olivier

TL;DR
  • In Product News, we look at the impact of Google cutting off Huawey on product’s ecosystems – take me there
  • In Strategy, we’re building habit-forming products… responsibly – take me there
  • In Best Practices, we talk of bold ideas to experiment with in a product’s early days – take me there
  • In Behind The Scenes, I go down a rabbit hole with this newsletter’s clickthrough rates – take me there

QUICK POLL
What’s your favorite section of this newsletter?
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PRODUCT NEWS
Huawei and Product Ecosystems
“Podcast Tech China” 🎙

How can we not talk about Huawei?

This thing has been brewing for a long while, but it escalated quickly when founder’s daughter, the CFO, got arrested in my home country of Canada (sorry, eh?) for possible extradition towards the US.

And then things degenerated. Multiple consequences of this, one of which is that Google stopped serving Huawei device users.

New Huawei device users will no more benefit the apps provided by Google, but also its services that are used as features within other apps.

In this podcast, the hosts does a great job of giving context to that whole episode, but also the impact it has in the tech community as a whole, and on product managers.

Where will all of that lead us? Well, if Huawei does decide to take the route of developing its own OS and host its own ecosystem of products, we can start seeing a decoupling of tech sectors between US and China’s spheres of influences. That can have important impacts in regards to targeting geographical markets under different spheres of influences.

For extra fun, embark on a Huawei PR tour covered by Vice

STRATEGY
Building Habit-Forming Products
Nir Eyal on Habits, Experimentation, and Becoming Indistractable

I haven’t read Eyal’s book “Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products”, but with more than 15000 ratings on GoodRead and average appreciation of 4.06/5 (which is pretty good on GoodRead), it sure had an impact.

So if you’re like me and have it on your to-read list, this interview provides a condensed version of his ideas.

In his own words…

Understanding what brings people back is a crucial skill. If you don’t build a product that is habit-forming, if you don’t design into the user experience a way to bring people back on their own, you’re missing a huge opportunity.

That means you need to think about this particular behaviour of “coming back” when designing products. What gets them hooked? How can you get users to increase the frequency of using your product, as this is an important part of habit building.

But be careful of what should be the limit between empowering users and being too invasive. And in that regards, it’s interesting to note that Eyal’s next book is titled: “Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life”

BEST PRACTICES
Experimenting in the Early Product Days
How to Experiment Like the Most Successful, Hyper-Growth Companies Do“, by Peter H. Diamandis

You know Peter H. Diamandis, right? Founder of XPrize and Singularity University? With the moto “The best way to predict the future is to create it yourself.” (love that one, lol)?

Anyways, he wrote this piece back in 2017 and I thought I should share.

Experimenting is important, especially in the early days. You are not looking for margin improvements, but for bold ideas that will give you traction on your core metrics. So it’s important to focus a little less on the methodology (the gods of statistics will be angry with me ) and a little more on the bold ideas.

With that in mind, I stumbled upon that article which might get your creative juices flowing, as it did mine.

Here are some highlights from it:

  • Start with a bold ‘ideation challenge’ – a statement that clearly identifies a big problem for your current customers, or an opportunity to serve new markets with unique, highly differentiated solutions.
  • “Be selective in picking experiments that test critical questions for potential bold new solutions.
  • To use a “Rapid Sprint Experiment Process” to run effective experiments, you need a reliable method to get valuable information in the minimum time and cost possible.
It’s a good read, but more importantly, it’s a good reminder that we shouldn’t just test for button color changes. Sometimes we need to test for bold ideas that might disrupt our preconceived assumptions.

BEHIND THE SCENES
Our Newsletter’s Clickthrough Rates
I was exploring my newsletter metrics the other day and at the same time reading a few articles on the very same subject, when I landed on this one that I thought pretty well summed up what’s important to measure when running a newsletter.

6 Crucial Email Newsletter Metrics You Should Be Monitoring”, by Ginny Mineo at Hubspot

The first one on the list, and definitely the one I’ve focused on since the beginning is clickthrough – the number of users that click on your newsletter’s links.

So here’s a little update on where I’m at with this newsletter (sorry about the ugly graphs, I quickly put them together in R).

Maybe I should start off by showing the evolution of this newsletter’s subscribers.

Of course, that amounts to an increase in total links clicked per newsletter edition.

And here’s how many users actually clicked on at least 1 link per edition.

Now, we’re getting to the fun part. Here’s my clickthrough rate per edition.

Here’s what’s interesting with this metric. The other ones were really just vanity metrics – everything going up makes you feel warmth in your hearth. But it’s misleading.

As we’ve learned in Lean Startup/Analytics, you need a ratio to get a realistic picture of what’s going on. And clickthrough rate is a good one. It’s the number of users who clicked on at least 1 link, divided by the total number of subscribers.

So when looking at this rate, my performance in terms of engagement does seem like it’s been pretty much flat since the beginning.

But, let’s look at trends by smoothing my rate with a rolling average of the last 3 editions. I now get the following.

That one is interesting to me as it shows that performance degraded while I was experimenting with links in editions 4 to 7. But a new layout does seem to have made you readers more inclined to click on the content and that rate has started to climb from there.

Let’s see how that will improve/degrade over the next few editions.

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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.

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