Product Analytics Newsletter
Edition #17
July 29, 2019

(Image Source: The Economist)

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The Great Hack
Have you heard of Netflix? That company that uses data to produce content that will keep you glued in front of your screen? Well, seems like their data told them that a documentary on how evil empires uses data to manipulate people would keep you in a trans for another 2 hours. 🤪

Ok, to be fair, it’s a very well-made documentary which increases awareness about data privacy in general and the Cambridge Analytica scandal in specific.

But, I’m curious how friends and families will react to analytics once they see this documentary. Right now, most of them still don’t have a clue what I do all day. Let’s just hope that their takeaway won’t be that analytics is about manipulating individual’s behaviours as part of a large conspiracy to trigger global chaos.

That being said, I think product analytics, like anything else, has a code of conduct. Has ethical principles that should be observed. Empowering your users is about respecting their privacy, being transparent and offering value that’s much higher than what you’re getting in return. That’s the analytics I believe in. Not the Great Hack version.

Choosing The Right Metrics
I’m currently going through Segment’s certification training as Lantrns Analytics is in the process of becoming a recognized partner of Segment . And I stumbled upon that post on choosing the metrics that matters to your product/business. And it’s genius!

I frequently get the question of why Digital Analytics softwares such as Google Analytics, Amplitude and Mixpanel are not enough to drive your product’s development. Well, they do a great job of providing insights onto your user’s behaviour. But a product’s success is more than that.

This article starts off by establishing that not all metrics are created equal and that a tracking plan is essential to know what to measure and how. But what I especially like is the evolution between their initial KPI dashboard to the one below.

Your product is unique and its performance cannot be measured only by cookie-cutter metrics. You need to align metrics to business outcomes and not be limited by your tool’s out-of-the-box metrics.

Reporting Product KPIs

Speaking of, we were curious this week to know how product owners were producing and reporting their KPIs to stakeholders. So we asked around on different Slack groups and we got some very interesting insights.

Here are some of the conversation we had:

  • Product Owner (PO): Amplitude + some narrative written by myself, because for internal stakeholders I find it important to provide adequate context
  • Lantrns Anaytics (LA): And are you able to generate all the proper KPIs with Amplitude only?
  • PO: Not all, some other I get from Tableau and other pre-made reports that our analysts have put together
  • LA: Would you be comfortable sharing some of the KPIs you are not able to generate within Amplitude?
  • PO: I can’t go into much details, but so far for us amplitude is about individual user behavior and what they do. In case of B2B we have some KPIs that are on a customer level, getting them from Amplitude is not possible atm
Other answer:
  • PO: MS – SQL + Google Sheets that feed into Google Slides. + a fair bit in Tableau, Thoughtspot, and Microstrategy. We’ve got most key behavioral and business metrics in our underlying data warehouse at this point (Snowflake)
And another one:
  • PO: I’ve found it necessary to overly simplify the presentation of data because stakeholders typically aren’t willing to dig into big reports. If you can create a simple presentation that you use over and over again, that will help make updating the document easier for you and it will train your audience for how to read/understand the data more easily.
  • LA: Would you mind sharing some of the KPIs that you’re communicating to stakeholders?
  • PO: In general terms, I focus on KPIs that are outcome based (i.e. what are the goals your customers are trying to solve/problems they no longer have thanks to your product).
We got other answers that fell within those same lines. It does seem like there is something lacking in how product owners can package and report KPIs to stakeholders. How about you? How are you doing it?

I’d love to hear it, so just hit reply and give me your one-liner on how your packaging and reporting your product’s KPIs.

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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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