Getting Started With Analytics

Your Analytics Tool Should Get You to Product-Market Fit

Your analytics tool should enable you to get all the way from your first visits to product-market fit. If it can’t, you should change tools.

Easy Metrics may lead to Vanity Metrics

There’s a wave of tools being sold that are hitting the notes of “privacy-friendly” and “easy.”

Privacy-friendly is, in isolation, a good thing, but it can also lead you astray if your users care about privacy much less than you. Unfortunately, Privacy-friendly tools make design decisions that constrain what information they can give you.

As an analytics practitioner, I’m happy to be seeing interest in good UX for analytics. However, if all a tool shows you is visits and pages and referring domains, that’s not giving you sufficient wisdom to act. Without sufficient information, all you have as a result are vanity metrics.

You deserve more

You deserve to understand usage of each of your features. Specifically, you should be able to correlate them with customers at specific points in the lifecycle, which means your tool should be able to understand when your customer first arrived. Were they on your site yesterday? A week ago? A month ago? A year ago?

You deserve to know how well your messaging is working. For example, that means your tool should display to you conversions downstream of an acquisition channel or a landing page. (The “downstream” bit, which involves persisting values throughout sessions, can be a tricky point for privacy-forward tools.)

You deserve to know how well your marketing campaigns work, paid or non-paid. Put another way, your campaign parameter(s) should work all the way from the first arrival to the first payment.

You deserve to know when app failures get in the way of people giving you money (or causing them to churn). You should be able to send error events in a custom variable and respond to individual users with apologies or discount codes. Additionally, you should be able to read these error events from a very fast API, to know if errors are spiking.

You deserve power

The new wave of small, light, privacy-forward tools is very new, and some of them will continue to add to their feature sets (while prioritizing a pleasant UX). That’s great, but I believe they are not yet ready for prime time.

I have tools that I recommend. But, regardless of which tools you choose, consider prioritizing power as a key differentiator.

You will likely need it to reach product-market fit.

Interested in analyzing your way to product-market fit?

My book, Analytics for Indies, will show you how to set up three market-leading analytics tools just like they’re used by billion dollar e-commerce and SaaS companies. And it takes less than a day to set it all up, using the easy step-by-step guide in the book.

Sign up now for four free tips to get started. I’ll also throw in a free cheat sheet that tells you which tools to use.

By Blake Ellison

Blake has spent the last eight years building analytics practices at PlayStation and Rakuten, and now he wants to help independent software creators with their own projects.