Using Data Across the Customer Lifecycle: A Deep Dive into User Activation

Matt Smith Strategic Customer Success Manager Mixpanel

Each new customer who uses your mobile app embarks on a specific product lifecycle. From the moment a user opens an app, their experience influences retention, revenue, and engagement. When building these experience journeys, you need to make design and development decisions that improve user activation and retention. 

A defined analytics strategy is the simplest way to evaluate and improve the customer journey and user activation. Strong product analytics helps you to find what data you need to track, what your users are doing, and how to implement the optimal experience. Without an analytics strategy, you risk making mistakes by tracking the wrong data and sending teams to work on incompatible solutions. 

Using analytics to improve the customer journey

Customers are what make a product successful. Any analytics strategy should focus on the full customer lifecycle. Without these analytics, your product and development teams will be flying blind. 

Your data and metrics should answer key questions, such as: 

  • How many users are filling the top of your funnel? 
  • What is the reach of your product?
  • Are you adding new users, or awakening dormant users? 
  • Can your app activate users by converting them to consistent and valuable customers?
  • Why are users staying engaged with your product?

Across all your mobile app experiences, you should be finding why users are behaving the way they do. Even if a user churns, you should evaluate what happened and take a data-driven approach to a solution. By looking at these stages, you can map out what your customer lifecycle looks like, and see whether there are blind spots where you need more insights.

Improving product-led growth through user activation metrics

Once you have product analytics, you can determine how to activate users. Activation is what separates visitors and casual users from active power users. Instead of merely downloading the app, active users generate value through purchases, bookings, and downloads. 

Keeping users engaged and retained is key to product-led growth. By using product analytics, you can direct customers to moments that generate value. From there, you can keep users engaged, retained, and active. Once users are convinced of your product’s value, they can drive product-led growth.    

Which metrics are important to driving value?

When it comes to metrics, companies often struggle to find a starting point. In our experience, the best place to start is “time to value.” Your metrics should find how long it takes for someone to complete a “value moment.” A value moment is that feature in your product that generates value and keeps your users coming back over and over again. By collecting data that shows where users are going and what actions they perform, you can quickly identify value moments. 

Once you find value moments, you can evaluate different types of user activation and find the areas where customers are experiencing success. For example, users may be stymied by a few steps in the registration process, and then find value once they explore the app’s functionalities. By splitting the process into component parts, you can optimize each step of the journey so users find value faster. 

Your user activation process depends on your particular product. If a user can browse or use your product before logging in or creating an account, you should not only track the time from login to purchase, but also user actions before they logged in or created an account. 

What does activation look like for different industries?

Because customer journeys are different in each industry, user activation depends on how the product is used.

For convenience apps (grocery delivery, takeaway, streaming services), we have seen rapid user activation: the customer already knows what the product does and the app guides them to a value moment in a few minutes. On the other hand, in financial industries, time to value will always be longer due to user’s lessfrequent interaction with the product. 

Across the board, we’ve found companies tracing to lower barriers to entry for their products. If a new user downloads your app today, it’s more important than ever to quickly and seamlessly get them to create an account, make a purchase, or view content. 

How Mixpanel’s tools help optimize the user experience

Product analytics tools such as Mixpanel enable companies to find key metrics and improve the user experience. With Mixpanel Funnels and Flows, you can build reports from millions of user interactions for each defined step. From there, you can use an outreach tool such as Airship to re-engage users who drop off, nudge them to return, and improve conversion/retention rates. 

Mixpanel Funnels can evaluate how users reach the booking step, where they drop off, and whether conversion is going up or down. Mixpanel allows you to see data breakdowns and find which segments perform better than others. 

Mixpanel Flows is similar, but more exploratory. You can select a defined event to either start or end your Flow, and Mixpanel will show you what users were doing before and after they triggered that event. If users are navigating the app in a way you didn’t expect, or dropping off in a new location, you can identify it through Mixpanel Flows. Mixpanel allows you to narrow the report with any properties or user segments you choose.

Once you have detailed reports in Mixpanel, you can use an outreach tool like Airship to target specific groups. For example, you can find user cohorts in Mixpanel and use Airship’s messaging tools to re-engage them with your product and track campaign success. By using Airship and Mixpanel, you can build a continuous loop of engagement that improves your customer lifecycle. 

Gain insights into how best to convert, engage, and retain your users with Mixpanel’s powerful product analytics. Try it for free.