Boost your revenue with optimal UX
See what SessionStackAI can do for your business
There’s so much work to be done surrounding a product launch – and honestly, it seldom goes smoothly. But instead of leaving all the details to some unspecified deity of luck, it’s best to have a plan for everything, even if things don’t go according to said plan. Where does data stand in this picture? Rather than taking the centre stage, it has a supporting role, but a rather important one. Grab a coffee and let’s dive into today’s topic: what goals and metrics you should incorporate into your plan, and how you can make the most of product launch analytics to achieve growth from day one!
In this article...
It’s not day 1, it’s rather the period surrounding day 1. But how do you really decide when a launch begins and ends? This fluid term takes a different shape according to different product managers. Some consider the launch active from the moment they start planning it. Some consider marketing campaigns and activations the threshold. As for the end, it generally begins when the growth phase begins – but this can differ from product to product and from market to market.
The most successful launch plans have flexibility built-in – only 55% of all product launches take place on schedule (hello to the sales team that pivots their strategy mid-way through the launch!). Thus, planning some wiggle room in advance is the best way to not lose control when unexpected delays hit the team.
No matter how you define it, the period before the product launch is important to simultaneously improve the product via beta testing and focus groups, build awareness and hype, and prepare a framework against which to measure success. In this article, we will focus on the latter.
The best way to use your time before a launch is to set up the foundations of a bulletproof analysis strategy. This will help you set expectations, monitor progress in real time, and know when things are going right or wrong. It’s great to have a North Star goal for your company and product, but it’s not enough to ensure that you’re moving towards it at the right pace and along the best path. How can you do that? By identifying the smaller steps needed and choosing a smart approach to goal setting. Or, even better, the SMART one.
SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
This framework allows you to put your team’s daily efforts into perspective and make sure that all of your objectives align coherently to move you toward your North Star. If you think of it in the form of a pyramid, your North Star is at the top, and SMART goals form the base of the pyramid. You can literally stack goals on top of each other in order to make it easy for your team to measure their progress on terms they understand – rather than follow an abstract goal that they can’t translate to their work, let alone measure.
Other great examples of goal-setting frameworks and monitoring are Objectives & Key Results (OKRs) and Key Performance Indicators. No matter which one you choose, it has to be easily understandable by your whole organization so they can embrace it. Otherwise, goal abandonment may quickly spiral out of control…
Defining your higher-level goals depends on the type of launch you’re doing. Is it a physical product launch? Is it a SaaS launch? Is it a fully-fledged product at all – or rather a feature? Here are some examples:
These goals can then be broken up into smaller ones: units sold, number of installs/uninstalls, session duration, etc. In this way, each team can be responsible for specific parts of the goal framework so that the whole organization works in harmony.
To successfully launch a product, organizations need to be aware of a bazillion indicators, some of which might not be as intuitive as customer acquisition costs and return on investment (as if these were intuitive in the first place!). To create a robust analysis framework, the toil begins well ahead of the launch itself. Assigning metrics to each goal means that you can put a number on what great performance means and strive to improve it over time. How can you do that before the official launch date?
Start with market research and dive deep into the industry’s specifics with the help of industry reports. Nielsen, Gartner, McKinsey, and thousands of other companies offer them. Some – in exchange for an email, some in exchange for a few thousand dollars.
Commissioning your own might be an expensive endeavor but totally worth it as you will be able to meet your potential customers where they are and take as much guesswork out of the equation as possible. Market research will give you answers to important questions such as: what’s trending in the industry, what are the challenges, consumer attitudes, unaddressed (or underserved) customer needs, etc.
Once you have a grasp of the broader picture, move deeper with competitor research. Dissecting your competitors’ strategy is not always easy, but pays off with a better understanding of the challenges ahead, your core audience’s needs, and if there is a white space to be filled by your offering.
At this stage, all of the data you will have will be abstract – but this is the information you will have to build with. Once the ideation and conceptualization stage of product development is over, you can try to move as fast as you can toward creating a minimum viable product (MVP). This is where the analytics fun starts!
In the tech world, the benefits of early releases have never been kept a secret. Once the core product is done, shipping it is the shortest way toward getting valuable feedback. And data, lots of it. Data upon which you can build a bigger, better final product that will wow both your existing customers and the new ones.
This is where product launch analytics can truly shine. All of the metrics that you connected to your goals can now come to life and turn from abstract frogs to handsome princes. A quick reminder, though – you need to test your analytics tools in advance to make sure they are measuring correctly both data and conversions. At this stage, you can focus on early sign-ups, website traffic (paying attention to the sources and user behavior), email open rate and click-through rate for early marketing campaigns, etc.
Once you have enough data to figure out what are the friction points (and the opportunities for improvement) – your development team can roll up their sleeves and deliver the finishing touches. You’re now one step closer to successfully launching your product.
Congratulations – your product is live! 🎉 Don’t get too excited yet, though. Your launch day can turn into a disaster if you are not prepared to monitor each and every aspect of the user experience. It is during launches that some products fail to deliver due to inadequately set up infrastructure, lack of available Customer Support agents, bugs that cannot be replicated quickly enough, and more nightmarish scenarios.
To be sure you have all of these covered, invest in a Digital Experience Analytics platform that can help you track each interaction and signal in real time if anything is off. It can also be an invaluable tool to Customer Success teams in providing the best possible onboarding experience with the help of tools like co-browsing and session takeover. One more thing you can do to boost your launch day performance is an active presence on ProductHunt – this community-based platform helps brands connect with their first users.
Phew, day one is over, now what? In the following days, you will continue to gather valuable data that will guide you toward the next iteration of the product (or feature). At this point, nothing should be an assumption anymore as you will be able to back it up with real-life, actionable insights.
But why bother dealing with all these data points, you ask?
‘McKinsey found that 21% of high-performing organizations identified setting a data and analytics strategy as their number one key to success. Moreover, these higher-performing companies were a whopping 57% more likely to say that they alter their long-term strategy in response to data and analytics.‘ – NIQ
Now that you know, on to the best part – the analytics tools!
There are different types of analytics tools – some of them focus on specific aspects of data collection, and some offer a broader look at your product and website/app. Choosing only one can be difficult having in mind different tools offer different features and some of the features overlap between different tools. This is why we built SessionStack – the Digital Experience Analytics platform that answers all the complex questions within one neat interface. But let’s first dissect the basic categories of the industry…
Core analytics tools track, measure, and report on the quantitative web and app activity. Examples of such activity include traffic, pages per session, visit duration, etc. This type of analytics is important because it easily paints a picture of what has happened.
Try these: Google Analytics, Matomo, Woopra
Product analytics tools are dedicated to measuring interactions within the product itself (rather than its front-facing website). For example, they are invaluable for informing product development decisions with insights about specific friction points and bugs. Product analytics help teams understand user behavior in real time and adjust the product to add more value to their customer’s journey.
Try these: Amplitude, Mixpanel, Heap
UX analytics is a colorful group of tools that specializes in showing you what people do on your website or app. These insights help organizations understand their users’ needs better, diagnose issues with precision, enhance adoption, and thus – improve their product’s performance based on the ways users interact with it.
Try these: SmartLook, HotJar, FullStory
Learn where Hotjar and FullStory excel and fall short compared to SessionStack in our extensive comparison of the three: Hotjar vs FullStory vs SessionStack.
A/B testing (a. k. a. multivariate testing) is a process that helps organizations quickly identify conversion optimization opportunities by testing whether one variant is not better suited to lead to conversion than another. These learnings often lead to surprising results.
Tools: Optimizely, CrazyEgg, FreshMarketer
We’ve put CrazyEgg to a test! Learn how CrazyEgg compares to two of the best conversion analytics tools out there in our detailed comparison of CrazyEgg vs Mouseflow vs SessionStack and find out which one would be best for you.
They help organizations deliver better value informed by specific, customer-derived input. Try SurveyMonkey or TypeForm.
If you have tried to build hype behind your product launch by investing in influencer marketing or social media advertising, you certainly need a tool to monitor what’s going on on social. Try Hootsuite or SproutSocial.
High-quality content is a staple in modern product marketing – to leverage data and bring you value in this department, there are several tools that will help you make better decisions. Try Moz or SemRush.
Now, here’s the best part. You surely can choose three or four platforms to satisfy your data cravings.
But how about one that combines qualitative and quantitative data, offers in-depth UX insights, helps you pinpoint conversion opportunities, and to top it all off – provides you with pixel-perfect session replay and co-browsing so you can literally walk in your customers’ shoes?
You guessed it, it’s SessionStack. We worked hard to build a product that helps organizations take the stress out of launch day – and everything after. Making data-driven decisions with information about all user interaction touchpoints has earned us an unbroken 5-star streak on G2.
It’s an all-in-one Digital Experience Analytics platform that incorporates the benefits of core, product, and UX analytics, and adds a ton of value on top of all that. Here are some of the highlights:
We do this without any instrumentation necessary, in case you wonder. All of these mouth-watering insights for product-led growth from day 1 can be yours for free – so why wait?
See what SessionStackAI can do for your business