There are 3 things on my bucket list that I MUST do before I die:
- Feed and hold a panda in my arms (like this guy)
- Go paragliding in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- Hold a “speed dating” style event where executives and marketers ask questions about how to improve their signup or onboarding conversion funnel.
Imagine this. You (as an executive or marketer) have a pressing question where the answer could help you grow your business, web and mobile products. In our “speed dating” style event, you would get the chance to ask this question to experts, all in one single room.
- Should we use Segment.com?
- How do companies like Airbnb think about their onboarding user flow?
- Our data isn’t accurate, what should we do?
- How do we properly attribute users as we grow?
- How do we optimize our Facebook Ads?
Boom! You get 5 minutes to ask your question and you’ll instantly get an answer from an expert. For the industry experts (people like), we get to help a lot of people in a short amount of time. Win-win on both sides.
That’s why I’m excited to introduce #GrowthQuestions.
This will be a monthly post where I take one question that I received (usually multiple times) and I answer it. Some of these questions even come from my clients!
Today’s question is all about signup (or onboarding) funnels and it goes like this:
“Our product (available on web, iOS, and Android) has a multi step signup funnel that users have to go through before using the actual product and we aren’t happy with its performance. We think we are losing a significant amount of users but we aren’t sure how to start analyzing it and improving it. This is made worse since we are actively spending $10,000+/month on paid user acquisition campaigns.”
This is a great question because all products have some kind of funnel that users must complete before they can use the product. Even if your signup funnel is only one step, you’ll likely have a series of actions that users should complete during their onboarding.
As the reader mentioned, this becomes even more important once you start running paid user acquisition campaigns to get more users. Let’s look at the 4 steps that you can take to start improving the performance of these funnels.
Step 1: Create a conversion funnel report using accurate data
The main report that you need here is called a funnel report and you can get it from tools like Mixpanel, Kissmetrics, Amplitude, Heap Analytics and much more. This is one of the many reports that you should consider creating especially as your company grows.
This report looks like this:
The above report comes from Mixpanel and it shows us the overall conversion rate for the funnel at the top and the conversion rate from step to step in between the columns. The inverse of the conversion rate is our drop off.
You want to be able to get this level of granularity inside your funnel to understand what is going on. You’ll be looking to improve the areas with the lowest conversion rate in step 3 but for no, let’s make sure that you have accurate data going into this report.
Once you set up a tool like Mixpanel, you need to make sure that the numbers you’re getting are accurate. This means your development or engineering team will need to double check your funnel report data against another data source like your product’s database.
Keep in mind the following:
- When checking different sources of data, ensure that they are both in the same timezone.
- Look at multiple time periods e.g. multiple weeks or days
- A 5%-10% discrepancy is ok. Analytics tools are sometimes blocked by adblockers and it is common to “miss” some of these users.
Finally, you should be able to know exactly what is the criteria for how each step is counted. For example, if a user has to submit a form in step 2, what happens if the user submits the form twice? Or what if they submit the form but it has incorrect information and they user has to submit the form again? Are you going to get double the user numbers?
Once you have a funnel report like the one above set up, you can move on to step 2.
Step 2: Find valuable segments
The overall performance of the funnel is interesting and for a lot of companies, it will make a big difference to have.
However, you want to go a step further and earn bonus points. To do that, you should look into segmenting your funnel.
In the above image, we are segmenting our funnel by country to see if there are any specific countries that convert at a higher rate than the average.
Segmenting will let you look at specific groups of users and how they performed at any given step. You could use this to find user groups that are converting at higher rate e.g. users from a certain marketing campaign.
There are basic segments that your analytics tool will give you out of the box such as city, country, browser information, mobile device information and marketing campaigns through UTM parameters.
There are also advanced segments that you will have to manually implement to get access to. These segments will depend on your product but here are a few examples that I have seen from past clients and readers:
- Authentication type e.g. Facebook vs Twitter vs Google
- User type e.g. admin vs end-user
- Billing plan type e.g. free vs premium vs super premium
To figure out what advanced segments you should be tracking, think about what actions or choices your users can make throughout your signup funnel. You can then work with your development team to add them as user attributes to your analytics tool.
Step 3: Understanding drop-offs and user expectations
Now that you have accurate data and advanced segments, you can start to analyze your funnel report to see what is going on. The areas with the lowest conversion rate or highest drop off rate should get your attention right away.
However, your data will only tell you a limited amount of information about your drop-offs so you’ll need to go through the signup funnel just like a normal user would.
A lot of drop off issues come down to expectations, that is a user was asked to do something they didn’t expect or vice versa.
I had a client once who was asking users to “Request a Trial” using a sales form where they asked for name, email, company size, etc. This is normal.
However, if the user’s company was under a certain size, they would get thrown into a self-serve signup process. This didn’t really match up the expectation of requesting a trial which usually means that a sales team will contact you.
They decided to change the language to “Start a Trial” which made more sense to their users. They were able to see a higher conversion rate from step 1 to step 2 just based on this small copy change.
Step 4: Develop tests
Our final step is to develop a test where you try to improve the conversion rate of a specific step and the overall funnel performance. You can remove/add steps, change the copy in a page, send targeted messages to guide users through critical steps and much more.
You’ll now get into the world of A/B testing and your funnel report will be a critical tool in testing what works and what doesn’t. Consider tracking a specific A/B test variation as a segment which will let you the how those users (who saw the variation) performed throughout the funnel.
And that’s it for our first ever #GrowthQuestions post. I’m hoping to do this on a monthly basis so stay tuned for more.
In the meantime, I’m curious about something. What is one area in your signup (or onboarding) funnel that you think could be improved within the next 90 days? Let me know in the comments!
P.S. If your company needs help setting up the funnel report from step 1, then get in touch. We can help you properly set up tools like Mixpanel, Kissmetrics, Segment.com and Amplitude.
I find most companies are stuck with high-level metrics and they aren't able to properly understand what actually drives user growth for their web and mobile products. To do that, you need the right data and the right tools.
If this sounds like your situation, then you should download our free tracking plan (and tutorial video). This is the document that you should create before you ever implement tools like Mixpanel, Amplitude, Segment, and Intercom. Click the image below to download your own free tracking plan (and tutorial video).