Ultimate Guide to Amplitude Analytics: Video Tutorials on Reports, Data Implementation and Overall Strategy

In our work, we get to research a lot of different analytics tools which means that I tend to see the same features over and over again, done in slightly different ways. However, when it comes to Amplitude, they have been able to create a product that is quite unique especially when compared to the competition.

In this guide, I want to give you a complete education on the Amplitude Analytics product and how to use it. I’ll also help you understand how this product compares to popular competitors and similar tools.

If this is your first time on our site, welcome! My name is Ruben and I founded Practico Analytics to help growing companies use analytics data to make better decisions. We work primarily with software companies and help them improve their acquisition, onboarding, and retention. This guide will reflect that we work that we have done over the past 3 years and 45+ projects.

I recommend that you go through the entire guide but if you don’t have the time, then you can download our Amplitude Quickstart Checklist which will provide you with the most critical steps that you need to take to start using this tool.

Finally, you can find a table of contents below that will help you navigate this post.

Table of Contents:

  1. About the Amplitude Product
  2. Amplitude Behavioral Platform
    1. Segmentation: Easily Slice Your Data to Find Insights & Trends
    2. Funnel: See Where Users Are Dropping Off Inside Your Product
    3. Retention: Understand If Your Users Actually Love & Use Your Product
    4. User Composition: See The Breakdown of Your User Attributes
    5. User Sessions: Dive Deeper into Product Sessions
    6. Personas: Use Machine Learning to Create User Groups/Clusters
    7. Pathfinder: Explore the Different Paths Users Can Take to Conversion
    8. Stickiness: Find the Events Which Your Most Engaged Users Are Performing
    9. Compass: Find Critical Insights like Facebook’s “7 Friends in 10 Days”
    10. Lifecycle: Keep Track of How Your User Base Is Changing
    11. Revenue LTV: Track Revenue Trends across ARPU and ARPPU
    12. Impact: Analyze the Effect that an Event May Have on a Future Conversion
    13. User Cohorts: Group Users By the Behavioral Attributes
    14. User Look Up: Find Individual Users and Their Relevant Information
    15. Dashboards: Summarize all Your KPIs in One Single Place
    16. Notebook: Share Insights and Explained Why They Matter
    17. Integrations: Bring 3rd Party Data into Amplitude in Just a Few Clicks
  3. Amplitude Add-Ons
    1. Portfolio: Compare the Performance of Multiple Products and How they Share User Data
    2. Accounts: Track B2B Account Level Insights
    3. Insights: Get Smart Alerts on Your Product Metrics
    4. Query & Snowflake: Use SQL to Analyze Your Data
    5. Taxonomy: Easily Maintain Data Governance Across Your Data
    6. Scale: Fine Tune Your Data Sampling Rate
  4. Technical Implementation Notes
  5. Competitor Analysis
    1. Mixpanel vs Amplitude
    2. Google Analytics vs Amplitude
    3. Segment.com vs Amplitude
  6. Conclusion
    1. Amplitude Pricing
    2. Next Steps

About the Amplitude Product

Amplitude as a company was officially launched in 2014 after two years of testing and research and being part of the Y Combinator program. In 2015 they raised a 9M Series A and have seen raise over $45M in further rounds.

From our perspective, Amplitude started popping up in our radar in early 2017. We typically hear about “new” products from sale prospects who asked our opinion these tools. This tends to be a good gauge in terms of how popular or mainstream a product is.

Let’s dive into the product and how it is organized. As of 2018, Amplitude currently has two distinct products:

  • Behavioral Platform: this is the analytics product and what they are known for.
  • Growth Engine: this product is meant to help teams generate and organize hypotheses using product data. This product is currently in beta.

Amplitude then offers several add-ons which are available in certain plans (mostly enterprise plans):

  • Portfolio: this helps you view user activity across multiple products in your organization.
  • Accounts: this helps you organize your users under “Accounts” and see their activity. Helpful for B2B companies.
  • Insight: automatically surface insights and anomalies (e.g errors).
  • Query & Snowflake: this loads your Amplitude data into a Snowflake data warehouse and allows you to query it using SQL.
  • Taxonomy: helps you maintain data integrity by renaming, blocking or deleting data.
  • Scale: provides custom sampling rates for high volume users.

Let’s now go deeper into the product itself by starting with the Behavioral Platform.

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Amplitude Behavioral Platform

This is where you will find the bulk of the Amplitude reports and functionality. I’ll go over the major reports and how they work. I’ll even include videos whenever relevant.

Segmentation: Easily Slice Your Data to Find Insights & Trends

Segmentation is a fundamental report available in all versions of Amplitude and one of the first reports you should learn how to use. You will be able to segment and filter your event data to create lots of different charts.

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Funnels: See Where Users Are Dropping Off Inside Your Product

Funnels is our second fundamental report that will help you understand where users are dropping inside your product. A common use case would be to understand the performance of your onboarding flow.

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Retention: Understand If Your Users Actually Love & Use Your Product

Retention is our third fundamental report and one of the most critical ones for any product. This report will help you understand if your users are being retained or if you’re dealing with a leaky bucket.

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User Composition: See The Breakdown of User Attributes

User Composition will allow you to easily see how your users breakdown by their user attributes or properties. Common properties include things like region, country, and platform (iOS, Android, Web, etc) but you can also define your own user properties.

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User Sessions: Dive Deeper into Product Sessions

User Sessions lets you dive deeper into “Sessions” as a metric. This is a metric that Amplitude tracks by default and can be helpful to understand product usage. If you’re coming from the Google Analytics world, you’ll be quite familiar with the concept of sessions.

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Personas: Use Machine Learning to Create User Groups/Clusters

Personas is our first report that utilizes machine learning to help you analyze your data. In this report, you’ll be able to organize your users into groups (or clusters) with distinct user behavioral attributes. Once you have your clusters, you can convert to cohorts for personalized marketing or further analysis. You can learn more about the algorithm behind this report.

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Pathfinder: Explore the Different Paths Users Can Take to Conversion

Pathfinder will let you take an event (action) and see the different paths users took to get there. A common example here would be to understand the different steps a user took before becoming a making a purchase. This is one of the most popular report requests that we see with our clients. You can view paths in terms of event or user count.

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Stickiness: Find the Events Which Your Most Engaged Users Are Performing

Stickiness will help you see how often users are repeating the same event within a specific timeframe. This report starts to get deeper into the specific actions that your best users are taking and that you can emphasize within your product.

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Compass: Find Critical Insights like Facebook’s “7 Friends in 10 Days”

Compass is our second report that utilizes machine learning to help you analyze your data. This report will help you understand what events tend to correlate with a specific goal (retention, conversion, etc). This kind of report was popularized by a story shared by Facebook when they realized that users needed to add “7 friends in 10 days” to have a higher chance of being retained. You can learn more about the statistics behind this report.

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Lifecycle: Keep Track of How Your User Base Is Changing

Lifecycle breaks down your user into distinct categories like new, active and resurrected. Some of these categories are unique to Amplitude and you should read their Retention Playbook to understand how to use them. If you commit to these labels, these report can be a quick way to understand how your user base is changing over time.

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Revenue LTV: Track Revenue Trends across ARPU and ARPPU

Revenue LTV will give you a few different ways to track common revenue metrics like ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) and ARPPU (Average Revenue Per Paying Users). Note that tracking revenue within Amplitude requires following specific technical implementation notes.

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Impact: Analyze the Effect that an Action May Have on a Future Conversions

Impact Analysis is a report that is trying to make it easier to understand the impact of a user performing an event. For example, imagine that you have a consumer app where you show ads to users. If a user watches too many ads, does that impact the likelihood that they will become a paying subscriber?

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User Cohorts: Group Users By the Behavioural Attributes

Cohorts is a way to group your users by the actions they took or by their attributes (region, country, platform, etc). Once you have your cohorts, you can take them to segment any report or export into another tool like an email marketing tool.

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User Look Up: Find Individual Users and Their Information

Behind all the Amplitude data, you have individuals who are firing these events. This report lets you find a specific user (by id, name, etc) and go through their profile. You’ll be able to see their user attributes and find any specific event that they have fired. This can be helpful for debugging purposes or for sales/customer success teams.

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Dashboards: Summarize all Your KPIs in One Single Place

Dashboards will let you take any report created within Amplitude and organize it under a single location. You have quite a bit of flexibility in terms of layout and the widgets that you use. You can also set up automatic email reports or share dashboards publicly.

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Notebook: Share Insights and Explain Why They Matter

Notebook will let you share insights discovered through Amplitude and organize them into a more formal report where you can add headings, notes, etc. This saves you from creating external documents or presentations.

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Integrations: Bring 3rd Party Data into Amplitude in Just a Few Clicks

Amplitude has invested quite a bit into their integrations making it easier to connect to the most popular tools that a company might be using. Here you will see integrations to mobile attribution platforms (Branch, Appsflyer), A/B testing (Optimizely) and others.

Amplitude Add-Ons

Portfolio: Compare the Performance of Multiple Products and How they Share User Data

Portfolio is geared for those companies that have multiple products but may share the same users. You can easily compare the performance of the entire product or see how users are moving in between products.

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Accounts: Track B2B Account Level Insights

Accounts gives you the ability to track your users by the organization and then see the performance of those accounts. This can be quite helpful for B2B companies who aren’t just interested in individual users.

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Insights: Get Smart Alerts on Your Product Metrics

Insights will allow you to set up alerts whenever a metric (or report) changes by a significant amount (anomalies). A common use case would be to set up alerts if product error spike. You would receive the alert within a few hours instead of discovering the error weeks or months later.

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Query & Snowflake: Use SQL to Analyze Your Data

Query & Snowflake will load all of your Amplitude data into a Snowflake data (similar to Amazon Redshift or Google BigQuery). From there, you will get a simplified interface to run SQL queries against your data.

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Taxonomy: Easily Maintain Data Governance Across Your Data

Taxonomy will allow you to maintain the integrity of your data. You can rename data (events, properties, etc), hide, combine multiple events into a single one, etc. This can be one of the most helpful add-ons especially if you’re constantly running into data issues because of simple problems like naming convention.

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Scale: Fine Tune Your Data Sampling Rate

Scale is designed for high volume users who want more fine-tune controls on any sampling rates. This add-on can help you manage your costs and your data collection. Learn more here.

Technical Implementation Notes

Properly implementing Amplitude is crucial to being able to access all the reports and insights that we have seen so far. I recorded a short video to go over the main concepts that should be aware of.

Available SDKs:

Javascript

iOS

Android

HTTP (server/backend)

Core Concepts:

Track: this is how you will track events.

Identify: this is how you keep track of individual users.

Groups: this is how you organize your users into groups or organizations.

Implementation Planning:

One of the critical steps that you should take is to create a tracking plan of all the data that you want to implement. Here is a short video on how tracking plans work.

Competitor Analysis

Mixpanel vs Amplitude

In this video, I’ll compare Mixpanel and Amplitude, two tools that offer similar products and functionality.

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Google Analytics vs Amplitude

Another comparison that comes up quite a bit is against Google Analytics. I’ll help you understand why these tools are complementary to each other and not competitors.

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Segment.com vs Amplitude

Our third comparison will look at how Segment.com compares against Amplitude. Just like Google Analytics, these two tools aren’t competitors and quite complementary to each other.

Conclusion

Amplitude Pricing

Now that we understand how Amplitude can help you, we can look at how their pricing works. Amplitude uses a freemium model that is quite helpful for companies that are just starting with analytics but are interested in growing into more advanced reports.

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Next Steps

At Practico Analytics, we specialize in helping companies properly set up tools like Amplitude. Improper implementations can be quite costly in terms of resources and time wasted. Learn more about typical client results, past case studies or get in touch with us.

Ruben Ugarte
Ruben Ugarte
I'm the founder of Practico Analytics and I created this company to help companies use analytics data to grow their web and mobile products. I love combining data, psychology, and systems in work and in personal projects.

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