As a SaaS company, your entire business lives online. Tracking user activity and understanding customer behavior is paramount. But how do you obtain this visibility? The first step is identifying the exact activity and customer information you need to track.
SaaS companies will have more variation in what should be tracked than other companies like e-commerce or lead generating websites. That is because each SaaS company provides a completely different type of product with very unique actions. Yet, by following some guidelines that apply to nearly all SaaS companies, you can make the process much more efficient.
Stage 1: Marketing Pages & Signups
First and foremost, every SaaS company should track signups. This is one of the most important actions visitors take on your website and you will want to analyze and optimize it over time. For example, if you're tracking signups, you can create a report that looks like this.
In this report, we see the number of signups that eventually upgraded (see segment at top left "Upgraded") organized by company size. The reason we were able to sort by company size is because we are sending the property "company size" with the event "signup". Other properties you can send with the signup event include:
- Email address
- Plan/account level
- Company name
The most important property to send with the signup event is the customer’s email address. This is what allows you to identify the visitor and track them across multiple devices (e.g. laptop, iPhone, work computer, etc).
Customer profiles, like the one above, detail every action taken by and the engagement level of each user. Providing the customer's email address via the signup property allows the system to associate information with this user, giving them a name, username, avatar, etc. This insight is extremely helpful for sales, support, and customer success teams.
In addition to signups, you will want to track any important activity that happens before sign up. This information helps your marketing folks understand what's working and what's not.
For example, if you have a promo video on your homepage, you will want to track whenever someone plays the video. You will also want to track whenever someone downloads a white paper, submits a demo request form, shares a blog post on Facebook, etc. With all that time and effort your marketing team puts into producing and maintaining the content on your website, they will want to measure and optimize its effectiveness.
Stage 2: Onboarding & Free Trial
After sign up comes user onboaridng and the extremely critical free trial stage. Each SaaS company has its own onboarding process and key milestones, which all need to be tracked in order to monitor and analyze product adoption and usage. This is where you should give a lot of thought to answering the following question:
What are the key actions a user must take to get value out of my product?
It also helps if you pretend to be a user and go through the sign up, implementation, and onboarding process to document every critical action.
For example, a task management SaaS product that helps teams collaborate efficiently would have the following onboarding milestones for a new account:
- Setup profile
- Invite team members
- Create first task
- Assign first task
Once we are tracking each of these onboarding steps, we can then analyze, slice, and dice all the data. We can see this activity in each customer’s profile and also create all kinds of reports that give us more insight into our customers’ behavior during onboarding.
Stage 3: Usage & Retention
You will want to track the key actions customers commit while using your product. This will vary quite a bit from one SaaS company to another, so again you have to ask yourself a question:
What are the key actions a user takes to continue to get value from my product?
Once we’re tracking these events, we can use them throughout our system so that our reports are directly relevant to our business. For example, we can set up a retention report to see for how long customers continue to use our product and therefore how valuable it is to them.
An online meeting company tracks when users sign up and also when they host online meetings. They created the below retention report which measure how long users continue to come back and host online meetings after they first sign up.
In addition to your "core" actions, you should also track the actions you would expect to see advanced users doing, such as using your more complex features. This will enable you to analyze the behavior of power users and give you clues as to how you can help move your less advanced users along this path.
Other Events to Track
Some other events nearly every SaaS company will want to track include:
- Payment - Whenever a user makes a payment. You will want to also send properties such as payment amount and service the payment was for.
- Sent email - Whenever you send an email to a user, such as one that is part of an automated campaign. Properties you may want to send with this event include email subject, email sender, and campaign ID.
- Support request - Whenever a user submits a ticket. You can also send properties like ticket ID or subject with this event.
Disclaimer: Some of the examples above reflect stories from Woopra clients and have been included with the consent of those clients. Others are fictional examples used purely for illustrative purposes.