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Product Analytics & Engagement Stack

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Amplitude — product events analytics

Product analytics are pretty popular niche today with a number of leaders.

I've chosen Amplitude because I think it has more educational resources on the topic. Their demo mode is something really clever, educational, and selling. They build great content around them that attracts fellow product managers to chat with for help (check their North-Star book). They have good pricing to start with.

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I rarely see analytics applied greatly in companies I talk with. I am pretty ignorant on this topic too. Enabling analytics is very important to drive your decisions by facts but not guesses, but the tools are comprehensive and difficult to apply. My recommendation is to start with very small limited things to track (like few funnels), visualize your database (number of customers, results of their actions, revenue). Avoid getting too deep into obfuscated dashboards, define what matters instead and act on it. And probably you can do it in Google Sheets for now. Probably find some simple tools for specific goals, like building Funnel. But store the data and events as soon as you can, you'll need it someday.

Alternatives

  • Heap — actively growing, a new generation of analytics (better no-code capabilities)
  • MixPanel — leader, comparable to Amplitude. Amplitude has better pricing to start with.
  • Pendo & Stonly — engagement, user guidance and on-boarding

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Hotjar — user sessions analytics & surveys

There are a lot of tools on product analytics, but I currently divide them on 2 categories.

Hotjar isn't simply comparable with Amplitude — it's different. It's a very simple to activate tool and it looks like magic when you haven't heard anything about recorded user sessions.

There are 3 simple features there:

  • Recorded user sessions. List of video-like replays of user screen and actions. Wow!
  • Heatmap. Accumulated results of users clicks.
  • Product feedback & surveys. Ask user feedback simply within a product/site page and then analyze it within Hotjar.

And you can use all these features inside your web application, not just marketing website. Here's what stories you can tell using session recordings

It's a screenshot from Paralect's #sales Slack channel. We engage every department to use analytics and we show how to use them.
It's a screenshot from Paralect's #sales Slack channel. We engage every department to use analytics and we show how to use them.
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Recordings are fun, but they don't scale. It gives little insight when you have 1000s MAU — you can't look through all of them. I'm looking for a tool, that gives you all the insights without spending time on viewing sessions. Know some? Leave a comment here.
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User sessions are super helpful on small traffic. Use recordings-based analytics at the early stages of your product launch and don't spend too much time figuring out how to configure Amplitude. Remember: analytics is difficult. Focus on getting early users, building community, and converting them.

Alternatives

  • SmartLook — slightly better pricing, but UI overloaded a bit
  • FullStory — I see it often but haven't tried it
  • Yandex Metrica — it's totally free for recordings; FYI — Yandex is Russian's Google

🍎🍊 A/B testing, Personalization & Engagement

⚠️ Warning: I have little practical experience in this area. Automated A/B testing is pretty expensive and requires solid traffic to make it work. I'm sharing the list of tools I heard more often from our partners.

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Google Optimize

It's free to use, that's what makes it stand out. Start from it.

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Mutiny

I amazed with their demo and functionality. It allows you to modify copy on the website without deploying it, personalize for specific industry and even person from your email list, run split testing, give insights on competitors' tactics and recommend next steps for your website optimization. What's interesting — they're not well-known, but they have huge clients, such as Segment, Amplitude, Brex, Carta.

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Proof

It can be treated as a less expensive and easier to onboard Mutiny alternative.

But they've started and grown with "social proof" notifications, like something you see on Booking or Airbnb: "10 people are looking on this product", "3 people bought the product today" etc. Apparently, this tactic leads to conversions boost. Proof built a flexible interface to define your own events, run split tests, and analyze the results.

They later introduced functionality to personalize your site. Amazing growth story.

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Wynter

⚠️ Warning: I'm biased. Read Paralect+Wynter story.

Founded by Peep Laja — a marketing pioneer and CRO expert (except Wynter he is Founder/ex-CEO at Speero and CEO at CXL). You can imagine he knows a lot on optimizing sites copy and improving conversions.

I find Wynter's power in B2B boards (but there is a general audience option too). Basically, you send your website screenshots to the handpicked leaders in Marketing, Product Management, Design and get comprehensive feedback on their impressions. Check how they smashed Paralect's design page.

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Optimizely

Market leader in A/B testing. Note: Prices are high, they're focused on enterprise size.

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Clearbit

User enrichment for B2B. You get the data about your anonymous leads without directly asking them — what are their email, position, company, size, geo. You can get this data for specific emails from your alternative sources. Scary.

But you won't buy this cheap — it's another expensive enterprise product.