In recently two years, another buzz word “Growth Hacker” went viral following “Lean Startup”. Defined by Wikipedia, Growth hacking is a marketing technique developed by technology startups which uses creativity, analytical thinking, and social metrics to sell products and gain exposure. Two points from this definition are very eye-catching: analytical thinking and metrics. All the analysis is to better understand your customers and the value brought to them through your products. Then we could adjust our work through the metrics and data.
For entrepreneurs and startups, the core job is to improve the products day by day. While most of them are not quite sure which way is the best way for the products. To answers these questions, they best way is to find the authentic data hidden behind the products and build the proper model. How to gain these data is another question standing in the way. Here we could have a review about the analytical tools including the traditional and emerging ones.
Google Analytics is the most popular one with free access. The metrics it contains include page view, user view, traffic sources, user demographics and flow report. It is obvious that Google Analytics is based on visit. It is basically enough for the content-based websites to know the web visiting and channel conversion. While for some customers-driven websites, Google Analytics is not that appropriate. The core is not number of visiting any more, but the customers themselves and the process from visiting, registering, using and subscribing. That is to say, analytical tools are not enough and they need users-centered analytical tools.
I would recommend Mixpanel and KissMetrics in this field. Mixpanel provides data which is customer behavior-driven. It provides metrics including trends, funnels, cohorts and people. Each behavior indicates a single event. Hence they could be more focused on improving functions and better know if each function turned better or worse after pilot testing.
KissMetrics is another analytical tool which I highly recommend and it is very similar with Mixpanel. Google Analytics tells you what’s happening and KissMetrics tells you who’s doing it. KissMetrics is easier to use and provides you a deeper understanding of the customers’ behavior. When you are considering which one to use, you could try Segment.io first to compare the results on both platforms of Mixpanel and KissMetrics. You could also switch seamlessly between these two platforms.
Then we need more specialized analytical tools with more accurate target and goal. I recommend UserCycle, Customer.io and Optimize.ly.
UserCycle focuses on single metrics and improve it accordingly based on the data. It provides data on trends and cohorts, lifecycle messaging, split-test experiments.
Customer.io only focuses on a single process during the whole process such as Lifecycle Email. This tool could better address the differences between users hence customize the content of the emails sent to customers.
Optimize.ly is for A/B test. It could generate test reports based on diverse customers’ behavior.
All these tools are for better growth and they would definitely contribute more to the AARRR model：acquisition, activation, retention, referral and revenue.