Author Archives: Alicia Shiu

About Alicia Shiu

Alicia is a Growth Marketing Manager at Amplitude, where she works on projects and experiments spanning top of funnel, website optimization, and the new user experience. Prior to Amplitude, she worked on biomedical research (running very different experiments) at Stanford.

The High Cost of Building Your Own Analytics

Anyone starting a business has done their fair share of research and analysis. You researched your chosen market, ran financial projections, and figured out startup costs. This proves you’re an analytical guru, right?

That’s why it’s tempting to think you can continue to rely on spreadsheets to manage on-going analysis. Although this isn’t the “wrong” approach initially, as businesses grow, it gets harder and harder and harder to manage your analytics needs. Your time becomes more valuable and can’t be wasted trawling through ever more complex spreadsheets.

You can build a system in-house, but the time and money this takes aren’t worth the effort. You’ve got a SaaS billing system because you don’t want to—and can’t—process payments yourself, correct? The same thinking applies to analytics.

Here’s why you should buy rather than build when it comes to analytics.

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How to structure your growth team

Growth is so fundamental to startups that Y Combinator founder Paul Graham makes them virtually equivalent in his legendary essay, “Startup = Growth.

That’s why it’s such a mistake for startups to delay putting together a growth team responsible for that growth.

As Wealthfront VP of Growth Andy Johns points out, “startups will build a really robust finance organization, but not a team with the responsibility to measure, understand and improve the flow of users in and out of the product and business.”

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How Avito Uses Amplitude to Access and Learn from User Behavior Data

Avito, located in Morocco, has a website and mobile app for posting classified ads, enabling people to buy and sell online—anything from electronics, to cars, to houses. Avito is part of Schibsted, an international media group with employees in over 30 countries aiming to be a global leader in online marketplaces, growth, and media.

Avito was seeing sustained growth and engagement, but Youssef El Ghourfi, Avito’s growth manager, had a problem: it was difficult to answer questions about their users. Even simple questions, like “which category is the most active in our app?” took 1–2 weeks to answer.

Any product manager or marketer with a question had to send a request to the data team and then wait for queries to be written, data collection, and QA before getting an answer. Youssef thought it should be much simpler—anyone at Avito should be able to look up data and get answers themselves.

download-case-study cta

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How Amplitude Helps LogMeIn Iterate Faster and Focus on Driving Company Growth

LogMeIn is a cloud software company that simplifies how people connect to each other and the world around them. With millions of users worldwide, their products include LastPass®, a password-management solution for individuals and businesses; traditional remote access solutions, LogMeIn Pro™ and LogMeIn Central™; join.me®, a popular online collaboration tool; and customer engagement tools, BoldChat® and LogMeIn Rescue®.

Mike Murray was brought onto the LogMeIn team to manage product analytics for LastPass, LogMeIn Pro and Central. As a Business Intelligence Systems Analyst focusing on growth, his job is to standardize tracking and make sure the team is effectively leveraging data in the right places. To save the company time and resources, Mike recommended LogMeIn use a third-party analytics tool that would make it easy to keep track of product usage and engagement metrics.

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What SDKs Do You Need to Understand User Behavior?

Integrating Amplitude into your app can give you insights into how users are interacting with your app and what features are driving your retention. Various open source SDKs are available depending on your app, but first let’s go through some of the important customizations you’ll need to make.

If you already know all about how Amplitude tracks events, users, and sessions, then scroll down to the end to start the installation. If not, read on!

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Microinclusions: Daily Acts of Inclusion That Make a Difference

Workplace inclusion is an ongoing priority for Amplitude. We know that talking about diversity and hiring diverse talent aren’t the only things that sustain diversity of thought. Being mindful of people who don’t fit into your workplace’s mainstream culture and finding different channels of representation, even on the micro-level, is important for creating an inclusive culture and retaining diversity.

We’ve made a lot of small, but significant changes at Amplitude to strive for better representation in the workplace. Here are 10 microinclusions (our special word for daily acts of inclusion) that we’ve put into place at Amplitude so far. We hope our list can help spark ideas for microinclusions that you can introduce at your company.

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3 Ways To Measure User Retention

This article is an excerpt from the first volume of The Product Analytics Playbook: Mastering Retention. Retention is the one metric that matters for sustainable growth. The Playbook is a comprehensive guide to understanding user retention that provides a novel framework for analyzing retention at every stage of the user journey.

You can find our first post from the Playbook here.

get the playbook here


Retention impacts every important business metric that you (and your investors) care about—active user count, engagement, customer lifetime value, payback period, and more. A business that retains its users increases its revenue and becomes profitable faster than one that does not. And yet, as we mentioned in our first Playbook post, keeping users engrossed in your app is no small task.

It’s especially daunting when you realize that you’re not just competing with other apps in your space—you’re competing with apathy. You’re competing with inattention. There are too many apps out there for anyone to wait patiently for yours to deliver value.

Even the best apps are going to lose the majority of their users in just a few days, but if you make user retention your team’s primary growth focus, you can totally change the trajectory of your company.

To cut through the static and distractions, you need to quickly deliver an experience that users want to return to again and again. There’s no better tool for doing so than analytics. As the old maxim goes, “what gets measured gets done.”

Let’s start with how we measure our retention.

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