Introducing Conversion Drivers: Understand the Behaviors Behind Conversion and Drop-Off

Conversion Drivers helps teams understand what gets their best customers to convert, and uncovers the issues preventing others from being successful.

Inside Amplitude
March 19, 2020
Image of Mike Ottavi-Brannon
Mike Ottavi-Brannon
Principal Product Manager
Introducing Conversion Drivers: Understand the Behaviors Behind Conversion and Drop-Off

Here at Amplitude, we’re excited to announce the launch of Conversion Drivers, a new feature that helps growth and product teams gain a deeper understanding of the customer behaviors linked to conversion and drop-off.

You can now use Conversion Drivers to find out what customer actions are propelling (or killing) product usage and growth. With just a few clicks, you’ll be able to not only see what’s happening along your users’ journey, but why. As a major update to a previous feature known as “Compare Behaviors,” Conversion Drivers gives you the power to make informed decisions that impact revenue and retention.

Why we created Conversion Drivers

In his wildly successful book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey explains the benefits of “beginning with the end in mind.” He breaks down how starting with the end goal, or in our case, the outcome, and working backwards drives success. We decided to apply this strategy into how we approached Conversion Drivers.

Businesses use outcomes, such as registrations, purchases, or activations, as key performance indicators (KPIs). Conversion Drivers allows businesses to start with their most critical outcomes and work backwards to find out what’s driving or killing those outcomes.

For example, let’s take an activation funnel for a streaming music service. This might include steps like sign up, select genre preferences, play a song, and finally, follow a playlist (your activation event). Typical funnel analyses will show you where users are dropping off, but it would be up to you (or your data science team) to decipher why customers aren’t following a playlist.

That’s where Conversion Drivers—which analyzes and surfaces all of the user actions between two steps—comes in. You might use Conversion Drivers to understand why users play a song but never follow a playlist. Or, you could use it to analyze actions between signing up and following a playlist.

The benefits of this insight are immense. Conversion Drivers enables businesses of all sizes to:

  • Identify the leading indicators of drop-off
  • Allocate more time to improving the customer’s journey rather than waiting for data science results
  • Guide users/customers from one state to another (one step in a funnel to the next) more effectively
  • Build a smarter user experience that drives more revenue

How Conversion Drivers works

Conversion Drivers works in conjunction with any funnel inside of Amplitude. You can use Conversion Drivers to see what your users or customers are doing in the gaps between funnel steps. You have the option to create a new two-step funnel or use any multi-step funnel you already have.

Conversion Drivers makes it possible to quickly assess which user actions matter to outcomes you care about. With just a click you can see and sort all of the actions your users are taking before they get to (or don’t get to) a step in a funnel. You get a breakdown of which actions occur most frequently and which ones are associated with conversion or drop-off, respectively.

The example below shows a three-step funnel with significant user drop-off (69.2%) between step 2 (playing a song or video) and step 3 (purchasing a song or video). This music service can click “Investigate Conversion Drivers” to find out which user actions are happening in between these two steps and isolate why this drop-off is happening.

Conversion drivers

Conversion Drivers provides a table with key metrics to help you understand how these actions are related. This table includes a correlation score, the percentage of users taking each action, the frequency at which the action is performed, and the overall time it took for users to convert. These metrics are designed to help you understand precisely which precursory actions are accelerating and/or decelerating outcomes.

In the example below, we see a positive correlation between users who purchased a song or video and those users sharing it first.

Conversion drivers positive correlation

We can confirm this correlation by going back and adding “shared song or video” as a new third step in our funnel. In the example below, we see that most users who share a song or video do wind up purchasing. Based on this information, it could make sense to prominently display a button that allows users who play a song or video to easily share it.

Song purchase

How to use Conversion Drivers

Conversion Drivers shows you why customers are or aren’t reaching the outcomes that are most important to your business. You can use that deeper understanding of your customers’ behavior to make product adjustments with conviction, develop user experience improvements, and much more. You’ll be able to focus your team’s efforts on effecting change rather than mining data.

To use Conversion Drivers, you begin with the end (or outcome) in mind and work backwards. Here is a step-by-step guide:

  1. Define your outcome. This could be any step in a funnel, such as user activation, sales, or drop-off, that you want to know the cause of. If you find yourself asking, “Why are we losing users before they reach this step?” or “What’s driving more users to achieve this step?” that step is your target outcome.
  2. Select two steps in a funnel. Click Conversion Drivers to run an analysis between your outcome and the previous step in the funnel. You can use a two-step funnel or run Conversion Drivers on the gap between two steps in a multi-step funnel.
  3. Use Conversion Drivers to find out why your users are or aren’t progressing through your funnel. Conversion Drivers will show you the most common behaviors leading up to outcomes, along with the time it takes users between steps. You’ll get a breakdown of the actions that most commonly happen before users convert and the actions that are happening before a user drops off.
  4. Build a hypothesis.Use the insight gleaned from Conversion Drivers to formulate a plan. You’ll have a deeper understanding of your customers’ behavior, which you can use to make product adjustments and develop new features that generate more revenue.
  5. Put your plan into action. Test out the adjustments you made and see how they perform by running Conversion Drivers again and using other analytics tools in Amplitude.

The following examples illustrate how Conversion Drivers can help specific types of businesses.

Conversion Drivers for B2B

Activations are critical for B2B SaaS products. After all, they represent the second “A” in the pirate metrics acronym. Conversion Drivers can sift through users’ actions during onboarding and leading up to an activation event. By looking at which actions are linked with drop-off, B2B SaaS companies could identify areas of their software that are confusing and causing users to get lost. Conversion Drivers can also reveal where gaps may exist in onboarding that need to be solved.

Conversion Drivers for E-Commerce

Conversion Drivers can reveal which parts of an e-commerce product page are most commonly linked to completed purchases. Conversion Drivers may show that shoppers who view customer reviews are less likely to abandon their cart. With this insight, you could ascertain that customer reviews are helping you build trust with potential buyers and run a test that distributes those customer reviews across more pages to see if it improves cart completion.

Conversion Drivers for Media

Music services can use Conversion Drivers to isolate specific playlists or videos that are commonly played before a consumer purchases a subscription. For example, Conversion Drivers may reveal that official playlists are commonly played before a consumer signs up for a yearly subscription. A music service can use this information to make an informed decision about product adjustments. They may want to develop a pop-up window or marquee that suggests users check out those key official playlists.

Get started with Conversion Drivers

The launch of Conversion Drivers is an exciting step in our mission to help teams build better products by focusing on the outcomes they want to drive for their users and their business. And this is only the beginning. We have more updates coming soon to give you additional flexibility to understand properties and patterns of user behavior.

In the time since we released Conversion Drivers to our customers, we’ve had over 500 teams use it to understand and quickly build hypotheses about user behaviors driving outcomes they care about.

Get started with a Conversion Drivers demo today, and find out what’s leading your users to achieve the mile markers that are most important to your business. Contact our Amplitude sales team to request a demo.

About the Author
Image of Mike Ottavi-Brannon
Mike Ottavi-Brannon
Principal Product Manager
Mike is a self-proclaimed amateur chef and Principal Product Manager at Amplitude where he runs the Analytics product group.
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