How to apply digital analytics to acquisition
- Digital analytics: The process of collecting, analyzing, and acting on the customer data from your digital sources to inform your marketing and product strategies
- Events: Actions or behaviors that occur within a digital touchpoint, such as a mobile app, email, product dashboard, CRM, or web page
- Behavioral data: Reflects customers’ interactions with a digital experience throughout their entire journey
Digital analytics puts customers at the core of your business by identifying opportunities to better meet their needs and improve the digital experience. The process has powerful applications at every stage of the customer journey, starting with acquisition.
Although marketing and product teams have traditionally leveraged different tools to analyze the customer journey, these practices have become less siloed. Digital analytics platforms such as Amplitude, which use an event-based analytics model that tracks user behavior, have unlocked insights across the full spectrum of the customer journey.
“[Customers] don’t care that product and marketing are on different teams. They simply want a good experience from beginning to end.”
Behavioral data can aid marketing teams in several ways, from revealing the impact of their acquisition channels to illuminating what to highlight in future campaigns. These insights go a long way toward helping businesses acquire customers who will be engaged from the get-go, providing a good return on their investment (ROI).
Likewise, product teams benefit from behavioral data to shape product experiences based on what will bring in more users and activate them faster. That’s why an integrated platform that makes customer insights accessible is so essential, helping to foster a culture of learning and collaboration throughout the organization.
Understanding the customer journey
- Acquisition: The process by which businesses add new users
- Retention: When users return to your product as a result of activation and engagement
- Activation: The moment when a user experiences their first aha moment and discovers a product’s value
- Engagement: A user’s interaction with your product and the degree to which their use forms a habit
- Monetization: The process of transforming the value users derive from your product into revenue
The first step to using digital analytics is knowing which customer journey stages—acquisition, retention, and monetization—you want to better understand.
In the case of acquisition, start by looking at where and how you acquire new customers. What acquisition channels lead them to sign up for your product? We will offer a framework for answering this question in the following chapter on evaluating your acquisition channels. Once you understand the paths your customers take to acquisition, you can improve their efficacy and how they relate to the rest of the customer journey.
Determining which events to track
Once equipped with a better understanding of the customer journey, identify your use cases—key business problems at each stage of the journey. Next, determine what questions address those business problems, then track the events needed to answer those questions.
For example, if your use case is "Acquire customers with cost-effective channels," you might translate that into questions such as:
- What acquisition channels brought in the most new users?
- Which marketing campaigns led them to it?
- Which channels and campaigns had the best ROAS?
You'd then map those questions to events to track. In this case, the events could include the number of new leads, sign-ups, trials, and subscribers by acquisition channel or campaign.
Depending on your business model and growth motion, Mark Fiske, operating partner at H.I.G. Capital and co-creator of Reforge’s Growth Marketing course, recommends capturing the following events in your analytics platform:
- B2C: First-time purchases to conduct predictions about lifetime value—the monetary value of the purchase is the strongest indicator—or returns
- B2B: Conversion or, for smaller, early-stage organizations, proxy metrics that indicate customer quality, such as engagement with content marketing
- PLG motion: Feature usage patterns that indicate customer quality or the inverse
Businesses across industries also benefit from tracking acquisition channels and marketing campaigns as user properties associated with events such as sign-ups and page views. Pair these properties with multi-touch attribution to access a more holistic view of which channels and campaigns drive acquisition and down-funnel behavior, such as product usage and monetization.
The bottom line? “There are no bad events to track,” Mark says, recommending businesses start by capturing a broad range of data and then narrowing their scope as they learn more.
“Err on the side of capturing an event rather than not because you don’t know what will be predictive when you actually look at the data.”
The events you track can serve another purpose: improving your ad strategy. “We’re now playing a game of feeding algorithms,” observes Mark. “It’s really important to understand the best signal you can send and increase the fidelity of that signal.”
In the following chapters, you’ll discover how to use digital analytics to acquire new customers. Make sure you’re prepared by tackling the necessary groundwork. Here’s a recap of the steps to take:
- Understand the customer journey, starting with how you acquire new customers.
- List your acquisition use cases and the questions you want to answer to solve them.
- Document your events in Amplitude’s event tracking plan template.