Build vs. Buy: Why Life360 Replaced Their Internal Analytics with Amplitude

Since adopting Amplitude's analytics solution, 40+ Life360 employees, regardless of their analytics experience, have instant access to deep user insights.


time savings since switching


employees using Amplitude to understand user behavior

Life360 focuses on giving families peace of mind by helping them coordinate and communicate with each other based on location. Their mobile app allows family members to form Circles and share their location with each other across iOS and Android.

Given their unique tracking requirements, the company initially built their own analytics system. Unfortunately, the system required using SQL, which created a barrier between the data and most of company. Trenton Huey, Life360’s Head of Analytics, spent much of his time creating reports and performing analyses for all teams.

In addition, the system wasn’t real-time, sometimes requiring them to wait for a few days before data was available. And with Life360’s aggressive growth goals, their system was starting to have performance issues as their data volume grew. They needed an analytics platform that could handle that scale.

Wanted: Data for everyone

Life360 began looking for a third-party analytics solution, with the main priority of decentralizing data so that everyone could access it. As Trenton put it, “The number one thing was letting everybody have data insights, without having to write SQL or code. Basically, I didn’t want to be the only person able to deep dive into our user behavior!

“We all share data—and because we’ve become a pretty data-informed company, everybody uses Amplitude. It‘s our main tool to access data.”

Life360 also wanted to free up engineering resources (both time and money) from working on the analytics system. The time spent working on the infrastructure was drastically impacting time that could be spent on the product, which ran counter to their ambitious growth goals. “We went with Amplitude because we didn’t want to spend any more resources and time on building internal infrastructure. We are not an analytics company.”

Making data accessible with Amplitude

Life360 selected Amplitude for their user-friendly interface that allowed any user, regardless of their analytics experience, to investigate the data and discover insights on their own. Now, over 40 people at Life360 use Amplitude to run their own analyses.

Prior to Amplitude, Trenton spent a lot of his time creating custom reports for different teams. Said Trenton, “Removing the analyst bottleneck between the data and the end user was a big reason we chose Amplitude — to let everybody have access to the data because we want the company to be data-driven and able to use insights. I got back 25-50% of my time when we started using Amplitude. The time we’re spending now is getting us much more valuable data than before.”

Advanced analytics at scale

Another key reason Life360 chose Amplitude was the ability to handle massive data volumes. With millions of families using Life360 for family location, the company handles hundreds of millions of location data points every day.

Something for everyone

With Amplitude, everyone at Life360 now has instant access to their user data. Questions no longer take days to answer—they take minutes.

  • Power users like Trenton and the product managers use Amplitude for super deep analysis, utilizing features like Compass and Behavioral Cohorting. A big plus for Trenton is that Amplitude provides access to raw data via Redshift—he can answer 90% of questions in Amplitude, but for the last 10%, he jumps into SQL.
  • Life360’s executives use email reports and custom dashboards to monitor everything at a high level, while the design and customer service team can now directly understand how people are moving through the app. All of these teams used to rely on reports set up by the analytics team, but now they have direct access.
  • At Life360’s Monthly Metrics Review, the entire company gets together and pulls up their key custom dashboards in Amplitude. The team discusses how things are trending and how they’re tracking toward company goals.

Know our users

“Know our users” is actually one of Life360’s core values — and the right analytics tool helps to enable that. Says Trenton, “Amplitude has helped us be smarter about understanding our users.”

Life360’s current goal is to grow their user base by looking at user behavior and shoring up their retention, rather than acquisition. The team uses Compass to correlate features and actions with retention; this data then leads to hypotheses for A/B tests, which they evaluate in Amplitude to measure the retention impact.

“Amplitude has helped us understand our users, and that’s helped form a lot of our product decisions around how to increase retention.”

In addition, this deeper understanding of user behavior allows the team to prioritize their product roadmap. Amplitude data has helped them to declutter the user experience by showing which features users aren’t engaging with or don’t correlate with retention. “We want to be able to move quickly, and only work on things that deliver a lot of value,” says Trenton. “Amplitude has helped us identify and focus only on the most useful features.”


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