How MWM Created Autonomous Product Squads That Iterate, Innovate, and Strategize Faster
France’s MWM is the world’s leading creative apps publisher. Launched in 2012 as DJiT, the company’s first product was edjing Mix, a smartphone and tablet DJ app that lets anyone mix and remix music in real time and save and share their creations. Rebranding as MWM in 2017, the company continued to grow, and the resulting software and hardware ecosystem now comprises 50 apps with nearly half a billion downloads.
With its rapid growth, MWM quickly understood that analytics could help them understand how users interacted with their product. These insights could allow MWM to continue to develop high-tech tools that are user-friendly and empower creativity and expression. Once they partnered with Amplitude, they leveraged the platform to improve free to paid subscription conversion, and increase user retention.
A deeper dive into analytics
MWM, a true tech-led company, relied heavily on the experience and expertise of its tech engineers, which proved successful with their first app. With their rapid expansion, they needed to form product teams or “squads.” MWM product lead Benjamin Duvivier explains, “Each squad is headed by a product manager who owns the product, a developer, and a designer. With over 30 products being developed and updated at any given time, it’s smarter to work in smaller clusters instead of having a single team handle everything.”
In this environment, every squad must create a unique product strategy based on insights into user behavior, which requires collecting and analyzing event data from MWM’s many apps. They used their own SDK that packs Firebase, Facebook, Google Analytics SDKs, and an in-house analytics tool that collected some customer event data, but was best suited to business metrics. However, the company didn’t have a way to easily leverage this data for product specific ad-hoc analysis and it was difficult for anyone outside the analytics and tech teams to access and visualize the information easily.
If I needed user event data as a product manager, I had to ask a technician to collect and visualize it. Even then, I couldn’t dig deeper without pulling in analysts to help me interpret it. Despite having full autonomy over my product, I couldn’t iterate fast enough because it took forever to get high-quality data that led to actionable insights.
To give product squads full autonomy and eliminate bottlenecks in collecting and visualizing data, MWM needed a robust and intuitive analytics platform available to everyone in the company.
Self-serve analytics with Amplitude
After looking at available solutions, MWM narrowed its options to Mixpanel and Amplitude. Amplitude was more expensive, but thanks to key features answered better MWM needs. MWM team felt its advanced analytics and visualization tools were worth paying for.
“We had a good feeling with the team. And it was confirmed later on, because the support is great. They listen to us and we have good communication. They really help us to improve ourselves,” says Duvivier. “What made the difference was the tool itself and the team.”
Another critical consideration was French support. Amplitude has a Paris office and can assist MWM in its business language and local time zone, making communication easier and eliminating the delay of waiting for overseas support.
MWM uses features such as Data Tables to find unexpected user patterns and compare product metrics across segments, uncovering actionable insights they might otherwise have missed.
MWM rolled Amplitude out in 2020 and made it available to product managers, who own each product and its associated Amplitude dashboard. These managers employ event user data and Amplitude visualizations to create product strategies and provide information to their teams. They use features such as Data Tables to find unexpected user patterns and compare product metrics across segments, uncovering actionable insights they might otherwise have missed. They also leverage the Pathfinder feature to track user event sequences across product funnels. This helps determine pain points, find where users drop off, and convert trial users into paying customers.
“Amplitude gives us insight into user engagement,” adds Duvivier. “We analyze retention and stickiness in user cohorts, modify our funnels to drive more people to popular features, iterate quickly, and track our results to confirm whether our changes have a positive impact.”
Duvivier used Amplitude to fine-tune the lesson packs in MWM’s popular Beat Maker Pro DJ drum pad app. The team thought the lessons were easy enough to learn, but many users dropped off after one or two packs and stopped purchasing add-ons. They used Amplitude to find where users were giving up and lowered the difficulty of those lessons, increasing the number of users who finished these packs and moved on to the next ones. All in all, they saw an uplift of about 60%. “We changed our content to fit our product strategy and goals, and couldn’t have done that without Amplitude,” Duvivier says.
Iterating, innovating, and strategizing faster
Over the last three years, MWM squads have used Amplitude to iterate faster, strategize smarter, and innovate further. By analyzing user events, the company’s product squads can monitor product performance, determine when things go wrong, and improve stickiness and retention. When they add and promote new features, they use Amplitude to test hypotheses and set appropriate KPIs.
“Amplitude allows us to build dashboards and monitor the impact of our new features,” explains Duvivier. “If we meet our KPIs and draw enough users, we move on to the next feature. If not, we iterate until we achieve the desired performance level or abandon that feature entirely. Our product cycles are faster and more efficient because every decision is backed by data.”
Amplitude’s Parisian support team has also proven to be an important part of MWM’s journey. “When we have a question, Amplitude’s support team provides feedback that considers our products,” Duvivier says. “They tell us what user events we should analyze to improve our product strategies and the content of our apps while growing our data culture.”
MWM’s product squads have achieved new levels of autonomy since adopting Amplitude. Product managers can create and share dashboards with their teams without relying on the company’s data analysts. They’ve improved their velocity and can analyze more products in parallel, fuelling growth and profitability while maintaining the company’s position as the world’s leading creative apps publisher.
Amplitude is more than just a tool for MWM. It has influenced every aspect of our product operations. We don't rely on gut instincts to make product decisions; instead, we use data to drive our business growth, enhance our products, and retain our users.