Using Data to Stay Close to the Customer
QuillBot is an AI-powered platform that aims to make writing painless while preserving the user's unique perspective and voice. Founded by computer science students Rohan Gupta, Anil Jason, and David Silin, QuillBot has 35 million monthly active users and offers free products and a premium service. In 2022, American education technology company Learneo (Formerly Course Hero, Inc.) acquired QuillBot.
Scaling beyond home-grown analytics
QuillBot used Google Analytics and Matomo alongside some in-house analytics solutions until they reached a million monthly active users. By that point, the company had reached a scale where they no longer got the visibility needed to make the right product decisions, and the data from their home-grown tools weren’t as reliable as before.
Co-founder and CEO Rohan Gupta says Google Analytics still provided reliable data for geographic growth and demographic patterns, “but what Google Analytics does not have is the in-depth analytics of how users use your product. Amplitude does.” No other solution could compare to Amplitude Analytics in producing real retention and funnel analysis over time. QuillBot switched to Analytics in 2019.
No other solution provides that real funnel, drop-off, retention, cohort and segment analysis over time. Amplitude is best in class for that.
Getting closer to users with self-service data
One of QuillBot’s first wins with Analytics was seeing that users of the drop-down feature were far more likely to retain. That discovery led QuillBot to build a lot of onboarding focused on driving adoption of this feature, which resulted in a material improvement that contributed heavily to platform growth.
Despite their growth, QuillBot feels strongly about not having any product analysts. “We believe heavily in democratized, self-service data and getting as close to our users as possible,” Gupta says. Instead of employing product analysts, all QuillBot employees—engineers and designers, but also customer support and HR—use Amplitude Analytics. The company holds weekly data meetings, where people share their insights, and that is predominantly done through Amplitude.
“[Amplitude] is pretty heavily ingrained in our culture,” Gupta says. “As we’ve scaled, it’s become increasingly important for people to adopt self-serve analytics.”
QuillBot is now part of a larger organization, and other businesses within Learneo uses Analytics as well. Since the acquisition, Gupta reports seeing increasingly more data and insights being shared across business lines.
Another change has been the expansion of their Amplitude ecosystem with Amplitude Experiment. At any moment, QuillBot is running 20 to 30 tests. They used to run these tests through their home-grown A/B testing platform, but saw the benefit of consolidating all their analytics onto one platform since they needed all of their analytics and experiment data in one place. In addition to their newfound ability to scale experimentation, Experiment gives QuillBot the confidence to A/B test well.
“We love A/B testing,” Gupta says, “so Amplitude Experiment was a good fit for us.”
Through the use of retention and funnel charts and A/B testing, the QuillBot team understands both the relative and absolute use of different QuillBot features, as well as what drives user engagement.
We had a home-grown A/B testing platform, but we wanted to consolidate our analytics together. Amplitude Experiment had what we hadn’t built ourselves.
The right infrastructure helps scale a data-driven culture
QuillBot is hyper focused on driving retention and engagement because it leads to brand affinity and improving customer lifetime value. “That’s a virtuous cycle,” Gupta says, explaining that retention can directly impact acquisition. “Having an inauthentic brand can really hurt product-led growth. A lot of brands are sanitized and risk-averse in nature, and that can negatively impact your ability to execute on product-led growth tactics.”
It comes down to culture, he says, which is why having a fast-paced, data-driven culture is so important to QuillBot. Amplitude provides the infrastructure that allows their culture to thrive. QuillBot has scaled their team to keep pace with their growth, and Gupta says they are “very intentional” about maintaining their scrappy startup attitude despite being acquired by Learneo.
Without Amplitude, QuillBot would have to employ in-house analysts, which would force them to move slower and miss growth opportunities. User experience research (UXR) is important to them, too. Gupta says Amplitude helps the company see things they don’t normally see. They can follow up on those patterns through UXR, which provides further insights on user personas. When users don’t use QuillBot’s products as expected, “Amplitude helps us identify gaps and see patterns in terms of what users are drawn to that we wouldn’t have intuitively expected.”
When companies understand the definition of the metrics that are most important to their business and combine that understanding with a deeply ingrained analytics culture, the possibilities for growth are endless. And Amplitude has accelerated that discovery process for QuillBot.
Having a fast-paced, data-driven culture with quick iterations and high experimentation is very important to us. Amplitude provides the infrastructure for that.