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Elise Dopson on January 16, 2020 (last modified on February 13, 2020) • 12 minute read
With product analytics tools like Mixpanel, Amplitude, Pendo and marketing automation tools like HubSpot, Active Campaign & Intercom, product marketing teams can track just about anything a user does while on their website, via other sales and marketing touchpoints and when logged into their application.
Powerful? Absolutely. Useful? Well, that depends.
There are endless user signals that you can focus on, but which ones should you focus on?
After all, you can spend countless cycles and resources tracking and analyzing user metrics that don’t actually move the needle.
Okay, so where does that leave us? Which product marketing KPIs are useful to track and help prioritize the right work?
Amongst the group of experts we surveyed, we found that product marketing’s main goal is sign-ups. Almost as frequently mentioned was active product usage and paid activations. Churn reduction and upgrades were mentioned quite a bit less frequently as primary goals. So, it seems that product marketing is mostly focused on getting users in the door and getting them to purchase and use the product.
To get more specific, we asked these same product pros to share which product marketing KPIs they say every team should be tracking. Here’s the 13 they collectively shared:
Click the links above to jump to a specific KPI, or continue scrolling to learn how you can keep your product marketing team on-track.
P.S. Want to know the most important marketing KPIs to track across all functions (i.e. content, SEO, email, social, etc.)? Check out the definitive list of marketing KPIs all marketers should be tracking according to 400+ marketing professionals.
“There are certain actions in every product that is high value to the user. Rather than just measuring MAUs or DAUs, companies should be looking deeper at the actions that actually maximize value,” says Brett Li of Tonkean.
“Each product marketer should define what those important actions are and track to make sure users are performing those actions in their product.”
When we asked the team at Moosend for their most important product marketing metric, Tea Liarokapi said: “I’d have to go with product usage on this one, as it’s one of the metrics that can boost overall revenue.”
“By determining the hows and whens of a product and its use by the consumers, marketers can also determine all the opportunities of a product, be it upsell/cross-sell opportunities or simply just understanding the retention rate a specific product could bring.”
Zepel‘s Vikash Koushik agrees: “The one KPI every product marketer must keep track of is the product activity and the reason behind the activity, ie. the “why”. Without the knowledge of how people are using the product and why they’re using it, improving on any metrics (either product or business) becomes nearly impossible.
“Once you know these two, it allows teams to then take their analytics tool, slice and dice the data, and see if the most important feature is getting adopted and calculate the correlation between the product activity and business goals.”
“But of course, for many products, one single feature need not contribute to active usage. So, a good way to do this would be to first map the entire journey of the most successful users within your product, track them in your analytics tool, and then find a correlation between events and business goals. With the backing of the reason behind user’s activity, you can then run experiments, see how the user’s behavior changes, and then optimize at every step of the funnel all the way.”
Koushik summarizes: “While correlation need not necessarily mean causation, but with the knowledge of this data and the why behind its usage, teams can run meaningful product and/or marketing experiments to improve on them.”
Joseph Tsaker says one of the most important product marketing KPIs for DeAnalyst is “the people contacting us — either by hitting the contact us page or phone calls.”
“This is a very key performance indicator because people contacting the business are highly probable to convert or buy. Tracking contacts is helpful in determining the interest a particular campaign or series of campaigns may have on achieving the organization’s selling goals.”
“An e-commerce store, for instance, may have a different KPI. They may pick customers viewing the shopping cart as the KPI to track.”
“The most important KPI every product marketing team should track is revenue because ultimately, product marketing is responsible for the commercial success of the product,” says Matcha‘s Shauna Ward.
“When revenue isn’t your North Start Metric, you risk becoming myopically focused on something like MQLs, which can cause you to lose sight of the bigger picture.”
*Editor’s note: Struggling to understand how many sales you’re getting per product? Break down your site’s revenue with our Google Analytics Product Revenue dashboard. It shows the performance of each product alongside key financial metrics like average order value and revenue by device:
“Sometimes, it may seem your return on ad spend or conversion volume is lacking via a particular medium,” says Greg Trahan of Digital Ads Optimism. “With assisted conversions, you can tell whether an impression or click on your ads lead to a conversion later via another path.”
“For example, a searcher may click on a paid ad, do the necessary research on the product they’re looking at, then end their session. Later, they remember the site’s URL and come back to make the purchase as direct traffic. In this case, your paid search campaign will get an assisted conversion.”
“This is an often-overlooked bonus for any advertiser when presenting digital campaign results, especially in product marketing,” Trahan adds.
You’re able to find your Assisted Conversions in Google Analytics by heading to Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Assisted Conversions:
“The “qualified lead generation” numbers are what drives revenues and should be the key metric to evaluate the performance of the marketing department,” according to Laurie Harvey of Above Voice Inc.
“Tracking lead generation against marketing investments will help identify the high yield marketing investments that will drive revenues. Successful marketing organizations will monitor many metrics, but if revenue is one of the company’s corporate objectives, this will be a critical marketing KPI.”
“The cost per user acquisition (CPA) signals the efficiency of the marketing campaigns,” writes Karen Rae of Transformify.
“We track CPA per marketing campaign and average CPA over a certain period of time. This allows to understand which marketing channels are performing best and to analyze the drivers that resulted in successful or failed marketing campaigns.”
“Was it the marketing channel or the message? It could be the creative that was not attractive enough to the users, ad optimization, etc.”
Rae continues: “Tracking CPA per marketing campaign allows to compare campaigns via the same channel to identify secondary drivers like optimization, creative, message, etc. that led to different results.”
George Kocher of Brand North agrees, and adds that you can break this down by channel: “The primary purpose of product marketing is to acquire a client and still have enough profit margin to continue reinvesting in marketing. Each user stage is important, but the cost to get someone in your funnel is the most important, after that user experience can be tweaked.”
JVT Media‘s Toni JV adds that CPA is important because “in the big picture of trying to sell a product, you want to make more money than you spend.”
“CPA makes sure that you’re not spending more on selling and creating the product instead of actually making money off the product. It ensures your business’s health in the long term, so you can further invest that money into your business.”
Lydia Sugarman also thinks its important to track revenue-related KPIs: “We have a tendency to celebrate trials and demos, but it’s what happens next that’s important – genuine new customers who are paying to use your product/s.”
For the team at Venntive, this is in the form of sales close rate: “How many leads actually closed compared to all leads? How many came from Trials versus Demos versus In-person Presentations, etc.?”
“When you know where your customers are coming from, then you know how to fine-tune your marketing strategy to attract more of the same,” Sugarman adds.
*Editor’s note: Do you use HubSpot to track? Our Sales Overview template pulls data from your dashboard. With it, you’ll be able to see your entire sales funnel from discovery to close–all in one place:
Maxburst‘s Andrew Ruditser explains: “This is the estimated value a customer has contributed to your company during their lifetime. Meaning, it measures the amount of revenue that one customer has given you and will continue to give you.”
“This is an important metric to track because it is much easier to increase the expected revenue a valued customer will contribute to your company over their lifetime rather than acquiring new customers.”
“This is because that person is already a loyal customer, therefore it is must easier/cheaper to focus on their wants and needs rather than attracting new customers who might not remain loyal and continue to contribute to your company,” Ruditser continues.
According to Clayton Arnold, the team at NRI Industrial thinks: “Everything from conversions, sales, to customer retention, contribute to the lifetime value of the customer.”
Jesse van Doren adds: “A lot of people only focus on onboarding a client one time, but keeping them is much more important.”
“Of course this depends per company, for example for a bathroom tile company this is less important. Because customers are only buying ones in the 15/20 years a new bathroom.”
Plus, Alana Mulligan of DigitalCRO says: “CLTV is key in forecasting and it helps companies with improving their customer retention.”
Another important product marketing KPI to track is Net Promoter Score (NPS), according to Jacob Landis-Eigsti: “Ask people, on a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend our product to a friend or a family member.”
“People who choose 6 or below are detractors. They’re unlikely to buy again and they may leave negative reviews or bad mouth your company. Those who rate a 7 or 8 are “passives”. They’re satisfied but not loyal to your brand. They’re unlikely to actively promote your brand.”
“Those who answer with a 9-10 are “promoters”. They’re likely to buy your product and stay loyal to your brand. They’ll also promote your brand and help you sell more products.”
“Landis-Eigisti adds: “Track this KPI, since improving your score will increase customer satisfaction, referrals, and repeat buyers.”
“Tracking customer sentiment is highly important to understand how to improve a product or service and make it appealing for consumers to buy,” says Amy Hernandez of electriqmarketing.com.
“This is especially important in an age where customers voice their opinions all over the internet via social media and online reviews for thousands to see. Because of this visibility, it is best to put your best foot forward and be in the know of how people are feeling.”
Hernandez continues: “Besides using social media analytics to track customer sentiment based on keywords and mentions, it is also best to use follow surveys, pre and post-purchase to fully understand the customer mindset and serves as a tangible metric.”
In fact, Eric Melillo of COFORGE thinks “it’s a better metric than Net Promoter Score (NPS), as you have the opportunity to fix friction points and unhappiness within the customer lifecycle and before a customer churns out. NPS is more after the fact and you may not be able to maintain the relationship where customer sentiment is much more of a proactive approach.”
“It’s not always the easiest KPI to measure but if you listen for sentiment in the right places, you’ll hear it loud and clear,” Melillo continues.
“Start by monitoring inbound customer channels such as email, chatbot, live chat, service tickets, and call transcripts. Create a grading system for business segments, per channel, first response time, length of interaction, length of time to resolution, points of escalation, etc.”
“When you see higher scores in certain areas, the customer is getting stuck and/or frustrated, and it’s our job to help. So, we’ll identify these places of friction and add to our process – self-help resources, walk-through videos, free offer for extra training, someone to do it for them, etc.”
“Listening for the proper signals can help you keep a customer for a long time as you’re now treating them as an asset rather than a commodity.”
The more market share you own, the more people are aware of your product (or your brand.)
Melanie Musson of 360quoteLLC explains this should be a KPI for your product marketing team: “Market share gives you the best idea of how your growth is keeping up with the market. Your company could be growing, but if your market is growing faster than you, you’re actually losing ground.”
Calculate your market share by dividing your total sales or revenue by the industry’s total sales. For example: If you made $100,000 in a market that made $1 million, your market share would be 10%.
“If your customers don’t know what you are selling, you will not be able to form lasting customer relationships,” writes Wirepas‘ Mirva Saarijärvi.
Although this isn’t a definitive KPI, Saarijärvi says you can answer the following questions to determine how clear your product descriptions are:
Remember: 50% of shoppers have returned a product if it doesn’t match the product description. Make sure they’re accurate and engaging to prevent your return rate from skyrocketing.
It’s not easy to promote a product. And, with consumer preferences on how they shop online always changing, it’s difficult to master a product marketing strategy.
The best solution? Split-test everything. Experiment with things like product descriptions, social media copy, and emails. Monitor their impact on these KPIs to see what works–and run with it.
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