“Analytics doesn’t work in the form of reports anymore, but rather in tracking metrics in real-time and being able to make decisions on the fly.” — Mia Umanos, Data Strategy Consultant with Rappler.
When Mia told us that, we had been focused on building scheduled reports for the users already getting analytics updates from Statsbot in Slack chats. But we were getting feedback like Mia’s, and it spurred a change in direction. We needed to focus on building the product our users actually wanted–analytics dashboards with various metrics and visualizations, all updated in real-time. That’s why we built Dashboards.
At Statsbot, we pride ourselves on getting essential product analytics to our customers. So the Dashboards launch presented a unique opportunity. We could use the product itself to measure its results–we’d have to build a dashboard about Dashboards. (We’re going to be talking a lot about the dashboard we created to track the Dashboards product launch metrics. Hopefully, it’s not too confusing!)
We believe in iterating quickly and using data to shape the direction of our products, so the first version of Dashboards was ready within two weeks. That way, we could make sure we were tracking all the relevant metrics to see if the Dashboards product was working for our customers the way we had hoped. In this post, we’re going to walk you through how we used our own product, Statsbot, to surface Mixpanel insights in order to judge the success of our product launch.
This article originally appeared on Mixpanel blog, we’re grateful to our friends from Mixpanel team for cooperating on this piece.
How Statsbot works with data
Statsbot can pull metrics from different data sources and deliver them to Slack, so the whole team can stay updated on their preferred channel. Currently, it integrates with Mixpanel, Google Analytics, Stripe, Salesforce, and SQL databases. We use all of those to track metrics, events and perform anomaly detection.
For the Dashboards product, we wanted to track a few simple metrics initially. We just wanted to see if users create dashboards, pin multiple metrics (engagement), share dashboards with a special auto-generated link in settings (collaboration) and return to their dashboards (retention). While Statsbot users can track a wide range of Mixpanel events such as their funnels, sign-ups, and top events, we wanted a broad overview that would suggest whether or not this product was worth further investment.
And as to how we tracked whether or not Dashboards was hitting the numbers we wanted, there was only one thing to do: create a dashboard about the Dashboards product.
Take a look at the dashboard we created to track the Dashboards product launch metrics.
Getting reports on a regular basis
We wanted to get this dashboard to our team every day at 9 AM in our #analytics channel in Slack, so everyone would get a quick report on the release’s progress first thing in the morning.
For that, we used the Scheduled Reports feature in Statsbot, which can deliver any metric or dashboard you need in Slack, on a recurring basis–either hourly, daily or weekly. Like the users responsible for the other 1.8 million scheduled reports generated on Statsbot this year, we were grateful to save the time it would have taken to generate these reports manually.
Setting up a goal to get actionable reports
Just tracking the progress wasn’t enough. We needed to know if we were hitting the targets we had set for the launch. So we used Statsbot’s Goals feature, which produces a prediction about how likely you are to reach your goal by the end of the month. Its advanced machine learning-powered algorithm tells users whether you’re ahead of or behind schedule to hit your mark.
We set the goal “5% growth in unique dashboards openings month over month” to see if users were engaging with the Dashboards product. Goals helped us to track progress, stay motivated and adjust our strategy quickly.
Shortly after the launch, we’ve noticed that engagement was not growing as expected and we started communicating with our users to get their feedback and understand what we were doing wrong. It turned out that only a few people users per team were using Dashboards–often just the ones who had created them. The rest of members found it difficult to sign in to their account every time they need to look at reports–or they just didn’t know how to do it and didn’t care. For them, it was simpler to just ask for a screenshot.
As a result, we added a shared Dashboards feature with auto-generated links that could be used by anyone with no need to stay signed in at Statsbot. Using insights from Mixpanel presented in Statsbot, we identified a problem and solved it in real time. Our clients met this feature with enthusiasm; some even started to stream their dashboard to a TV in their offices!
But the evidence for this change’s success isn’t just anecdotal. Users are finding value in shared Dashboards.
Instant analytics insights
Lastly, we wanted to be able to track potential errors and act quickly if something had gone wrong. For that purpose, Statsbot has a Streams feature which is only available for Mixpanel users. Because Mixpanel allows users to catch events in a real-time, Statsbot can send a report with a specific metric in Slack immediately.
Thanks to streams, we could be proactive in dealing with any errors, rather than only knowing something had gone wrong when tickets started coming in to support. In one instance, Streams caught an error notifying us that charts on shared Dashboards has been broken for several clients, and allowed us to resolve the problem quickly.
Although dashboards are a common feature in many business intelligence tools, their value was not immediately obvious to us. But getting customer feedback changed our own perception of what an analytics tool needed to deliver for its customers. And the feedback we’re getting now has been overwhelming.
Tigh Loughhead, marketing director at Elegran told us, “Statsbot provides executive management with consistent, actionable business intelligence about spikes traffic and revenue, and the overall health of our business.” Salvatore Garozzo, CPO and Co-Founder at Scrunch.com loves the “beautiful user experience, functionality, ease of use and support from the team.” And Andrey Zaytsev, Product Manager at SkyEng loves having the ability “to see all the important data within just one dashboard.”
But as to where we go when we can get the clearest feedback on how our customers are using Dashboards or any of our other products: It’s right there on our Dashboards.