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Time to upgrade your reports: switching from sign-ups to on-boarded users

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February 2 · Issue #9 · View online
DataDiary by InnerTrends
Time to upgrade your reports: switching from sign-ups to on-boarded users
Did you know that up to 60% of your new users interact with your app only once?
These are all the users who create an account but never finish the onboarding process.
And yet how many of you use the number of sign-ups in your reports and stats, and not the number of onboarded users?
In what follows we will show you how not focusing on on-boarded users can lead to misleading conclusions that can affect your business.
So… how relevant is it to base your reports only on sign-ups?
Truth being told - you’re probably falling in a trap.
What we witnessed in most cases is that the onboarded users growth trend is stable even when the sign-ups trend fluctuates a lot. These stats can greatly influence your perception on the current status of your business.
Some of the reports highly affected by this issue are:

  • Retention Rate
  • Upgrade Conversion Rate
  • User Lifetime
  • Cost of Acquisition

Let’s see how these reports are influenced by your choice of using one number or the other.
Example #1: Retention report for sign-ups vs. for onboarded users
This is how the retention report looks like for the sign-ups.
The graph shows a huge 90% drop in users a week after creating an account. These users never visit your app again. Let’s face it - a first week retention rate of 10% is not what you’ve wished for.

And this is how the the same report looks like for the on-boarded users.
If you decide to look at things from a different perspective, and take into account only the people who finished the onboarding, you will find out that 20% of them came back to your app.
600 users vs. 300 is not so bad after all.

Now… which report is relevant? How will you interpret the data?
If you take into account the first results, this means you have a retention problem and you should start a campaign to increase your first week retention.
But the second report points out that retention is not really the issue here. The real problem is getting people to finish the on-boarding process, which would require an on-boarding optimization campaign, not a retention campaign. 
Example #2: Upgrade conversion rate for sign-ups vs. for onboarded users
The example that we are going to show below is taken from a company with 32612 new users out of which 353 became paying customers.
This 1% conversion rate from sign-ups to upgrade was way below their expectations and targets. Just looking at these numbers, there was no way to know where to start optimizing their conversion rate.
When they used the on-boarded users for their conversion report, they discovered a 2 % conversion rate from on-boarding to payment - twice as big as the figure above. 
They came up with 2 actions plans from the graph above:

  • Increasing the on-boarding rate which would have a huge impact on the number of paying customers.
  • Targeting all the customers who paid but did not finish the on-boarding process, as they would be the first ones to cancel their subscriptions.

Now they had a clear action path on how to increase the number of paying customers up to 5 times.
In our next issue we’ll talk about the impact of using the number of on-boarded users as the base for calculating the user lifetime and cost of acquisition.
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