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The Key To Scaling User Growth Might Just Be One Little Thing

February 16, 2017

3 minute read

I like to say that the secret to scaling user growth is within the product itself.  It’s not in the slick marketing campaigns (although that may get you initial interest) and it’s not in the pushy calls from account managers.

Strong products have always come down to the relationship between users and product. That is, the interactions that help users feel good the first time they use a product and continue to feel confident as they continue to use it. No bling-bling is going to change that. 

Scaling user growth - Kathy Sierra badass users quote

Growth is hiding in your product’s “critical event”

In Amplitude’s newly released Product Analytics Playbook,  they have a word for this “feeling.” It’s called a critical event:

“A critical event is an action that users take within your product that aligns closely with your core value proposition. Chances are you probably already know what your critical event is—it’s the action that you want to drive your users toward and get them to perform.”

In other words, a critical event is a moment when user unlocks a key moment of success.

What does success mean? That depends on what your product does. For Airbnb, the critical event is making a booking. For a fitness app, that event might be booking a class. For Instagram, uploading your first photo may represent a critical event.

The critical event is not always obvious or intuitive – but identifying it can help you focus your efforts around your most important source of scaling user growth.

Here at ProdPad, we went digging for our critical event when our trial-to-paid conversions flatlined. We found that our critical event was wedged into our free trial.

Our main source of revenue came from successfully converting a free trial user to a paid user, so we went into our data to look at what our most successful customers were doing during their trials.

We found that our most successful users did the following things before becoming paying customers, or in other words, found value in ProdPad:

  1. Added a new product
  2. Added new idea
  3. Added new customer feedback

With this information, we re-designed our in-app onboarding to influence users to take these actions. We also crafted an email drip to support those same actions and goals outside the app.

When we found and focused our efforts on replicating what we knew to be critical events, we saw our trial-to-conversion rate double.

What’s your product’s critical event?

Our friends at Amplitude have just launched the Product Analytics Playbook to help you find and optimize these key moments for your users.

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