The Minimum Viable Data Analytics Stack Every Startup Should Get From Day 1

Here you go.startup-Web-analytics-stack_GrowthCatcher

You’ve built an awesome product, and you’re about to dive into building a massive customer acquisition campaign.

  • You have an in-depth knowledge of your personas
  • You’ve produced relevant contents and converting landing pages to turn them into leads
  • You have a full list of marketing channels where to promote your product

No doubt you’ll meet success.

But wait!

  • How are you going to measure that success?
  • What figures are considered as a success?
  • How to spot your product and sales funnel leaks?
  • What source of traffic drives more loyal customers?
  • How to scale up that success?

I’m not going to answer all of those questions in this article.

I’ll just give you the minimum viable data analytics tools list to implement from day 1 and start collecting the necessary data so that you will not be blind when the time comes to answer those questions.

You can’t improve what you can’t measure

Disclosure

To clarify things up, I have no personal interests in one or another of the tools listed below. No referral or affiliate revenue from it. No paid vacations… Not even a free t-shirt!
I only recommend those tools because they are useful, affordable for startups, and I’m having great results at using them for my Growth Marketing freelancer activities.
Again this article doesn’t provide a FULL list of analytics tools. There are many other great ones out there.
It just gives the ones that I consider, as a Growth Marketer, to be the bare minimum.
If you feel more comfortable with other similar tools, then feel free. I’m just giving you a suggestion here.
The most important is being able to connect the dots.

by Seth Eckert – https://dribbble.com/seth_ecker

Google Analytics: Most common scenario and why it sucks

At day 1 most startups implement Google Analytics. And that’s great!

But, so far, Google Analytics is more of a TOFU analytics tool (Top Of the FUnnel).

And the only way to analyze and repeat success is to track everything that goes from the Top to the Bottom of your funnel (TOFU + BOFU).

From your marketing channels to recurring revenue and with unique visitors behavior & knowledge granularity.

This is what I call Connecting The Dots.

Below are the key concepts not to be missed to place your startup on the right track to becoming a Data Driven Business

Understand & Segment your audience

If you’re familiar with the concept of Personas, you understand how important it is to differentiate behaviors and segment your audience.

Gender, Age, Industry, Position/Role, Company name/size…
You shouldn’t get an answer to those questions just for the sake of email personalization.

Content viewed/downloaded, completed forms…
Any action, every piece of useful information to sharpen your personas and build an overall personalized user experience.

Buyers’ Journey Stage

Inside an homogeneous group of users, maturity degree varies.
You cannot deliver the same message, the same content everywhere.
For each user scenario, you must create relevant content and landing pages to serve them best and move your visitors towards your sales funnel.

You have to track what maturity stage they’re in so that you can nurture your leads accordingly.

Unique Identified Visitors

Customers are using your product indistinctly from different devices. Whatever the device, you should be able to reunify those behaviors under a single user id.

A user id that is also linked to an email address.

Imagine what you could achieve if you were able to connect a visitor’s journey with his email!

I’m sure you get the interest of building a personalized conversation here.

Customer Lifetime Value Measurement

Google Analytics reports total revenue and the average spend per visitor. Great! But your back-end hopefully knows this too.

However, how much is your customer’s average lifetime value in a given period? GA doesn’t provide this metric with basic implementation.

Thanks to this metric, you could be doing some forecasting at where yourbusiness is heading to?

Your CFO and investors would love to have this available.

Marketing Channels Optimization

With basic Google Analytics implementation, you rely on the ‘First conversion’ average value to optimize your campaigns.

But what if your best performing traffic sources attract bargainers only?

Okay, the conversion rate is higher, but they are not and will certainly never become loyal customers.

Should you increase your spend on those customers? Probably not the best move!

A more sophisticated approach to judging sources of traffic would be to run your retention reports by source to see not only which campaigns are sending you valuable traffic (the GA way), but which campaigns are sending you traffic that returns over and over again.

Without doing the value-based segmentation, you’ll never understand which channels bring in the best customers.

So make sure you rely on the Customer Lifetime value metric to optimize your acquisition campaigns.

Touchpoints Attribution

It’s a typical behavior that your visitors visit you several times before they take any significant action.

Identifying the traffic sources paths that drive more loyal customers is key to repeat success.

If not Google Analytics then what?

Why twisting Google Analytics when affordable solutions already exist.

If you want to go a step further, I encourage you to implementMixpanel or Amplitude from day 1.

Not convinced yet? Read this for a full description of the differences between Mixpanel and GA.

You can own a bike and a car at the same time. The car just helps you go farther faster.

Both offer free starting pricing plans. And they have multiple connections with others tools such as Email solutions, Marketing Automation…

  • Mixpanel recently came up with Autotrack that once implemented, starts collecting lots of data you don’t even think of tracking in the first place and allows you to perform a retroactive analysis.
  • Mixpanel also offers built-in feedback and notifications features to further the discussion.
  • Amplitude, for the little time I’ve been testing it so far, provides advanced reporting capabilities to dive into data. I’ll keep you posted on that.

As long as they both offer free plans, why don’t you install both so that you can choose for yourself.

How to implement those tools on my website?

  • As you’re going to track much more elements and information than basic analytics scripts do.
  • As you’re going to send the same data over to several tools,

I recommend you use a Tag Manager.

Tag Managers work a sort of data hubs that allows you to implement a datalayer (a list of all the data you want to collect from your visitors) on your website once and for all to gather the data you need and then spread it over to different third party tools.

It frees Marketing teams from Tech teams dependency (and frees Tech teams too doing something they usually hate!).

And what about qualitative data?

You’re right!

Google Analytics, Mixpanel, Amplitude and others are mainly collecting quantitative data.

In identifying funnel dropouts, quantitative data might no provide enough insights.

Beyond traditional heatmaps, I encourage you to use tools that offer video recordings of what your visitors do on your website.

I often find tremendous insights from using those recordings. You see what your visitors do as you if you were next to them.

  • Hotjar and Inspectlet provide heatmap and full video recordings.
  • Both offer forever free plans but Hotjar offers 300 recordings (vs. 100) and 3 months data storage (vs. 1 month).

Conclusion

Please don’t just implement Google Analytics.

You’re going to miss insights for most of the important questions.

Use tools that help to connect the dots.

From your marketing channels to recurring revenue and with unique visitors behavior & knowledge granularity.

Start with implementing a Tag Manager solution first. It will help you collect people + events + properties data.

Then implement a people-centric analytics solution + a qualitative data tool.

That is the minimum viable stack to be a data-driven startup!

Last but not least, as the aim of this article is to get you up and running about collecting data, I encourage you to add from day 1 your Google Remarketing and Facebook Custom Audience pixels (through your Tag Manager).

You don’t have to start campaigns right way, but you’ll be grateful for that when the time comes.


Need help to apply this to your business?

As a Growth Marketer, I use proven process & methodologies to help businesses grow their revenue.

Data Analytics is essential to measure and repeat success. So implementing those tools is a necessary step.

I’ve been doing analytics implementation and analysis since 2005, so I might be able to help!

Want to tak? +33 6 63 63 51 68 | guillaume@growthcatcher.com

About the author

Guillaume travaille depuis plus de 10 ans dans l’univers du marketing Digital.
Consultant, Directeur Marketing, Co-fondateur d’une starteur puis fondateur de Growth Catcher.
Growth Catcher est une agence basée à Paris spécialisée en marketing B2B.
Elle aide les entreprises à transfomer leur dispositif digital en véritable outil de génération de leads.

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