Minimum Viable Analytics: Don't Overbuild Your Stack
Let’s be real, if you can’t efficiently track, consume, and discover actionable data in your analytics reports, then what’s the point of tracking?
Ideally, we’d all love to have the engineering team and capabilities of a company like Uber or Dropbox, but for the startups amongst us, we need to be more practical. A massive analytic stack as a starting point is too much too soon. At the same time, as a startup, you want to ensure that whatever you deploy can scale/integrate as your product base grows.
Enter minimum viable analytics (MVA) or, as some say, “lean analytics.”
Akin to a minimum viable product (MVP), MVA focuses on getting to the “just enough” point. When it comes to analytics, though, minimally viable means building your tracking framework to provide just enough information for your team right now and enough data to provide feedback as you continue to develop.
For the early-stage startup, step one is remembering not to overbuild your analytics stack — it seems tempting, but trust us, MVA is the way to start.
Align Your MVA Stack With Your Goals
The key to minimum viable analytics is to marry the minimal with the viable. Teams often sacrifice one for the other in an effort to be ‘data-driven,’ resulting in either incomplete or bloated analytic stacks.
It is understandable when devs and newbies get excited about all the potential data they can encounter and glean insights from. However, your touchstone should always be: why do we need analytics? Tracking the right things to make the right decisions for users is the best way to become action-oriented with your data.
Prioritizing the data to collect is often the most significant challenge. Some things to consider when paring down your data to the minimum and the viable are:
- Clearly define your business goals. Once you have clearly defined goals, you can optimize accordingly; just remember that your goals may change at different stages.
- Identify the product metrics to support your business goals. For example, right now, your priority might be product market fit. That means the metrics you use will measure the in-product experience of your ICP. In order for data to be actionable, you need to know exactly what you are looking for and measuring.
- Remain flexible. Minimum viability means focusing on our goals today but not getting locked into processes and measurement methods that may not scale or change with you.
- Communicate and iterate. Once you have the metrics defined, communicate on a regular basis with your stakeholders and remain prepared to iterate on your metrics.
Find an Early Win, Then Expand
Sometimes it takes the experts to help us understand where to start with our analytics. Milan Thakor, the director of products at Cold Start, and Mapolo Buessing, former director of product at Osmind, sat down with our very own Steven Fitzsimmons, co-founder & CEO of Freshpaint. Together, they spoke about tips and tricks to measure product success.
Mapolo suggests finding an early and easy win to build momentum (something he’s used Freshpaint to help achieve) Get insights into customer events – things like “hey, they’re writing notes, they’re scheduling appointments.” While these are just very surface, high-level information, they provide a signal of what’s essential and where you should focus your product development team next.
Lean analytics help you understand
- where you can double down on user action,
- what users care about the most,
- and when it is time to build new shiny features.
Building an MVA Stack With Freshpaint
Freshpaint helps companies save dev time and set up their MVA by autotracking user actions without the need to write code. Freshpaint is future-proof because of its hybrid approach: the ability to precision track server side and other events as your analytics stack matures.
An added benefit to Freshpaint is if you need to be HIPAA compliant. Signing 1 BAA (business associate agreement) with Freshpaint saves the time and money of signing a BAA with every vendor in your tech stack - because Freshpaint can pass along anonymized data.
For startups and the data curious looking to get started with an MVA stack solution, Freshpaint’s Customer Data Platform (CDP) provides you with the essential information about your users and allows you to integrate numerous analytics and marketing tools in a single place.
Freshpaint captures user actions on your site and sends that data to hundreds of business tools. This helps you get product insights faster, make data-driven decisions, and offer excellent customer experiences.
Freshpaint helps companies scale by building the data infrastructure so:
- Engineers can focus on core product tasks
- Product managers make informed decisions
- Marketing teams can deliver timely touchpoints
While many to most analytics tools require you to write code whenever you want to collect a new piece of data, Freshpaint is ideal for teams with limited ability to manage and control their data. With Freshpaint, you can instrument your site without ever writing a single line of code. Freshpaint, once installed, automatically captures pageviews and every click and form submission.