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Knowledge Base    

SaaS Essentials

Introduction

Welcome to Kissmetrics! This handy guide will help you get started by showing you what we think are the best practice essentials for tracking SaaS data. We are a SaaS business, and we want to help other SaaS businesses become successful by using customer analytics. Before you start tracking customer data with Kissmetrics, it’s important to think about what you need to know about your customers so that you can provide a better experience for them.

A SaaS business wants to move customers through five major stages in their lifecycle:

Acquisition - the customer arrives from various channels
Activation - the customer signs up AND engages with the service
Retention & Engagement - the customer comes back to use your service
Referral - the customer refers others
Revenue - the customer pays you or conducts monetization behavior

Here’s our recommended best practices for events and properties to get started on tracking data for SaaS businesses.

🚧

Note

Every SaaS business is unique, and your event and property name choices are up to you. Use this as a barebones guideline for your own business and change your events and properties as needed for your particular processes, market, or industry. Have some fun naming your events and properties too while you’re at it.

This guide will use the following format: Example Recommended Event When to trigger the event and any other contextual information

  • Recommended property to set at the same time an event triggers
  • Recommended property to set at the same time an event triggers
  • Etc.

Tracking Acquisition Behavior

Kissmetrics automatically tracks all of these marketing events and properties for you!

Visited Site

Triggered when a customer visits your site. We record Visited Site once for each visitor’s browsing session. After 30 minutes of inactivity, the next time the visitor comes back will trigger a new Visited Site event, and they will also have the Returning Property set to 1.

  • Referrer indicates the URL the visitor came from.
  • URL indicates the landing URL when a customer arrived on your website.

Ad Campaign Hit

Triggered when a customer reaches your site via a Google Ad Campaign (eg. paid search). We detect this by checking the URL for ?gclid or ?utm_ parameters, which indicate a URL tagged for ad purposes. Any of the utm variables shown below will be captured as Properties, if they are present in the URL.

Please refer to our article regarding Google Analytics to determine whether the utm variables are available or not:

  • Campaign Source
  • Campaign Medium
  • Campaign Terms
  • Campaign Content
  • Campaign Name

Search Engine Hit

Triggered when a customer reaches your site via a search engine, through organic search.

  • Search Engine indicates which search engine was used.
  • Search Terms indicates the search terms used.

Tracking Activation Behavior

Signed Up

Triggered when a customer signs up for an account.

  • Customer ID indicates the email address or username the customer entered upon sign up.
    Note: Rather than passing Customer ID as a property, you should use the identify API command before triggering Signed Up to indicate the new Customer ID.
  • Plan Name indicates the starting plan for the user e.g. ‘free’, ‘trial’ etc.
  • Referral Code indicates the referral code used by the customer if they were invited by another existing customer.

Subscribed to

Triggered when a customer subscribes to anything content-related for your business (Newsletter/Blog/RSS/Widget/Whitepaper/Webinar)

Customer ID indicates the email address or username the customer entered upon sign up.

Note: Rather than passing Customer ID as a property, you should use the identify API command to indicate the new Customer ID.

Activated Account / Used Core Feature #1 / (Your Definition of Active)

Triggered when customers activate your service, do their first action with the app/service, or do something that makes them “active”. Activation is a loose term that you must define. What’s the minimum behavior that makes you consider a user “active”? Examples of Activation Events:

  • Customer must install something
  • Customer must complete profile
  • Customer must publish a post
  • Customer must invite other friends
  • Customer must connect with Facebook/Twitter
  • Customer must play a game

Tracking Retention and Engagement Behavior

Used Core Feature #1/ #2 / #3 / Etc.

Triggered when a customer uses any core feature of your app or service. These are your essential events that define what your business does. Think of your business’ main features that you would want to track so that you can measure engagement rates and what to improve next. We can’t tell you exactly what to track because each different SaaS business is unique, but here are some examples of events to give you an idea of what we mean by “Used Core Feature”.

Example: SaaS Survey Tool

  • Created Survey
  • Ended Survey
  • Received Survey Response
  • Analyzed Survey Results
  • Shared Survey Link

Example: SaaS Website Builder

  • Created Website
  • Picked Website Theme
  • Added Custom Domain
  • Viewed Site Statistics

Your goal is to track every action a customer could perform so that you have a complete picture of what your customers are doing. If your subscription, app, or service is simple, you may only have a few events to track. On the flipside, if your business is complex, you may have to set up more events in order to capture your customer’s activities.

Clicked Through Email

Triggered when a customer clicks a link from a newsletter, marketing campaign, or product announcement. We detect this by checking the URL for ?gclid or ?utm_ parameters, which indicate a URL tagged for ad purposes. Any of the utm variables shown below will be captured as Properties, if they are present in the URL. Please refer to our article regarding Google Analytics to determine whether the utm variables are available or not:

  • Campaign Source
  • Campaign Medium
  • Campaign Terms
  • Campaign Content
  • Campaign Name

Subscription Upgraded

Triggered when a customer upgrades to start paying you more money.

  • Subscription Billing Amount: Numeric. The new amount that the customer is paying. You do not need to include the currency symbol.
  • Subscription Billing Length: Numeric. Indicates in months how frequently. Fractional months are accepted too.
  • Subscription Plan Level: Text. Describes the new plan the person is on.
KM.identify( <Joe's Identity> );
KM.record('Subscription Upgraded', {
  'Subscription Billing Amount' => 100,
  'Subscription Billing Length' => 1,
  'Subscription Plan Level' => 'Medium' });

Subscription Downgraded

Triggered when a customer downgrades to start paying you less money.

  • Subscription Billing Amount: Numeric. The new amount that the customer is paying. You do not need to include the currency symbol.
  • Subscription Billing Length: Numeric. Indicates in months how frequently . Fractional months are accepted too.
  • Subscription Plan Level: Text. Describes the new plan the person is on.
KM.identify( <Joe's Identity> );
KM.record('Subscription Downgraded', {
  'Subscription Billing Amount' => 50,
  'Subscription Billing Length' => 1,
  'Subscription Plan Level' => 'Small' });

Ended Trial (if you have a trial period)

Triggered when a customer ends their trial, if your business has a trial offer.

  • Trial Description indicates the trial description such as 14 day trial, 30 day trial, or Pro Level trial.

Tracking Referral Behavior

Invited / Referred Friend (or any Social Actions)

Triggered when a customer refers a friend or invites them to subscribe or sign up through a social channel. Applicable only if your business has referrals or social sharing.

  • Referral Recipient indicates the email address, name, or any other identifying information of the person receiving the referral.

Tracking Revenue Behavior

Subscription Billed

  • Subscription Billed: Triggered when a customer is successfully billed for their payment.
  • Subscription Billing Amount: Numeric. The amount that the customer paid. You do not need to include the currency symbol.
  • Subscription Billing Length: Numeric. Indicates in months how frequently . Fractional months are accepted too.
  • Subscription Plan Level: Text. Describes what plan the person is on.
# Example 1
KM.identify( <Joe's Identity> );
KM.record('Subscription Billed', {
  'Subscription Billing Amount' => 50,
  'Subscription Billing Length' => 1,
  'Subscription Plan Level' => 'Small' });
# Example 2
KM.identify( <Ted's Identity> );
KM.record('Subscription Billed', {
  'Subscription Billing Amount' => 1200,
  'Subscription Billing Length' => 12,
  'Subscription Plan Level' => 'Large' });

Subscription Canceled

Triggered when a customer cancels their plan and stops paying you.

  • Subscription Cancelation Reason: Text. Describes why the customer canceled.
# Example
KM.identify( <Joe's Identity> );
KM.record('Subscription Canceled', {
          'Subscription Cancelation Reason' => 'No Budget' });

What’s Next?

After you have your events and properties tracking, the first thing you should do is create a Report. Reports help you see which areas of your business you need to improve, by visualizing the events and property data you’ve just set up. A good place to start is with our Funnel Reports.

Updated 5 months ago

SaaS Essentials


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