The Missing Q in Free Trial Conversions

Evergage Blog

Ideas and Strategies for Real-Time Personalization

June 15, 2014 by

 

 

Insight into your Website

If you’ve spent any time thinking, reading and hacking around with web analytics, then you’ve probably heard the name Avinash Kaushik.  The Digital Marketing Evangelist for Google has 2 books out and one concept you’ll come away with from his materials is the need for both quantitative and qualitative data when it comes to measuring your website’s ability to accomplish it’s purpose.

The quantitative analytics part of Kaushik’s recommendation is a “no brainer.”  You want- no, need stats for your web properties.  Tools pop up everyday to measure click through rates and conversion rates.

It’s the qualitative, human part of actually asking your visitors for their input that catches people by surprise. It’s easy to add a tracking script to a website, but crafting a visitor survey mechanism seems so removed from bottom line results that it’s often overlooked.  Adding this human side to the raw web stats completes the picture.

 

Insight into your Service's Free Trial

The problem is that as soon as a visitor registers for a free trial, it’s the exact opposite situation.  Many companies rely primarily on qualitative information: surveys, anectodotes, and if your service is priced sufficiently high enough to justify paying for them, you might have specialists who help customers with adoption. 

But wait! What about those swanky reporting tools we used pre-registration?  They tend not to be that useful for measuring in-application behavior and per-customer engagement of an application.  So instead of deep quantitative insight, many SAAS services fall back to excel spreadsheets comparing high level data.  I once saw a free trial program measured like this for a given month:

 

While the numbers are changed, you can see the general flaw of comparing the freemium with total sales as if it were the only channel (it’s often not the case) and not looking at the data over time, by cohorts.

 

The missing Q

But the even bigger issue is the missed opportunity to understand free trial behavior, customer engagement, more deeply and act on that understanding to improve conversion to paid.  

Free trials can be amazing and amazingly frustrating.  The difference between the two can result in a 300% increase in conversions year over year.  It’s hiding from you, right under the ‘other Q’ of quantitative data about your free trials.

It’s time to get serious about your free trial data:

  • Who exactly is using your service?
  • What features are they trying out ... or not?  
  • How should you prioritize your outreach?
  • How does their behavior compare to the behavior of those who end up leaving or end up paying?
  • How can you incent the right behavior?

At Apptegic we’re obsessed with these and hundreds of additional questions about how users are and are not making the most out of a free trial, and your paid service.  We’ve ditched the decade old stats in favor of actionable customer engagement data.

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