Every mom thinks their child is just perfect.
There is probably zero chance of you convincing a mother that her kid is ordinary.
It’s kind of the same when it comes to people with products to offer, too. They think their product is great the way it is and thus needs no further improvement or innovation after all.
But I’m here to tell you that a product is only as good as its features.
Advanced features within a product -the everyday polls you post on your Instagram stories, the announcements on App Stores, and Facebook Reels, you name it!- enable users to gain more value as they keep interacting with it, thus come with great importance. And after spending months building a new feature that will grab the user’s attention and offer them great value, it would be disastrous to find out your users are not adopting well enough as much as you thought they would.
Today, I’m here to talk about the notion of feature engagement through a SaaS perspective, ways to measure and track it, and how to increase it for the sake of greater results.
Let’s get started:
What is Feature Engagement?
Feature Engagement is the primary indicator of the numerous ways users engage and interact with the core features you build within your product. It’s a process of observing what becomes valuable for your users over time, which specific features grab their attention and more.
With this, it becomes easier for you to make data-driven decisions regarding your adoption processes and the enhancement of the experience you provide.
Why do you need users to engage with features?
To keep your name remembered, to have customers keep returning to your services, and to create room for mutual interaction that leads to amazing experiences, engagement is the primary thing you will need and require for your product.
Without it, you will not really have what you need to make your product stand out among others and make people hear and spread the word about you.
However, if you make sure that your customers are engaged and are constantly adding value to their overall experience with you, it will become highly likely for them to become long-term and loyal customers instantly.
And what happens next?
As a result of you gaining more loyal clients, your currently growing customer database will expand as the customer churn progressively starts to reduce and new customers come in each day -which soon after results in an increased customer retention rate.
So, as you can see, every factor connects at some point to what we’ve been talking about all along – product feature engagement for your SaaS!
If you’re on the same page with me, let’s now move on to the part where the magic happens.
Measuring and Tracking Feature Engagement
It’s high time we talked about the key metrics to measure this thing we call ”feature engagement’‘ and some great product analytics tools that can also help track product feature usage in real-time.
What product analytics tools can do for you
The most obvious measurement of a feature usage is whether or not anybody is using it – duh. And some tools like Google Analytics, Pendo,and Zoho Analytics are packed with whatever it takes to provide you with a seamless tracking process. Here’s what they offer:
All these smart tools let you examine your active users and monitor their actions and behaviours across your application while making sure user privacy is still on the table.
Segmentation lets you identify your user profiles and lets you understand more about them regarding their fields of interest, their locations, and more.
➡ A/B Testing
A/B Testing allows you to make comparisons between various versions of features so that you can understand what works best and what does not.
Dashboards are amazing when it comes to visualizing data in the most understandable and applicable way, making it easier for you to organize, store, and share data.
➡ Measurement Tools
Measurement tools are highly relevant to your primary goal when you need to evaluate how your users are engaging with each feature within your platform.
Top Product Analytics Tools to Measure Feature Engagement
Put simply, Google Analytics is a free tracking tool offered by Google, and its primary goal is to help you understand and learn from your active users as they interact with your website and monitor their actions with an easy-to-use structure in addition to the advanced features mentioned above – all for free.
With Google Analytics, you’re able to track online traffic and feature usage, better understand user actions, study data reports, and speak to your target audience.
With all this real-time data, it becomes inevitable for you to make enhancements to the features that require it and perfect the ones that are already working smoothly.
And since it’s wildly popular, Google Analytics is able to integrate with a wide range of services and tools such as GitHub, Stack Overflow, Twitter, Youtube, and more.
Zoho Analytics is a self-service tool specialized in reporting and analytics services that let you connect numerous data sources, apps, and more.
This tool, in general, deals with data preparation and management, visual analysis, collaborative analytics, and data storytelling while enabling you to integrate this data from a wide range of sources, including files, databases, web URLs, and business applications.
The visual analysis implementations – a wide variety of charts, widgets, and tables- that come within the tool are great examples of advanced tracking features that help with slicing and dicing data as wished.
Zoho Analytics also integrates with big and popular platforms such as Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and HubSpot.
Pendo is a product management tool that is designed to provide deep insights into user behavior and actions throughout the overall user journey. It helps you improve your onboarding and feature adoption processes with walkthroughs and messaging opportunities. In our case, data analysts can also track the features they wish and monitor product usage across both web and mobile apps.
With this tool, your marketing and product teams can capture and manage any kind of user feature requirements using the tool’s feedback section. This means that you can combine product insights from reliable sources like user interviews, beta testing, and reviews with feature usage analytics to enhance your roadmap planning.
Mixpanel is another efficient tool that enables all sizes of organizations to analyze user actions in a cost-efficient way. Once you get started with it, you’re instantly provided with interactive reports that show which of your newest features and functionalities are used and loved.
By measuring the specific actions taken by people interacting with the application being monitored, this tool manages to take a different approach than most analytics platforms out there. These actions often include uploading an image or streaming a video – anything of that sort that will indicate user activity.
Metrics that measure feature usage
Another critical way to ensure that you’re getting the correct insights on user activity is to track the relevant metrics. This way, you can boost your feature adoption process and help create room for innovation along the way.
Tracking usage metrics helps your product team understand feature usage data and be constantly careful about what’s going on. It can also help you figure out:
- Which product features different user profiles show interest in the most
- How well your product engagement strategies are working
- Overall feature engagement and stickiness
To get these all right, here are some of the key usage metrics that provide a peek into this critical matter:
- Product adoption
- Time to value
- Product usage stickiness
- Number of key user actions per session
- Feature usage
- Customer engagement score
This guide by Amplitude provides great assistance that will let you understand how to implement these key metrics into your feature usage tracking process! Check it out before finding out how to increase feature engagement.
4 Steps to Increase Feature Engagement
Before diving deeper into the steps below, I personally think that:
You probably need a user onboarding tool, like UserGuiding
Almost all the essential steps you’re about to see have an important thing to do with a great onboarding tool and the things it can achieve for you. In this case, that specific onboarding tool is UserGuiding.
Steps number 1, 3, and 4 require you to quickly grab and create beautiful in-app elements like product tours, announcement modals, tooltips, hotspots, surveys, and more. And how exactly will you keep up with all these?
This is where UserGuiding comes to the rescue.
With the help of this amazing onboarding tool, you’ll be able to improve feature usage and adoption – just like that.✨
“How exactly?” you ask
Well, according to a study, 93% of experts think that interactive content is one of the most efficient ways of educating and onboarding new users. And with Userguiding, you can transform this user journey into an interactive experience with ease.
This way, your users will be able to learn the product while ✨experiencing✨ the product. Since there is no coding -of any sort- required, creating these guides, modals, tooltips, and manuals will be effortless for you.
Having said that, let’s now go on with the key steps I’ve gathered for you.
1- Announce Your New Features In-App
When it comes to increasing interaction with your active users, personalized in-app experiences are proven to be super effective and straight to the point. This method is relevant, especially when you wish to visually highlight the features within your product and get direct attention at that moment.
That’s because no matter how smart and amazing features you come up with, they really don’t have any meaning unless your users are aware of them.
You need your users to get familiar with the new and innovative features and see their value as soon as possible. This can happen only if you announce your features the right way.
It would be a bit of an immature approach to expect users to magically happen on new features in your app. On the contrary, if you wish to increase feature engagement, you need to make sure your feature announcements are heard and seen, therefore, you need to make them visible in the app.
Google Analytics knows what I’m talking about:
This in-app announcement example by Google Analytics is easily one of my favorites as it comes with a cool tooltip that explains the feature with key takeaways and provides a quick call to action.
Active users facing these feature announcements do not have to waste time and energy trying to understand a help document and its instructions; instead, they can just click ”See report” to get an instant look and start seeing the value in their app experience right away.
Check out our guide to new feature announcements for specific guidelines on this end.
2- Announce Your New Features with the Right E-mail Campaigns
Another way to make sure you’re killing the feature engagement game is through the help of solid e-mail campaigns.
Coming out with new product features is always something to look forward to.
It takes all the effort in the world to work on them and finally release them. That is why it’s a must for you to develop a smart marketing strategy to speak to your target audience’s needs relevantly and efficiently.
E-mail campaigns, in that sense, can be a clever move to achieve that without putting in everything all at once. And since they pay off quite quickly, it will become more likely for you to hit the jackpot with the constantly increasing sales of your products.
With the efficiency of email announcements, you can notify your audience about the latest features that require the most attention!
Is that it? Just like that?
Try to keep in mind that there are some aspects you should handle with care here. Do not bore your users with endless small talk about how amazing your new features are. Instead, try to be more to the point with your content, and always include:
- The reason why you’re coming up with the new features
- What these features are & what they’re good for
- How exactly they will improve the user journey
You can also add visuals to your announcement emails to make them more engaging. These can include:
- Relatable GIFs
- Screenshots and detailed guidelines
Let’s see a real-life example by Airtable:
Even though Airtable has a lot to offer, it certainly knows when and how to introduce new features in ways that are not overwhelming or boring to the users. Rather than ‘bombarding’ each user with every single feature that’s new, Airtable takes a different turn and releases an engaging newsletter periodically, giving off nostalgic vibes.
While inside the email, users are provided with all the essentials and highlights about the feature with numerous emojis, which make the process more user-friendly and engaging.
3- Add Your New Features to Your User Onboarding from Day 1
Most of the time, feature announcements and user onboarding are so closely tied to each other that separating them would be a deadly mistake.
Adding your new features to your user onboarding flows basically means communicating relevant value with the help of context – of course, at the right time, with the right method.
This approach will enable you to introduce the specific feature right when your users need it most. Consequently, they will be more encouraged and even tempted to give it a try and end their suffering.
Tooltips are just perfect for this, which already makes them a popular secondary onboarding tool.
Here’s an example of Facebook Updates.
Tooltips usually welcome the user right next to the element they’re explaining, draw direct attention to the element, providing relevant directions and information. They can also be programmed with various tools and platforms to appear according to the indications of user behavior.
Calendly also had a problem with its users complaining about multiple people being busy at the same time and not being able to come up with a time when all are free at once.
They decided to announce something they called ”poll feature” and hoped it would fix things, and it works greatly:
They also used an efficient tooltip that appears just at the right time: when the user wishes to send out a meeting invite.
The text they went with is easy to read, understand and follow. And the overall body does a great job drawing attention and offering value of this specific feature instantly.
4- Use Hotspots
Hotspots are another efficient tool you can use to grab the user’s attention while they are interacting with your app as they are used to. Once these hotspots are clicked on, they introduce a walkthrough sequence or more information to welcome them into what you have built and created.
They are amazing when it comes to elevating the whole user experience instantly and seamlessly – with a single pulsing dot- within the onboarding process. In that sense, what they do for you is basically provide clickable, and instant guidance for the key elements – features you’d like to see some engagement on your page.
Here’s how Indicata used a hotspot created with UserGuiding to announce a new feature:
This is a wonderful way to easily start a channel of communication with your users regarding your key features or concepts that you have recently come up with, and offer further information to people who are dying to know.
They do not take any space or block any important part of your UI, which makes them even better when you’re trying to get more attention to the features but avoiding distracting your users who might be in the middle of an app experience at the same time.
They come in handy with numerous personalization options and stylings, as well. They can easily be added next to any element on your webpage and can be triggered when clicked or tapped.
To Sum Up
Feature engagement is key to making sure your users get more value out of your product, boosting your product adoption and retention rates.
Aside from creating helpful and insightful features, you need to make sure you involve your new features in your user flows from Day 1, so each user has a chance to give it a try.
Here are a few more ideas for new feature onboarding ⬅
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you measure feature engagement?
You can easily measure feature engagement by tracking the key metrics on the matter:
- Product Adoption
- Time to value
- Product usage stickiness
- Number of key user actions per session
- Feature usage
- Customer engagement score
What makes a feature engaging?
For a feature to be considered ‘engaging’ there are 4 stages of the feature adoption funnel that users need to go through.
- Exposition: This is the part where users come into contact with one of your features, this part indicates that the feature is now known and seen by the user.
- Activation: This is the part where users decide to give the feature a try.
- Usage: After the testing part, this is where users continue to use the feature.
- Repetition: Finally, this part indicates that the feature is now being used more than once.