A user activation rate shows you the percentage of users who have discovered the actual value of your product and use it to its full potential.
A user is fully activated when he or she completes the product milestones and uses the key product features relevant to a given persona. Achieving these activation milestones gives users tangible results - they realize the value of using your SaaS product and are likely to be loyal customers with high lifetime value.
As you can see, the user activation metric directly affects company revenue and should be seen as one of the key KPIs SaaS companies need to track.
Tracking the user activation metric is especially important for SaaS businesses with freemium plans, as fully activated users are most likely to be converted to paying customers. Keeping a close eye on activation metrics of individual accounts and the overall user activation rate gives SaaS companies more control over their revenue stream.
Tracking the metrics also helps them increase the lifetime value of paying customers - just like activated users are more likely to upgrade to a paid plan, activated customers are more likely to convert to higher pricing plans.
This is a great question. These two KPIs may be confusing if you're new to the field.
Both user activation and user engagement metrics strongly correlate with a company's growth. They both help gauge the health of your user base and how well your app does.
While user engagement is an overtime metric that tells how often users use the product, the user activation metric tells you how far down a user journey they are.
User activation is particularly important at the early stage of a user journey when a user is onboarding. Seeing what activation steps has a user completed and which hasn't will allow your customer success team to know when to reach out to offer help. (Of course, you keep measuring it once a user becomes a customer. You want to nurture them so they upgrade to a higher pricing plan.)
On the other hand, the user engagement score is an overtime metric that you use. The metric surfaces accounts that are ready to upsell or are at risk of churn. The metric also helps you identify your potential brand ambassadors and reach out to them for social proof.
The answer to this question will depend on the type of service you offer, your product's features and functionalities, and how you expect your customers to use it.
To measure user activation, you need to know your company's personas* really well. How come? You'll be tracking the activation milestones that your users need to complete to get their jobs done and get the true value of your offer.
The milestones are very much persona-related. The more in-depth your understanding of your personas is, the more effective you'll be when deciding which events to track.
Consider a scenario:
Imagine you develop an SEO tool. Sue, your app user, is a content marketer who needs to create high-ranking content for websites. Being familiar with what jobs-to-be-done her work entails, you know that to fully get the value of the tool, Sue will have to:
By performing all the actions with your tool, Sue achieves milestones and becomes more and more activated as a user.
To track Sue's user activation, you'd have to define and track all the in-app events that have to take place for Sue to appreciate the value of your product.
To calculate the user activation rate: divide the number of users who have reached an activation point (completed all the milestones connected with the activation) by the total number of registered users. Then, multiply the number by 100:
the number of activated users: the number of all registered users x 100 = user activation rate
The metric will be more actionable for you if you divide users into cohorts - each cohort representing a different persona.
By comparing the activation of every cohort, you'll better understand your user base and know which type of customers requires your attention most. You'll be able to work with activation strategies and increase the activation rates.
* If you don’t have user personas defined, check out our User persona survey template.
First of all, be preventive:
If you already face low user activation rates:
In-app analytics tools give you plenty of data to analyze. Yet, quantitative data is not always enough. If you suffer from low activation rates, sending a survey and encouraging feedback is best.
There are two ways you can go about collecting feedback:
We recommend short Likert-scale rating surveys like CSAT surveys collecting customer satisfaction rates (with additional feedback) or CES surveys assessing the difficulty of a given user flow.
On top of having the micro surveys pop up in your app, you can send users a short yet comprehensive survey. Before sending one, brainstorm possible reasons for the lack of user activation and phrase them as hypotheses you're going to test with the survey.
Feel free to use the user activation survey template above - use it as it is, or get inspired by it and tweak it.
Using Survicate's survey templates is pretty straightforward. The setup takes no time:
1. Click the "Send this survey for free" button above and sign up with your business email. You're signing up for a free account. There are no strings attached!)
2. Edit the survey.
Change the survey background (upload your background photo, or use the Unsplash library) and colors to match your brands. If needed, remove our branding and use your logo (It's a paid feature.)
Use the survey template or edit the survey questions according to your needs. Play with the settings - use a skip-logic feature to make the questions flow more naturally, edit microcopy, etc.
3. Optionally, configure the survey by selecting a distribution tool, setting response limits, and a timeframe for the campaign.
4. Add integrations.
Survicate's integrations include:
Connect them before running your user activation campaign to stay up-to-date about the responses, consolidate product data with user feedback, or be able to enhance CRM user data with the responses from the campaigns.
5. Distribute the survey.
The user activation survey template is a link/email survey template. To distribute it as a link, copy the link to the survey generated by the tool and share it using your CRM or marketing automation tool.
You can make the survey appear in an email body, which we highly recommend as it boosts the response rates! To do that, use the code Survicate generates for you and embed it in the email body using an email automation tool. (Survicate guides you through the process step by step - you don't need any coding skills.)
6. Analyze the feedback and close the feedback loop.
To analyze the feedback, access the survey report in Survicate's panel. You'll find the survey statistics, the response breakdown, as well as a word cloud showing the predominant topics the respondents referred to in the survey.
Feel free to give the template above a try. And... happy learning! 🚀