What is people actually doing in your product?

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Use feature audits to find out how people is actually using your product

Hello friends! Today I wanted to share a simple method I heard on the Inside Intercom Podcast to understand what people is currently doing in your product. This article appeared first on my weekly newsletter 👉 Click here to subscribe.

As the time passes, products grow and evolve due to the new features that engineering teams add to it. These new features are built with the idea that they will be well received by our customers. At least, one would hope! 😄

Maybe the initial success you had after your MVP made you believe that you could do lots more and decided to build a set of features (calendar, messenger, etc) that are barely used.

Are all the features of your product actually used by your users?

Of course they are not. Before adding extra features to your product I would take a look at how is people actually using my product. To do so, I will introduce an easy exercise called feature audits.

You could run a few SQL queries or use a an analytics product like Mixpanel or Amplitude to collect this data and then do a feature audit by plotting out all your features on two axes:

  1. Number of people that use the feature →.
  2. And how often is the feature used ↑.
feature audit 1

Plot your features in a chart with two axis Exclude admin features like account creation or password reset as they are not relevant for this exercise.

The features that appear on the top right are the ones that everyone uses all the time. That is the core value of your product. That is what people is actually using your product for.

The features that appear on the top left are the ones with poor adoption. Those are features that a small amount of people is using all the time.

Another way to think about this is: What percentage of your customers have adopted each feature? To illustrate this you only need a simple bar chart.

feature audit 1

A dream product has features that are frequently used by a broad section of your users. That is the product we all think we are creating when mocking up prototypes.

The messy reality is that you probably have a couple of features that everyone uses. Another couple are a ghost town. And the vast majority falling somewhere in between.

What should you do next?

For any given feature with limited adoption, you have four choices:

  1. Kill it - Admit defeat and start removing them from your product.
  2. Increase the adoption rate - Find a way to get more people to use it.
  3. Get people to use the feature more often.
  4. Deliberately improve it – Make it quantifiably better for those who do use it.

I will go into these specific topics in future issues of this newsletter. We will look at things like how to increase product engagement, how to improve distribution an how to optimise products iteratively using our customer’s input as the compass for feature prioritisation and product development.

Thanks for reading,

📺 Here is the link to the podcast episode.

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