User Adoption: The Wrong Way to Measure the Value of Data Products

The sooner you stop believing this, the better off you will be—if you really want to increase the organizational, economic and human value of your data products.

Stop measuring your product's user adoption by counting things like viewing sessions, time on page, and other analytics.

In fact, simply measuring "adoption" is wrong—with or without analytics.

Analytics about your analytics is either unhelpful, totally misleading, or very incomplete.

"Adoption" is not the goal.

Adoption = usage. Usage itself is not indicative of benefits. Beyond being able to say "at least somebody is using it," analytics on analytics does not give you insight into whether any value has been created for your users. It doesn't tell you why they are using it, their attitudes, or what success means (or meant) to them in that moment. It also doesn't guide you as to what needs to change.

This is especially true if you're data product is used for decision support—where decisions take place in the real world—outside your UI.

Product leaders need to create outcomes and benefits.

Usage of your data product can be either a TAX, BENEFIT or neutral.  Analytics won't tell you which, and will never reveal the attitudes, feelings and mindset of the user.

The thing is, until you go talk to users and observe them using the service, you aren't going know if that 22 mins. dashboard session that Mark in Marketing had last Tuesday was meaningful.

The way to measure the value to Mark is to understand—before you design the solution—"what would be an improvement in Mark's life, job, workflow etc. we would see if this product did it's job?"

When you can answer that, you can then find ways to test it—but it's probably not going to involve simply using analytics.

The best part?

If you can make Mark's life better, it gets a lot easier to figure out how to measure the financial impact your data product is having.

Struggling with these types of challenges in your work? Learn how to work with me.

Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash

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