Smartlook, as a currently rapidly growing Czech SaaS tool for analyzing user behaviour on websites and mobile applications, reached a stage where it needed to optimize and standardize the measurement of its website and the SaaS application itself.
As for any SaaS tool, segmentation and working with churn rate is key. Google Analytics, and especially their new version Google Analytics 4, can provide business-critical information just for analyzing user interaction on each key touchpoint in the app, but also for deciphering the reasons for potential user inactivity.
The key task was to review and improve our measurements in Google Analytics. Another object of working with Archetix was also to support the data thinking of our team and make the most of the systems we already had in place. The main thing for me as a manager was to be able to rely 100 percent on the reported data. At the same time, we needed help from an impartial subject to revise the measurement strategy and set up the measurement.Lukas Mehnert, Marketing Director of Smartlook
Smartlook therefore approached Archetix as a strong analytics partner to take on the challenge.
For a long time, Smartlook has used Google Analytics to capture data about user behaviour. After an initial consultation, it was clear that we would not look for another SaaS analytics tool and would make the most of the Google Analytics features we are experts in.
Since each SaaS solution has its own specifics, it was necessary to first familiarize ourselves with the functioning of the application and its main functions. Based on this, we worked with the in-house analytics and development team to design an extensive data layer that unified all the data and measurements. For a project this large, it is no longer possible to fully trust DOM scraping (i.e. pulling data directly from the loaded page) or to use CSS classes or texts of individual elements. The main reason for this is AJAX-based technologies, where interaction occurs within a single loaded page that changes over time. This is where the use of DOM scraping is unnecessarily demanding and no longer makes sense.
The proposed data layer contains a unified data structure for most of the interactions within the application, which functions as a Single Page Application (SPA). Single Page Application measurement always has its own specifics and needs to be kept in mind during implementations. Key data from the data layer is then sent to analytics tools and advertising systems via Google Tag Manager. Segments are then created in the ad system for ad campaigns and mailings, the accuracy of which is crucial for a SaaS business.
A major challenge for ongoing projects is to maintain continuity in data collected before and after major measurement adjustments. In our experience, after a professional technical and analytical audit, we often uncover pain points that can fundamentally change the data collected. Most often these are visits from development environments, missing virtual pageview for Single Page Application as well as inconsistencies in working with custom dimensions or metrics.
At the same time, we often initiate with clients the introduction of careful documentation for technical and managerial purposes and tightening the rules for marking links using UTM parameters.
As part of the project for Smartlook, we audited, reviewed and set up Google Analytics measurement for SaaS and SPA. As a result, the marketing team and management can rely on the data collected from the application.
We have expanded the number of interactions that are collected in SaaS analytics solutions to include the following interactions:
- User login – demo and first login
- Package selection and purchase
- Updating profile or project
- Using new features
- Using parts of the application
- Tracking errors caused by user interaction
- Measuring first and recurring package purchases
Thanks to this data, the product team is able to clearly identify active (engaged) and inactive users and implement marketing and business communication accordingly. At the same time, it allows to prioritize areas of development of individual parts of the application according to popularity or error rate.
Furthermore, we have extended the collected metadata using custom dimensions to include data collected and linked from the CRM system, which allows us to differentiate user behaviour by role, segment or package type and again use this data further. It is therefore possible to evaluate the behaviour of key users and their segments.
For SaaS solutions and subsequent analytics, it is interesting not only to use events to measure the main interactions but also to use custom metrics – for example, for the number of projects created or other application features. In this way, a simple view for key traffic sources can show how they bring active users (e.g. you can see if organic traffic can bring more active users than social media campaigns).
Google Analytics as a full-featured tool
The collaboration with Smartlook has shown that Google Analytics (and especially their new version Google Analytics 4) can be a full-fledged analytical tool for SaaS applications and projects. Especially in conjunction with a CRM database of customers, far better business results can be achieved than without knowing their interaction in the application.
At the same time, with appropriately documented measurement, the marketing team, which is usually familiar with Google Analytics, is able to react flexibly to user behaviour and adapt its marketing communication to it.
Lukas Mehnert adds to the collaboration:
We are extremely satisfied with the solution that Archetix delivered to us in a short period of time. I most appreciate the outputs from the initial audit, which gave us additional insight into the data from the SaaS application in Google Analytics. It was also great to be able to outsource this service and use the already stretched capacity and experience of our team to develop the product. We look forward to continuing to work with them in the future, as it is clear to us that keeping up to date with current trends is key in the dynamic world of web analytics.
Are you launching a new SaaS application and a future unicorn? Or do you need help implementing analytics into an existing SaaS project?
Let us know and we’ll make sure your analytics are set up perfectly – just like at Smartlook.