With the increasing emphasis on data-driven product optimization, choosing an appropriate analytics platform has never been more important. At Fitbots, we overemphasize product optimization, but our core need is a suitable platform that gives us data insights at ease, but with precise accuracy. Amplitude visibly stood out as a perfect match to our needs.
With Amplitude, we can undoubtedly say that integrating data analytics into the product for features of varying complexities has never been easier than now.
(Note: Here, we'll use Google Analytics, a widely known analytics tool for comparison.)
If analytics is the only ask, then GA will do just fine to monitor some high-level numbers for your website or app, like active users, etc. If you have a simple conversion funnel, for example, e-Commerce stores, GA would be a great choice in that scenario too.
However, in order to assess if Amplitude is ahead of the game… Here are a few boxes that were checked off:
1. Product complexity and multiple possible ways for user interaction.
2. Frequent product changes and the associated need for specific data capturing.
3. Product is highly data-driven and has a high level of detailing introduced in it.
4. If we want to track the behavioral drivers contributing to revenue or any other metric instead of the metric itself, which is overly complex and keeps branching as the product grows.
There are were other key points that motivated us to go for Amplitude:
1. The Amplitude model of unlimited events. This comes in handy while experimenting and figuring out the behavioral patterns of users across our product before we can start getting any actionable data out of it.
2. In-Built support for complex funnel analysis to capture various user journeys.
3. Highly customizable user segmentation.
4. Above and beyond support for various tech stacks and the ease of implementation, all it takes to register an event is an API call with no configuration at all and no SDK nightmares.
5. Ability to transfer our data from any other analytics tool directly into Amplitude
Wondering how one would go about registering events in Amplitude? There are primarily two ways to get data onto the platform.
When migrating onto a new platform, data-transfer compatibility issues often arise,
be it for completely migrating onto the new software or using it in tandem with the existing ones to boost efficiency. Even if any organization wants to try out the new tools they find it almost impossible to do so with the existing data that they have at hand in other legacy software. So to tackle this issue, Amplitude provides a wide range of data importing capabilities from many platforms like that.
Some of the platforms that Amplitude supports are:
According to current stats, most of the businesses that are doing some sort of data tracking in the industry, are doing it for the first time. This means they don’t have the data with them, therefore data will be collected from the users using their services.
The most common type of data tracking is Event-driven in which a data point is saved with a bunch of information on some action that the user performs on the platform.
Now there were two approaches available for us:
a) Using technology-specific SDKs
b) HTTP API driven
We decided to go for HTTP API, mainly because the implementation is way faster than SDKs and we wanted to have the liberty of registering events into Amplitude from anywhere in our tech stack – front-end, back-end, and in some scenarios, even from Cloud while maintaining consistency in the implementation. Maintaining an API call and keeping up with the updates can be done with minimal effort.
We took a slightly different approach wherein, instead of calling the Amplitude API right from the front end, we decided to take it to the back end. This decision was taken primarily due to these reasons:
They have detailed Documentation on how to use the HTTP API.
Some hiccups arose at the beginning like data not being populated inside Amplitude in some predefined fields while implementing the API. Please refer to this Documentation to get around some of the common issues.
Collecting data from sources is only one part of the whole process. There is also a need to have an efficient way to analyze that data and derive some insights from it to steer the product.
This is where Amplitude shines the most since it already has a lot of preconfigured data segmentation and configurations. Some examples are - Funnel, User Sessions, Segmentation, Life Cycle, and many more.
Let's take the example of Life Cycle.
A Life-Cycle analysis breaks out your active users into new, current, and resurrected categories, alongside offering a count of your churned users.
These properties are based on the predefined parameters that we provide while calling the API. We can plot charts based on the custom data that we send in the Payload. They also provide a feature for configuring custom formulas, which gives us Excel-like freedom and the ability to transform and visualize our data as we wish.
We can compare the current data with historical data right there on the same chart with different kinds of charting like stacked, pie, histogram, etc.
We faced various challenges regarding the feature usage, their usage frequency, what features were not being used at all, and most importantly the user behavior throughout the platform.
Amplitude was the solution to all these challenges. One such use case (where we modified our product based on the analytics data) was when we had to decide what the default states of the features in our product would be.
Which data-display type did users prefer - tabular or separate card view? What we speculated in the initial release was to go with one method as default. Looking at the data helped us realize that there is no one majorly preferred method, therefore, we changed our model to a preference-based setup. Where we save the data in cookies on how a user wants to view the UI of a particular page, the UI will be displayed accordingly based on the saved data the next time a user visits that page.
Finally, considering all the features and functionalities that Amplitude gives us, aside from the ease with which we can analyze our data, makes it a very promising choice over any other product out there – especially for a high-growth team with limited bandwidth.
Vaibhav Chauhan is a product engineer at Fitbots. He is a Product-oriented developer and loves all things tech.
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