6 User Activation Metrics You Need to Track


Onboarding is a crucial stage in the lifecycle of any SaaS product. For B2B SaaS platforms, ensuring that new users transition smoothly can significantly impact user retention and product success. By understanding and monitoring the right metrics, product owners and managers can gain insights into the user experience and refine their onboarding processes.

User activation metrics specifically highlight the actions and behaviors of users as they become familiar with a platform. From understanding how quickly users find value in the product to gauging their interaction with key features, these metrics provide valuable data. For anyone keen on enhancing their B2B SaaS offering, focusing on these metrics can be the key to long-term user engagement and product growth.

Let’s look at 6 User Activation Metrics you should track to make sure your user retention is high.

1— Time to First Value (TTFV)

TTFV represents the duration between a user signing up and achieving their first significant action with the product.

Calculation: Subtract the timestamp of the user’s first significant action from their sign-up timestamp.

For instance, in a CRM tool, the TTFV could be the time between sign-up and when the user adds their first contact or logs their first interaction.

In the world of SaaS, where competition is rife, users have a multitude of choices. If they don’t see value quickly, they might just move to a competing platform. When users can extract value from a product promptly, they develop an early trust in the product’s capability. This can lead to longer-term commitment, which is gold for subscription-based models.

A prolonged TTFV might signal barriers to usability or comprehension. Users could get frustrated if they have to navigate a labyrinthine interface or leap through hoops to realize value. This can lead to higher churn rates as users may opt for simpler, more intuitive alternatives.

2— Activation Rate

Activation Rate is the proportion of new users who perform a predetermined essential action that indicates they’re actively using the software. A healthy activation rate shows that users understand the product’s core value and have begun their journey.

Calculation: (Number of users completing the essential action / Total new users) x 100.

For a cloud-based document editor, this essential action might be when a user creates or edits their first document. If 300 out of 1,000 new users do this, the activation rate is 30%.

However, the desired “activation” action can vary across products. For a CRM tool, activation might be the addition of a certain number of contacts, while for a collaborative workspace, it might be the creation of a team or workspace.

If only 10% of those who sign up for a CRM tool actually add contacts, there’s a significant gap that needs addressing. This could be a result of unclear onboarding instructions, software bugs, or a disconnect in communicating the product’s primary value.

3— Conversion from Trial to Paid

This metric examines how many users transition from a trial version of the software to a paid subscription, indicating they see enough value to invest.

Calculation: (Number of users who convert to paid status / Total number of trial users in the same period) x 100.

For example, in a data analytics SaaS offering a 14-day free trial, if 120 out of 500 trial users shift to a paid plan, the conversion rate is 24%.

If a significant percentage of trial users find enough value in your product to start paying for it, it’s a strong indicator that your product’s core features are compelling.

The duration of a trial can impact the conversion rate. Too short, and users might feel rushed, unable to explore all features. Too long, and users might delay the decision to upgrade.

It’s crucial to identify and reduce any barriers that exist during the transition. This could be in the form of complex pricing structures, unclear value propositions, or technical hitches.

4— Feedback and Support Tickets

Feedback and Support Tickets refer to the number of queries or feedback entries new users submit during their initial usage period.

An increase in tickets might highlight areas of confusion or specific product issues, necessitating a closer look at onboarding steps or feature usability. If, for instance, a week sees 100 tickets related to a singular feature, it signals a need to revisit that feature’s instructions or design.

Calculation: Simply count the number of tickets or feedback submissions from new users during a specified timeframe, such as their first week or month.

5— Feature Adoption

Beyond the main value proposition, SaaS products often boast an array of features designed to enhance the user experience. However, not all features are embraced equally. By closely observing feature adoption rates, businesses can discern which tools are genuinely aiding users and which might be causing confusion or are deemed unnecessary.

Calculation: (Number of users who engage with a specific feature / Total number of active users) x 100.

For a project management software, while task assignment might be universally used, features like Gantt charts or time-tracking might see varied adoption. A consistently low adoption rate for a particular feature is a clarion call for introspection. It could be a usability issue, lack of awareness, or maybe the feature just isn’t as useful as initially presumed.

6— Onboarding Completion Rate

The Onboarding Completion Rate determines the percentage of new users who successfully complete the entire onboarding process, ensuring they have been introduced to the primary features and functions of the software.

Calculation: (Number of users who complete the entire onboarding process / Total number of new users) x 100.

Imagine a sales automation tool with a guided tour and a series of onboarding tasks, like importing contacts, setting up an email campaign, and scheduling a follow-up. If 450 out of 1,000 new users go through all these steps, the onboarding completion rate is 45%. A high onboarding completion rate generally suggests that new users are finding the process helpful and easy to navigate, which sets a positive tone for their continued use of the software.

Final thoughts

While metrics and data are pivotal for understanding your users and shaping your SaaS platform, the true magic lies in the execution of this knowledge. It’s one thing to know where the gaps are, but filling those gaps with impactful solutions is what propels a company forward.

Reflect on this: What does success look like for your users? It isn’t just about starting strong; it’s about maintaining that momentum, ensuring every user interaction adds value and keeps them anchored to your product.

This is where a partnership with Inturact can be transformative. Specializing in curating impeccable onboarding experiences, Inturact is well-versed in the nuances of B2B SaaS ecosystems.

Recognizing that each company has a distinct narrative and requirements, we pride ourselves on our adaptive and personalized strategies. Our goal? To not just introduce your users to your product but to ensure they become its most fervent champions.

If you’re envisioning a future where users don’t just sign up but stay, grow, and advocate for your solution, then perhaps it’s time for a chat.

Growth isn’t solely about numbers—it’s about narratives, experiences, and journeys. And with Inturact by your side, you’re well on your way to crafting a success story that stands the test of time.

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