Top 9 user onboarding metrics to track - Mixpanel
Top 9 user onboarding metrics
Product Analytics

Top 9 user onboarding metrics

Last edited: Aug 10, 2022
Tristan Jung Editor @ Mixpanel

User onboarding is a critical part of your product’s success. Without an effective and engaging process for welcoming users to your product and getting them to understand how to use it, adding and retaining customers becomes extremely difficult. By the end of the onboarding process, users should understand your product’s value, be on their way to getting started, and have everything they need to continue diving deeper into its functionality. 

Product analytics plays an important role when onboarding users. When designing an onboarding program, collecting metrics on how users interact and behave can inform businesses on what to do (and not do). 

This article will highlight nine of the best metrics to evaluate user onboarding.

Time to value

Time to value measures the time it takes for a user to recognize value in your product. For example, in an online bus ticketing app, the value moment could be purchasing a bus ticket, and the time to value spans from the moment a user opens the app to the final purchase. The lower this time is, the better off your product onboarding will be.

For digital products, it’s easy to demarcate one moment as a complete onboarding experience (clicking a “Submit” button, for example). By tracking the time it takes from opening a product to completion, you can see how well your onboarding process works. The first entry in Mixpanel’s Guide to Product Analytics highlights the importance of value moments and how to find them with product analytics. 

Product adoption success rate

Product adoption is the end result of the user onboarding process. To measure it, you can set up a metric that tracks the user event (or events) in your product that best says, “Viola, we have a new customer.”

If your product has a freemium or free trial model, tracking free-to-paid conversion rate could be a good gauge of product adoption success. In some cases, especially for completely free products, usage milestones (logging in three times a week, etc.) can make sense as signifiers for adoption success. As you make changes to product onboarding and marketing, you can use these adoption success conversion metrics to see how your changes are doing. 

Retention rate

Products succeed faster when they retain users. You can measure retention rate by tracking the number of users who use your product over a given period of time (day, month, year). You can also use product analytics to track retention rates among different cohorts (location, device, etc.) or after certain events. Once you find your appropriate retention rate, you can evaluate how certain aspects of your product onboarding perform. 

Funnel analysis

With product analytics, you can set up funnels to identify when and where users are dropping out of an onboarding process. You can attach funnel events to each button, field, or form that needs to be completed. The metrics to watch are the rates of how often users are getting to step one, step two, completing the funnel, etc. You can also set up different cohorts to find out if specific groups are having issues with a certain section.

Learn more about how to conduct a product funnel analysis here.

Daily or monthly active users 

One of the most common baseline stats for user onboarding is active users for a period of time. Daily active users (DAU) and monthly active users (MAU) are popular forms. These metrics track the number of people using the product and serve as good measures of overall product performance.

By keeping track of the active users, you can observe the top-level changes in user behavior. 

Churn rate

Churn rate measures how often customers are leaving your product. Because onboarding plays an important role in whether users really grasp the value of your product—and, thus, want to return to it—churn rate can be a key metric to watch. 

For example, if you have a mobile food ordering app that has a cumbersome signup or login process, consumers will inevitably drop off and look for easier alternatives. While the user onboarding process isn’t the only decisive factor for churn rate, first impressions do have a large impact on future usage.

Dive deep into churn analytics here

User support request rate

If a user sends a support ticket, something has likely gone wrong. While product designers try hard to lead users in the right direction, there are always going to be some who fall off the path. The goal is to limit this as much as possible, and you can measure success by simply tracking the number of user support tickets or FAQ views related to signup. 

For example, if your self-service loan app has a “call a live representative” option for users who fall out of the process, the number of calls can help indicate how well your onboarding process performs.

Response time

Customers don’t wait around if their problems don’t get fixed. Tracking response times to support tickets and other errors is key to making sure you reduce time to value so that customers complete the onboarding process. This can be broken down into dozens of different areas: time it takes for an error message to appear, responding to customer queries via chatbot, tracking the time it takes for a user to escalate to a live agent, etc. 

Survey responses

Some companies decide to include surveys during or after the onboarding process. While this is more common after customer support interactions, you can also use in-product surveys to measure many different aspects of your product. While data analysts should be careful to monitor for non-response bias, a survey can help your team receive direct feedback from users who are going through the process. This qualitative feedback can be super helpful in getting your users to value moments—and successfully onboarded—even faster.


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