Successfully Measuring Your Software Business

Web analytics packages are a great way to measure site activity and discover how your users are interacting with your website.  However, as a software publisher, metrics that are relevant to you are not necessarily unique pageviews and time spent on site.  These metrics may be pertinent but do not provide a complete picture of user activity.

What metrics are important?

As many of us know, no one buys software sight unseen.  Users expect an introduction into the software before they buy.  What metrics are important are dependent on the model you use.  Here are the three most common selling models:

  • Trial – In the trial model, users are allowed to use a fully functional or partially functional version of the software for a limited time.  The most common trial time frames are usually 14-day and 30-day trials.  This gives the user enough time to evaluate the software and decide if they want to buy a fully functional version.  As a software publisher, try testing out different time frames to see what yields the highest number of sales.
  • Freemium – In the freemium model, users are provided a fully operational version of the software but are required to pay for advanced features.  The software has no trial time frame. 
  • Hook – This model is heavily used by computer utilities publishers.  In the hook model, the software scans a user’s system and provides a custom evaluation and proposes changes.  To execute the proposed changes, the user then is required to buy the software.

As you pitch a user your software using one of the above-mentioned selling methods, there are certain metrics you should be sure you are measuring:

  • Download Rate: The download rate is the number of users that enter your website and download your software.  This is also sometimes known as “Click-to-Download”. This rate is important because it indicates how successful your messaging is positioned on your site to encourage users to download the software.  Here a software marketer can test different creative to see what gets users to download products more frequently.
  • Install Rate: Once the user downloads the product, we have to measure the number of install sessions that were actually completed.  This helps software publishers discover bugs in the installation procedure and determine the effectiveness of the installation process.
  • Cart Hit Rate: The cart hit rate determines the number of individuals who are expressing their interest in proceeding to buy your software.  It is measured by dividing the number of users that reached the first step of the cart by the number of individuals who installed the software.  Depending on your software selling model, the way we measure this rate differs:
    • Trial: Users will wait till their trial license expires before they decide to proceed with buying the software.  This time delay has to be taken into account when measuring cart hit rates.  This is done by creating time-based cohorts of the users.
    • Freemium: In this model, not only is it important to take into account cohorts, but also, we have to determine what features are causing a user to upgrade their software from free to paid.  We can achieve this by coding different advanced features with separate tracking codes.
    • Hook: Hook is the easiest to implement because there isn’t much of a delay between the user downloading and installing the software and actually buying the software.
  • Registration Rate: The registration rate measures the number of individuals that will register for the software.  The users may not be ready to buy but may become future prospects.
  • Conversion Rate: The most important metric to track is the conversion rate.  You may believe this to be solely a cart function, but the conversion rate is actually very sensitive to all the other rates covered so far. By not qualifying traffic or utilizing sub-standard marketing channels, the conversion rate can be significantly affected.

Once you are recording these metrics, we need to be able to segment audiences.  At the basic level, this includes viewing rates by Browser, Operating System, and Geography.  Advanced marketers will also want to view these rates by season, day of the week, hour of the day, and demographic profiles like gender and age.

Advanced Analytics

Take your analytics one step further with in-software analytics.  Desktop Analytics packages will help you measure activity within your software just like you measure activity on your website.  The two premier companies in this space are DeskMetrics and MarkedUp.  Their pricing is pretty reasonable and the insight you will gain is invaluable.

Contact 383 Media today to see how we can help you gain more insight into your software analytics and help you start making better decisions today!

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