24 September, 2023
Businesses must optimize their products to meet customer needs, market trends, and technological advancements and remain competitive. Product optimization is the process that makes this possible.
But what is product optimization? How does it work? What tools do you need to get started? This UXCam guide will answer all of these questions and more.
Read on to start making more targeted product improvements.
Product optimization improves a product to maximize its performance, value, and impact. It involves identifying areas for improvement, making changes, and continuously iterating for the best outcome.
The specifics of the process vary. But generally, product optimization involves researching customer needs and preferences, analyzing data, assessing existing features, creating prototypes, and testing them to see how they perform.
For an example of product optimization in action, consider Inspire Fitness.
Inspire Fitness used UXCam’s session recordings, event analytics, and heatmaps to gain insights into user behavior. This helped them create a data-driven product optimization strategy built around content creation, instructor performance, and feature engagement.
The results? Inspire Fitness saw a 460% increase in time spent in-app, a 181% increase in new user sign-ups, and a 40% decrease in app crashes.
Effective product optimization ensures the app delivers a seamless, intuitive, and satisfying user experience. By understanding user behavior and preferences, teams can tailor the app's features, design, and functionality to meet user needs, increasing user engagement and loyalty.
For example, in 2010, Airbnb researched and realized that waiting for hosts to approve booking requests was a significant source of user frustration. They launched a new feature called “Instant Book” in response and immediately saw an increase in bookings and revenue.
Through optimization, teams can identify and address performance bottlenecks, crashes, and slow loading times. This results in a more stable and responsive app, minimizing user frustration and negative reviews and maintaining a positive brand image.
A well-optimized app keeps users engaged and encourages them to return frequently. This leads to higher retention rates and greater opportunities for converting users into loyal customers, contributing to long-term business growth.
Product optimization isn’t about hunches and guesswork—it’s about transforming data into targeted improvements. And to collect this data, you’ll need a great tech stack.
There are a few different bases you’ll want to cover here:
Product Analytics: Tools (like UXCam) that track user and product behavior through event logs, session replays, heatmaps, crash logs, frustration signals, and more.
User Feedback Analytics: Tools that collect qualitative user feedback like ratings, reviews, and comments for sentiment and content analysis.
What exactly are you looking for?
The specifics depend on your product, but in general—pain points, user frustration, and UX bottlenecks. For example, Recoura used UXCam’s heatmaps to discover that older users often tried to press and hold buttons in their app as if it were a physical remote. When this didn’t have the desired effect, they became frustrated.
Adding press-and-hold functionality decreased support calls by 142%.
Next, you’ll need to set clear, attainable goals for your product optimization efforts.
This means diving into the data sources above to identify pain points, bottlenecks, frustration—anything impeding user interaction, productivity, or satisfaction. List these out and develop a prioritization method to set your focus.
For example, many teams use the Impact-Effort matrix:
Finally, transform your top priorities into SMART objectives by adding time constraints and success metrics. For example, if you’ve discovered that UI crashes are a common complaint, you could set the objective “to reduce UI freezes by 50% over the next six months”.
With a list of objectives, it’s time to start brainstorming the solutions (or tactics) you’ll use to achieve them.
First, ask your team and stakeholders for ideas—you’d be amazed at what insights they can provide. Then, dig into research methods such as user interviews or surveys to collect further data points that will help inform your strategy.
Finally, use analytics tools like heatmaps, session replays, and frustration signals to zero in on the root causes of your issues. Gathering this kind of qualitative data will give you a clearer picture of what needs to be addressed and how best to address it.
You now have all the core components of your product optimization plan—goals, objectives, and tactics.
Now, all you’re missing is the details. Start by assigning resources and scheduling timelines for each task. This will set expectations for the team, help you stay on track, and make it easier to hold everyone accountable.
Then, map out any key dependencies or milestones that must be achieved before the project can progress. Doing this upfront will ensure smooth progress throughout the timeline of the product optimization process.
Finally, set success metrics and KPIs for the project. These will help you measure the success of your optimization efforts, make adjustments as needed, and measure ROI.
Last, it’s time to test your work against your success criteria. This is where you can finally see if the optimization process succeeded.
To do this, launch a series of tests that measure your changes and compare them against the initial metrics you set in the previous step. Be sure to track any resulting data to show the results clearly.
With UXCam, you can easily create high-level product dashboards to track these success metrics in real time. Drag-and-drop widgets make it easy to track key performance indicators like:
Click-through rates (CTRs)
By tracking your success criteria, you can see if the optimization process positively or negatively impacted the metrics that matter most for your product success.
Your product should always be dynamic.
Continuous improvement through targeted product optimization allows you to keep pace with changing user demands and technological shifts.
At UXCam, we arm mobile product teams with analytics tools for targeted product optimization. Use our platform to gain insights, identify issues, and prioritize product decisions.
Get started with a 14-day free trial.
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