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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Lerner

Can GA4 read customers' minds?

How to get 10X more insight from your analytics tools by asking better questions.


Our tools give us loads of behavioral data: Visitors, signups, app-opens, logins... But we really need to know what users are thinking. 


Good news - that's easier than you'd expect, even with basic tooling.


Here's the current state:

  • They didn't sign up? We bury them with popups and retarget them with offers, but wouldn't it be easier if we knew why they didn't sign up in the first place? Then we could fix the root cause.

  • They didn't activate? We send nudges and pings, but wouldn't it be easier if we knew why they did not activate?


We have a lot of data, but very little insight. So we build strategies around data points that are easy to gather instead of asking deeper questions.


We really need to know is what's in their brains – data that will let us infer changes in user’s mindsets.


Good news: The gap between convenient data and useful data may be smaller than you think. We can often infer mindset changes from simple behavior patterns.


For example, the first time they open the app, they're probably thinking "I wonder if this app will help me do ABC?" But by the 20th open, we can assume they're already convinced, because nobody  will open your app 20 times if it’s not useful!


Instead of using default metrics, use common sense to define behaviour patterns that infer a mindset change. 


Examples:

  • What behaviour in your prospect funnel tells you they're qualified and considering your product? (Open 3 nurture emails? Click certain links?) What % of visitors hit that threshold?

  • What behaviour pattern in your SaaS tells you they decided it's good and plan to use it? (And predicts retention) What % of your signups cross that line?


My friend Diego de Jódar (Substack | LinedIn) spent 7 years helping companies find these patterns. He's expensive, and he only takes a few clients per year. But he released a set of videos explaining his approach.


I’d distill them all into 2 pieces of advice:

  1. Don't overthink the metrics: You don’t need a fancy data stack. It's usually as simple as a certain number of logins or app opens. Basic analytics will suffice if you look for patterns rather than discrete numbers.

  2. Don't under-think the fix: When users aren't engaging, most people use generic tactics (e.g. reminders, streaks, nudges, time limits, discounts). Don't. Nobody’s thinking “I’d love to use your app I just keep forgetting.” (They’re forgetting because it’s forgettable.) Instead, find out the actual reason why people are dropping off, and fix it. Here’s how… 


When people aren’t activating, it's usually a simple (e.g. non-product) fix. Sometimes they aren't qualified prospects, sometimes you're missing a feature. But most of the time, it's even simpler: They can’t figure out if or how your app helps them achieve their goal. Most of the time, it's a communication problem, and you can bottom it out with user testing. 

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