Tracking Analytics Without Analytics
FireWorks focuses on early stage products, as a result we typically have very small numbers of users. Not having thousands of users or lots of data makes it hard to effectively use graphing tools or aggregation services like Mixpanel. Graphing the first 10 transactions is rather pointless.
While analytics is always important, its purpose is to provide insights into your product. The real goal here is to learn, improve and adapt, rather than have a set of statistics to show.
Our internal communication at FireWorks happens almost exclusively via HipChat. HipChat has a great API that lets us programmatically send messages to our team chatroom. Given the small number of transactions we’re tracking, this presented a great opportunity - real-time notifications of events.
Most of our tracking is done with this real-time notification system. it may sound complicated, but it’s as simple as sending a notification whenever an important event takes place. This gives everyone on the team visibility into how our system works.
For example with our latest project, Nimble, this allowed us to see how long it takes users to go from ordering to successfully collecting their orders. This exposes all the important data in an easy to use format. Pushing it to our chatroom also means that everyone sees it - even if they’re not technical or working on the code - and encourages discussion. In the early stages of a product, this discussion is much more valuable than just the numbers.