49.8% improvement in successful user projects
Low adoption of key features
Tracking customer journeys and identifying key points of friction
ActiveState is a leading provider of open-source language solutions for developers and enterprises, with packages built from source code to ensure their integrity. By providing managed dependencies that are easily shareable among teams, as well as enhanced security in the end-to-end software supply chain, ActiveState has earned the trust of millions of developers in enterprises large and small.
We spoke with Markus Baumann, Senior Conversion Rate Optimization Manager.
How did you come to specialize in CRO, and what is your role today?
I’m a numbers guy and have always had a passion for that in my work. Improving site and sales performance is where I found my calling in CRO.
At ActiveState, I oversee our testing and optimization program and also manage web analytics. I’m part of the product and marketing team, and spend most of my time working with Product and collaborating with UX. My role involves using analytics insights to improve our product and website, and then conducting tests, gathering feedback, and making necessary improvements.
As analytics tools evolve, have you observed a shift toward companies becoming more data-driven with projects and initiatives?
Yes. In the beginning, companies focused on individual metrics. But now, we have a better understanding of the customer journey, and why people may be taking certain actions. Validating ideas before implementation rather than relying on assumptions has led to more reliable data.
And testing gives us a deeper understanding of what users actually want—as you know, they often surprise us with their behavior and responses! Of course, the end goal remains the same: to increase conversions and generate more leads and revenue.
What is the state of analytics like at your company—do all departments use Heap, and how do they like it?
At ActiveState, Heap is used across the org in product, marketing, and sales. It has replaced Google Analytics and Tableau as our primary tool for web-based analytics because it’s just faster and more flexible at tracking user behavior and flow on our site. We still use GA for general reporting and statistics on a group of URLs, but Heap is our go-to for detailed analysis.
Some individuals have direct access, while others rely on dashboards to answer their questions. Heap helps us track website traffic, evaluate campaign effectiveness and monitor product usage. Everyone enjoys the ease of access to information and insights. It’s exciting to integrate external sources like email data from Sendgrid or Hubspot, as this allows us to see what people do after they receive these emails.
What were the driving factors that led ActiveState to choose Heap?
Basically, the benefits it offered over the prior situation. Autocapture was the real differentiator—other solutions simply required more effort to get the desired insights. The team felt that Heap's funnel reports and other reports would provide better insight into the customer journeys to improve the customer experience.
What are the main goals your team is tracking in Heap, day in and day out?
We want to ensure that users are fully utilizing our platform and taking advantage of its features. This includes adding packages, managing dependencies, and sharing projects with teams. We aim to drive feature adoption and help users realize the value of our product so they consider upgrading to a paid tier.
How do you know that a user is not getting enough value and needs to upgrade?
We track usage patterns and monitor flows to look for features with low adoption and high friction. If they attempt to use a feature but abandon it, or try different paths to achieve the same outcome, this can indicate a problem with the design or functionality of that feature.
What was your experience with implementation, and working with our partner AnalytixLabs?
I was extremely eager. I quickly went through all the Heap university courses and even passed the Heap administrator exam before the official implementation process with ALabs began. The courses were easy to follow and provided helpful guidance. ALabs confirmed that I was following the best practices and provided additional training to my team, who hadn't gone through the courses. They were good at quickly answering questions and bringing in any necessary resources, including for governance and integrations. This helped ensure that nothing was missed and everything stayed on track.
In what ways does Heap help you make better decisions?
It’s now possible to clearly understand the customer journeys and identify points of friction, eliminating confusion and improving product usage efficiency. This leads to customers being more successful in building their open-source language runtimes and having a better experience overall. Collaboration and data sharing are quicker, too. For example, when our VP of Product asked about the checkout flow and how many users were making it through, I was able to provide that information in minutes through the dashboard I had created.
What kind of value have you realized from Heap’s Illuminate features—without them would you come to different conclusions, or would it just take a lot longer?
No question, Illuminate makes cross-functional tasks much easier, with quicker data analysis and decision-making. With Journeys, we’re able to compare the performance of different user paths and see a clearer picture of how users interact with our product.
Recently, we identified a low-performing flow and eliminated it, saving users confusion and frustration. Before Journeys, this process was time-consuming and challenging. Analyzing the data required setting up multiple funnels, and sharing the results was difficult as well. You would have to take screenshots of each funnel and combine them to create a picture, which was not ideal. With Heap, you can simply share a link to the report or a single picture, making the storytelling clearer and more efficient. The process is much smoother.
How often do you feel like the user journey just is not what you expect it to be?
One time, we discovered users were abandoning the process of scanning GitHub repositories due to concerns about the tool importing their code. To address this issue, the team ran an A/B test changing the word "import" to "scan" and saw a 49.8% improvement in the number of successful projects. Just changing ONE WORD was enough to reduce user confusion. We would not have been able to get to that conclusion as quickly and deeply without Heap.
What kinds of future projects are you hoping to accomplish with Heap?
We've begun using the Hubspot integration to improve our onboarding process and increase feature adoption—setting up segments in Heap to track users who complete certain onboarding steps, but not others. We plan to nurture these users via email campaigns to offer them help where needed.
Additionally, we're bringing data into Heap from outside of the web application, such as our S3 data and command line interface usage, to better understand the relationship between web activity and usage of other tools. We're excited to see the results of this integration in the coming weeks!
The integration sounds like it's showing customer journeys in a new light and really bringing your Heap experience to its fullest potential.
Oh, I agree. 100 percent.
Lastly, would you recommend Heap to a friend, and if so what would you say?
For sure, I’d recommend Heap. It’s been a valuable tool in streamlining our work and making better data-driven decisions. I haven't found a product yet that makes it easier to understand user behavior, which makes it easier for us to improve that user experience.