In this section, we'll look at different ways you can calculate feature usage to arrive at clear, actionable insights.
Before we get down to formulas, it's worth mentioning a few common mistakes that can be made when trying to arrive at specific numbers for feature usage.
First, it's less meaningful to focus only on the total number of feature users. Admittedly, it can be very appealing on the surface, but when taken in isolation from other important data, it rarely provides helpful insights. For example, if the number of feature users spiked from 1,000 to 2,000 in three months, but the total number of application users for the same period rose from 2,000 to 10,000, then the increase in the former is negligible. However, if seen on its own, the number of feature users can give a misleading picture of a substantial increase in the total feature usage that, upon closer inspection, is not an accurate representation of reality.
Secondly, not having a clear objective makes every calculation pointless. Even the most useful metric will lose its meaningfulness without well-defined research goals. Therefore, before deciding what metrics to track, it's imperative to delineate pursued objectives. The following questions can help:
- Who is the target audience for this feature? Which consumer segment uses the feature?
- Does this feature successfully meet the need it was designed to fulfill? Does the feature work as intended? How do users use this feature and under what circumstances?
- What's the feature's overall impact on customer retention? Does the feature matter to a customer?
After picking a few of the most important questions to answer, you can determine which metrics are most worthwhile to track. To help you get started, below is a rough workflow to calculate feature usage and its adjacent metrics.
- Calculate the total number of users per day.
- Determine the total number of unique users per day. This metric gives further insight into the number of users using the feature daily.
- Calculate the percentage of feature users out of the total product users. This indicator is a more accurate representation of feature usage, as it allows you to see how widespread the feature usage is among your customers. If 2,000 users are using your app daily, but only 150 end up using the specific feature, it means only 7.5% of customers use that feature.
- Calculate the average number of unique users per day. This metric helps you determine the frequency of daily feature usage. If, on average, you have 300 daily feature uses, but only 150 unique users, then your users employ the feature two times daily.
Feature Usage = (Number of unique users of feature)/(Total number of unique users) x 100%
Average Feature Usage = (Total number of times features used per day)/(Total number of unique users of feature per day)