When I think about the sign-up process, I can think of two important numbers:
– conversion rate to sign up – percentage who complete the sign-up process and provide their name, email, and create a basic profile
– % of 30 day active new users – % of new users who return to LinkedIn to engage with the platform
I’m going to focus on the second case and look for ways to increase this number.
First, I’m going to select the persona I’m going to focus on. Let’s assume it’s the university students that are going to enter the job market soon and are looking for jobs for their graduation.
When I think about this group, there are a few unique needs that come to my mind:
– they are at the beginning of their career and need help in discovering their career paths
– they need help in writing their resumes
– they need to find a network of people to connect with on LinkedIn
– they might need mentors
I think the first problem is very important and worth looking further into because once they discover their potential career path, they can have a better idea of what LinkedIn groups to join, who to connect with, etc.
Here is how I would try to solve this problem in a way that drives 30-day active users % among the new users.
The product is a “career path discovery” tool that is offered by LinkedIn to a new user who’s signed up to LinkedIn. It asks users questions such as school, a program of study, marks, their passions, interests, behavioural questions, etc to get a better assessment of the person. LinkedIn can use historical data on LinkedIn to make recommendations on the career path. Once LinkedIn has a more in-depth knowledge of the person, it can invite the person to come back to the platform by recommending relevant LinkedIn Groups to join, relevant thought leaders to follow, relevant LinkedIn blog posts to read, and relevant courses, and many other things. Think of it as a targeted on-boarding experience that helps the new LinkedIn user to go through the start of their career with LinkedIn. The targeted on-boarding experience will result in an increase in % of 30 day active new users, which means improvement in the sign-up process.
To measure the success of a product it’s very important to understand the problem it’s trying to solve. I will assume that Google Hangout aims to make it easy for people to have chats and video calls with each other. I will also assume that we are going to define success around engagement. If the engagement is high, Google Hangout is successful. If it’s low, it’s not successful.
First, I would just go over the working of Google Hangout –
– User visits a chat page (group or with just another person)
– User either chats or clicks on “join call” to start the video call
– Once call is finished, user hangs up by either leaving the room or hanging up
Here are a few metrics that I can think about for measuring Google Hangout:
– Given Hangout’s integration into Google Calendar, many users add Google Hangout to their calendar invite. One metric to look at is % of remote Google Calendar meetings which occur with Google Hangout.
– In addition, I can see what % of video conference based calendar events scheduled via Google Calendar are on Google Hangout. This number helps me determine popularity of Google Hangout.
– I think one indication of the success of Google hangout is to determine the length of calls divided by length of Google Calendar invite. If the number is low, it’s an indication that people are ending the call early for reasons we need to understand.
– It would be important to know what % of Google Calendar meetings which include a Google Hangout actually do occur on Google Hangout. If the number is low, it could be an indication that the call participants run into problems and end up not having the call
– Another metric to look at would be what % of first timers using Google Hangout, come back and use it again within a period of time
– One more metric to look into would be the number of minutes it takes for all the call participants to join the call. If the number is low, it’s an indication that it’s easy for the participants to determine how to join the Google Hangout call
– Another metric to consider would be the number of times that someone starts and ends a call in one group. In some cases, I’ve seen this on Skype a lot, users struggle with starting a communication that everyone can hear video and audio. If this number is high, it means people are struggling with using the product
– To measure whether video conference is being used, I will look at % of Google hangout calls which include the video-enabled.
– Since Hangout can be opened via gmail. Another measure can be how many people use the chat option when logged in.
So the advertising revenue has dropped considerably. First I would try to understand from the interviewer if it was a sudden drop or a gradual drop? Since the word considerably is used, I am going to assume it was a really sudden drop.
Now, did this happen today? The last few days? This week? If it’s only been a day, it’s probably wise to wait until tomorrow to start worrying because it could just be an off day. Let’s assume it isn’t, and it has been going on for a week or at least some amount of time where we can safely assume it’s not a phase.
I am also going to assume this isn’t the cause of our tracking software acting up or ads not displaying properly, or something like our website being down. If these were happening, I think we would know.
Let’s look at the pricing for all the ads from our ad networks. Have the prices went down across the board? Maybe not a lot of people are bidding on ads at the moment causing the price to go down, or maybe something is going on with the ad networks? I am going to assume it hasn’t. What about our competitors? Have they experienced this as well? Again, for the sake of the question, I am going to assume it’s not.
At this point, we can safely assume it’s us. Here are a few things we should find out:
– Does our website have a mobile version? Is it across both mobile and desktop?
– If it’s mobile, what about the platform (iOS, Android, Windows, and Amazon)?
– If it’s desktop, what about by browser? Could it be one of the browsers are having problem lately? Or maybe our website isn’t showing up correctly on a specific browser (maybe due to an update)?
Let’s assume by this point it’s none of the problems above, then it must be because of our users. Something must be wrong. We must be getting less traffic. It could be because our retention has gone down, so users aren’t returning. If it’s not that, maybe our users are just not as engaged as before. This could be due to a change in our web design, or maybe if we are a shopping website, for example, our prices have gone up causing users to not like, or if we are a content distribution website, we haven’t had a lot of new content or our new contents are not interesting.
This could also be because our advertisements are not interesting (this is the ad network’s responsibility) so we are not getting as many conversions as before. This is assuming we run a CPC model. Or maybe our new web design caused the number of ads per page to decrease.
If none of these are not the case, then it must be the new users. If the new user count has dropped low, it could be because our search ads are not running well, or our referrals are not working, or it could be our direct traffic. These could be because of:
– Trend shifts in marketing (our keywords aren’t trending anymore).
– A new competitor in the market. Users have gone to them.
– We haven’t kept up with marketing prices. It could be because ad prices gone up and our bids are not as competitive, or because we are spending less on marketing.
– We are not targeting the right audience for our website, or maybe we can’t anymore because these types of audience have already been targeted, so maybe we are targeting a new group that isn’t as a good fit for us.
This is the route I’d go through. Is there a particular aspect you’d like me to drill into further?
First I would try to understand what problem are we trying to solve. Is it reviews of places to go by location? Is it meeting up with other people that are also traveling? Is it a part of a larger social network and a group for travel. I firmly believe the biggest part of being a product manager is first understanding the problem that you are trying to solve.
Next, I would understand, who are my customers? Who would use this? Why would they use and what benefit would it provide them?
Let’s assume for this case, it i meeting up with other people who are also travelling. So essentially, my target segment will be people who like to travel and are looking for company for the same. Now this network would help them to get company on the trip, make new friends, try out different adventures etc. So this builds the use case for me. Now I would think of user scenarios such as if the user wants to experience new adventures then what will be his need. He would want to be able to understand the different things others are doing and then based on his liking pick the group which is getting involved in activities he is interested in. Similarly, I would try to create multiple user scenarios to understand the full scope of the product.
Then I would start trying to understand how this would make money. Can we monetize it? Is it all ad revenue? E.g. in this case can I provide customers wanting to engage in adventurous activities some guides/trainer or can I help them book them those activities via my website? Can I start selling equipment required for this via my website to cross-sell? I would evaluate multiple such aspects to monetize my website.
Once I have all of this information, I would start working on my MVP. I would try to determine what is the minimum we need to get results and understand that what we are doing is going in the right direction or whether we need to pivot or keep going with this solution.
Every product manager better have the answer to this question chambered. Start with your assumption of the site’s business goals and frame your improvements around that. If you are too close to the site, interview some friends to get a fresh perspective. I have provided my sample answer below –
My favorite product is Ola. It has made a very complicated problems of finding taxis pretty simple for all customers. Some of the features which standout for Ola are –
- Their icons – the best product is the one a dumbest person can use. The icons of different kind of cabs are so well made that a person who doesn’t even know how to read can understand what it really means and use the Ola app easily.
- Their products – they have cracked the Indian market well. They have come up with a product for every type of customer requirement e.g. out station, book cab for a day etc.
- Pass concept – for a customer regularly using Ola/Uber for their travel to office one of the most painful task is to make sure that he has enough money in his digital/physical wallet to pay. With the pass, I don’t need to worry about it anymore. I can just buy a pass and then be relaxed for a week.
If I have to improve 1 thing in Ola then it would be the review system. Currently, every time i have to book the next ride, i have to first complete the review of the previous ride. This makes it painful for me as a customer as i might be in a hurry. At the same time the review i fill might not be the best representation of the feedback. Therefore, maybe this can be made optional. An additional push can be sent to the user while they have booked their next ride to provide the feedback. At that moment i am relieved and will be ready to provide the right review.
Not all ideas are great ideas. As a Product Manager, I understand that saying no in the right way for the right reasons will help you gain respect and authority in your organization.
Whenever there is an idea being discussed where I feel the direction is not right, I don’t say no immediately. I listen to it carefully make sure that the other person feels heard. Now based on the audience, I tackle the situation differently.
In case the audience has important people north of you like the CEO or Board of Directors, I would mostly reply that I need to think about the suggestion, discuss it with my team and then get back by a specific date. It’s very important to not get be intimidated and get pushed around. When that day comes, I will be well prepared to explain why the idea doesn’t make sense at this time.
Sometimes I say no right away. If I have a clear product strategy and goals unsuitable ideas are easy to evaluate. E.g. In my firm, business floated an idea of sending a static OTP to the customer all the time. This would make it easy for the person on-boarding the customer to fill that static value all the time instead of asking the customer. Now, for this it was easy to explain how this idea breached the regulations and security and how its very bad to implement. Of course, you still want to make the person feel heard before you explain why we aren’t going to do that right now.
While prioritizing features, one of the most important things is to create a balance between the needs of customers and the business. It is very important to understand the impact of the features in question.
In case all the features belong to either business or customers’ needs, then the prioritizing can be easily done. We can just look at the business impact or the importance of the feature from customer’s perspective. This can be gauged in multiple ways. Some of the ways are mentioned below –
- Revenue impacted by the feature
- PnL impacted
- Customers retention impact
- Customers acquisition impact
This will completely depend on the stage your firm is in and the priority of the firm. For example, this week you may decide to improve your sign-up and onboarding process to increase your activation rate. So you decide to run a 1/2 day usability test that your team observes. It’s painfully clear that you need to make the process less confusing and instill a sense of trust in your product before asking for personal information. A quick brainstorm and you have 3 things you can do this week that you think will have a positive impact on the product.
But in most cases, the features will span across business and customers’ needs. In these cases its very important to understand the goal of your product. E.g. my goal is to increase the number of customers on Flipkart. If I have 2 features – 1. Reviews for better understanding of product for customers vs 2. Giving better visibility to customers in case their orders are cancelled, my priority will be first. The reason being reviews will help customers choose the products and buy them easily. This will have a bigger impact on the number of customers coming on Flipkart. The other feature will be impacting customer retention more and hence, might not be a priority right now.
Well, there are both pros and cons of giving incentives for getting reviews.
If we go with monetary incentivization –
- % of people filling reviews will increase
- Quality of reviews may not be good as customers might just want to fill it for money
- You lose money as a firm
In my opinion, a better kind of incentive might be one which is non-monetary. We can have customers’ ratings linked to the ratings they give. E.g. in Ola/Uber, they can create an incentivization policy where if the customers rate the drivers their ratings will improve. Now again we will have to do this in a smart manner.
- Customers should be told that the ratings provided by them will have a positive feedback on their own ratings. But the actual correlation should never be shown to the end user.
- Also, we should not just look at the number of ratings provided by the customers but we should also look at the spread of the ratings provided by them. This will help to understand if the reviews provided by the customer are having good quality or not. E.g. a customer providing a rating of 5 always definitely means is not putting enough efforts to rate. As not all drivers can give you the same kind of service.
Therefore, I believe that a smartly driven non-monetary incentive can help firms raise their numbers and quality of feedback/reviews. This, in turn, helps them to improve quality of their service.
There are a couple of things that provide high advantage to these companies –
- Provides them a feedback loop for their product/services
- Helps them creating a better experience for good riders/drivers
Feedback Loop –
For consumer centric companies it is very important that they provide a really great experience. When they take ratings of drivers from riders and vice-versa, it helps them understand their customer. E.g. many customers might give low rating and say that the driver didn’t know how to use the driver app. This gives the company an indication that they need to improve on their training program for drivers. Similarly driver’s feedback on customer can be that the customer had a lot of luggage. This can help the company to create a new kind of service where customers can get cabs which have carriers on top.
Better Experience –
The matching algorithm can take in the ratings as a parameter and match riders with drivers using that. So good drivers get the best customers while the not so good drivers get the average customers.
Now for instance, if there is just one cab and 4-5 customers try to book the cab, the cab should be made available to the best customer. This makes sure that the driver gets a customer who will have him wait for the least amount of time and also create almost no issues during the ride.
Similarly, if a take a case vice-versa where there are multiple drivers but less number of cabs, the best drivers should get customers first (Assuming all other parameters such as distance, time to reach are same). Again, since they have the best rating they will reach the customer on time and customer can have a more pleasant ride with less chance of an issue being reported.