Product Analytics Vs Marketing Analytics

When we talk about analytics, most startup founders confuse product analytics and marketing analytics, not knowing that there is a difference and difference between both.

In this article, we are going to talk about product analytics and marketing analytics and the difference between both and what do you need and at what stage do you need them.

Let’s get right into it.

What is Marketing Analytics

Marketing analytics is the study of data garnered through marketing campaigns to discern patterns between such things as how a campaign contributed to conversions, consumer behaviour, regional preferences, creative preferences and much more. The goal of marketing analytics as a practice is to use these patterns and findings to optimize future campaigns based on what was successful. – Marketing Evolution

It shows the statistics and data from marketing efforts/campaigns and helps you to see how your marketing is performing.

What is Product Analytics

Product analytics allows companies to fully understand how users engage with what they build. It is especially useful for technology products where teams can track users’ digital footprints step-by-step to see what they like or dislike and what leads them to engage, return, or churn. – Mixpanel

Product Analytics (PA) shows how users are interacting with the product. It’s more comprehensive and behavioural inclined while Marketing Analytics (MA) is more attribution inclined.

Product Analytics Vs Marketing Analytics

I asked some Product and Growth Experts the difference between Product Analytics and Marketing Analytics. And I decided to share 2 of my favourites.

There’s lots of overlap – but marketing analytics would predominantly track awareness, acquisition, referral – whereas product analytics would include product-specific metrics like activation, engagement and retention Steve Waidelich (Head of Growth, Founders Factory Africa)

Marketing analytics is how you are positioning in the market and where leads are coming from. how you position value prop, etc. Mostly channel testing cohort analysis and conversion rates. Product analytics is how people use it when / why they drop off. and grouping cohorts by actual use of the functionality. A marketing cohort might be by type of role or industry that a customer is in. A product cohort is based around specific feature groupings, superusers, or managers. etc.Roger Norton (Head of Product, Founders Factory Africa)

From the definition, you can pinpoint the difference but just to be clear the difference is mostly at the different stages of the user journey in your product. The MA is amazing and is good for tracking the awareness and acquisition stage of the funnel, while PA is good for tracking activation, retention and monetization.

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While some may argue that MA platforms can still tell you what users are doing on your platform, it’s true but you get stuck in the “Mad Max Analytics.” Where you are trying to abuse the platform to do what it was not initially built for, so you see events without a full understanding of the Flow.

Now let’s bring it home

What to use (MA or PA) clearly depends on what you want to really achieve or track. It’s not really a law or cast in stone on which to have first. You need to know the metric, as highlighted in the previous article, that is valuable at that point in time that will help you grow or scale up. For a platform that is still in the building stage, trying to get in waitlist leads, the focus is more on attribution and not behaviours, while for a startup that wants to understand if the product has achieved PMF for their users then you need to utilize product analytics.

Now to the big question – Do you need both?

The simple answer is Yes you do. You need to see the full picture. The analysis, I gave in the previous article shows attribution and behaviour. Your marketing might possibly suffer without marketing analytics on-ground to help you direct your activities, and the Product growth and retention scalability will most likely suffer without product analytics.

Tools to use

Marketing Analytics: Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics

Product Analytics: Amplitude, Mixpanel, Heap.

Let me know if you’ve gotten value from this article

Quick question: Will you like me to write a guide on how to get started with Mixpanel product Analytics? Let me know in the comment section.

Read up the next article in the Startup Growth Marketing series – Identifying conversion opportunities in Google Analytics