Note: This post originally appeared on the blog of my since-shuttered analytics firm: Axiomatic. That said, if you need some analytics work, get in touch

Most modern marketers at this point know they should be measuring the performance of their efforts, but the interesting thing I've discussed with many people lately is how few are properly tuning their analytics to measure the performance of the product itself.

At best, most slap a default Google Analytics tracking code on the product pages and walk away. Especially with the modern web's AJAX-y and web application bent, that's simply not going to cut it if you want to get a good idea of how your product is actually being used.

Properly instrumented, the metrics of what your customers actually do in your application can inform a whole host of things:

  1. Your Product Roadmap: When you have hard data in hand, you'll no longer need to guess at which features get used. Even more, you'll know - not guess - which features you can cut without causing a full-on revolt.
  2. Your UI/UX: Tagged up properly, you'll not only know which features get used, but how your customers got to those features. Imagine cutting down a three-steps-deep path to a well-loved feature to a single click. How much more would your users love you (and stick around)?

  3. Your marketing: Once you know - again, not guess - which features truly resonate with your users, you can begin closing that feedback loop back into your marketing efforts. After all, most of the time how you - the product owner - views your application doesn't match how your customers view and use your application at all.

  4. Retention and customer support: Which forms in your application give users the most problems? Do you know? If not, imagine if you did. You can beef up the documentation and inline help pointers, reach out to account holders that seem to have more trouble than others and smooth out any non-erroring bumps in the road.

Just as we now live in a world where we measure our marketing efforts, you should be instrumenting your product itself so you can stop guessing at what you should work on next and instead know what work will have the biggest impact on your product - and your business.