CommonLounge Archive

Tracking Growth with Growth Accounting & Triangle Heatmaps

December 24, 2017

Two helpful concepts that allow you to analyze your app’s growth and engagement trends are Growth Accounting and Triangle Heatmaps. Having this detailed information will allow you to formulate a more accurate growth strategy, and we will look into these in this tutorial.

You can continue to read along, or watch the video from the team at Facebook here which has been summarized below:

Growth Accounting

This tool allows you to analyze the trends in active users over time.

Consider the following scenario: two apps have 1,000 active users over a 30-day period. In the next 30-day period, both apps have increased to 1,500 active users.

But what does that actually mean? Are both apps experiencing the same growth?

Not necessarily. Growth Accounting helps you to read between the lines and see what is actually going on.

Changes in active users can be due to five different factors:

  • Some users install the app
  • Some users uninstall the app
  • Some users “go stale” or become inactive
  • Some users are “revived,” or come back to the app after a period of inactivity
  • And some users are retained (stay active)

Though both apps have the same amount of active users, the growth could be due to different factors.

Maybe one app has had 500 uninstalls, 500 new installs, and 500 revived users. The other app may have had no uninstalls and 500 new installs.

The growth strategy you pursue will change depending on the trends of your users, which is why Growth Accounting is such a valuable tool.

In summary, this is what Growth Accounting looks like:

+ Installs
- Uninstalls
- Stale Users
+ Revived users
+ Retained users

Triangle Heatmap

The triangle heatmap is a graph that shows how engaged your users are, divided into “cohorts” based on the day the user installed the app.

Look at the graph on the right, on the x-axis are the groups of cohorts (arranged in chronological order by the date they installed the app).

On the y-axis is something called “tenure,” or the number of days that the user has had the app on their device.

The earlier the cohort, the longer the time they’ve had the app on their device. This gives the graph its triangular shape.

Each section of the graph is colored according to a heatmap legend. Black indicates low engagement, while red indicates higher engagement.

If you see a black section below and a red section above the 10-day mark, that means that engagement dramatically increases for all users after 10 days with the app.

If a vertical section is colored black, this suggests that a certain cohort has particularly low levels of engagement. This could be due to a bug on the day they signed up that gave them a bad impression of the app.

Calendar dates are represented on the graph as diagonal lines. February 3 would be Day 3 for the February 1 cohort and Day 33 for the January 1 cohort, which creates a diagonal line.

A black diagonal section (like the one above) is common for days like national holidays, when many people are away from their computers.

To pull out more detailed insights from the app, you can click on certain cohorts to generate a line graph of their engagement over time.

At the right of the photo above, you can see a graph for the February 3 cohort, displaying the percentage of active users over time.

To compare the data, you can click on other cohorts to add more lines to the graph.

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