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Sep 01, 2022

What is Time to Value? Why is important? SaaS Complete Guide

Alberto Incisa

If you want win new customers and retain existing ones, you need to understand how to leverage the value of your SaaS product.

Many definitions of the term product adoption take into account the time it takes a user to find value in your product - the Time to Value (TTV).

Paying attention to your TTV helps you understand why trial users and leads aren’t sticking with your SaaS product.

At June, we’ve witnessed how SaaS businesses, such as Specify, use data to decrease their TTV. In this article, we’ll teach you what we’ve learnt.

What is Time to Value?

Time to value (TTV) measures how long it takes for your customers to find value in your product or service.

If it takes too long to discover the value of your product, your users aren’t going to stick with you - which will increase the dreaded churn.

In general, the less time a user takes to find value in your product or service, the happier and more engaged they are going to be.

The difficulty here is identifying at what point the user achieves a level of satisfaction. The value that a customer perceives will vary depending on their demographics, use cases and expectations of your product.

Product analytics help here. This software provided insights into ways to shorten your TTV.

Check out this article on how Ghost increased their conversions by 1,000% after tweaking their onboarding process through data-driven methods.

What are the different types of Time to Value?

There may be plenty of “Aha! moments” when users find relevant ways to use your product.

That’s why we need to consider TTV metrics that measure different aspects of a user’s experience.

These are:

  • Time to Basic Value.
  • Time to Exceeded Value.
  • Long Time to Value.
  • Short or Immediate Time to Value.

Let’s explore each one of these.

Time to Basic Value

Time to Basic Value (TTBV) is the time it takes your customer to find value in the most basic functionality your product has to offer.

This can include how long it takes a user to sign into their account or log on to the dashboard.

Defining an activation event for TTBV can be tricky, but it should measure something that happens at the very beginning of your customer’s journey with your product.

As an example, a TTBV event at June would be how long it takes for users to create their first analytics templates or start using one of our presets.

Time to Exceed Value

Time to Exceed Value (TTEV) is the time it takes your product to exceed a customer’s expectations. A customer finds extra value in your product or service when they start to discover and use an exciting product feature.

To measure this variable, use metrics and proxy events that best capture new feature adoption by end users.

A conversion rate that’s significantly above average could be an indicator of an onboarding flow with great TTEV.

Some good TTEV events to measure include:

  • When a user discovers features that are your product’s unique selling point.
  • When a user uncovers a capability that has surprised them.
  • How do you find this out? Ask them! We recommend running surveys with select customers to gauge which parts of your product are providing the most value.

If your TTEV is too long, you risk losing customers to competitors as they are not aware of your best features. If competing products can demonstrate exceeding value faster, why wouldn’t customers jump ship?

June makes it easy to explore the features your users love, and also which users are adopting new features the fastest.

Long, Short and Immediate Time to Value

You need to have a good handle on the time it takes for your users to adopt your various product offerings. There’s no point wasting time and resources optimizing a metric that isn’t going to improve because it has hit a natural limit.

Here is how TTV can vary and when it’s not a problem:

Long Time to Value

For some products, it can take a while before users see results and realise their value. This can happen for a variety of reasons.

Onboarding of new users is sometimes a lengthy process - for example, if user workflows and data need to be migrated to a new system. Again, if a user process naturally happens on a cyclical basis, it can take time for users to experience the true value of your product.

The textbook example here is SEO services. Website traffic sometimes increases slowly and in increments, and so customers often have to sit tight for a while before they see the full effects of the SEO.

This means that communicating the timeframe to users is important. If you can manage a customer’s expectations and provide reassurance that your product will see results in the long run you have a better chance of improving your user retention.

Remember: users don’t always want the fastest service, they want the best results.

Short & Immediate Time to Value

Some services take far less time for users to extract value from than others. In the SaaS world, products that provide immediate results will lead to short TTVs.

Products that boast short time to value metrics are the ones that convince customers to return  to your service again and again.

You can achieve a short time to value in many ways - providing tooltips, adding new features or just providing an amazing user experience all bring the time to value down for a customer.

Why is Time to Value so important?

Measuring your TTV tells you a number of important things about your business.

It goes without saying, but customers want to find value in your SaaS product and understand how it addresses their pain points.

So when new users sign up, they expect to receive value promptly. Time to value provides an invaluable insight into how well your products are helping a customer with these issues.

Time to value is a particularly important metric when it comes to new customer onboarding. The metric helps you understand how effective your onboarding process is.

Low TTVs for features that your users use in the early stages suggest you have properly onboarded a new customer.

If you can demonstrate value for a customer in the onboarding phase of your relationship with them, you will have a happy customer on your hands, and happy customers are far less likely to churn than unhappy ones.

A Case Study: Canva

Canva is a brilliant example of how to simplify the onboarding process and drive down the all-important TTV metric.

The Canva homepage nudges new visitors to try out their templates and ‘Play with Canva’.

Once you have chosen your creator, it’s a few easy clicks to try out their creator by creating an account.

Customers can create their first poster or presentation in minutes - which is sure to provide new users with a very short TTV.

Canva was able to increase its active adoption base to 75 million people in more than 190 countries. In 2021, the platform provided 3.5 billion designs.

How to measure your Time to Value

Now that we’ve discussed why TTV is important for your business, let’s explore how to go about measuring it.

To get started, we need:

  • A product analytics platform - we’ll use June in our example.
  • A set of consistent TTV metrics.
  • An understanding of what ‘activation events’ to measure.

Picking a product analytics platform

We can’t measure analytics about your SaaS product without a robust platform.

We need a platform that:

  • Measures the adoption of certain features..
  • Allows you to choose through analytics templates with relevant events.
  • Handles customer data to provide useful insights on user engagement, retention and product adoption.

In June, you have a platform that meets all three of these requirements.

Our analytics tool connects with Segment or hooks straight into your tool to observe how your users interact with your product.

June will track the actions of the users and companies that use your SaaS product - and through custom templates, you can set up reports for how long it takes users to complete certain events.

Choosing the right activation event

At what point can you say your customer has discovered the value of your product? You can figure this out by picking the activation event.

Firstly, have you picked the right TTV to target? What is your goal? If you want to get as many users signed up as possible, your Time to Basic Value needs to be as short as possible. If you’re looking for high user retention and low churn, you’ll need to pay more attention to your TTEV.

Remember, there can be more than one “Aha! moment”. The key to success is optimizing as many as possible.

What makes a good event to measure? Where users start to see results. For example, this can be exporting a report or making a payout.

This will depend entirely on the nature of your product. A great tactic for finding which features to consider is running a feature audit.

With June, you can find out which services and features are most popular with your customers. Your chosen “activation event” may also be something users do quite frequently.

How to reduce your Time to Value

What steps can you take to reach a faster time to value? Here are some of our best practices for bringing down TTV.

Reduce the number of onboarding steps

A huge barrier stopping users from getting to grips with your product is lengthy, overcomplicated onboarding. We understand that you need to introduce new users to your product but get this balance right.

When looking at the number of hoops new users have to jump through, think is it really necessary? The more questions you ask users, the more likely they are to run away.

For example, Atlassian was able to improve its user adoption by reducing the number of questions they ask new users during setup.

They initially had 12 onboarding steps - and through customer feedback - they cut this down to one step with three “choose your adventure” buttons.

Let users know about your product features

If users don’t know what your killer features can achieve, why would they stick around to find value in your product? Communicating product features through changelogs and quick start guides are crucial here.

How can you find out which features aren’t getting enough attention? June makes it easy to track feature adoption.

Features with low takeup are either not being talked about enough or aren’t valuable enough. Speak with your power users and gather feedback on features to find out which.

Provide instant support during onboarding

If users get stuck during the onboarding process and aren’t sure how to get started, you risk losing them at the first hurdle. That’s why offering support through messaging , phone or email is a great idea

We find in-app messaging chatbots like Intercom particularly useful. At June, we’ve been able to help new users connect their accounts to Segments and troubleshoot common issues.

We understand that our onboarding procedure requires some configuration, and our support bot makes it easy to get this done - reducing TTV.

Track Product Adoption and TTV with June

Now that you have an idea of why you should take into account your time to value,  why not browse through some of June’s templates to find the right metrics for you?

We include all sorts of metrics to help you track retention, feature use, power users, and much more. Best of all, you can explore these templates for free for up to 1,000 users. Get started today at June.so and access beautiful product analytics for B2B SaaS companies. It’s now time to unlock the power of data-driven development.

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