Revisiting Engagement and Retention

We're in the process of revisiting opportunities for increasing user engagement and therefore retention. You may remember the Funnelcake experiment, which showed that a significant number of would-be Firefox users may fall out at different stages between the time they start downloading Firefox, and when they become active daily users.

Here's how we're thinking about the steps a user goes through from click to download to active usage of Firefox:

  • Acquisition: the user is aware of Firefox, visits mozilla.com (or another site offering Firefox downloads) and clicks on the download button
  • Conversion: the user has clicked on the download button, views the download page and completes the download
  • Activation: the user has downloaded Firefox, the install is successful, the user launches Firefox and successfully views the first run page
  • Engagement: the user has installed Firefox, launched it once, and launches it again within 30 days
  • Retention: the user is actively using Firefox after 30 days.

There is a clear distinction between the steps from click to download to first run page (acquisition->activation), and the subsequent use of Firefox (engagement and retention). Our hypothesis is that issues with the former are more technical (download speed/interrupted download, ease of install), whereas issues with the latter are linked to a change of habit (ex: not always clicking on the blue "e" to access the web).

In the first phase, the user clearly signifies an intent to download, install and run Firefox by clicking on the Download button. Therefore, this process is something we're looking at very closely to understand why it may not be completed successfully. For example, we're planning to update the download.html page to better reflect the steps users should expect to go through. More on that later...

We're also starting to think about programs to specifically address the habit change. It would be great to hear what your experience has been in switching to Firefox or getting others to switch and continue using Firefox. What has made Firefox "stick"? What did you have to overcome to change your habit? Were add-ons key to opening Firefox instead of another browser? Or maybe it was getting to the point where you started to benefit from the cool features in Firefox like the awesome bar?

Finally, more funnelcake experiments are planned, which will help understand and monitor the download funnel, engagement, and retention over time. It would be useful to hear even anecdotal evidence of the conversion and retention rates for other downloadable software products. Having benchmarks will help us understand what is achievable and where we have room to improve.

In the next post, we'll be looking at how we're measuring each step, what is working, what's not, and how we can get better over time.