Firefox’s Funnel Factor

Ken Kovash

30

As Alex pointed out in our previous funnelcake post, we shipped funnelcake01 on October 4th. While there are a lot of interesting findings that can be extracted from the data, we want to turn our initial focus to something we call a “funnel factor.” In the business world, there is a very basic process by which a customer (which we’ll also refer to as a consumer or user) engages with a provider of goods or services. This process is applicable across industries and across enterprise sizes, i.e., it applies to virtually all companies and their customers.

Here’s a rough outline of the process:

  1. A consumer makes a decision to purchase (or download) a product or service
  2. The consumer visits the seller’s store (online or offline)
  3. The consumer makes a purchase (or download)
  4. Thereafter, the consumer may or may not use (or install) the product
  5. Once the consumer uses the product for the first time, he/she then decides each day whether to continue using the product

These are the steps that we set-out to understand.

So, why is funnelcake so unusual, i.e., why is Mozilla’s methodology and openness remarkable in this case?

  • Within the steps above, you’ll notice that businesses have historically understood the flow of their customers through the first three or four steps (or between two certain steps), but not across all five steps simultaneously.
  • If I walk into a Gap store today and buy a shirt, they won’t know if/when I eventually wear that shirt for the first time, nor will they know how often I eventually wear it over time. Fortunately, the software industry is one arena (among many other industries and examples) providing ripe opportunities for understanding the full spectrum of interactions between a product and its customers.
  • Even if other software providers have figured out a way to optimally measure the flow and experience of their customers, I’m not aware of any marketers who have made such findings publicly available.

Thus, for an initial presentation of our findings, we’ve focused on the part of the funnel that has traditionally been most unknown: purchase –> initial use –> long-term use. Translating this path to Firefox creates what we’ve defined as our “funnel factor”: download –> install –> daily active use.

Here’s what we found:

funnelfactor

Of those visitors who downloaded Fx, 57% installed the browser. Then of this smaller cohort who installed Fx, 49% continued using it on a daily basis. We’re generating this latter number when looking at usage approx. 30 days after the download and install processes. For those curious, that 49% usage number was 59% after one day and 58% after one week had passed.

Taking these two numbers together and tying the “download –> install –> daily active use” steps together, we then arrive at our funnel factor. In other words, what is the percentage of downloaders who eventually become regular active users? We previously estimated each step as a 50% drop-off, translating to a 25% funnel factor (50%*50%). However, the results of funnelcake show an actual funnel factor of 28% (57%*49%). This means that, of users downloading Firefox, 28% become active daily users.

That sounds like a pretty good retention rate to me. The Firefox community deserves a great deal of congratulations for this type of success.

What are other funnel factors? Perhaps we’ll benefit more in the future as other software providers (or businesses in other industries) come around to being this open about the experiences of their users.

We look forward to continue sharing much more info related to our funnel… please stay tuned.

30 responses

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  1. JT wrote on :

    Excellent post and very interesting learnings. This would obviously be great to track over time.

  2. Shawn Wilsher wrote on ::

    I’m sure certain developers like myself don’t help in with these stats. When I’m testing the download manager I know I almost always go and download Firefox from the website :/

  3. pd wrote on :

    Does this mean that finally the bullshit figure of “X downloads” will stop being paraded as some means of success?

    Really all the “X downloaded” metric means is an idea of how much interest you have generated.

    Conversion into regular use, which funnelcake seems to indicate is 28%, is much more meaningful. What does that mean in real terms? How many copies of Firefox are actively used on a daily basis?

  4. Dan wrote on :

    Why do 43% of downloaders not install Firefox? Confused.

  5. Andyed wrote on ::

    41% loss the first week, 1% loss the second week?

    What about the 3rd and fourth weeks? Between install and active users there’s a continuum of levels of engagement (days / week, pages / day) that may have predictive value.

    To simplify, you can look at each week up to 30 days as another “step” in the funnel. I’ve built a visual tool for modeling funnels at http://surfmind.com/lab/funnel

    I attempted to model your numbers… http://surfmind.com/musings/gems/firefox_funnel_unconfirmed.png

    The low conversion from download to install is concerning… slow or failed downloads? Trouble finding the installer???

    Perhaps more actionable is the large dropoff on day 1 — suggesting the need for a stronger startup experience.

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  21. Jim wrote on ::

    I believe these stats are inflated through the daily activities of a good portion of web developers. It would be interesting to find out more detailed statistics

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  25. JR wrote on :

    I have some idea why you have so big drop-off after first day. That would be computers in companies. Computers that are not in regular use like servers or computers dedicated to other use. Computers that are later used on local networks disconnected from internet at large.

  26. ak wrote on :

    Sorry to disagree with you, but I am not sure that 57% conversion from download to install is a good conversion rae.

    Given that people have downloaded something indicates that they are interested in using it – why then, would 43% not even install it?

  27. Keith wrote on :

    I know i have downloaded fire fox on a number of computers myself. Some of these computers didn’t belong to me though so I used it while I was working on that computer because it just seems to work always. Once I left that computer though the owner would not know to use it and for the library computers at my school the just get re-formated and re-imaged weekly. My point is not every down load is a new user an these percentages for new users is most likely alot higher then you think.

  28. Hellefleur wrote on :

    Why do some people download Firefox and never install it? Some people are just compulsive to download anything they see.

  29. Sanatya wrote on :

    The installtion factor of 57% is too low….. i doubt the authenticity of this figure.Anyways interesting post..

  30. durruti wrote on ::

    I think that 57% sounds quite resonable, any user operating in virtually any environment can download a program, however very many cases they will not have the right to install it. Any user running as a “restricted user” under windows XP for example will not be able to install which we should assume is the default setup for most enterprises (and sensibly setup home networks also).

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