(3 min read)
The Subscribe step of the Retention Journey focuses on the evolution of your subscriber base. This is the key step for monitoring the health of your subscription business.
It contains a number of the most important metrics and trends for any subscription service:
- your current subscriber count
- your new subscriber count
- your seasonal dynamics
- the balance between your churn and acquisition rate.
Another important insight to take from this page is the upgrade/downgrade activity within your subscriber base.
This will show you how successful you are in expanding the value of individual subscribers. Normally this is achieved by motivating subscribers to move to more expensive subscriptions, buy additional subscriptions, or switch to subscriptions that have a longer duration.
Key Insights from the Subscribe Step
These are some of the most important insights you can access on the subscribe step of the retention journey:
- How is my subscriber base evolving? How quickly is it growing?
- What is the balance between acquisition and churn?
- What seasonal dynamics are causing signup/churn spikes?
- How many existing subscribers are upgrading?
Using Subscribe Analytics
Your Subscribe analytics are the main scoreboard for your service, and are the primary source of truth for the health of your subscriber base generally. This makes them a very useful starting point for creating your new strategies.
As well as for tracking what results past strategies have delivered. Here are three examples of how your Subscribe analytics can be used to focus your attention and resources.
1. New Subscriber Growth
Your growth is powered by a dual-engine, with acquisition at one end and retention at the other. So one of the most important dimensions to track on the Subscribe step is your New Subscriber Trend, and how that trend is impacting your overall growth rate.
You can quickly assess how that engine is performing in the subscriber evolution chart. Investment in either acquisition strategies (eg. content, trials, or marketing) should see your acquisition curve trend upwards relative to your active subscriber trend. Excellent retention will show the opposite relationship.
Engagement and offer growth analytics are a good next step for building your acquisition strategies.
2. Seasonal Dynamics
Strong or weak management of seasonality will determine the annual results of many subscription services. The timing of some trends is obvious, but the timing of others less so. Lifecycle dynamics within your subscriber base can have as big an impact as highly visible market seasonality.
The first step in managing seasonal trends is identifying and mapping them. Both the Year on Year Growth and Subscriber Evolution charts will help you to identify these critical periods.
Next, the important point is that you have sufficient advance warning to handle both the peaks and troughs. When sign-up peaks approach, price trials, new offers, and premium packages should be in place. When troughs or churn peaks approach, coupons and downgraded offers should be ready.
Seasonal dynamics can never be eliminated, but with the right visibility you can always be prepared to optimize your outcomes when they arise.
3. Upgrades and Downgrades
Upgrade and downgrade analytics play different roles depending on when and how you are using them.
In general, you should be targeting an upgrade of a certain percentage of your subscriber base every month. Increases in downgrades are to be avoided if possible, of course, unless you are about to encounter some seasonal dynamics.
In more volatile periods, upgrades and downgrades should play a more active role in your strategy. Upgrade offer messaging should change, based on weekly results, when you enter a period of high acquisition rates. Conversely, downgrades in high churn periods should play an active role in your retention strategy.
You can find definitions, calculation logic, and analytical uses for each Subscribe metric on their respective pages.
- Active Subscribers
- New Subscribers
- Subscriber Upgrade and Downgrade
- Subscriber Movement
- Year on Year Growth (Subscribers)