Case Study

Removing Bottlenecks by Looking at the Bigger Picture

Mapping the complete user experience by combining data about what users are doing with data from help center questions.

The Problem

A large percentage of users on this digital signage platform were taking too long to activate their first display. Some even abandoned the process before completing this fundamental step. If users were not successful at activating a display during their trial period, chances are they would never become customers.

Previous efforts to increasing display activations had failed or done little to move the needle. The company favored low-risk improvements and A/B testing experiments. Instead of trying more separated experiments, I decided to take some steps back and look at the big picture, of what success looked like for our most active users and how could maximize this ideal outcome.

The Research

In order to understand what the optimal experience looked like for our users I did some research by collecting and analyzing product, help center and business data. This would allow me to answer the following questions.

What do the users who succesfully activate have in common? What is the most significant factor in determining success and failure to activate?

Answering these questions would reveal the key opportunities to maximize activation success.

Cohort Analysis

The Path to Activation

The onboarding journey has four touch points that users must go through to successfully activate their display. I already knew what the overall activation rate was by looking at the funnel, but this couldn't reveal why some users activated and why some didn't, even after completing the steps.


First by using Google Analytics API I queried a random group of companies that used a help resource during their first 10 sessions. Analyzing this would provide us with the following:

Getting the Help Topics

Summarizing and categorizing help queries was necessary to assemble the cohorts. Using Natural Language Processing to extract main topics. Here are the some of the topics that the algorithm uncovered:

Topic Companies by Topic Activation by Topic Step (Create Content) Activation by Topic Step (Setup Display) Activation by Topic Step (Assign Content)
Activate Display 1093 21% 27% 23%
Player Overview 1600 40% 34% 22%
Player Install 1564 31% 29% 18%
Media Device 1118 27% 30% 16%
Display Status 1284 25% 24% 12%
High Activation Group

This group activated a display 40% of the time.

Normal Activation Group

This group activated a display at the average rate.

Low Activation Group

This group activated a display at a rate lower than the average.

The Takeaways

Installing the player could lead product-awareness

It seemed from the analysis that seeing every part of the process was not leading to a succesful activation. Users knew this was the solution, but were failing to picture how all parts worked together.

The most significant opportunity is to leverage player as a tool to help users succeed.

Up until now, the player has only been used to connect the devices once the user finished setting up their project, but it might be ready to take on a more critical role.

The Hypothesis

By moving player installation to the top of the funnel and providing a guided installation experience we can increase product-awareness and activations.


Player First Onboarding

Users who can create content and a display without consulting the help docs and understand how the player software works are more likely to activate. Instead of requiring users to have content and a display created, this approach would introduce the player as the starting point.

Simplified Onboarding

Instead of requiring users to have content and a display created, this approach would introduce the player as the starting point.

What's important first

Users had to go through many steps before they knew which operating systems were supported. Now this information is presented earlier.

Clear Instructions

At all times must the user know where to go and what to expect from the next step.

Improve access to the player device

The responsive mobile version helps user access the displays more easily, wherever they are.

Learn at the right time

By showing relevant content when the user is ready for the next step we can create a better, self-paced onboarding.

More Resources

With the device-centered guides users can get a complete overview that includes step by step details on how to set up their project.