Behind the Product: The Stats That Lifted MarkUp in Q3

Since MarkUp launched in January of this year, we’ve kept an eye on some core metrics that define success for us as a product. In return, through product iterations, these metrics have also been a function of what defines success for our users. The hypothesis is that each quarter, the more that we deliver on value creation for users, the more we should see growth across these respective metrics. So after looking back on the quarter, Q3 certainly lived up to that.

At MarkUp, we believe in holding each other accountable to make good great on our promise to deliver exceptional value to users, and in many ways, that means we need to be very transparent about everything we do. That transparency led us to writing today’s blog on what drove success for MarkUp in Q3 and what the future holds moving forward. But before we dive into the details, here are some of the top stats from the quarter:

Q3 User Growth
  • Hit 35,000 total users (as of this writing we’re now at 37,000)
  • 15,000 of those users were on MarkUp each month
  • 5,000 of those users were on MarkUp each week
Q3 User Activity
  • 195,000 total comments made (North Star metric)
  • 60% comments resolved/comments made ratio (North Star metric)
  • 20,000 total projects created

Diving Into User Growth

Referral Traffic

Looking back on the quarter, one of the things that stood out the most in terms of user growth was referral traffic. When a user creates a project in MarkUp, we make it really easy for them to invite people–and we make it even easier for people to join projects. Adding guest users to MarkUp was something we wrote about in our Q2 Recap Blog. This is something that has consistently paved the way for better accessibility to MarkUp and our user growth.

In Q2, we saw that about 50% of all new users were coming from project invite referrals. In Q3, that number jumped to 60%. And as we go into Q4, one of the things we’re planning to track this quarter and moving forward are the “social butterflies” – understanding which type of users are referring new users the most often and why.

Active User Growth

Every one loves a nice growth chart. So here’s what MarkUp’s active user growth looks like on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis since January:

Over our first three quarters of being out in the wild, we’ve consistently been able to match user growth with consistent usage growth. Daily active usage has its own merit for any product, but for MarkUp, our key metrics are more focused on weekly and monthly active usage.

Someone has a website, landing page, or mockup ready for review and they put it into MarkUp. Over the next few days, they might pop out of the project whereas others will come in to review. Sometimes you have ten people in the project at once on the same day, and the next you’ll have one. With how users create and collaborate on digital content, daily active usage is cyclical but weekly and monthly usage was consistently measurable, repeatable, and scalable. So seeing gradual daily active usage was no surprise. Seeing WAU and MAU rise rapidly was rewarding.

Diving into User Activity

North Star Metrics

This year we established North Star metrics to define success for our users. The two key metrics we focus on are total comments made and our comments resolved/comments made ratio.

We chose the first metric because creating a MarkUp project is a massive first step with getting an active user, but being a collaborator is the best type of active user. MarkUp was born to make collaborating on digital content much more seamless and efficient. Therefore, it made sense to track the thing we actually set out to provide for users: a better way to communicate through interactive commenting.

Our total comments metrics is the sum of any new comments made on a piece of digital content or replies created in threads. We want people to not only pinpoint changes but to have conversations about them. In Q2, we drove 90,000 such comments. In Q3, that jumped to 195,000. That’s a major testament to our product team for listening to users and pushing through updates at remarkable speeds. Consistent changes to the product have empowered our users to interact more efficiently with it.

As for our comments resolved/comments made ratio, we’ve increasingly looked at ways to improve how fast our users can get through projects. The best way to do that is by making it easier and more organized for them to see and resolve comments. In Q2, 60% of all comments made were resolved, which was much higher than we anticipated. We originally noticed a lot of users (myself included!) weren’t clearing comments even though a project might have been done.

Sometimes comments got lost in the shuffle, certain things weren’t as clear from one reviewer to the next, and users weren’t sure who was responsible for clearing comments.

Through the introduction of email notifications, making it easier for people to locate comments, tagging users (soon!), as well as making comments more contextual with screenshots and our text editor, we expect this ratio of comments resolved/comments made to increase moving forward.

The Quarter Ahead

Success Metrics for Q4

I’m not sure how many product teams do this publicly, but this wouldn’t be much of an article if we left you hanging without defining the next quarter. So in the spirit of transparency, here are some of MarkUp’s defining goals for Q4. You can grade us on our progress when I write about our Q4 recap in January 2021:

User Growth
  • Hit 55,000 total users
  • 25,000 MAUs
  • 8,750 WAUs (35% of MAUs, increased from 33% in Q3)
User Activity
  • 325,000 total comments made
  • Increase comments resolved/comments made ratio to 65%

See you on the other side! Good luck to everyone this quarter and as always a special shoutout to our development team, the people at Ceros who push us forward, and for all of our MarkUp users. Happy commenting!