Using Pendo

How Nielsen ensures a successful feature launch in 3 steps

Published May 12, 2020

One of the chief findings in Pendo’s 2020 State of Product Leadership report is that feature adoption and product usage are the new “north star” measures of product success. 

This comes as no surprise to Greg Bayer, SVP of product at Nielsen. Both metrics are important measures of customer retention and engagement, he said during a recent webinar, “How Nielsen Uses Product Usage and Feature Adoption to Measure Product Success.”  

These metrics also help Bayer and his team understand how to drive up customer satisfaction, which makes it more likely they’ll retain them. And, measuring adoption and usage helps his team determine how and when it makes sense to introduce additional products and services. Driving these metrics upstarts with a successful feature launch.

In B2B AdTech—Bayer’s domain of expertise—feature launches are more complex than something intended for a consumer audience. “A lot of what gets launched in this area of the business is not always just something you can turn on and somebody can just pick it up and go,” like an app on Apple’s App Store, he noted.

Especially in challenging economic times, retaining existing customers takes on an entirely new level of importance, and a successful feature launch ensures your customers love the features you ship enough to adopt them right from the get-go. Here’s how the Nielsen team is doing it:

Collecting feedback from a soft launch

For Bayer’s team, the beginning of a feature or product launch involves going to the customers and soliciting their input to define the scope of the project, then soft-launching the feature to collect user feedback with real working software.

Prime your support system

The client services teams also need to be trained up on the new features, so that they’re comfortable working with clients and explaining how they work, and self-serve support materials, like walkthroughs and video tutorials, need to be developed. 

All of that work is done to smooth out the client’s initial experience with the feature to make adoption as likely as possible. “The ultimate goal for any SAS-based product team is to have your feature set as self-serve as possible,” he said. “What can you do to make it as intuitive and understandable as possible without [clients] reaching out to [customer success] teams?”

Validate and iterate

Quantitative usage data that shows how many people are using the feature and accomplishing key outcomes is paired with qualitative data drawn from follow-up conversations with clients to gauge success and areas for improvement, Bayer said.

Pendo at every step

Bayer said Pendo is an important tool throughout that process, offering ways to both gauge product usage at a very granular level and measure its success, and to communicate directly with clients as they’re using Nielsen’s platform.

“It’s important for us to understand the activity on a client level,” he said. “But then we also want to understand activity within the client: how many active accounts are within a client, and what are those folks doing?”

Getting down to that level and being able to see, for example, when a client has a lot of users who have not been logging into the software regularly, allows Bayer’s team to proactively intervene to find out what can be done to help and re-engage those users. 

The team also uses Pendo in-app messaging to announce new feature releases. When users click through, more guides are ready and waiting to help them start using the feature and make adoption more likely.