As part of the statistics project for CiviCRM, we are calculating a number of metrics that give us a good visibility on CiviCRM end-users. Some of these statistics have already been exposed and discussed, so this blog post will focus on how better insight into our user base can translate into positive outcomes for the project.
One of the statistics we produce is a cohort analysis. Per Wikipedia, a cohort analysis classifies users into related groups sharing a common characteristics for analysis. For CiviCRM, we grouped our users per the month they started using CiviCRM and looked at how many of these were still using CiviCRM over time, thereby calculating the attrition rate for this group.
Here is what this cohort analysis looked like for CiviCRM in early August 2015:
By looking at this graph we can see that around 65% of new CiviCRM users abandon the software during the first month of usage, then this attrition rate significantly slows down and around 10% of new users keep the software over the long term (9 months or more after initial install). Of course these numbers need to be put in perspective since there are most probably quite a lot of test sites and/or developmennt instances in these numbers, and these are meant to be kept only for a very limited amount of time. Also, the software being free, many users just 'give it a spin' out of curiosity without really being serious about using it.
But nevertheless, the question is: How can we keep more of these users over the long term?
After a heated discussion on the partners mailing list, the consensus was that adoption lagged primarely because the learning curve is too steep: beginner users do not know where to start of what to do. There does exists a wide body of documentation and helpful resources available, but these are not easilly accessible.
Cividesk decided to tackle this challenge and created:
We will revisit this blog post in a few months to see if this cohort analysis is improving over time ...