The State of SaaS Analytics Features Report 2022

What we learned from analyzing 140 SaaS platforms in G2’s most popular software categories.

Building customer-facing analytics can be a struggle for product managers. What does a meaningful analytics experience look like? What insights do customers expect SaaS platforms to offer? And which frustrations should you avoid?

To answer these questions, we reviewed the state of analytics in the top 7 software categories on G2. For each category, we researched the 20 most popular SaaS platforms. Are you curious to find out what SaaS users love and hate about present-day SaaS analytics? Here are our learnings from reading over 4,600 product reviews.

This research report will give you the insights you need to build better analytics. Ultimately, you will help your customers make smarter and faster business decisions while increasing your product engagement and customer satisfaction.

Methodology

Before we dive into our findings, here’s how we collected and analyzed all the data to execute this research study.

The data we researched

G2 review data

For each software product, we collected the 50 most recent G2 reviews containing an analytics-related keyword such as ‘analytics,’ ‘dashboard(s),’ ‘insight(s)’ and ‘report(s)’. For the resulting dataset of more than 4,600 reviews, we labeled each review with a sentiment:

  • Positive: mentioned in the “what do you like” section of a G2 review
  • Negative: mentioned in the “what do you dislike” section of a G2 review
  • Neutral: reviews that mention analytics without a strong sentiment, e.g. “the product offers reporting,” etc.

Then, we selected 450 negative analytics reviews at random to uncover the most common user complaints.

SaaS websites and pricing pages

Besides customer feedback, we also mapped the efforts of SaaS companies to market and monetize their analytical feature set. We analyzed two elements of each vendor’s company website:

  • Product pages: to assess how SaaS vendors leverage analytics as a marketing selling point
  • Pricing pages: to assess how SaaS vendors use analytics to drive upsell

The industries we researched

We mapped the analytics landscape for the most popular software categories, listed on G2’s home page. The research comprises the following 7 G2 categories:

With a selection of 20 tools per category, we researched a total of 140 SaaS products. Note that we did not include 2 categories on the G2 home page, Online Backup and Video Conferencing. Because of a remarkably low volume of analytics reviews, these industries were considered less relevant to analyze.

G2 Categories

Importance of analytics for SaaS users

21% of all G2 reviews address analytics. That statistic means 1 in 5 users find reporting and analytics important to comment on, even though it is not the core functionality of the platform they are reviewing.

This statistic is not surprising. Businesses that use insights to drive decision-making gain a competitive edge. According to a McKinsey study, data-driven companies are 23x more likely to attract new customers, and 6x more likely to retain them.

Customers are spreading the word about analytics. But what exactly are they saying?

SaaS analytics sentiment

A striking 94% of the 140 software tools receive at least one negative review about their analytics experience. So, most SaaS companies can improve a thing or two in their SaaS analytics offering. 

But how bad is the situation really? One negative review doesn’t tell the whole story. What is the overall balance of positive vs. negative sentiment?

Following our methodology, 27% of all reviews had a negative sentiment, which paints a slightly brighter picture. Only 1 in 10 platforms receive more negative than positive reviews. But as a SaaS vendor, you surely don’t want to end up in that bottom 10 percentile.

To avoid 9 competitors outperforming you, here are the most common complaints to watch out for.

10 most common analytics complaints

  1. Poor UX

A clunky interface is by far the most cited frustration on G2. As much as 71% of tools are considered too difficult. Users describe their difficulties in multiple ways:

  • Steep learning curve
  • Time-consuming and frustrating to use
  • Clunky user experience
  • Confusing and not intuitive to find data
  • Spread out across multiple sections

Poor analytics UX quote

  1. Lack of relevancy

Customers complain on G2 that their reports don’t present the data they really need. 55% of tools get at least one of these remarks:

  • There is too much information in the dashboards
  • Or the amount of insights is too limited
  • No drill-down into more granular data
  • Tailored insights that are essential for a specific persona are missing 
  • Customers need to export and analyze data to find what they really need

Lack of relevancy of analytics quote

  1. Lack of customization options

46% of tools do not allow their customers to edit dashboards or create their own reports. As a result, customers have limited control over what insights they can get.

Lack of customization options for analytics quote

Other frequently mentioned frustrations are:

  1. Problems with pulling data and reports (30%)
  2. No interactivity (28%)
  3. Slow performance (26%)
  4. Ugly or dated design (20%)
  5. No collaboration or alerting (16%)
  6. Disconnected from their normal workflows (9%)
  7. Limited sharing options (7%)

Most common SaaS analytics complaints

What users love about analytics

The key elements to a good Customer Analytics Experience (CAX) are the exact opposites of these main complaints:

  • A premium user experience vs. difficult-to-use reporting
  • Personalization vs. a lack of customization options
  • End-user business value vs. a lack of relevancy

Elements to a good customer analytics experience

When looking at what people are saying in positive reviews, we stumbled upon one caveat. On sites like G2, it’s common practice for software companies to incentivize their users to leave a positive review. 

While the negative reviews we analyzed were descriptive and detailed, we noticed that positive reviews were overall shorter and more superficial. Most reviewers simply mention they like the analytics, but they don’t say why or which aspects.

So instead of quantifying which characteristics received the most praise, we have curated a set of detailed positive reviews below to support the CAX framework above.

end-user business value quote
An example of a SaaS vendor offering end-user business value

personalization quote
An example of a SaaS vendor with good personalization

premium UX example
An example of a SaaS vendor offering analytics with a premium user experience

Analytics in different SaaS industries

It’s valuable to understand how customers in different industries think about the analytics experience. We found notable differences when comparing the following two data points:

  1. overall % of negative reviews
  2. % of SaaS platforms where the majority of reviews are negative

SaaS users in categories like marketing, CRM, e-commerce and project management are more dissatisfied with analytics than SaaS users in e.g. accounting or ERP.

negative reviews statistics

We won’t go into detail for every industry, but keep in mind that digital maturity may be at play here. The more digital-savvy your customers are, the more advanced capabilities they will expect to interact with their data. Tailoring your offering to your customer’s needs is key here.

To further explore the reasons for dissatisfaction in your specific industry, catch up on our industry-specific reports — more reports coming soon!

Analytics as a SaaS selling point

Dashboards sell. SaaS companies abundantly use analytics as a unique selling point on their website to attract new customers. Only 6% of the 140 SaaS tools did not mention analytics at all.

The degree to which these tools advertise reporting and insights varies. 61% have a dedicated product page for their analytics offering, while 33% display their analytics feature set only as a subsection on their product pages.

hubspot analytics example

paymo analytics promotion page

Example: Dedicated analytics page on HubSpot website vs. website section on Paymo website

Monetization of analytical features

Finally, we researched if SaaS companies are actively charging their customers for value-adding insights. Slightly more than half of the researched tools (56%) include analytics as a pricing point on their pricing page. Most of the researched tools monetize analytics in one of the following two ways:

  • as a differentiating feature to upsell from basic to more advanced pricing tiers
  • as an add-on to their customer’s standard license

active campaign analytics promotion page

forecast analytics promotion page

Example: Driving upsell between pricing tiers vs selling analytics as an add-on

An overlooked opportunity for SaaS vendors

Over 90% of the researched SaaS companies promote their analytics. More than 50% charge their customers for insights. At the same time, more than 90% receive public complaints about their analytics. 

Are SaaS companies are overselling and underdelivering on their customer analytics experience?

A great customer analytics experience should combine three key elements:

  1. a premium user experience
  2. personalization
  3. end-user business value

And ironically, these exact three things are what users are most frustrated about in present-day analytics:

  1. Poor UX
  2. No empowerment to customize reports to their specific needs
  3. And not finding the relevant insights they need

This mismatch, however, presents a massive opportunity for SaaS product managers. You now know exactly what users are missing, and you have a chance to do something about it. When you turn your reporting into an engaging customer analytics experience, you stand out against competitors and gain market share.

Embedded analytics software can help you to build a premium analytics experience with less time and resources. Our team at Cumul.io is ready to help. Schedule a free consultation or product demo today.

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