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.
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.
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
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
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 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.
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
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.
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:
overall % of negative reviews
% 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.
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.
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
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:
a premium user experience
end-user business value
And ironically, these exact three things are what users are most frustrated about in present-day analytics:
No empowerment to customize reports to their specific needs
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.