Spinning Ball Ricardo Ghekiere

How to track your full digital customer journey across the AARRR funnel

April 18, 2020

“How would you growth hack my business?”

This is one of the most asked question in the ‘growth hacking scene’.

I get it.

The internet has brainwashed our brains with content that one tactic is going to grow our companies exponentially.

You read blogs like ‘The 3 hacks that got SpringSled 138,790 users’ and feel like executing all.

Growth Hacking isn’t about copying tactics from other companies.

Thinking these tactics will work for you is like comparing your current wife with your ex.

It’s nonsense, yet we all tend to do it.

Now, all these great companies do have 1 thing in common.

They all had a processed way of experimenting to understand what works and what doesn’t work for them.

The faster they run experiments in a processed way, the faster they would gain knowledge and the better their odds on survival.

This is the reason why I wrote the first guide on how to set up your growth process.

Now you might be thinking: ‘It’s time to unleash the tactics, right?’.


The key to growth is finding who your best customers are, solve their struggles and find out where you can get more of those people.

Now the question is, how do I find my best customers?

One simple word: Analytics.

Most of the time, your product won’t be fully ready.

Yet, there are always a couple of people that are going to (almost) complete your full funnel nevertheless.

These are the people you want to pull out of your analytics and meet face-to-face to understand their motives.

Now is the time you can start sketching your persona’s for marketing purposes and unleashing the tactics that fit their profile.

Today you’ll l learn to set up your Bootstrapper’s Growth Hacking stack in a step by step approach for growth analytics and track your customer’s journey across the full growth hacking (A)AARRR funnel.

Growth Marketing stack

With this stack, you can:

  • Understand which channel is the most profitable.
  • Analyze your complete growth hacking funnel (AARRR) across the full customer journey.
  • Unleash the growth hacking tactics that make sense to your audience, not the ones that ‘sound great’.
  • Speed up product innovation by understanding where your customers get stuck.
  • Pull out the most successful customers and understand their motives for marketing purposes.
  • Perform growth marketing automation (workflows, tags, etc.)

Total Cost of implementation:

0 – 1000 users: 17$ a month (Popcornmetrics).

1000 – 10.000 users: starting from 250€ a month. (segment + popcornmetrics + mixpanel/heap).

What’s missing?

Not much to be honest. The only thing I would add is a marketing automation tool to optimize and validate the assumptions you receive when analyzing your data.

Since all your data is pulled into Segment, it’s fairly easy to set up any marketing automation tool that works for you or are already using at the moment.

Growth Hacking Analytics Tracking outline

Step 1: Create a tracking plan  

Step 2: Set up Segment.  

Step 3: Install your Tracking Plan  

Step 4: Enable integrations

You don’t know what you don’t track.

On the 1st of februari 2013 the first episode of House of Cards hit the screens.

I know by a fact that at least half of the people reading this guide have seen an episode or have heard about it.

But what’s fascinating is not the fact that it was such a big hit.

It’s the fact that without seeing a single episode of House of Cards, Netflix committed to two seasons of the show, or 26 episodes, bidding a reported $100 million.

That’s $3.8 million per episode.

The big question isn’t why it’s such a big success, but why did they actually know it was going to be a success in advance?

I am pretty sure you have guessed the answer already.


Similar to the NSA, Netflix tracks every action you take while watching and browsing anything on Netflix.

The difference is that Netflix does it to deliver their audience with great content.

NSA purposes are questionable.

Netflix is a research and data driven company that leverages this information to distribute and develop content that resonates with their audience.

“As Netflix has shown, content intelligence is the key to achieving content excellence.”

That’s exactly what you are going to prepare your company for.

By the end of this guide, you’ll understand that real growth doesn’t come by pulling of tactics or spending more money than your competitor.


Real growth comes from better understanding your target market and lead more people to the AHA moment of your product.

The key here is to not spend more, but to learn faster.

Step 1: Create a tracking plan

The name is pretty obvious, isn’t it?

It’s a plan, that explains what you are going to track.

No rocket science so far.

Let’s get started with that one metric you should always talk about before having any discussions about growth. Your OMTM.

1.1. What’s your North Star Metric?

In my last guide about setting up your growth process within your company I spoke about the importance of having a OMTM (One Metric That Matters) and how it changes over time.

In short, it’s that one metric that captures the core value you create for your customers at this moment.

Before proceeding with your tracking plan, you’ll need to define what that metric is since your plan is going to be tightly knit to your OMTM.

To better explain the concept, I’ll be guiding you with one of our staging websites we use to practice what we preach.

For us, our OMTM at FYSA, our beta test website (Find Your Staffing Agency) is the amount of users that apply on the platform over a period of 30 days.

1.2. Understand the growth hacking AARRR funnel by Dave Mcclure

The growth hacking AARRR funnel is a well known framework within the growth hacking community.

It’s also referred to as the Pirate Funnel since, well, it spells AARRR.

It name derives from the acronym for 5 distinct elements of building a successful business.

In simple words, it shows the steps each customer must progress in order for your company to extract value from them.

As our customer will flow through these phases, it’s therefore extremely relevant to track the right metrics while they do so.

Pro tip: your product might not be ready with all these phases, no worries, you need to start somewhere.

Pro tip 2: Some growth teams have added an extra ‘A’ to the funnel called Awareness. If you feel more comfortable using this framework. Be my guest.

1.3. Ask the right questions, create your tracking plan

Setting up a tracking plan isn’t one of the most easiest things to do.

You need to capture what you are going to track, why you are going to track it and understand that your product will continue developing and therefore changing what you track.

It’s a hell of a job which takes time since it needs to be done right, luckily I have a trick for you at the end of this guide.

In this guide you’ll learn how to set up a MVT (Minimum Viable Tracking) of the 5 stages in the growth hacking AARRR funnel.

In order to understand what you need to track, you’ll need to ask ourselves these 5 questions:

  • Acquisition: What do you consider an acquired user?

You want people to sign up for something. In a SaaS product, you generally want people to register for a Free Trial.

In case you have micro-conversions (e.g. Newsletter signup), you can breakdown Acquisition in different chunks measuring each of your conversion (micro & macro).

  • Activation: What do you consider an activate user?

Having someone to sign up on your website is only the first step. Many people will just signup and never use your product.

People who Activated, are using your product. They logged in and started to use your product.

The goal here is to work on your onboarding so that people who log in your product can quickly understand your value proposition and realize how your product might be able to help them in their job.

  • Retention: What do you consider a retained user?

Many people will only use your product once and will never come back. The problem with them is that you waste ton of money trying to get them to use your product just to never see them again.

Retention measurement will vary between different apps. People will not use Facebook as much as they use their accounting app. Some apps may only expect 2 logins each month.

  • Referral: How can people refer their contacts to your platform?

If you have a build in future that allows people to invite other people to the platform, this is exactly what you want to track in order to understand who those people are that refer their friends the most and understand why.

  • Revenue: What and how can they buy from you?

If you have different pricing models, you’ll want to track which user converted into which plan and why they changed plans along the way.

Got the answers?


Remember, this is a very basic version of your analytics to get you kick started. If you want to build a great tracking template, here is a great blog to do so: https://segment.com/academy/intro/how-to-create-a-tracking-plan/

Step 2: Set up Segment.

If you have ever used Zapier to automate your marketing flows, you know how valuable it is to have your apps interconnected.

What Zapier does for Marketing Automation, Segment does for data analytics.

Install Segment and it becomes the only app that connects all your third-party apps.

You tell Segment what to track and it takes care of mapping and routing that data to the apps you enable.

It helps all your apps talk to get control over your full customer journey across your AARRR Funnel.

To start, create a free account . Once logged in you’ll see your workspace like this:

Growth hacking guide to track your full customer journey

In the next screen, choose the device you would like to track your data from. In my case, i’ll be working with a website.

When ready, it’s time to install the code to your website’s header template so that it loads on every page.

Growth hacking guide to track your full customer journey

Once installed into your page, refresh your page and head over to the debugger tab (yes, I know, I can’t draw arrows)

Growth hacking guide to track your full customer journey

If done right, you’ll see the first event coming in. Great job Sherlock.

Growth hacking guide to track your full customer journey

If you have a developer sitting next to you, this might be easy. If you don’t (or dev time is limited), these are a couple of options to consider:

2.1. Install with Google Tag Manager.

As a Growth Marketer it’s important to understand that the speed of running experiments is one of the important factors.

If you need to ask your developer (which you might not have or are too busy with other stuff) isn’t available, you will lose valuable time.

As said before, the goal is to learn faster than your competitor since knowledge is power.

Google Tag Manager is exactly the tool to help you gain speed since it helps us install code to our website without losing valuable time.

Since this isn’t a Google Tag Manager Course, here are some great resources to get you started to push your Segment code:

  1. Google Tag Manager Installation guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miTcZvsv4B0
  2. Google Tag Manager – push your first code: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lgEk4ax3UBQ

2.2. Install with WordPress

If you have a blog on a separate platform or your website is build on a wordpress, you’ll want to add your tracking code here.

Most websites which are build for speed are build from scratch in HTML, like our website (www.worcc.be), but have a seperate WordPress website, like our staging/side project website (www.findyourstaffingagency.com) that allows the Marketer to quickly build pages or make changes without having a developer or designer to help out.

The key here is to set your growth team for speed.

Segment has a handy WordPress plugin that automagically tracks everything you’d want to track.

You can install it by searching for “segment” in the WordPress plugin search tool.

Reference: https://segment.com/docs/platforms/wordpress/

Step 3: Install your Tracking Plan to track your growth hacking experiments

I love Segment because it allows me to connect all my different apps and have them talk the same language.

The only (big) problem I felt was that it’s actually a tool to improve your Marketing & Products efforts but it’s made for developers to implement.

Now, if you may or may not have experienced, both worlds hardly understand why the one exists.

A Marketer wants to build and test quickly.

A Designer wants to make sure everything looks amazing before it goes out into the world

A Developer, well, just wants to build stuff.

The last thing they want to be busy with is having a Marketer come over and ask them to track another button for their A/B testing campaign.

If you are Full Stack Marketer and are skilled in writing Javascript yourself, this is a piece of cake (if your developer let’s you change his code 🙂 ).

If you don’t know how to write Javascript, this guide ends for you right here.


For most of us, this isn’t the case.

This is why I found another way how to set up your Segment Tracking.

3.1. Install Segment with Popcornmetrics.

Warning: If you have social sign up buttons (FB sign/google), this installation won’t work and you’ll need a work around.

If you want to implement Segment but don’t know how to write code, or you don’t want to ask your developer every single time to track another button.

Popcornmetrics is your tool to go.

Let’s start with creating an account right here.

The same as you did for Segment, you’ll need to install their code into your website.

I personally use Google Tag Manager for this. If you have a WordPress website, you can download the ‘Insert Footer and Header’ Plugin to install the code.

Growth hacking guide to track your full customer journey. Popcorn metrics

Once the code is pushed is on your website and you have verified your installation, it’s time to connect Segment with Popcornmetrics.

On the next screen you’ll see all the configuration screens.

Toggle on the Segment integration.

You’ll see this screen popping up:

Growth hacking guide to track your full customer journey

Important here is to enable page view events. (=on). Don’t worry about the Users set up, we will take care of this in a second.

Close the window and head over your event tracker tool by clicking the button below:

Growth hacking guide to track your full customer journey

Alright, it’s time to have a look at the 5 key metrics of your growth hacking AARRR funnel you want to track.

Let’s take an example to set up your activation phase by tracking the amount of users that create an account on your website.

To identify users, you would need to know how to write Javascript and have access to your back-end.

Not with Popcornmetrics.

They have simplified the process with just a few click of a buttons.

In the event tracker tool, switch to navigation mode and go to your login page or sign up form.

Switch back to ‘edit mode’ and click on your form (will most probably be orange and surrounding the full form). Create a new sign up.

Growth hacking guide to track your full customer journey

A pop up will appear asking you to identify your users name and email. If you would like to add more information to your tracking apps, you can choose to at custom values or decide to not track if irrelevant.

Growth hacking guide to track your full customer journey

Click save and publish the changes.

Growth hacking guide to track your full customer journey

Go to your website, refresh the page and create an account. When done right, you’ll see a new sign up in your live feed of Popcornmetrics.

Growth hacking guide to track your full customer journey

Growth hacking guide to track your full customer journey

Great job! Now set up all the events/sign ups you want to track in your AARRR funnel and head over to step 4 to finish your growth hacking analytics.

Step 4: Enable integrations

We are going to enable the following integrations in Segment:

  • Google Analytics
  • Heap or Mixpanel (or any other event driven app)

As you are reading this guide, I assume you have a Google Analytics account. If you don’t, well, you might want to get the basics right first.

What you may not have yet is an event tracking tool.

I use events to track the actions of customers that converted and identify which precise steps they took to get there.

Now before you choose between Heap and Mixpanel, here is a quick insight I feel about these tools based on their pricing.

If you don’t have many users but your users perform lots of actions in every session, Heap will probably be the cost-effective solution for you.

If you have a lot of users but a small number of events in each one, MixPanel will probably be the better option for you.

I personally use Heap since it has a great philosophy of tracking everything, even without you realizing it.

This means that if you ever want to test another flow you didn’t think of, it will allow you to make decisions based on past data.

Pro tip for Heap: if you have just installed the code into your website, it can take a while in order to get your data screen shown. This is because it’s going to track everything on your website. Have patience, or just a coffee 🙂

If you can’t make up your mind yet, here is a great article explaining the differences: http://blog.oribi.io/mixpanel-vs-heap-analytics/.

If you did make up your mind yet, create an account in one of the apps and add the tracking code.

Since you have already set up the events and identifiers with Popcornmetrics, there is not much left for you to do.

4.1. Set up Google analytics

Head back to Segment and pick ‘Destination’.

Growth hacking guide to track your full customer journey

Add new destination → Google Analytics → configure Google Analytics → click javascript box as shown below → confirm source.

Growth hacking guide to track your full customer journey. Segment.com

Now, you’ll need to add your (website) ID to send the data you capture to GA.

You can find this ID in your settings → tracking code.

Growth hacking guide to track your full customer journey

Toggle on the integration in the settings and you are all set.

Growth hacking guide to track your full customer journey

Head back to ‘Destinations’ and if everything went right, you’ll see this:

That’s pretty much it.


Yeah really.

4.1.1 Configure Goals to optimize your growth hacking experiments

Goals are important to setup because they add vital context to many built-in GA reports.

For example, it’s nice to know which channels generate the most traffic to your site (via your Channels report), but it’s critical to know which traffic sources convert the best to your AHA moment (that moment your customer experiences the big value moment).

You can’t do that without Goals.

Since we have already set up our key conversations in Popcornmetrics, it’s now super easy to set up goals depending on your key metrics you are tracking.

Now, your not supposed to track every single event that is happening on your website. That’s what we call data pukking.

All you want to track is each key metrics of your growth hacking Pirate Funnel.

In my staging website these are the following events:

  1. Acquisition: user created account
  2. Activation: user added their staffing agency to the listing.
  3. Retention: user logged into their account within 30 days.
  4. Referral: User invite another user to the platform
  5. Revenue: Started subscription

Now, as you may see, I can’t track retention with just a simple goal. This is where Heap will help you out with the retention reports.

As for all the other metrics, I can set up goals to see which channel converts better towards my AHA moment.

In the event table of Popcornmetrics you created different events such as a sign up event.

Growth hacking guide to track your full customer journey

We will use these Action events you made to create the goals.

Head over to your GA   → behaviour → events → overview → event actions.

Growth hacking guide to track your full customer journey

You’ll see that the event name of my sign up tracking event is the same as my event action button in GA. We will use this name to create our goal.

Just go to Admin and under your View section, click on Goals and create a new goal based on an Event. Use the event name of your sign up event to create the goal as shown below:

Growth hacking guide to track your full customer journey

Yeah, I get it, this language looks and sounds funny.
Now, refresh your webpage, create a sign up and check your analytics.

If everything went right, you’ll see the conversation in Acquisition → all traffic → Channels

Growth hacking guide to track your full customer journey

Now do the same for your full growth hacking AARRR funnel.

4.2. Set up Heap / Mixpanel / other tracking app.

Head back to ‘destination’s in Segment and add a new destination.

Choose the event tracking app you decided to use, configure it and enter your ID.

As for Heap users, your ID is located under Settings → Projects → Production –> use number just next to the name.

Toggle it on and you are good to go.

Refresh your website, create another account and head to your users overview.

If everything went well, you can now see the following in your users tab:

Growth hacking guide to track your full customer journey

Notice that Heap is tracking 40 events, which you have never installed. As said before, Heap tracks every single thing on your website, just in case you’ll need it in the future.

Pro tip: if you ran out of emails to try you can use the following trick.

Imagine your email is ricardo@saasmic.io. You can use ricardo+1@saasmic.io which is called an alias. The email will still hit your mailbox, but it allows you to test and create different accounts (the text behind the ‘+4‘ sign is the variable you can swap as much as you want).

I have a friend of mine that creates account with name+(company he is creating account)@company.com to see if the company he registers at is selling his data or not.


April 18, 2020