Friday, October 31, 2008

Taking a deeper look at the initial analysis

In my last post, I promised to look into a few questions a bit more deeply--so this post is about me making good on my promise. The big question had to do with question 3 of the survey.

3. Have you installed an add-on (including themes) to customize Firefox 3.0?:

Yes
No
Unsure
I do not know what an add-on is

The question I had was whether we could break these results down by usage so that we can understand why such a big number of users (~20%) are unsure of or unaware of what an add-on is.

Okay--bear with me--this table can be confusing but I think this may be the best way to show this information. The grey column holds the results without breaking down the data--ie, the results you'll find on the chart above this one. The "Light" column holds the results for all light users. 44% of light internet users (less than two hours a day) know what an add-on is. This is highlighted as orange because it is LOWER than the general result of 58.5%. 25.7% have not downloaded an add-on, and 13.6% are unsure, results that are higher than the general results in the grey column. These two percentages are highlighted in green because they are HIGHER than the general results. 16.5% do not know what an add on is, which is 6.5% higher than the general results, leading me to think a lot of users' awareness of add-ons comes from spending more time online with the browser.

"Moderate" internet users (2-5 hrs a day) follow the general results almost completely, which is why they were left in white. 67% of "heavy" users (+5 hrs a day) know what an add-on is, which is about 10% more than the general results. Only 16% of heavy users do not have add-ons and 7.5% of heavy users don't know what an add-on is--both much lower than the general results.

Once again, we can't know for sure why these results are the way they are, but I think its fair to suggest that the longer one spends time on the internet, the more likely one is to have downloaded or know what an add-on is. I think it is also fair to suggest that we may need to do a better job of improving the visibility of add-ons and their benefits for people who are only on the internet for less than two hours a day. We cannot rely on these people to find out about add-ons on their own, just by using the browser. We need to improve the accessibility and visibility of add-ons for light internet users in order to continue to grow that segment of our user base.

The next graph also looks at question 3, and compares it to how people found out about Firefox.

This next graphic is even more complicated, but works on the same premises. Green highlights means the respective number is HIGHER than general results, orange means the results were LOWER than general results. The numbers highlighted in blue are there because they may give us insight into add-on download behavior. The people who have add-ons are more likely to have heard about Firefox through an online blog or offline article. This makes sense because it is in these articles that there is more likely to be an explanation of what an add-on is, how to download them, or a description of the user's benefits because, well, there's space to. Online ads lack the space to make the case for add-ons, even though we (the Marketing team) have taken the initiative to try and promote them. Add-ons, as a concept, are hard to understand quickly, especially by people with less technology experience. Therefore, the more space we have to promote/explain add-ons, the more people are likely to download add-ons.

We can see this difference in the number of people who found out about Firefox through offline articles and have add-ons (73%) and those who found out through online banner ads and have add-ons (59%). It's interesting to compare these two categories because offline articles suggest a population still not comfortable with the internet as their recommendation source, but the category has a higher add-on download rate then the online banner ads category, a group you could assume would be more tech savvy. Compare this to online article rates (79%). They would arguably be the most tech savvy out of all the categories, so it makes sense that their add-on download rate is the highest. Peer recommendation is the lowest in the bunch--I'd expect people to focus on Firefox's speed and security before mentioning add-ons because speed and secuirty are tangible benefits, while add-ons aren't very easy to understand. This may be because IE has nothing very comparable to add-ons, thus current IE users and others don't really understand the concept.

Overall, looking at these numbers, it seems like the determinant of whether people know about add-ons and have downloaded them is the amount of space/time the source of information (recommending Firefox) likely has to explaining add-ons. Which then means, that we should be working on trying to make the concept of add-ons easier to understand and easier to EXPLAIN to others. The other take-away from this data is that the online/offline articles about Firefox
seem to be doing an excellent job of communicating the benefits of Firefox, particularly about add-ons. Our PR team should be getting a huge pat on the back for doing an awesome job of getting the word out about Firefox.

Lastly, the next installment of the Survey is expected to be out in early December. I'll keep you posted.

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