What is a Customer Path in SaaS & How to Create a Successful One

What is a Customer Path in SaaS & How to Create a Successful One cover

Building a customer path is a crucial step in getting a deeper understanding of user behavior.

That’s because effective product engagement is only possible when you have enough context on the customer’s journey and can visualize the ways users interact with your software.

This guide will go over what customer paths are, how to track them, and how to create successful paths!


  • A customer path or consumer path is a map for visualizing how users navigate across your product.
  • Analytics dashboards are the best way to monitor metrics that track each stage of the customer path.

There are various metrics to track the customer path, such as:

To create a successful customer path, follow the steps below:

  1. Conduct user path analysis to identify the happy path.
  2. Use checklists to prompt users to engage with a product in a certain way.
  3. Implement interactive walkthroughs to keep users on the golden path.

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What is a customer path in SaaS?

A customer path in SaaS is a map used to visualize the ways users navigate across your product. This could be pages they visit, tasks they perform, notifications they receive, and so on.

Creating customer paths enables product teams to design intuitive products and contextually guide users through their journey.

customer path
Design intuitive products with customer paths in Userpilot.

How do you track each stage of your customer path?

Using key metrics to track the entire customer journey, from initial awareness to each existing customer, is paramount.

Analytics tools with custom dashboards are the best way to quickly monitor these metrics at a glance so you don’t impulsively act solely based on old/inaccurate data.

Userpilot product usage dashboard
To track product usage and other analytics, get your free Userpilot demo today!

Customer journey metrics to track in the awareness stage

  • Impressions. The most basic metric of awareness is the number of impressions that your product (or its website) gets. As the number of impressions grows, so too does your reach towards potential customers.
  • Cost per impression. In addition to knowing how many impressions you’re getting, it’s essential to measure how much it costs you to get each impression. This will help you determine whether or not your marketing efforts are going to be sustainable in the long run.
  • Click-through rate (CTR). Getting a potential customer to see you in search results is a good start but you’ll only get actual buyers if they click through to the page. This is why measuring your CTR and A/B testing different titles or meta descriptions is crucial.
  • Website visits. The number of website visits you get — aka traffic — is more than a vanity metric since it helps you gauge the number of leads who reach your site. It’s best practice to separate visitors based on which channel they came from — e.g. social media channels versus paid ads.
  • Organic vs paid traffic conversion rate. Another benefit of segmenting your traffic by source is the ability to compare conversion rates between both channels. If you notice organic traffic converting far higher than paid visitors then that particular brand is perceived positively.
  • Number of demos booked. Website visitors don’t truly enter the sales process until they’ve booked a product demo with your sales team. You could also segment organic demo bookings versus those that attended a demo webinar or “deminar” to compare channels.

Customer journey metrics to track in the acquisition stage

  • Acquisition cost. Knowing how much it costs to acquire each customer is crucial so you can compare the customer acquisition cost to customer lifetime value. Ideally, you would have a 3:1 ratio meaning that the lifetime value of a customer is 3x higher than the cost to acquire them.
  • MQLs, SQLs, CQLs. The total number of marketing-qualified leads, sales-qualified leads, and conversation-qualified leads are all worth tracking so you can see which touchpoints most of your leads come from. You can also compare the conversion rates of each type of lead.
  • Free to paid acquisition rate. If your product uses a freemium pricing model, then tracking the percentage of freemium users that turn into paying customers will offer up more insights on the buying journey.

Customer journey metrics to track in the activation stage

  • Product qualified leads. Product-qualified leads (PQLs) are leads who have experienced value while using your product — either during a free trial or through freemium plans. These leads are more likely to eventually purchase than other leads due to their firsthand product experience.
  • Time to value (TTV). Knowing how long the time to value for new customers is — and working to reduce the time to value — will help you get users to their activation point sooner.
  • Activation rate. While reducing the time to value can get new users to activate sooner, it’s also important to measure the exact percentage of leads/users that reach their activation point. This activation rate can be a deciding factor in the final purchase decision.

Customer journey metrics to track in the adoption stage

  • Usage frequency. Very few people will use your product on a daily basis (unless you’re running a social platform), but it’s still worth tracking the average usage frequency. Depending on the type of product, you may want to track weekly active users (WAUs) or monthly active users (MAUs).
  • Time spent in-app. In addition to how often people use your product, it’s also worth tracking how long each session lasts. Measuring the overall time spent within the application will help you track adoption and evaluate churn risk.
  • Feature usage rate. Beyond tracking overall product usage, narrowing down on feature adoption will help you identify the features that users find the most valuable and use most often. This will also inform you on which features you should highlight during onboarding or in-app flows.
  • Customer stickiness. Customer stickiness occurs when users experience repeated value from your product and decide to continue renewing their subscription. Pricing, product quality, and/or service delivery all play a role in customer stickiness.
  • Customer engagement score. The customer engagement score (CES) encompasses all ongoing interactions between a product, brand, or company and its customers/users throughout all stages of the journey.

Customer journey metrics to track in the retention stage

  • User retention rate. Once acquired users have reached their activation point, tracking user retention rates is the next step. Put simply, the retention rate is the percentage of users who are still using your product after a specified period.
  • Churn rate. Your customer churn rate is the percentage of customers that you lose each month or year (depending on whether you’re looking at monthly or annual churn rates). The average SaaS churn rate is 5% with 3% or lower widely considered a “good” churn rate.
  • Customer lifetime value. Customer lifetime value is the amount of revenue that each customer generates throughout the full course of their relationship with the company. You can increase lifetime value by raising prices and/or retaining customers longer.
  • LTV to CAC ratio. Your LTV to CAC ratio is the ratio between the lifetime value of a customer and the cost of acquiring them. As mentioned above, a 3:1 ratio is ideal, but a 5:1 ratio (or higher) could indicate that you’re under-investing in marketing.
  • NPS and CSAT. The Net Promoter Score (NPS) and customer satisfaction score (CSAT) both measure how many satisfied and loyal customers you have. This will be a good predictor of how likely you are to retain these users.

Customer journey metrics to track in the revenue stage

  • Annual recurring revenue (ARR). Annual recurring revenue is the most popular revenue metric for SaaS businesses because it has less variability than monthly recurring revenue. ARR is the best way to track revenue growth and predict future performance on a year-to-year basis.
  • Monthly recurring revenue (MRR). While monthly recurring revenue is more likely to vary from one month to the next, it’s still worth tracking to see how recent marketing/advertising efforts have impacted your recurring revenue.
  • Expansion MRR. Expansion MRR focuses exclusively on the monthly recurring revenue generated from account expansion. Generating expansion MRR is traditionally done by upselling or cross-selling to existing customers.
  • Net profit. Net profit is your bottom line and the ultimate measure of profitability. Net revenue retention is the amount of net revenue from existing customers that you’re able to retain from one period to the next.

Customer journey metrics to track in the referral stage

  • Word-of-mouth referrals. Word-of-mouth referrals can help you acquire new users without increasing your customer acquisition cost or ad spend. It’s even possible to incentivize word-of-mouth through referral programs and rewards.
  • Net Promoter Score. While the NPS score was already listed as a retention metric in the previous section, it’s worth noting that you can also this metric to predict the number of referrals that existing customers are likely to generate.
  • Customer satisfaction score. Much like the NPS score, the CSAT score is an accurate predictor of referrals since satisfied customers are more likely to refer the product to their friends or colleagues.

How to create a successful customer path

Now that you know which metrics you need to track throughout each stage of the customer path, it’s time to create a successful customer path for yourself. The three steps you’ll need to complete to do this are:

  1. Identify the happy path
  2. Guide users through the path
  3. Keep users on the path

The sections below will show you how to do just that!

Step 1: Identify the happy path with path analysis

User path analysis requires that you choose a starting point and look at the steps users take from (or to) that point.

Once you’ve identified the paths with the lowest drop-off rates, it should become clear which paths are “happy paths” for your users.

Userpilot user path analysis dashboard
Conduct user path analysis with Userpilot.

Step 2: Guide users through the path with a checklist

An onboarding checklist can be used to prompt users to use the product in specific ways and engage with certain features that keep them on the golden path toward activation.

Checklists are particularly effective since they specify which steps to take in sequence.

Userpilot onboarding checklist
Create a resource center code-free with Userpilot.

Step 3: Use contextual guidance to keep users on the golden path

Combining checklists with interactive walkthroughs will provide the best customer experience for new users.

Checklists ensure that users always know what the next step is so they don’t get lost in the flow, while the interactive walkthrough helps them learn by doing.

Userpilot interactive walkthrough
To build interactive walkthroughs, get your free Userpilot demo today!


As you can see, there are different metrics that you can use to track each stage of the customer path.

By monitoring these metrics, identifying happy paths, using onboarding checklists, and building interactive walkthroughs, you’ll be able to keep users on this path.

If you’d like to monitor and improve your customer path, then it’s time to get a free Userpilot demo today!

Try Userpilot and Take Your Product Engagement to the Next Level

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