A user has maximum intent. She has watched the humorous demo video, chuckled when reading through the clever marketing copy, and filled out the abbreviated, optimized user registration form. She wants to give the product a spin. How long does the account verification link take to appear in her email box? Is it long enough for her to switch tabs, change contexts and lose interest?
The half-life for new product trials brief. How many seconds with a user does a product have? The typical web-browser spends 15 seconds on each webpage. When researching new software, those sessions are likely to be a bit longer, but even at a minute, that's not much time to deliver the email and keep the user moving through the conversion funnel.
Some product teams time user acquisition flows and push to reduce them consistently. How quickly can a user sign up and be using the product? AT Google, we used the Usability Lab to see our existing products through the eyes of new users and identify inaccuracies that sapped user intent.
Other companies employ ingenious techniques to increase their awareness of user needs. At Facebook, Tuesday mornings are 2G mornings. Hundreds of millions of users experience Facebook only through 2G connections. To build the right product, architect the most effective user flows, and optimize that experience, the product and engineering teams replicate the same network connection speeds.
One of the key elements in reducing the cost-of-customer acquisition for SaaS companies is maximizing the user intent. Witty videos, sales pitches, case studies are all essential. And so are the most trivial steps like minimizing the delay to receive the account confirmation email.