Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Overcoming muscle memory—how do we increase Firefox retention?

To date, Mozilla has done a reasonably good job getting people to download Firefox, but our data shows that a very high percentage of those people do not become long term, active Firefox users. We need to figure out how we overcome the default behavior of “clicking on the blue e.”

This obviously is not just a marketing challenge, but one that the whole company (and broader community) must face head on. To this end, we asked for an early round of ideas on how to improve Firefox retention. Below is an edited version of that feedback. What do you think? What are we missing?

Firefox Retention
Some high level questions:
How do we make Firefox people’s default browser (in choice and in practice)?
How do we make people “own” their browser and make it more personalized?
How do we change the habit of “clicking the blue e”?

Understanding our users
Segmenting users to understand why and how they use the internet/Firefox
Understand our user touch points along the user life cycle

Improved and more sticky start page
Better auto-updating process
Icon/name on desktop
-“get on the internet”
-Fx in start menu
Focus on security
Make plug-in finder much easier (Windows media player, flash, etc)
Window that pops up if you haven’t used Fx in a while
Partners as a retention tool (ebay, kodak, joga, google)

add ons contest (for people who download—not develop)

Security (in product and general messaging)
Brand campaign around thanking users of Firefox (and a tell a friend link)
Message benefits of open source and mission of Mozilla

Firefox support
-support as a way to turn people in to evangelists—after all support requests, say “you were just helped by a Mozilla volunteer, get involved today”
- feedback loop helps tell engineering, qa and product what doesn’t work before people tell us in the exit survey
User Education “tools, tricks, tips”

Mozilla store as retention tool
User groups and community events (college reps, etc)
User Parties (more than just 1 for Fx launches)
Community as a part of retention
- get people to sfx
Email newsletter with combo of cool blog posts, tips and tricks

To make comments or suggestions and to ask questions, please visit the spreadfirefox.com forum topic.


Jim Plush said...

make some videos!
normal users do not like to read docs. I run an open source project and large part of my success has been from creating and posting video tutorials of all the features/settings/etc.

sam said...

>Window that pops up if you haven’t used Fx in a while

Please tell me you're not seriously considering that...

Mark Dowling said...

better start considering Safari a threat too.

JT Batson said...

On the "window"- the suggestion was for a window (similar to those macafee ones) to ask you if you still want to have firefox on your computer since you haven't used it in a while. Should have clarified from the get go (not that this means we are going to do it anyway, but I would like to see some ideas that push the envelope). Thanks for the feedack so far.

Erp said...

"Click the burning blue ball thingy."

You gotta admit 'the blue e' is a lot easier to describe to someone, especially if you're not there with them. (I work tech support at a major ISP, describing something like that over the phone ain't always easy.) Plus, as spiffy as the Firefox logo is, I don't think it holds up terribly well as a desktop icon, or worse, a quicklaunch icon. I'm looking at the little icon on my desktop, and I really don't think I could say "Yes, anyone who looks at that would definitely see it as a fox right away." IE has a blue E, Opera has a red O. Simple. Safari has a compass, not quite as simple as an icon but still easy to describe. Firefox?

>> Partners as a retention tool (ebay, kodak, joga, google)

Be DAMN careful with that one, lest we end up with a bookmarks bar filled with sponsored links like back in the Netscape days.

>> Support as a way to turn people in to evangelists—after all support requests, say “you were just helped by a Mozilla volunteer, get involved today”

Ditto, you'd be walking a damn fine line in keeping that from becoming 'guilt-tripping people into helping Firefox.'

Gerv said...

We should ask the user whether we should be the default browser at shutdown, not at startup.

Currently, someone installs Firefox and fires it up. The first thing we ask them is "Do you want us as the default?", to which any sane person would answer "I have no idea, I haven't used it yet!"

jto said...

I have an interesting data point here.

My parents both tried Firefox, completely independently. They both had the same response. The start page is too austere.

Now this is something I liked about Firefox, actually... but there it is. I think a ton of people still can't just fire up a browser and start typing in URLs or even search terms. They have to *see* the internet when they start up the browser. Otherwise they really don't know what to do.

So, the start page may be an opportunity.

rory096 said...

Regarding the logo, I can vouch for people not being able to tell what it is when it's so small. I've spoken to people who were absolutely shocked when I told them it was a fox; though they'd been using Firefox for months, they still thought it was just a burning ball.

Techno Dude said...

To add to what already been said.

I suggest

1) Instead of unclear screen shots at the Features pages http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/features.html

An Interactive Flash replication of the browser should be created Which would enable people to check out the fantastic features of Firefox before they download 5.7 Mb !

2) Target Developing countries like india and china who have tremendous potential for growth.

3) Having themes for every major event like you had for Simpsons which increases exposure.

ehollo said...

Maybe fix some of the issues like Java console that is a version behind for Firefox. Popups control for some are still an issue. Promote all Mozilla.org sister software to attract more users, ie: Seamokey and Camero. Make Firefox more customer like feel. Could Firefox make it more graphical based? For China, they want a tightly secure browser, which Firefox needs to work very hard on still, perhaps with opening up a forum or requesting or even have a contest for cash prizes for making a better Firefox.

Gautam Guliani said...

Tongue in cheek suggestions

* For people who have installed Firefox, detect every IE crash and show a dialog box that says maybe that wouldn't have happened with Firefox.

* Detect botnet traffic and let the onwers of zombie pcs know that with Firefox they would stand a better chance of not getting their PC 0wned

But seriously folks, remember to not treat users like mindless chattle. Focus on differentiating the product and remember to recruit the friendly neighborhood alpha geek to help with the retention.

Matheus said...

insert a voice command...
and wand tool like the opera

uwe127 said...

@1st - gerv put an importent comment, let the user use firefox and on the (first?) shutdown, let him make his choice for the default browser. and give him help, making his choice

...about 50% of those people continue to use it...

Why? all the people, who downloaded firefox are openminded for an alternative browser, or not?
so give them a posibility, to customize the new precious they have. And make THIS simple, eg. ask: "are you a developer?" if yes, install the needet extensions for webdev and an ftp client, or "are you using google services?" ok, include the google stuff, "are you using youtube?" he, let's include an videodownloader an so on...
compress this in an 3-4 step action and the user has his own firefox. and think about the "fun" browsing the web, PLEASE spend a little work in the gui, the default skin is not so "funny", it is a little "old styled". take a look at the difference between ie6 and ie7, you know what i mean?

now fx is ready for the user, and if you now ask the user on shut down "Did you enjoy firefox? Wasn't that a smart browsing? Did you want me to be your default browser? i think it is easyer now, to makt "the right" choice

to get the "e" icon from the desktop, do it for the user, it is only a registry setting, and, if the licence does not allow this, show the user how to do that

make a "nice" icon, keep the pic, but make it a little more "3-dimensional" or let the blue earthball glow or pulsate, or make the fox rotating around the earth -i mean, make it a web2-icon

@last, i know my english is not perfect, but i think, you understand the idee - put the user in the foreground