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Defining your Aha moment

Defining your Aha moment

Liam Houlahan
April 26, 2021

Today the “Aha moment” has become a crucial part of Startups and Product managers who are bringing new products to market. Let’s discuss what the Aha moment is, how you should approach defining it and how it relates to measuring Product/Market fit with the PMF survey.

What is the Aha moment?

In software, the Aha moment is the moment when a user understands the value of your product and what it can do for them. They will literally be thinking/saying “aha, i get how this works”.

Generally speaking your goal as a founder or product manager is to get to the aha moment as fast as possible. This is to ensure you retain the users who sign up to your product. This is because you may only have limited time to retain a user before they give up on your product and move on.

Retaining users is especially important when you are take a product-led approach to building your business. Being product-led means that your product is self service. Right from the beginning when a user discovers you, to sign up, to experiencing the product through to purchase. Because you can’t be there to hand-hold and convince the user of the value of your product, the product needs to show the user it’s value before they lose interest.

Example of an “aha moment”

As an example, the first time I heard about the aha moment was watching a talk by Chamath Palihapitiya on Facebook’s growth team. Chamath led this team many years ago. Facebook defined their aha moment as being – when a user gets to 7 friends in 10 days. For a consumer product like Facebook getting to the “aha moment” within a reasonable timeframe, is even more important than for b2b products which might be sold in a more hands-on way.

Facebook aha moment - 7 friends in 10 days

How do you define your Aha moment?

So we’ve already looked at the example for Facebook above, where they defined their aha moment using 2 parameters which represent – 

  • Progress towards the user’s goal of using their product ie. connecting with friends
  • And, the timeframe in which that goal is achieved ie. within 10 days

Using timeframes

Now you might be thinking, in order for it to be the aha moment does it really need to happen within a certain timeframe? What if the same goal is achieved outside of that timeframe?

I think this is a very valid question and I would say that in the example above I would say the user will still experience the “aha moment” even if the user doesn’t achieve the goal within the timeframe. 

However, the satisfaction level of the user may vary with the timeframe. Achieving the goal within the timeframe could show how effective or powerful the product is. And depending on the scenario that could really count for something.

How to define your aha moment.

The “aha moment” for Product Fit

At Product Fit we define the aha moment as being when the user / account has received more than 40 survey responses. This is because we know that they must get to this number of responses in order for their feedback to be meaningful.

Of course they will still experience value before getting to 40 responses but to truly use the core of what our service provides to users getting to this number of responses is the first step.

To answer the question of “how do you define your aha moment?” I suggest:

  • Keep it simple – if you can use a single metric to define it that is always better than having to track a number of different steps.
  • Timeframes can matter – your goal should be to get to the aha moment for your users as fast as possible, although that is not necessarily a requirement of defining the “aha moment”.
  • Remember who your users are – depending on what your product does you may want to define different aha moments for each type of user. This will be more common in b2b apps where you have different roles for users within your service.
  • Keep reviewing your aha moment – as you iterate on your product and marketing, over time the value experienced by your users is going to change. Ensure you keep tabs on your “aha moment” so you can align your team and ensure you are gunning for the right moment.

How does the Aha moment relate to the PMF survey?

Now comes the PMF survey. As you might know the PMF survey should only be done when users have experienced the core value of your product. Ideally you will do the survey as soon as they experience this value for the first time. This of course is another way of saying the “aha moment” which is the first time users experience the core value of your product.

Knowing the feedback which is collected in the PMF survey from users at this point is key to understanding if you have positioned your product right and if it is delivering value in the right way to these users.

Aligning your positioning and product

When the PMF score is too low you know that the alignment between positioning and the product experience / value is off. Luckily the feedback collected in the PMF survey will help you get back on track when you identify the improvements you need to make in order to satisfy your target market users.

With Product Fit you can define your aha moment using “targeting rules and conditions”. These rules will identify when users reach the aha moment goal and will then trigger the survey for the user to answer. 

Target users at the aha moment

So that’s the “aha moment” explained in the context of the PMF survey. I hope you enjoyed reading this and keep an eye out on our updates as we will be bringing more improvements to help users discover, define and track their “aha moments”.


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