Product Direction - Retention


The Retention Team at GitLab focuses on uncovering and addressing the leading reasons for subscription cancellation through hypothesis based testing and iteration. We will analyze churn from both a revenue and net customer perspective and will use that information to inform prioritization.

We will gain a deep understanding of the top reasons for churn by leveraging qualitative data from our customers and by partnering with Customer Success, Sales, and Customer Support.

In addition to the qualitative data we will analyze quantitative data to understand the key signals and early indicators that an account is at-risk or successful. This will require taking many different views of our data and understanding where there is correlation between a given activity and overall retention within a give stage as well as with annual renewals. Part of our effort will involve defining a retention metric that is not revenue based and it will likely be a combination of activity within a given time period.

Once we have data in place to inform our hypotheses, our testing will likely focus on identifying at-risk customers and guiding them back to successful.

Our ultimate goal is to keep teams happy and engaged with GitLab so they can continue to realze and benefit from the value that GitLab provides.

Retention Team

Product Manager: Michael Karampalas | Engineering Manager: Phil Calder | UX Manager: Jacki Bauer | Product Designer: Tim Noah | Full Stack Engineer: Jeremy Jackson | Full Stack Engineer: Jay Swain

Retention Team Mission

Encourage customers to keep using GitLab by:

  1. Providing a simple, easy, and transparent renewal and true-up process that can be both flexible for our larger customers and automated for our smaller ones
  2. Optimizing and improving the experience of when a renewal is coming up through email and in-app messaging
  3. Identifying and coaching at-risk users by partnering with our Customer Success team
  4. Helping our users realize and experience the full value of the GitLab offering

Retention KPI

Gross Retention

Gross retention is defined as: Gross Retention (%) = (min(B, A) / A) * 100%

Supporting performance indicators:

Problems to solve

Do you have challenges? We’d love to hear about them, how can we help GitLab contributors stay happy and engaged with GitLab?

Our approach

Retention runs a standard growth process. We gather feedback, analyze the information, ideate, then create experiments and test. As you can imagine the amount of ideas we can come up with is enormous so we use the ICE framework (impact, confidence, effort) to ensure we are focusing on the experiments that will provide the most value.

Retention's growth model is focused on 4 main areas:

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Current Priorities

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Previous work:

ICE Score Focus Why/Hypothesis Status
9.0 Disable ability to turn Auto-Renew off for .com and provide a cancel option .com customers are not aware that disabling auto-renew is essentially the same thing as canceling. If we allow users to cancel (e.g. turn auto-renew off) and explain what they'll lose, we'll see a higher % of subscriptions renew. By collecting feedback during the cancellation process we will also learn of additional opportunities to increase retention. AB test a success, pushed to 100%
8.0 Charge for `seats currently in use` on when Auto Renew is enabled When a customer's subscription has the Auto Renew setting toggled to ON, the system will create a new subscription at the renewal date identical to the existing subscription. The problem is, we are losing license money where there are more seats active on than what was in the subscription. Completed
7.3 Provide better messaging and context in the renewal banners The current renewal banners have a number of problems. This work will address the ability to dismiss the banner, linking customers to the portal, handling auto-renew with different messaging, and improving the look and feel of the banner. In progress - some pieces delivered but turned off until we have better targeting capabilities for expired customers
7.0 Add and Update Renewal Notifications We currently only send one renewal notification to customers 30 days before their renewal. Some customers require more advanced notice. This change adds multiple notifications over a 90 day window with customized instructions that are specific to the customer and their subscription. Completed
6.5 What's New Notification We believe that by surfacing a notification icon/interaction within gitlab which highlights our recent product enhancements, we'll be able to drive additional awareness and engagement with new features, leading to more engaged accounts and increased retention. MVC released on Second iteration in design.

GitLab Growth project
Retention Kanban Board
KPIs & Performance Indicators