Pirate Metrics


Framework for thinking about how to onboard / get people to use your product or service.

These are totally custom for every product, but can be useful in building hypotheses about what matters / what works in getting usage, and also what kind of Product Metrics you should be tracking.

Called “Pirate Metrics” because the abbreviation is A-A-R-R-R:

  • Acquisition: this is initial sign up. You might want to say this is email sign up and verification – that someone came in, waited for a verification link, and then came back.
  • Activation: this should be doing at least one core action of your product. eg. for a music streaming service, maybe it’s listen to one song. This is the one I like to be very strict about – so that an “activated” user really has engaged with your product.
  • Retention: different products have different retention period. For an accounting or finance app, I might login and review one transaction per month. For others, it might be a daily action. So something like “We will consider a user retained if they (do some core thing) Y times over (X days/weeks/months). Otherwise, consider them to have “churned” and they need to be re-activated.
  • Referral: do users care enough about your product to share it with others? This shouldn’t really be something like “invite your team” if having team mates is a core usage – that would be activation or retention. People are excitedly telling others that your product rocks.
  • Revenue: your customer is paying you!

I also have this article saved on the Fission forum.

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