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As a marketer, it’s easy for me to get excited about how many leads we’re creating, how many sales opportunities those leads are generating, and, of course, how many new customers we’re onboarding. Those are my goalposts, and they’re the goalposts for lots of marketing teams. They’re also closely related to the milestones that companies tend to celebrate (e.g. with a “one-millionth user” party, or a “$1 million in revenue” outing) as a whole.
Measuring growth, of course, is essential for any business, and most SaaS companies have become pretty good at it. But what I’ve also come to realize (about an hour after arriving at Pendo) is that if you’re too focused on how your own line of business is performing, you may overlook something that’s equally important: how your customers are performing.
At product-led companies, winning a new customer isn’t the end goal — the “end” goal is making that customer successful. Because as we all know, a trial sign-up or even a new customer win doesn’t mark the end of their relationship with your business; it’s really just the first step in their product journey. In order to make that journey as enjoyable as possible — and in order to make your users as successful as possible — it all starts with looking at the right product metrics.
The 10 Most Important Product Metrics
With so much data so easily available to product teams, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. So I recently asked Brian Crofts, Pendo’s Chief Product Officer (and my personal t-shirt hook-up) how his team separates signal from noise. I persisted, “What are the foundational metrics you need to track in order to build a successful product strategy?”
His short answer: There are a handful of key product metrics every product-led company should be monitoring.
This is a list that Brian has been developing and fine-tuning for years. He’s borrowed some from peers, cooked up others himself, and has had others handed down to him. And topping that list is … product stickiness.
For the longer answer, and for the full breakdown of Brian’s list, check out Pendo’s new guide, The 10 KPIs Every Product Leader Needs to Know. In addition to showing you how to measure the 10 most crucial product KPIs, the guide offers a behind-the-scenes look at how Brian and his team think about product analytics here at Pendo*. (*Not that you need to do everything exactly the way we do it — we just thought it’d be helpful to give you a real-world view, like in the example below.)
How to Measure Product Stickiness
(above: an example of product stickiness being traced month to month)
How regularly your customers use your product is a pretty reliable indicator of how much value they’re deriving from it. That’s what product stickiness is all about. With a sticky product, people aren’t logging in episodically, they’re living in your product and finding continuous value.
Unfortunately, there’s no silver bullet or shortcut for making your product stickier. The bottom line is you need to measure product stickiness before you can start managing it. Once you have a stickiness baseline, you’ll be able to experiment and make updates to your product in order to figure out what affects stickiness and what doesn’t.
The good news: There’s a simple formula you can use for calculating your product’s stickiness “score.” You just take the ratio of your daily active users (DAU) to monthly active users (MAU). The higher the percentage you end up with, the stickier your product.
Just keep in mind that in order for this number to be truly meaningful, you need to monitor it over time. If you see product stickiness trending upward, you know you’ve been doing a good job of building a product that re-engages users. On the other hand, if you see stickiness trending downward, that may be a sign that you need to reevaluate your approach.
For a more in-depth look at product stickiness and other important metrics product leaders should be monitoring (as well as for more insight from actual product experts), be sure to grab a copy of our new guide.