Pirate metrics are a way to categorize and group together metrics depending on what aspect of the business you want to measure. The groupings are awareness, acquisition, activation, revenue, retention and referral or as a pirate would say “AAARRR.”
The six groupings align with the customer lifecycle stages and were created to help marketers identify where they should focus their efforts to optimize their marketing and sales efforts.
The model was originally created by Dave McClure who has a SaaS background so some groupings, like the activation category, might be less applicable for non-software products or services.
Every interaction before you know who the person is
Awareness metrics include:
- Website visits: how many people are visiting your website on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
- Click-through rate (CTR): the percentage of people who click on a hyperlink vs. the number of people who see that hyperlink.
- Impressions: the number of people who could have seen your content. Impressions indicate potential reach.
- Social impressions: the number of people who had your social post appear in their feed; sometimes called “reach.”
- User-behavior metrics
- Time on page: the average amount of time site visitors spend on specific webpages.
- Bounce rate: the number of site visitors who immediately leave your site.
- Pages per session: the average number of pages viewed by visitors before they leave your site.
- Percentage of new vs. returning visitors: the ratio of how many of your site visitors who are new vs. how many are returning.
You can find these metrics through search engines, Google Analytics, your CMS, individual social platforms and SEO tools like SEMrush.
Lead Capture to Activation
Acquisition metrics include:
- Visit-to-lead conversion rate: the percentage of your site visitors who become leads.
- Contacts generated: how many contacts you’ve created over a given time period.
- Leads generated: how many leads you’ve created over a given time period.
- MQLs, SQLs, CQLs and opportunities generated: how many marketing qualified leads, sales qualified leads, chat qualified leads and opportunities you’ve created over a given time period.
- Social engagement rates
- Shares: how many shares you receive on a single post or across a platform.
- Likes: how many “likes” or “favorites” you receive on a single post or across a platform.
- Comments: how many comments you receive on a single post or across a platform.
- Email click-through rate: the percentage of people who opened an email that clicked on a hyperlink within it.
- Cost of Acquisition (CAC): the cost of acquiring a single customer.
- Average deal cycle: how long it takes on average for a prospect to progress from their first interaction with you to closing the deal.
You can measure these metrics through your marketing automation and CRM platforms, in addition to within function-specific platforms, like your conversational marketing tool and social media platforms.
Video may also influence acquisition metrics since it offers prospects an opportunity to engage with your content and potentially convert, but video metrics are not limited solely to the acquisition phase.
Sign-up to paying or non-paying customer; onboarding
Activation metrics are most applicable to SaaS products where someone can sign up for your product without talking to sales. These metrics include:
- Product qualified leads (PQLs): how many people are using your product in a way that indicates they’re ready to upgrade or become paid customers.
- Lead-to-sign-up conversion rate: how many leads are signing up to use your product.
- Number of sign-ups: how many people are signing up to use your product in a given time period.
- Sign-up-to-PQL conversion: how many people who signed up for your product became PQLs.
- Time from sign-up to active usage: how much time passes on average between a person signing up to use your product to meeting your definition of an active user.
Activation metrics can be measured within your product and through your CRM.
Activation to paying customer
Revenue metrics include:
- Average deal size: the average dollar value of your closed deals.
- Monthly recurring revenue (MRR): how much revenue you can expect to earn on a monthly basis from both new and existing business.
- Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR): how much revenue you can expect to earn on a yearly basis from both new and existing business.
You can measure these metrics through your CRM and BI tools.
Retention metrics include:
- Customer lifetime value (CLV): the average amount of revenue you receive per customer over the entirety of your engagement with them.
- Retention rate: the percentage of customers who stay with your company over a given time period; the inverse of churn rate.
- Churn rate: how many customers your business loses in a given time period.
- Payback period: how long it takes to recover the cost of acquiring a customer.
- Product usage: how much and to what extent a customer is using your product. High usage is an indicator of retention.
- Customer satisfaction: do your customers feel like your product or service is fulfilling the purpose they purchased it for? If customers are unsatisfied, they are likely to churn.
You can measure retention metrics within your product and in your CRM.
Customer to evangelist
Referral metrics include:
- NPS score: how willing your customers are to recommend your product or service to others.
- Social shares: how often your customers are sharing your content with their networks on social media.
- Review rates: how many reviews you receive in a given time period.
- Referred business: the amount of business that comes from referrals, usually through word of mouth.
- Customer satisfaction: do your customers feel like your product or service is fulfilling the purpose they purchased it for? If they are satisfied, they’re more likely to recommend your product or service to others.
You can measure reviews and social shares through review sites and social platforms. NPS scores and referred business should be tracked in your CRM, but that can require integration between referral channels and your CRM.
Dividing your metrics into the pirate metrics categories will help you gain better insight into what areas of your business need the most attention. This is how companies can adopt a growth marketing framework.
Growth marketing uses the pirate metric categories to determine where you should dedicate resources to improve business outcomes. Once the areas for improvement have been identified, growth marketers use the scientific method to conduct experiments in order to systematically optimize their strategy.
Guido is Head of Product and Growth Strategy for New Breed. He specializes in running in-depth demand generation programs internally while assisting account managers in running them for our clients.