Pirate Metrics (AARRR) dashboard example

Why is a pirate metrics dashboard useful?

Pirate Metrics is a popular metrics framework for online startups created by Geckoboard investor Dave McClure of 500 Startups. The name “Pirate Metrics” comes from the AARRR (say it aloud to yourself and it will all make sense) acronym, which stands for Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral and Revenue. These summarize the different stages of the customer lifecycle for an online startup, and Dave dives into more detail on these stages and relevant metrics in this great video presentation.

We’ve used this framework to design an example live TV dashboard as inspiration for an online startup when building their own dashboard to display in the office.

Integrations used

Who is this dashboard for?

A CEO or growth manger of an online startup.

How can a pirate metrics dashboard help you achieve your business goals?

Use this dashboard to get an overview of your key metrics across your customer conversion funnel.

Acquisition

This stage is about how your customers find you and what your best performing channels are in terms of volume and return. We’ve broken this out into 5 key metric visualizations:

  1. Website Sessions vs Goal - Using the “Visitor Number Stats” widget from our Google Analytics integration, we’ve visualized the number of website sessions vs a pre-defined goal. This gives a good indication of how well you’re doing in terms of attracting enough people to your site.
  2. Signup Conversion Rate - Again, we’ve used our Google Analytics integration, but this time we’ve used our “Goals Number Stats” widget to visualize the conversion rate from website session to trial. This metric helps you understand if you’re attracting the right people to your site, if you’ve created an intuitive user journey and if there are opportunities for conversion rate optimization.
  3. Signups this Month - Using the “Trends Union Number” widget from our pre-built Mixpanel integration, we’ve visualized the number of signups this month and how that is trending vs previous months. This is helpful in understanding acquisition growth, particularly relative to changes in the previous two metrics we mentioned.
  4. Signups by Channel - We’ve taken the “Top Sources List” widget from our Google Analytics integration, and filtered it to just include sessions which converted to a signup. This helps you to understand what your top performing channels are in terms of acquisition volumes.
  5. Cost of Acquiring Customers (CAC) by Channel - Since calculating the cost of acquiring a customer requires cost and volume data, we’ve combined this data in a Google Sheet and built this visualization using our Google Sheets dashboard integration. This helps you understand how effective each channel is in terms of the cost of acquiring a customer.

Activation

To visualize activation we’ve used our Mixpanel “Funnel” widget. This takes funnels that you define in Mixpanel and visualizes them as simple to understand funnel or column chart visualizations. This visualization helps you understand how well you’re converting prospects from one key activation event to the next.

Retention

For retention, we’ve used our Mixpanel integration again to look at two week trial retention rate. This was built using our “Funnel Completion Rate Line Chart” widget, and is a useful indicator of how well you’re retaining trialists past a key milestone. Another retention metric you might want to consider visualizing would be conversion rate from signup to paying customer using our Mixpanel integration.

Referral

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is taken from a survey asking customers how likely they are on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being very likely) to recommend your product or service to others. We’ve visualized this using our pre-built integration with NPS tool Delighted. It’s a great leading indicator of the word-of-mouth referrals you can expect. Another metric that some online startups, who have great virality built into their product or service, use to measure referrals is Viral Coefficient.

Revenue

Finally, we’ve used the “Revenue Line Chart” widget in our Mixpanel integration to visualize monthly revenue for the past 12 months compared to the previous 12 months. This is a useful lagging metric to highlight the outcomes of the previous leading indicators, and ultimately visualize topline growth for your online startup.