from Lenny Rachitsky | by Lenny Rachitsky

Lenny Rachitsky


about 1 year ago

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How to determine your activation metric Including real examples from Figma, Linear, Airtable, Snyk, Slack, Asana, and Sprig. Read on (1/5):

Keep reading for highlights, or jump straight to the full post ➔

1/ First, what is "activation"? Your activation milestone (often called the “aha moment”) is the earliest point in your onboarding flow that, by showing your product’s value, is predictive of long-term retention. A user is considered activated when they reach this milestone.

Your activation rate is the percentage of your new users who hit your activation milestone. Concretely: activation rate = [users who hit your activation milestone] / [users who completed your signup flow].

2/ Why is activation rate important? A good activation event is often associated with the beginnings of a user forming a new habit inside the product, and since increasing activation rate is one of the best levers for increasing retention, it’s a major focus for growth teams.

3/ How to determine your activation metric Follow this three-step process: 1. Brainstorm, and explore your product usage data, for some potential “aha” moments in the user journey.

2. Run a regression analysis to see if there’s an inflection in retention when someone hits any of those moments, to establish a correlative relationship between some potential activation milestones and product retention.

3. Run some experiments to see if increasing the percentage of users hitting that moment increases their retention rate, to see if any of those correlative relationships translate into true causality. A good activation metric is causal for your retention, not just correlative.

4/ A few real-life examples of how teams worked through this process

5/ Stories of how the fastest growing multi-player B2B SaaS companies figured out their activation metric Figma (thanks @farooqib!)

Airtable (thanks @laurynisford!)

Snyk (thanks @semanticben!)

Slack (thanks @merci!)

And finally, a contrarian take from Linear (thanks @karrisaarinen!)

For more on finding your activation metric, including examples from Asana, Sprig and more, plus stories on correlating your metric to retention, don't miss the full post

Huge thank you to @farooqib @jackiebo @karrisaarinen @laurynisford @merci @semanticben and Rachel Wang for sharing their stories, and @TheTimenator for helping me refine this post 🙏

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