Pirate Metrics (AARRR) with Firebase

Generating insights from data and acting upon it appropriately can often make or break a company. In the past few years, the field has grown leaps and bounds with a lot more app developers tracking a lot more events. Yet, truth be told, it’s easy to get overloaded with data and, hence, make it tougher for yourself to find what you were looking for.

So, what metrics should you be tracking to help improve your product?

Analytics is a vast field, with several popular practices and frameworks being employed across the world in every industry. One of the most popular frameworks, particularly in the tech products sector, is Pirate Metrics. The term was coined by Dave McClure, founder of 500 Startups, and is very popular amongst product managers and growth hackers across the world for how it simplifies and breaks down a product’s user lifecycle.

In this post, we’ll cover the five metrics that are collectively called Pirate Metrics and understand their importance. In following posts in the series, we will see how we can use Firebase products to boost these metrics and, hence, build more engaging products.

Stage 1

The first element in user lifecycle of any product is the acquisition, meaning user install your app. Users are acquired in many different ways, either organically, such as through social media communications, App Store optimization, search, news, content marketing etc., or inorganically which is usually ads.

Stage 2

Congratulations, you have acquired a user! However, your job is less than half done and there is still a need to convince the user that the app is worth keeping around. To give yourself the best chance, you want to activate the user by getting them to experience what makes your app special. For example, a game might want the user to go through a training level or a photo filter application might want the user to experiment with any one image.

Stage 3

The biggest challenge most products face is to retain the users that they acquired. A typical person only uses about 26% of their installed apps daily. People tend to either uninstall or simply forget about the applications they downloaded after the first few days. The goal for any new healthy product is to find a strategy to retain them, and have them keep coming back.

Stage 4

You also want your users to be your biggest advocates. No acquisition strategy is as powerful as an organic, referral campaign. If users love your product, they genuinely want their friends to try it out as well, and you want to really encourage your users to do so, and reduce any friction that might stop a user.

Stage 5

Ultimately, you want to monetize your app in order to grow your company and reach more users.

These five stages - Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, and Revenue are collectively called Pirate Metrics. These are fairly general and can be applied to most digital products. Product managers use a wide variety of tools to track these different metrics. However, with the new Firebase, not only can you track these in one single place, you can also use the suite of different tools to boost them.

We’ll see how in the coming posts. Stay tuned!