How should you determine product success?

Aug 24, 2017

When it comes to measuring product success there are five rules you can follow.

1. Focus on what matters now

Products are not concrete entities. They must change and respond to user feedback or fluctuating market demands. As such it doesn’t make sense to have a bunch of inflexible KPIs dictating how you measure success.

Having a set of KPIs that change and reflect shifting business and product priorities is a great way to accurately measure product success.

And with retroactive analytics tracking you’ll always be able to see full historical data of the KPIs you decide to track.

2. Align with strategic business goals

Product goals should always reflect the overall business goals.

If, for example, current business priorities are to enhance brand loyalty then product metrics should reflect this. This could lead to a shift away from measuring new users and instead measuring return visitors and the overall time spent with your product. (An easy ask for any analytics solution that supports unique user IDs.)

Equally, if increasing revenue becomes a business priority your product metrics might need to shift back to measuring new users.

Having a tool that allows you this flexibility, without losing data just because you’re no longer actively measuring something, is key to maintaining good data.

3. Collect the best data possible

Having data that tells you what you need to know is important. This means collecting entire customer journeys, complete funnel tracking, unique ID tracking, and any and all interaction with your product.

More often than not insights are lost and opportunities missed because of poor data capture.

4. Re-evaluate the measures you use on a regular basis

In addition to responding to shifting business priorities and measuring what most matters now, product measures need to reflect shifting products themselves.

The drivers of value change over time and so must your KPIs. For example, if the demographic of your product changes over time you must alter your measures of success to reflect this new demographic.

5. Be realistic

Failure is a part of the game but your measures should be realistic. If you don’t set realistic KPIs you’re setting yourself up to fail which achieves nothing and provides minimal insight.

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Set goals you think are attainable, not that are easy, so you can get a feel for volume. You can always increase your goals over time. In fact, by steadily increasing goals you give yourself some context for what’s achievable and what’s not.

Wrapping up

Success is different for every product and it’s no use copying other people’s metrics. That’s why it’s so important to think through each measure you set up, align it with business strategy, and take into account shifting product demographics.

Think about what success means for your product and your company right now - then define some measures and aim to shatter your goals.

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