A useful metric must be:

  • Relevant – Does it align with core business goals? If you move the number, will it result in positive change?
  • Measurable – Is the value subjective? Can you define it? Is it possible to technically capture the data?
  • Actionable – Can you do something positive and impactful with the data?
  • Reliable – Is the metric technically robust? Will it be relevant in a year? Can it track progress over time?
  • Readable – Can it be easily misunderstood? Does it require a lot of context? Could it lead to bizarre behaviors? Does it suffer a lag that makes it difficult to evaluate?

Here is a big list of metrics you can consider measuring. But choose only a few that could really make a difference for your product.


  • Conversion (sales / visits)
  • Product page conversion (sales / visits to product page)
  • Funnel analysis
  • Basket abandonment
  • Bounce rate
  • Sales
  • Leads
  • Subscribers
  • Unique visitors
  • Returning visitors
  • Page views per visit
  • Visit to order ratio
  • Load time
  • Registrations
  • Visit / session length
  • Page views per visit
  • Time on page
  • Time on site
  • Form abandonment
  • Failed internal search
  • Referring pages / links
  • Geographic locations
  • Print page


  • Click through rate
  • Impressions

Financial / sales / business

  • Average order value
  • Basket value
  • Profit margin
  • Average sales price
  • Cross sell
  • Gross margin
  • Category margin
  • Cost per lead
  • Customer acquisition cost
  • Lifetime customer value
  • Average customer value
  • Membership / subscription churn


  • Feedburner subscriptions
  • Shares on Google Reader

Call / customer contact centre

  • Average call length
  • Support vs sales calls
  • Inbound vs outbound calls
  • Web generated calls (unique number on website)
  • Web fulfilled information calls


  • SEM keyword value
  • SEO positioning
  • Changes in SERP results/rankings
  • Top entry pages
  • Number of keywords triggering results for your site
  • Number of clicks to your site from keywords
  • Google trends
  • Inbound links (back link discovery)
  • Percentage share of each engine
  • Branded vs non*branded searches
  • Affiliate links
  • Affiliate fees

Social media

  • Facebook referrals
  • Incoming Twitter links
  • Facebook sends/shares/mentions
  • Facebook likes
  • Facebook fans
  • Facebook fan rates
  • Tweets
  • Retweets
  • @s on Twitter
  • Twitter followers
  • Twitter follow rate
  • Google +1s
  • Bookmarks on Delicious
  • StumbleUpon thumbs up
  • StumpleUpon reviews
  • Diggs
  • Google BlogSearch links
  • Blog comments
  • Blog articles
  • Video views
  • Youtube favourites
  • Youtube channel subscriptions
  • Youtube channel comments
  • Youtube video reviews
  • Slideshare views
  • Forum mentions
  • Thread size
  • Online review mentions
  • Stars in reviews
  • / URL shorteners usage / clicks

Third party / benchmarks

  • Comscore
  • Hitwise
  • Alexa
  • Compete (US)

Email & campaigns

  • Email newsletter churn
  • Email sign-up
  • Emails sent
  • Emails bounced (bad address)
  • Email forwards
  • Email campaigns
  • Open rate
  • Delivery rate (sent – bounces)
  • Click through rate (CTR)
  • Email related to conversion / other metric
  • Unsubscribe rate
  • SMS subscribers
  • Via print publication / 3rd party (unique URLs)

Internal search

  • Search no results
  • # Search 1 to 10 results
  • # Search 10 to 25 results
  • # Search over 50 results


  • GOMS technique
  • Time to content
  • Clicks to content
  • Back button clicks
  • Task completion
  • Errors

User testing metrics:

  • Words Recognition Rate
  • Reported expectations and performance
  • Facial reaction
  • Number of back presses
  • Gap satisfaction
  • Path’s taken as a measure of scent
  • Work-flow matches mental model or not

Satisfaction measurements:

  • Net Promoter Score
  • ASQ PDF: After Scenario Questionnaire (3 Questions)
  • NASA-TLX : NASA’s task load index is a measure of mental effort (5 Questions)
  • SMEQPDF: Subjective Mental Effort Questionnaire
  • UMEPDF : Usability Magnitude Estimation
  • SEQ PDF: Single Ease Question
  • SUS: System Usability Scale or sometimes the Single usability score (why it needs two names I don’t know)


I’m Sorry, But Those Are Vanity Metrics

For students, GPAs and SAT scores are key for getting into college. They’re single measures reflective of overall performance. You similarly need broad metrics, like number of users, to convince investors and advisors to believe in your company. These metrics serve a purpose — just not every purpose. “Vanity metrics aren’t useless. They have their use case, but are points of comparison for other people to evaluate you,” Tabb says. “Don’t focus on them internally. Tracking clarity metrics builds great businesses.” Here’s how he marks the difference:

Vanity metrics are surface-level metrics. They’re often large measures, like number of downloads, that impress others. Use them to initiate partnerships and gain a following.

Clarity metrics are operational metrics, like the number of minutes a day your product actually gets used or how long it took for a user to get service. These are the hidden gears that drive growth. Use them to solidify your competitive advantage.

Confusing the two types of measurements can be a recipe for disaster. Companies can get so enamored with vanity metrics that they fail to build a viable business strategy. “In 2014, a recruitment platform went viral by emailing a user’s Facebook friends after a sign-up. Their advisors and investors pressured them to increase daily active users [DAUs]. It’s all they focused on,” Tabb says. “The strategy worked: 33 million DAUs attracted $49 million of funding. All in less than two years. They were so focused on the single metric that they didn’t realize they were losing users just about as fast as they gained them, angering everyone in the process. They were a meteor until they fell to earth.”

Continue reading: “I am sorry, but those are vanity metrics”

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