Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tracking Pirate Metrics - Referral

This is the fifth post in our series on tracking Pirate Metrics using Just the Facts.  Our focus this time is on the Referral metric.

Referral is typically used to track the virality of your product, that is, the extent to which your existing users are driving your growth by referring new users.

As with retention, the best measure of referrals is always going to be specific to your product.  Some of the possible measures include:
  • the number of invites sent by existing users
  • the number of signups that can be attributed to the referral
  • the viral coefficient
  • the ratio of new customers to existing customers
  • cycle time, how much time it takes for a user to invite others.
Again using Just the Facts as an example, the feature of sharing a dashboard with colleagues is one obvious source of viral growth that we can track as a referral metric.

For this example, we'll use a different analytics web service.  Mixpanel is particularly useful for tracking fine-grained events, segmenting them on a variety of properties, and analyzing funnels of events.  We'll assume that Mixpanel events are already being used to track two key events related to referrals:
  •  an existing user sharing a dashboard
  •  a new user registering in order to view a dashboard that was shared with them.
To subscribe, we'll navigate to the "Trends" dashboard in Mixpanel, select the "Total visitors" dropdown value and activate the extension.  We'll subscribe to the "Share Dashboard" and "Referral Registration" facts: 
Subscribing to Mixpanel Facts
and then provide our account's API and Secret keys, available from the "Projects" tab under your account information.
Mixpanel Account Information Dialog
The system will subscribe to the total count of visitors from yesterday who performed the event in question, perfect for tracking referral metrics on a daily basis.

As with our previous facts, once we have created the subscription, we'll re-label the new facts to make it clear that they are Referral metrics:
Editing the Fact Label
Our complete dashboard, showing both source and calculated facts for all 5 categories of Pirate Metrics, now looks like this:
and the daily email report looks like this:
Daily Email
Our next post will look at setting targets and warnings on our facts to help us track progress and identify when facts need attention.

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