Facebook’s growth team famously targeted ‘7 friends in 10 days’, as their north star metric on the path to 1 billion users. If they could get a new user to add enough friends they knew they’d be hooked, so everything they did was in aid of this goal. You can actually calculate the north star metric for your product, and it’s easier than you think.
For an action to correlate highly with retention, you need to calculate how many users completed that action, and whether they were retained or not...
If we’re going to focus on retention, we need our ‘north star’ metric
You know, like how Facebook had “7 friends in 10 days”
The ‘aha moment’ where the user has completed enough actions to remain sticky
If we know what correlates with retention we have something to aim for
If we can focus on moving the needle on that metric, growth should follow
Can you do some analysis to find that ‘aha’ moment for us?
This course is a work of fiction. Unless otherwise indicated, all the names, characters, businesses, data, places, events and incidents in this course are either the product of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
How many actions does it take before our users say ‘aha’? If they don’t use your product enough they might not get it, and if you don’t get them to that point in the first few weeks they might never come back. However if you can optimize your product relentlessly towards a ‘north star’ metric that’s correlated with retention, your product will get stickier, and growth will follow. Facebook’s growth team famously optimized to ‘7 friends in 10 days’. They knew that if they got a user to add at least 7 friends, they would get enough value out of the social network to stick around. The goal wasn’t just correlated with success but it was simple: there were thousands of things the team could work on, but with a north star metric in mind they could focus and prioritize only tasks that moved the needle on the metric.
In order to choose an effective north star metric, you need to do a retention analysis. The ‘aha’ moment is in the intersection of two competing forces. The more actions someone takes the more likely they are to be retained, but also the more people will have been retained without taking that many actions. You need to find a tradeoff between the two. First you find out the share of people who were retained, that performed this many actions. Second you need to find out how many people are retained without performing this action. Bring those two together and you can find the sweet spot, whether it’s 6 friends, 7 friends, or 8 friends, or whatever the equivalent action in your product.
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