Product Metrics To Watch | Managing International Products

As product managers, we live and die by product metrics. For international products, or products that garner significant international traffic, are there unique metrics to watch? 

Product metrics can be categorized in various ways, but typically fall into the following buckets: 

  • Engagement 
  • Performance 
  • E-commerce 
  • Revenue 
  • Marketing 
  • Customer Satisfaction 

Of course, the metrics you track will be determined by the product type. The base set of metrics for an international product will mirror those of a comparable US product. These range from a barometer metric like MAU (Monthly Active Users) to revenue data like ad click-through rates. However, several specific metrics can provide unique insights for an international product. 

One bellwether engagement metric is the bounce rate. Google Analytics defines this as “a single-page session on your site.” It represents the percentage of visitors who navigate away from your site after viewing only one page. The bounce rate can also be applied at the page level to key entry points like the homepage or a landing page. A poorly localized page (with awkward translations or inauthentic images) will prompt users to exit. If your primary screens are not well localized, it’s a telltale sign that the rest of the product suffers the same. 

For many countries, the mobile bounce rate is especially critical.

Because localization can be challenging for mobile (especially for certain languages), a high bounce rate can indicate issues that are not noticeable on the desktop. Since mobile usage is higher in many countries than in the US, this is doubly important to follow. 

Site performance data is crucial for international products.

This includes page speed and page loading data. In emerging markets, internet connection speeds can vary greatly, and fast loading screens will determine if a user stays. The CDN provider Akamai notes that “a two-second delay in web page load time increases bounce rates by 103 percent” and that “53 percent of mobile site visitors will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load.” Recognizing this, marquee brands have launched lightweight versions of their products specifically for certain markets. Uber Lite and the upcoming Tinder Lite are two examples. 

Like e-commerce products generally, shopping cart usage data is vital. For international products, the payment screen drop-off rate is key. High drop-off on a payment screen may signal that your product lacks the relevant payment methods. Even if you optimize the shopping cart experience in other aspects, local customers require local payment methods. 

For product managers with P&L responsibility, an often overlooked item to be cognizant of is the currency exchange rate. Although it’s an external metric, it can impact revenue. A change in the exchange rate between the local currency and (for a US company) the dollar may trigger a revenue drop even though the product is maintaining healthy product metrics.  

In addition, do not ignore product marketing metrics.

Localization of marketing creative can be tricky. For example, subject line choices impact email open rates and can also reflect translation quality. Ad click-through rates can validate US-tested value propositions for other countries. 

It’s also important to recognize that customer satisfaction metrics differ by region and language. The ubiquitous Net Promoter Score (NPS) is an example. According to Nataly Kelly at HubSpot, differences in NPS by country are due to “cultural differences and other reasons.” For instance, Japanese consumers have higher customer service expectations than those in many other markets. Understanding these variations can put your product’s value in context.  

In addition to managing your product through the standard lens, focusing on a set of essential metrics can alert you to issues. These metrics can also highlight the success of your product around the globe. 

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About the speaker
David Grayson Facebook, Product Manager Member

David Grayson is VP of Product at LiveCareer - leading the company's international product team to develop new solutions for career development (resumes, cover letters, interview best practices & more). Prior to joining LiveCareer, David worked for more than 10 years at before its acquisition by Monster - helping veterans secure career opportunities after serving in the military. David holds a Masters degree from The University of Chicago and currently lives in Alameda.

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