A Matter of Product Metrics
Meghna Misra is the Vice President of Products at Pure Storage, where she leads product management, marketing and experience design for the as-a-service product offerings. She’s a business-focused product leader with a strong engineering background and demonstrated ability to build world-class products from the ground up. Over the past 16 years, she has led innovative SaaS and mobile products in early stage startups as well as large corporate environments like Microsoft and Intuit. Her compulsive customer-focus and strong people skills enable her to consistently deliver products that delight users while accelerating business growth.
She recently headlined the Products That Count-hosted webinar to provide an understanding of which metrics matter most in the context of your user base and gives you the best (and timely) indication of whether your product is really working.
In the webinar, Meghna Misra took center-stage to lay out which product metrics are most important based on the user base and offered insight into how to use that information to determine if the product is working. You can watch Meghna’s webinar presentation about or read on for some highlights below.
What Should All Product Managers Ask Themselves?
Product metrics are an important aspect of following the lifecycle of one’s product, but Meghna thinks there’s a preamble to concerning yourself with these measurements.
“So, for these metrics to really matter, you have to ask a core question. And the core question to ask is, ‘How do you measure meaningful interaction in the product. The way your users interact with your product, that needs to be quite meaningful, otherwise, it truly doesn’t matter despite all the data that you have at your fingertips.”
The Beauty of Metrics
There are product metrics that managers should focus on, but often get sidetracked by a series of numbers that appear far more attractive. Meghna discusses these “vanity metrics” and how they’re not as helpful as they may seem.
“Focus on actionable metrics, as opposed to vanity metrics. Remember that this data, at the end of the day, should help you make decisions that make your products better. That’s why we measure success of the product, not just to feel good about it.
Vanity metrics are numbers or stats that look really good on paper that make me feel really good. But they don’t always necessarily correlate to what matters. Now, actionable metrics, on the other hand, are tied to outcomes, like tangible outcomes, and they can help you make decisions that help in turn to improve your product.”
Before Product Metrics Come Into Play
Meghna laid out the framework of determining the best metrics to track, starting with the concepts product managers should have a grasp on before even thinking about these measurements.
“Before you figure out which metrics you should be tracking, you need to determine what your goals are. Goals for your business and goals for your product. Because tracking metrics that aren’t aligned with your goals is just going to be not very useful at all.”
The Difference Between Output and Input Metrics
Common product metrics are split up into two categories: Output and input metrics. Both serve their own purpose, which Meghna outlined.
“Output metrics are lagging indicators of success. But they’re really good at measuring where we are at, getting a baseline of our reality, and allowing us to set goals against. But what they don’t do is help us with our day to day behavior, and the decisions that help us improve our products on a day-to-day basis. A good way to look at input metrics are behaviors that, in turn, influence output metrics. They are usually leading indicators of success and very useful to consider when you don’t want to wait for your lagging indicators.”
Each of these categories can be divided into multiple subcategories, and Meghna provided examples of the metrics that fall into both output and input product metrics.
“There are many output metrics that we could pick, but I picked Net Promoter Score, lifetime value, and conversion. And then for input metrics, I picked usage, task completion, and second and third logins.”
What Are the Key Product Metrics?
If a product manager were to hone in on just two metrics, which should they choose? According to Meghna, the focus should fall on usage and Net Promoter Score. To best illustrate why they’re among the most important figures to watch, Meghna broke down their purposes:
- Who are your core users and/or power users
- Why do they use your product
- What are their key behaviors and interactions
- How often do they perform these actions
Net Promoter Score:
- NPS is a benchmark of user sentiment
- One simple question – “How likely are you to recommend us to a friend?”
- % Promoters – % Detractors = NPS
Many thanks to our partners at Amplitude for sponsoring this webinar.