19 Product Launch Metrics You Need To Be Tracking
Getting ready to launch your product to the world? Or maybe you’re adding a new feature to an existing one, but want to give that feature every chance of landing with a bang?
Product launches are tricky, time-consuming, stressful, and exciting all at the same time.
What’s important to remember, though, is that they’re also great learning opportunities – and that tracking the right metrics at each stage of your product’s launch phase will show you two really important things:
- How the launch is actually going
- What you can do better next time
That’s exactly why, in this piece, we’ll be taking a meaty dive into the key metrics behind a successful product launch. That’s what to track, when, and how each metric can help you understand exactly how successful the fruit of your labor has been.
But first, let’s go over a few basics…
What are product launch metrics?
Product launch metrics are key performance indicators (KPIs) that speak to the success of the various stages of your launch. Like all metrics, they’re indicators that things are hitting your desired targets, exceeding expectations, or falling short.
With product launches in particular, metrics are barometers for both real-time performance and – after the fact – a way to see how strong a given rollout was overall.
A word of warning, though: while tracking metrics as part of a KPI and OKR (objectives and key results) program is a crucial part of product management, it’s easy to get bogged down in the wrong things. It’s helpful to understand what’s important and what’s just noise, and to ensure that you’re not obsessing over metrics that aren’t really relevant for the launch phase of the product lifecycle.
Why are product launch metrics important?
When we’re talking about tracking product launch metrics, we’re really discussing OKRs. Setting intelligent objectives – and understanding how to accurately track your progress towards them – is important at any stage of the product lifecycle, but especially so at the point of launch.
That means capturing metrics but also having realistic targets in mind for them.
OKRs drive success, too. According to Mooncamp, some 83% of companies that use the OKR framework think they’ve had a positive effect on their business. Sears Holding Company, meanwhile, has found that consistently setting and tracking OKRs can increase business performance by 11.5%.
Stats are great and all, but if you take only one thing away from this, make it this: metrics are your KPIs, KPIs inform OKRs, and OKRs are how you’ll drive success or learn from failures.
Why do product launches fail?
For a bunch of reasons! Poor planning, half-assed market research, lack of strategy in marketing and comms, or launching with bugs and technical issues will all see you limping out of the gates with a product that fails to set the world on fire.
Due diligence is the key, specifically in three areas:
You need to put in the effort here otherwise you run the risk of launching a product into a world that doesn’t really need it. Product and market discovery is how you’ll ensure that your product solves a real need that currently isn’t being serviced.
Releasing a buggy product to the public is a great way to ruin what could otherwise have been a fantastic launch. Thorough testing, internal launches, and soft launches will help you spot and squash bugs before they have a chance to reach a wider audience.
Seems obvious, but you’ve really got to have a plan here. A unified strategy that hits every relevant channel is vital – as is building out a marketing calendar that continues to bang the drum long after the initial launch.
Tracking the right product launch metrics
So, here’s how this is gonna work: we have this post over here that acts as a full checklist of everything you need to do when launching a product. It’s a great framework for any product managers out there to work through and build out your product launch strategy, but it’s also perfect as a jumping-off point for us to talk about metrics here.
We’re gonna take the product launch processes as laid out in that other post, group them into stages, and cover all of the metrics you need to be tracking at each step for a successful launch.
Just a heads up: In most cases, you’ll need a dedicated product analytics tool to keep tabs on these metrics.
Product Launch Stage 1 – Discovery and development:
- Do proper market discovery
- Undertake customer discovery
- Ensure you are iterating throughout
- Set goals and define what ‘Done’ is
At this part of the process, most of the product launch KPIs you’ll be focussed on will be qualitative. What do focus groups and beta testers think of what you’re building? Is your value proposition a good market fit for your target audience? Is everyone aligned on your business goals? Getting a product built often relies more on gut feel than hard maths, but there are still a couple of quantitative metrics to keep an eye on:
Stage 1 – Product launch metrics to track:
1. Market volume and share
Not yours: theirs. If possible, it’s always good to understand the potential size of the market you’re looking to enter, and how much of it your nearest competitors own. Publicly-shared sales and userbase info will allow you to work out how much of the industry pie each competitor currently lays claim to.
2. Waiting list signups
You should be driving buzz long before you’re ready to launch. Waiting lists are a great way to gauge the appetite your product is generating. The number should be going up steadily; if it’s not, you need to do some stronger pre-launch marketing.
Product Launch Stage 2 – Launch rollout:
- Launch internally
- Run a soft launch
- Hard launch
Ok, it’s time to release this thing. Well, it is after you’ve done so internally and with a select group of testers. At each stage, you’ll want to use an integrated product analytics suite to drill down into individual features and journeys – with metrics that can show you how successful your UX and UI design is. That’s alongside providing a verdict on just how good of a solution your product has turned out to be.
Produt Launch metrics to track:
1. Onboarding completion rate
From your internal launch right through to the full public offering, you’ll want to use a product analytics suite to understand how many people actually make it through your onboarding or tutorial process. If it’s too low, you need to tweak things and make that initial process more streamlined.
2. Product adoption rate
Product adoption rate tracks how many people moved beyond simply downloading or installing it, to actually become regular users. If you compare it to raw installs, this metric will become a percentage that outlines your product’s real-world worth – or if you’re all talk and no trousers.
3. Feature adoption rate
Similarly, you can use product analytics tools to see how individual features are performing. You might have an idea that X or Y feature will be the thing that people really love about your new product, but you need to rigorously test those assumptions. Obviously, this is a huge one to track if the ‘launch’ in question is a feature launch, rather than a whole new product.
4. Usage frequency
How often are people actually using your product? Every day? Once a month? Each product will have a natural frequency baked in based on its purpose, but comparing your goal figure here against the average usage frequency during your initial rollout will provide insight as to how much of a problem-solving machine you’ve really built. It might be, for instance, that people use it all the time at launch, and then usage frequency slowly dies down once the novelty wears off.
5. Time-to-first action
This is a great metric for understanding how intuitive and useful the various parts of your product are. You choose a desired action – it could be setting up a roadmap or sharing a document – and track how long it is before users actually complete the process. Long time-to-first action results show that your feature is either unintuitive or not really necessary.
‘Value’ in this instance arrives the second customers get what they came for. Or, in other words, your TTV figure shows how long it took for a user to feel like your product was worth downloading. There are a bunch of different ways to attribute a ‘moment’ to that value; a common one is when a customer moves from the free tier to a paid tier.
Product Launch Stage 3 – Marketing:
- Align the messaging, everywhere
- Get the message out
It’s time to unleash that carefully planned marketing strategy. When promoting your product, you’ll need to enter into a routine of testing something out, seeing how it landed, making changes, and then testing again. This process never really stops, so the marketing metrics you track at launch will provide the baseline comparison for everything you do going forwards.
Product Launch metrics to track:
1. Website traffic
Simple but effective, website traffic is one of the best ways to know if people know about you or not. Broadly speaking, the more visitors your site has, the more your product awareness is growing. Traffic sources, meanwhile, will help clarify how well your SEO, social, and advertising strategies are paying off.
2. Conversion rate
How many people actually follow a CTA to the point of downloading your product? How many people transition from booking a demo to making a purchase? Whatever the call to action, the conversion rate measures the amount that actually took the next step, versus the total volume of people who could have.
3. Ad views and clickthrough rates
Ad impressions are useful, but they don’t say a lot by themselves. Instead, you need to compare your views against clicks to see if your advertising spend is actually paying off. If clickthroughs are too low, you’ll need to tweak either their design or their targeting as part of a constant test-and-learn process.
4. Social post engagement
Driving buzz through social media can feel like shouting into the void, but tracking engagement – including likes, shares, and comments – will guide your marketing efforts by showing you what’s resonating. Hint: make more of the good stuff.
5. Share of voice
Use a social listening suite to show how much of an impact your online activity is having on the broader conversation within your specific industry. Just be warned: growing your share of voice on relevant social channels is a slow process.
6. Email signups, open, read, and clickthrough rates
The humble email newsletter is still a marketing powerhouse, so dig into the analytics of your eCRM suite and learn what’s resonating. A/B testing is your best friend here. Start by building a list of hypotheses (eg. subject lines that pose questions drive higher open rates), and test them out one by one.
Product Launch Stage 4 – Post-launch:
- Conduct a retrospective
With the launch in the rearview mirror and the dust starting to settle, it’s time to find your day-to-day stride. The best way to do that is to take stock of where you are now by tracking a few key operational and customer experience metrics. Dig in and uncover whatever story each one is trying to tell you, make appropriate changes, and then measure again at regular intervals.
Metrics to track:
1. Active users
How many people are using your product each day? Any movement in the negative direction will show you that people are finding it too fiddly, or it’s not helpful enough, or maybe they’re jumping ship to something else. It’s important to rectify things as soon as warning signs appear.
2.. Customer lifetime value (CLV)
Your CLV (average or individual) is how much revenue a customer drives throughout the length of their time using your product – after you subtract their acquisition cost. If you have a subscription model, CLV should increase with each passing month/year.
3. Customer acquisition cost (CAC)
Now that your launch is over and you have a bunch of regular customers, it’s worth unpicking how much it actually cost you to get them through the door. Marketing costs, employee salaries, and operational overheads all go into this calculation. Still, you should be able to decrease CAC over time as word spreads and you find an economy of scale.
4. Customer churn
Monitoring the total number of signups in relation to the number of people who drop off will give you your customer churn rate. As with active users, it’s essential to keep a beady eye on trends over time. Any increase in churn will point to something that ought to be fixed.
5. NPS and CSAT
Net Promoter Score and Customer Satisfaction survey scores aren’t just metrics: they’re powerful feedback generators. Every survey is a chance to ask people what they like, what they don’t, and how you can improve your product in order to make every other metric in this list move in the right direction.
Looking for more? Here’s a full guide to the most important product metrics.
There you have it, everything you need to create a product launch plan and the metrics you need to support each product launch phase.
Remember for actual product launch success, you need to get the product team, the marketing team, and everyone in the business rallied behind what you’re trying to achieve. Whether you’re launching a brand new product release or a new set of product features, everyone needs to be able to understand the target market, know the value of understanding activation rates and retention rates of your growing user base, and the time frames to make sense of the metrics you’re tracking.
These all work to support your overall OKRs and your product success and help you make sense of your long-term product adoption by using ProdPad to house your product strategy. This is my final top tip for you, knowing what metrics to track at each phase of the product launch process, whilst also attaching your results to each initiative on your now-next-later roadmap, you’ll be able to go back to your completed column at any time and see your results of your product over time.
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