Measuring What Matters: A Deep Dive Into Product Metrics

Unlock the secrets to informed decision-making with our guide on selecting the perfect product metrics. Learn how to harness data for growth and success.

Maria Myre
Maria Myre
Sep 4, 2023
Min Read

Product metrics are quantifiable measurements that provide insights into how a product is performing, how users are interacting with it, and how it's contributing to business goals.

These metrics can range from data that tracks user engagement (like session duration or click through rates) to data that provides insights into company goals and revenue. 

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to which data is most useful when designing a new product, but there are a few guidelines that can help you decide which are most appropriate for your immediate needs.

What’s the Role of Product Metrics in the Design Process?

Product metrics play a key role in the product design process by providing the data that informs decision-making, guide iterative improvements, and validate design choices. 

In a data-driven design process, product metrics are paired with data obtained from user research to achieve more successful products. 

A few of the areas that product metrics can help include:

Informed Decision-Making

Metrics offer a data-driven foundation for making informed design decisions. 

Instead of relying solely on intuition or assumptions, designers can use these metrics to create a comprehensive picture of how users are interacting with the product, which features are most popular, and where improvements are needed.


Metrics help prioritize design efforts by highlighting areas that require immediate attention. If certain metrics are lagging behind, designers can focus on addressing those issues to improve the overall user experience.

Alignment with Business Goals

Product metrics are aligned with broader business goals, such as revenue generation, customer retention, and market expansion. Designers can choose metrics that directly tie into these goals, demonstrating the impact of design decisions on the company's success.

Measurement of Success

Metrics serve as benchmarks for measuring the success of design initiatives. Designers can assess whether design changes led to the desired improvements and whether they align with the initial goals.

Data-Driven Collaboration

Metrics facilitate collaboration between design and other teams, such as engineering, marketing, and product management. Having a common set of metrics allows cross-functional teams to make decisions based on shared objectives.


Types of Product Metrics

Product metrics can be broadly categorized into several types based on the areas they address:

User engagement metrics include:

  • User Activity: Measures the frequency and depth of user interactions with the product.
  • Session Duration: Tracks the amount of time users spend within a single session.
  • Bounce Rate: Indicates the percentage of users who leave the product after viewing only one page.
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): Measures the percentage of users who click on a specific element, such as a call-to-action button.

Retention and conversion metrics include:

  • User Retention Rate: Calculates the percentage of users who continue to use the product over time.
  • Churn Rate: Represents the percentage of users who stop using the product within a given period.
  • Cohort Analysis: Tracks the behavior of specific user groups over time to assess retention patterns.
  • Conversion Rate: Measures the percentage of users who complete a desired action, such as signing up or making a purchase.
  • Abandonment Rate: Indicates the percentage of users who start a process (e.g., filling out a form) but don't complete it.

Revenue metrics include:

  • Average Revenue per User (ARPU): Calculates the average revenue generated by each user.
  • Lifetime Value (LTV): Estimates the total value a customer brings to the business over their entire relationship with the product.
  • Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV): Measures the total value of goods or services sold through the platform.

Performance Metrics include:

  • Page Load Time: Measures the speed at which a web page or application loads.
  • Uptime: Tracks the percentage of time a digital product or service is available and operational.

User Satisfaction Metrics include:

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS): Measures user satisfaction and likelihood to recommend the product to others.
  • Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): Assesses user satisfaction with a specific interaction or experience.

Feature Adoption Metrics include:

  • Feature Usage: Monitors how often specific features are utilized by users.
  • Feature Drop-off: Identifies where users abandon a feature or process.

Granted, these are just a few examples of the product metrics that you might be tracking. The specific metrics you focus on at any given time will depend on the product's goals, user behavior, and business objectives. 

Guidelines for Choosing the Right Product Metrics

It's important to select metrics that align with the product's purpose and provide meaningful insights into its performance and impact. 

The question remains: how do you know what product metrics should you look at?

The answer to that question might change, depending on which part of the product design phase you’re in, since the overall goal of what you immediately need to achieve will be different.


Phase 1: Early in the Design Process

In the concept development phase, you’ll be looking for metrics that help to establish design constraints, inspire new concepts, and expose unmet needs in your product. At this point, you’re looking less at actual product analytics (since the product doesn’t exist yet), and more at product-market research data, like:

  • User metrics for related or competing products: this information will quickly paint a broad picture of how users might engage with your product, including their usage goals, time spent, cost of acquisition, pricing models, and so on.
  • Demographic data: do your users tend to skew female, Gen Z, or highly educated? How does this information impact your design ideas?
  • Observational data: what are your users thinking and saying? What do they engage with and where do they seem to get frustrated? This data will help you evaluate design concepts from a user’s perspective.

Phase 2: During the Product Prototyping and Refinement Stage

As design concepts get fleshed out and refined, some of the most valuable data types come from prototyping and testing features. This can take several forms:

  • A/B testing: You cantest alternative designs and capture comparative usage data, either with pre-selected test subjects or actual users (on a limited basis). 
  • User interviews: Bringing prototypes to user interviews will allow you to elicit more targeted feedback. 
  • Fake door testing: In a “Fake door” test, you present users with the option for a new feature, without actually developing it, to gauge interest levels. For example, adding a menu item in the app for customizing your avatar and measuring the click rate will help you decide whether it’s worth developing.

Phase 3: After You Launch Your Product

As you launch your product, you’ll be able to gather more quantitative and qualitative data to inform further iterations on your product. 

There are two distinct phases of focused testing that you can incorporate to ensure that you have a steady stream of data that will inform your work during and after the initial launch:

  • Alpha testing: usually conducted by internal staff, this testing phase is carried out early in the development process to ensure the product functions correctly.
  • Beta testing: this takes place with real users in the production environment and is a final opportunity to uncover bugs or issues before a general release.

Product Analytics Tools to Help You Collect the Right Data

While you can utilize common user research methods to obtain some of the data you need to inform your product design process, there are some great tools available that will automatically collect both quantitative and qualitative data from your product users. 

Here are just a few of the more common tools that you might utilize:

  • Mixpanel, a detailed produce metric analysis tool
  • Pendo, a product engagement platform
  • Heap, a digital insights platform that looks at the customer journey as a whole
  • Chameleon, a product adoption platform that includes A/B testing, surveys, and more.

Keep in mind that these product analytics tools are only as effective as the strategy and implementation methods behind them. 

How to Improve Your Ability to Work With Product Metrics

Enrollment is open for Data-Driven Design, a course for experienced designers who are looking to advance in their career by partnering more closely with stakeholders and launching successful digital projects.

Join like-minded individuals serious about advancing in their careers and master the skill of working with data to ship more successful products—and solidify the value of your role within your company. Seats are limited—save your spot today to take advance of this new professional development opportunity

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Launch a career in ux design with our top-rated program

Top Designers Use Data.

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Launch a career in ux design with our top-rated program

Top Designers Use Data.

Gain confidence using product data to design better, justify design decisions, and win stakeholders. 6-week course for experienced UX designers.