Key metric

It’s easy to drown in metrics.

These numbers vs those percentages divided by a bunch of ratios. Different business units applying different metrics turn measurement into a sludgy self-serving mess that confuses rather than clarifies.

What do Airbnb, Zoom, Slack and Uber all have in common? A single key metric that drives their long-term growth. One key metric that all business units focus on.

Not three important metrics. Or two critical metrics. One single key metric.

The key metric distills the most important value the business provides to a customer and unlocks short-term, medium-term and long-term growth. It’s the single most important number for any business.

It’s not company revenue. Why not? Revenue is simply the price customers pay. The key metric is the value customers get in return for that price.

By growing the key metric, customers receive a ton of value, repeat purchase and refer friends.

Every team has different goals. The key metric aligns all those goals together.

There’s no confusion or dissipation of resources. Everyone in the business team knows the ultimate goal, the state of that goal and the value expectation of customers.

Key metric samples

Airbnb = Nights booked

Zoom = Weekly hosted meetings

Slack = Messages sent within an organization

Uber = Rides per week

Facebook = Monthly active users

Quora = Answers to questions

Amazon = Purchasers per month

Twitter = Daily active users

Spotify = Time spent listening

Airbnb’s key metric is the number of nights booked. This correlates with the value customers receive from good experiences using Airbnb and the value hosts receive from getting a space booked.

Zoom’s key metric is the number of weekly hosted meetings. The more meetings that happen over time, the more value customers receive from using Zoom.

Slack’s key metric is the number of messages sent within an organization. Reducing emails and improving communication via Slack lifts value and effectiveness.

Uber’s key metric is the number of rides per week. Both riders and drivers receive value as riders get to their destination and drivers get paid.

Find your key metric to grow

It’s easier than you think. Just answer these seven simple questions to unlock your key metric for scalable, sustainable growth.

1. When do your customers reach end-result?

2. Does this apply to all your customers?

3. Is this moment measurable?

4. What’s the best frequency? Day/week/month?

5. Do external factor have minimal impact?

6. Is the key metric-growth tied to business-growth?

7. Does every point of your business impact the key metric?

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