Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Come sail the seven seas! (as our guest)

We’ve had several requests for a product tour, and we decided to go one better. What if you could actually log in to Pirate Metrics and see what it could do for your web app marketing efforts? We like being able to try something ourselves, and odds are good you feel the same way!

This week, we’ve rolled out a new feature that allows you to log in as a guest and interact with a sample project. The sample data is based on how we use Pirate Metrics for DocRaptor, our HTML to PDF API. 

The way it works is simple. We generate sample data, complete with Activations, Acquisition, Retention, Referral and Revenue events. Then we populate the dashboard and generate a Marketing Report based on that data. This is a good estimation of how Pirate Metrics behaves with a live project.

You can log in to our guest account with these credentials:

Email address:

Password: guest

What do you think? Our goal is to make something more useful than a simple product tour, and provide an easy way to dive in and see the kind of insight Pirate Metrics can provide for web applications. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Reporting Subscription Revenue with Pirate Metrics

If you’re like us, you use a service like Braintree, Stripe, or Chargify to handle your subscription billing (and Pirate Metrics to track your customer activity).  Your application may not be aware when someone is billed or, in some cases, exactly how much they have been charged.  If your application is not manually initiating billing, how can you accurately report revenue data to Pirate Metrics?

For us, the answer is with Braintree Webhooks.  Braintree will call back to your application any time a user’s account is successfully charged, and your application can pass that information along to Pirate Metrics.

PirateMetrics on PirateMetrics, it’s a pretty simple setup.  First of all, if you’re using Ruby, you should be using the Pirate Metrics Agent gem.  If you’re not, you’ll need to replace the PM calls in the example with whatever you use to communicate with the Pirate Metrics API.

Let’s look at some code:

In your production application, you will likely want to get the charge amount information from Braintree, but for testing purposes, we simply sent along the plan price.

Before it begins sending charge information to your site, Braintree will send a verification request, which is easy enough to deal with:

That’s all there is to it.  Now add a little bit of routing magic to tie it all together:

And you’re ready to report revenue using Braintree webhooks.  The process for other services like Stripe, is very similar.

Happy Pirating!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Pirate Metrics Marketing Report: Revenue

Helping SaaS companies improve their marketing efforts and make more money is what Pirate Metrics is all about. The Revenue section of our marketing report provides marketing insight for improving subscription retention rate, and identifies users who may need extra attention.


Pirate Metrics tracks your users as they move along your funnel, from Acquisition to Activation to Revenue. We group your paying customers into two categories: those who activate faster than average, and those who activate slower than average. 


Understanding how your paying customers use your service is a key part of increasing your revenue. It may make more sense for you to focus marketing efforts on users who pay for your service after three months of using your free version, whereas another product may want to focus their efforts on users who activate their accounts within 24 hours.

However, we don’t stop at showing when paying customers start using your service. Pirate Metrics also displays paying users who have stopped using your service, and are in danger of canceling their accounts.


First we provide analysis of how your users are behaving, and then we identify specific users who have not performed your key activity since they last paid for your service.


We make it easy to see which of your users are in danger of cancellation. These users may have run into a problem, or lost interest in your service. By identifying lapsed users, you can take action to draw them back in and prevent them from canceling their accounts.

As we said before, Referrals are a bit trickier and will be covered soon. In our next blog post, we’re going to change direction a bit and start talking about some of the new features and improvements we’ve been implementing!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Pirate Metrics Marketing Report: Retentions

Are you eager to improve your web application marketing efforts in the new year? Never fear! Pirate Metrics is here to help.

Continuing our overview of our marketing report, today we’re talking about Retentions.


A Retention is a user who continues to use your product beyond the week in which they Activated. It’s great for people to sign up and try your product, but you can’t realistically expect users to pay every month for a service they only used once.

The key to making more money with your web application is to get your Activations to continue using your product. Retentions are the best sign that Activated users are interested in your product.


You can learn a lot of interesting information about your Retained users from your marketing report, most notably which of your Retentions are most active. If you’re thinking about offering a special promotion, or inviting a select group of users to try a new feature, your most active users are a great place to start. Contacting these users with exclusive deals is a great way to convert users who like your product into brand champions who will actively promote your product, and drive more Acquisitions.

Our next blog post will talk about the specific steps you can take to increase your subscription Revenue. See you then!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Pirate Metrics Marketing Report: Activations

New Acquisitions are a good sign users are interested in your product, but Activations are the best first step toward generating more Revenue. Activated users are more likely to stick around, continue using your service and pay you. In any given week, the closer your Activations match your Acquisitions, the better your product is converting signups into active and engaged users.

Converting your Acquisitions into Activations is the first step to increasing subscription-based revenue. Our marketing report makes it easy to understand the path your users take from Acquisition to Revenue.

We chart your user activity, and then provide analysis on what’s happened that week, making it easier for you to concentrate on increasing your Activations, Retentions and Revenue. 


Each data point displays user activity for that week. For example, hovering over Activations for a week also shows Acquisitions, Retentions and Revenue. 


Understanding the path your paying users take from Acquisition to Revenue is important to identifying outliers and making sure they stay on this path. Our marketing report identifies potential outliers, allowing you to take necessary steps to convert Acquisitions into happy, paying users.

In this example, the average activation delay was lower than the week following, and much lower than the week following that. Acquisitions for this week Activated much more quickly than the following two weeks. 


Knowing that users from a certain week activated more quickly than usual is interesting, sure, but what can you do with this information? Did you run an email campaign that week, or contact each new Acquisition personally? Pirate Metrics takes the guesswork out of tracking how well your marketing efforts are paying off based on your product’s typical Activation delay.


Our marketing report also identifies Acquisitions who should have Activated but haven’t, based on your product’s typical Activation delay. These users may need more help getting started with your product, and by identifying who they are, Pirate Metrics will help you increase your Activation rate.

By focusing your efforts on marketing activities that convert Acquisitions into Activations more quickly, you’ll be ready to focus on the next step in creating long-term paying users: Retentions.

In our next blog post, we’ll go over what Retentions are, and how Pirate Metric’s marketing report can help you identify Activated users who are no longer using your product, and are in danger of jumping ship.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Pirate Metrics Marketing Report: Acquisitions

Pirate Metrics isn’t just designed to report new Acquisitions, or display when a user activated his account. Sure, that’s a big part of what we do, but offering specific advice on ways to increase revenue is what we’re really about.

Our marketing report feature generates a graph using your Acquisitions, Activations, Retentions, Referrals and Revenue. Then we search for patterns in your users’ behavior, and offer steps you can take to increase your revenue. 


For a SaaS product, an Acquisition is typically defined as a new user signup. In this sample image, we’re showing Acquisitions, Activations, Retentions and Revenue for one year. We’ll cover Referrals in a future blog post. In addition, we’re displaying 52 points of data, which correspond to each week of the year.

Displaying the data in this way makes it easy to track how your user activity has changed over a year, as well as seeing which weeks were better or worse for Acquisitions, Activations, Retentions, Referrals and Revenue. 


By clearing the Activations, Retentions and Revenue filters, we can focus on just the Acquisitions for the same time period. We see Acquisitions spike in both May and June, which likely correlate to effective marketing activities performed during that time.

Focusing your efforts on marketing activities that result in higher numbers of Acquisitions is a good first step to generating more revenue. However, it’s not enough to simply acquire new uses. New Acquisitions need to use and like your product before they’re going to pay for your service.

Pirate Metrics makes it obvious which users are using your service, and which need help to get started. Our marketing report will tell you which users haven’t started using your service yet, enabling you to provide timely encouragement to new users who may be having difficulty.


Our next blog post will dig into Activations a bit more, and we’ll talk about specific ways Pirate Metrics can help you convert your Acquisitions to active, engaged users. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

What is Pirate Metrics?

Pirate Metrics is a web application that measures the most important metrics for successful subscription-based products: Acquisitions, Activations, Retentions, Referrals and Revenue. We track your product’s activity, group similar users together, and then compare these groups against each other.

Sounds pretty good, right? Pirate Metrics also provides guidance on how to improve these metrics, and make more money.

By tracking how each user group fares in terms of these metrics, our application makes it obvious which activities result in the most valuable customers, and generate more revenue. 


Acquisitions can be defined differently, depending on your service. An acquisition might be a new user signup, or a user logging into your site.

Activations occur when an acquisition performs your product’s key activity. If you have a photo sharing site, an activation could be defined as an acquired user posting a photo for the first time.

Retentions are activated users who continue to perform key activities past the week in which they were acquired.

Referrals measure how many new acquisitions are referred to your site by an activated user.

Revenue shows how much money each user group has generated. 

Our annotations feature is a convenient way of tracking your marketing efforts. Annotations can be instantaneous (sending an email flyer, for example) or span multiple weeks (an advertising campaign). 


Did you run an ad on Reddit? Maybe you’ve been Tweeting more than usual lately. Which of these activities drove more revenue? Pirate Metrics helps you maximize the return on your marketing efforts.

Our next post will focus on another key feature of Pirate Metrics: our marketing report summary. This report dives into more interesting information about your product’s activity: how quickly your activated users performed your key activity, what kinds of users are worth more money, and specific actions you can take to increase your profits. Stay tuned!