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Understanding AARRR Funnel – Pirate Metrics for Startups

AARRR Pirate Metrics for Startups

Every business venture needs a way to measure its success. Without metrics, you can’t track your progress and optimize your processes. One popular framework for tracking business growth is the AARRR Pirate Metrics.

If you’re a startup founder, you’ve probably heard of AARRR Pirate Metrics. Essentially, it is a sales funnel that helps to measure progress from acquisition to retention and other important metrics. AARRR is an acronym that stands for acquisition, activation, retention, referral, and revenue. This framework was popularized by Dave McClure, a venture capitalist, and has been used by many startups to track their growth. But do you know why it’s so crucial for your startup? This blog post will explain how AARRR Pirate Metrics can help you grow your business and reach your goals.

First things first, let’s understand what is the AARRR Pirate Metrics.

What are the AARRR Funnel Stages?

The AARRR pirate metrics is a popular framework that is used by startups to measure their growth. The AARRR pirate metrics help startups to track their progress and identify areas where they need to improve. For example, if a startup is not acquiring new users, then they need to focus on acquisition. Similarly, if a startup is not retaining users, then they need to focus on retention. The AARRR pirate metrics are a great way for startups to track their progress and ensure that they are on the right track.

Let’s break it down further:


Acquisition in AARRR refers to the process of bringing new users into your customer base. The Acquisition stage is focused on getting people to try your product or service, and it includes everything from online ads to word-of-mouth referrals. Once a potential customer is aware of your business, they need to be persuaded to actually try it out. This is where effective marketing comes in, as you need to make a strong case for why your product or service is worth trying. Startups use multiple ATL and BTL marketing practices to acquire new users.

Startups today actively use SEO, SMM, content marketing, and PRs to engage with potential customers and acquire them. As a founder, you will come across multiple metrics to effectively evaluate your performance at this stage. These include CTR, CPM, CPI, bounce rate, and more.


The activation stage in AARRR is when a new user starts using your product. This is when they first experience the value your product offers. In order to achieve this, you need to make it easy for them to sign up and start using your product. The onboarding process should be simple and straightforward, and you should provide clear instructions on how to use your product.

You must also give users a reason to keep coming back by offering valuable content or features that they can’t find elsewhere. If you can successfully get new users to sign up for your product, you’ll be well on your way to achieving growth. The common metrics to evaluate your activation stage are visitor-to-signup rate, signup-to-subscriber rate, and mean time to activation. 

These metrics let you understand how much time average users spend signing up or subscribing to your product or service. 


The retention stage is the third stage of the AARRR funnel and is all about keeping your users engaged with your product or service. This is where you need to focus on creating long-term loyalty and providing an excellent experience that will keep users coming back. To do this, you need to ensure that your product or service is meeting their needs and that they are getting value from it.

You also need to provide excellent customer support and make it easy for users to give feedback so that you can continue to improve your offering. By focusing on retention, you can ensure that your users stick around for the long term and continue to provide value to your business.

To evaluate this stage, you can analyze the number of daily active users, and churn rate depending on the niche of your startup. Besides, daily active users and monthly active users ratio are two other great indicators to analyze successful retention. 


The referral stage of the AARRR funnel is when a current user refers your product to a friend or colleague. In order for this to happen, you need to have a product that is not only valuable but also easy to use and share. There are a few ways to encourage referrals, such as offering rewards for successful referrals or simplifying the sharing process.

For example, you could add a “Refer a Friend” button to your website or app or make it easy for users to share your content on social media. Moreover, loyalty programs are also a great way to encourage referrals. By making it easy for users to refer to your product, you can dramatically increase your customer base.

To evaluate your performance at the referral stage, you can take the help of NPS – net promoter score and viral coefficient. NPS lets you understand how loyal your customers are, whereas, the viral coefficient is the number of new customers generated by existing customers.


The revenue stage in AARRR is when your startup actually starts making money. This is a crucial stage for any startup, as it can be the make-or-break moment for many businesses. The revenue stage can be divided into two main parts: pre-revenue and post-revenue. Pre-revenue is when your startup is still in the development phase and has yet to start generating income. This is the stage when you are focused on building your product and getting it ready for market.

Once your product is launched and you begin generating income, you have reached the post-revenue stage. At this point, your focus shifts to scaling your business and increasing sales. The revenue stage is a critical time for any startup, and it is important to have a clear plan for how you will generate income and grow your business.

Founders need to find smart ways for generating revenue in better ways. Offering discounts, annual plans, custom plans, and active support can significantly increase revenue for startups. To evaluate your startup performance at this stage some crucial metrics are LTV, CAC, and MRR growth rate. It is essential to calculate the customer lifetime value and compare it against the customer acquisition cost to know what profits and progress look like. Besides, you can compare the monthly recurring revenue to understand whether your revenues are stable or declining. 

The AARRR pirate metrics let you deeply understand the user conversion lifecycle and track your startup’s progress. It is highly essential for startups to use the AARRR pirate metrics even in years to come, here is why.

The Importance of AARRR Pirate Metrics for Startups

As a startup founder, it’s vital to have a clear understanding of your target market and what motivates them to make a purchase. The AARRR metrics can help you to visualize the customer journey and identify areas where you need to focus your efforts in order to scale the business. By tracking these metrics, you can see which channels are most effective for acquiring new customers, and which activities lead to customer churn. In addition, you can use the AARRR metrics to measure the lifetime value of a customer and identify upsell opportunities.

The pirate metrics also enable founders to evaluate the problems not just in the conversion funnel but also in their product. You can evaluate each stage of the AARRR metrics to easily identify what increases the churn rate, whether it is product usability or something else. In addition, the AARRR metrics let founders track user behavior. They get to see where and how their potential targets interact with the brand and the product itself.

By using the AARRR pirate metrics, startup founders can effectively reach out to their audience, convert leads and later retain them for better revenue generation.

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