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10 product adoption metrics and KPIs businesses need to track

After months of anticipation and excitement, you’ve released your product into the world. And by tracking user behavior trends, sales figures, and engagement metrics, you know customers are interested.  

But once they buy or activate it, you still need to know whether they’re actually using it—and to its full potential. 

This is where product adoption metrics come in.

Last updated

7 Sep 2022

This guide walks you through the top 10 product adoption metrics businesses need to track. We’ll show you how to spot key product improvements, develop your product adoption KPIs, and better meet users’ needs. 

Want to learn how customers really adopt your product?

Hotjar lets you understand how people use your product—and how you can improve it.

10 key product adoption metrics and KPIs to track 

Product adoption metrics help you measure and track how successful your product is at meeting users’ needs and helping them achieve their goals.  

These metrics also show you if your onboarding process drives users to adopt. And whether they’re realizing the full value from your product. By understanding how customers use your product—and what stops them from adopting—you can improve it. 

Use the following metrics to inform your product adoption KPIs and business objectives. Every business will have its own mix of metrics and KPIs to track—use our list to guide your choice. Only apply the metrics that are the most relevant to your product adoption needs and customers. 

1. Product adoption rate

Product adoption rate measures how many people become regular users of your product to help them achieve their goals. It’s about tracking how many actively use it, as opposed to just activating or downloading it once. 

Tracking product adoption rate provides important insights into how ‘sticky’ your product is—how often users return to it. You can measure this as often as you need. 

For example, a product team might measure product adoption weekly after a new product launch. This lets them check initial success and tweak product adoption strategies. A SaaS company, however, might measure it monthly to visualize adoption over time.  

To calculate product adoption rate: 

Product adoption rate = (new active users ÷ signups) x 100

Use this metric to see if your product stimulates regular use. If not, it could mean your product isn’t meeting user needs, so you need to improve it. 

Feature adoption rate 

Part of understanding your adoption rate is measuring the total number of users who regularly use specific features. Feature adoption rates tell you if users are making full use of your product. Also, whether they keep discovering new features and use cases

To calculate feature adoption rate: 

Feature adoption rate = users who used a feature X times ÷ total users in a segment

If you have a low feature adoption rate, you can adjust your onboarding process to better walk users through your product and its key features. 

For example, to educate users about key features and how to use them, the onboarding process for a SaaS product might include:

  • Tooltips

  • Pro tips

  • User guides

  • Video tutorials

2. Activation rate 

Activation rate measures the number of users who begin a product trial and reach a specific touchpoint or milestone. A 'milestone' could be any key action, like syncing the product with a Google account or uploading a file. 

It helps you track how new users reach and understand the perceived product value. And whether you're enabling a streamlined user flow and experience. 

To calculate product activation rate: 

Activation rate = (total number of users who reached an activation touchpoint ÷ number of users who signed up) x 100

If your activation rate is low, you may need to reduce the number of steps during onboarding before a user reaches their activation point. 

3. Time to value

Time to value is the amount of time it takes a user to realize value from your product (and validate their expectations). This is also known as their ‘aha moment.’ The faster they understand the value and how it can solve their problems, the more likely they’ll keep returning to it. 

Time to value is important because it helps you differentiate users who purchased your product from users who get value from it. It can also tell you whether users perceive  your product as user-centric. If not, it may need further usability testing

To calculate time to value: 

Time to value = amount of time* it takes users to reach their first aha moment

*where time is measured in user clicks or minutes 

Use this metric to detect product usability issues or friction areas that block users from reaching their aha moment. Also, you can find out whether that aha moment is relevant for other users. For example, for a SaaS music streaming company, the aha moment could be when new users add a song to their playlist. For a cloud-based storage company, it could be when new users share their first file.

Pro tip: combine quantitative metrics with qualitative insights using Hotjar Observe and Ask tools. Go deeper into understanding why users adopt your product, how they use it, and what affects time to value

Watch recordings of user sessions within your digital product or let users tell you about their experience via the unobtrusive Feedback widget. Used together, these tools provide actionable insights into how you can improve your product to better answer user needs.

#Hotjar Session Recordings can help you spot bugs in a new version of your product.

Source: Hotjar

Hotjar Session Recordings let you visualize how users navigate your website and digital product 

4. Customer lifetime value 

Customer lifetime value measures a customer’s total worth to a business over your entire relationship. It lets you monitor your ability to retain customers and increase their value-spend over time—and ultimately drive growth. 

It also tells you whether a customer finds value in your product over time, and alerts you to early signs of churn like:

  • Downgrading subscription packages

  • Drops in weekly product use

This lets you spot gradual trends in customer behavior and find new ways to create customer delight

Use this formula or web analytics tools like Google Analytics to calculate customer lifetime value:  

Customer lifetime value = customer value* x average customer lifespan 

*where customer value = average purchase value x average purchase frequency rate 

If you have a low customer lifetime value, it’s a good sign that you might need to increase your average order value. 

Try:

  • Placing clusters of commonly purchased items on your checkout page to tempt shoppers 

  • Upselling your products or product plans to valued customers

You may also need to improve your customer support. As well as offering better call-center support, you can empower users to self-serve with interactive resources, knowledge bases, and user guides post-adoption.

5. Churn rate 

Churn rate tells you how many users stop doing business with your company within a given period. This helps you understand whether you’re successfully retaining customers. And it can alert you to the need for both quick product fixes and long-term changes. 

To calculate customer churn: 

Churn rate: (customers beginning of the month - customers end of the month) ÷ customers beginning of the month.

Use this metric to test the customer and product experience and identify key issues or areas for improvement. Then, use Hotjar exit-intent surveys to ask users why they’re leaving. You can set these to launch right as users are leaving your digital product. This lets you better pinpoint user frustrations and make improvements. 

#Nobody likes to lose a customer, but you can still gain valuable insights from them to keep the rest happier
Nobody likes to lose a customer, but you can still gain valuable insights from them to keep the rest happier

6. Conversion rate

Conversion rate measures the number of users who complete desired actions like: 

  • Filling out a form

  • Signing up for a free trial

  • Purchasing your product

And it’s not just about measuring user clicks. It might also include monitoring the percentage of users who completed an in-app action or installed your software. 

Tracking conversions shows you which channels convert and helps you identify high–value users. It also highlights issues in the user experience. For example, a buggy UI preventing user sign-in or a checkout page with a broken ‘complete purchase’ button. This lets you make key improvements to the user experience to drive product use and adoption. 

To calculate conversion rate: 

Conversion rate: (total number of conversions ÷ total number of unique visitors) x 100

Use this metric to spot trends in customer satisfaction and product adoption—and locate potential UX or UI issues. Then, analyze heatmaps to see which page or product elements distract visitors, and remove them. 

For example, after a new product launch, a product team might track its conversion rate. If you’re not attracting as many conversions as predicted, you can refer to heatmaps of user activity. These might reveal that your chatbot pop-up is distracting users from clicking on calls to action (CTA). If so, you can quickly re-site the CTA to increase conversions. 

#Hotjar Heatmaps show you where users click, move, and scroll within your product or website.

Source: Hotjar
Hotjar Heatmaps show you where users click, move, and scroll within your product or website. Source: Hotjar

7. Average session duration

Average session duration is a Google Analytics metric that measures the average time a user spends on your website or web app. A user session begins when they enter your site and ends when they exit or are inactive for over 30 minutes.

Tracking average session duration tells you how likely users are to adopt your product. How long they linger reveals their level of interest, urgency, or need for your solution. It also tells you if you’re enabling an intuitive user journey that drives exploration and discovery of your product or website. 

Use Google Analytics or the formula below to calculate average session duration. Then, use your results to see if you’re creating an engaging user and product experience that compels users to learn more about your product. 

Average session duration = total number of sessions ÷ total time spent across sessions  

If you have a low average session duration, you can take steps to improve web design, product design, or the user experience. These can boost interest in your brand and product and get more users to interact longer. 

8. Usage frequency 

Usage frequency is how often a customer uses your product. It’s measured by the frequency of log-ins or user sessions. This lets you segment customers into:

  • Active users

  • Frequently active users

  • Occasionally active users

  • Inactive users 

All of which help narrow your focus on customers or client accounts that need more attention

It’s also an important metric because it lets you benchmark results against your company's adoption goals. And identify ways you can help customers get even more value from your product—which means they’ll use it more. 

Usage frequency = number of log-ins or user sessions within a specific timeframe  

These findings can help you determine if you’re successfully providing value with your product. If not, go deeper into the user experience with a product-market fit survey. Use it to get insights into how far your product satisfies market demand, so you know what to improve. 

#Hotjar Product-market fit Survey gives you crucial insights into product usage and adoption.

Source: Hotjar
Hotjar Product-market fit Survey gives you crucial insights into product usage and adoption. Source: Hotjar

9. NPS Score 

Net Promoter Scores© measure long-term customer satisfaction and loyalty. NPS surveys  ask users how likely they are to recommend your product on a scale of 1-10. This quantitative score lets you identify your biggest fans or critics. 

Then, you can use NPS Surveys to ask users to expand on why they gave you the rating they did. This layers a qualitative understanding of the ‘why’ onto your quantitative score.

#Hotjar NPS Survey supplements your numerical score with qualitative insights.

Source: Hotjar
Hotjar NPS Survey supplements your numerical score with qualitative insights. Source: Hotjar

Use your NPS score to: 

  • Understand what affects customer perception of your product over time

  • Gauge customer satisfaction

  • Track customer sentiments across segments 

This lets you keep your finger on the pulse of why users adopt (or don’t) your product long-term.

10. CSAT Score

Customer satisfaction scores measure short-term customer satisfaction at key points in their buyer journey. You can collect CSAT scores with customer satisfaction surveys that ask customers to rate their level of satisfaction on a numerical scale, dissatisfied-satisfied, sad-happy. 

CSAT surveys help teams check in with customers and measure satisfaction rates short term. This lets you better understand sudden bursts in product adoption or churn. If you’re using Hotjar, you can also ask users to provide the reason behind their satisfaction score, so you know exactly what to improve. 

#Hotjar CSAT Surveys give you actionable feedback on customer satisfaction.

Source: Hotjar
Hotjar CSAT Surveys give you actionable feedback on customer satisfaction. Source: Hotjar

Use your CSAT score to dive deeper into customers’ micro-experiences within your product or website. And spot where you can make small changes to remove friction and hamper adoption. 

Supercharge your product adoption metrics with user-backed product insights 

The way customers use your product and features changes all the time. So you need to track progress short- and long-term with product adoption metrics that reveal key trends in customer buying and adoption behavior. 

Metrics you can use include: 

  • Product adoption rate

  • Feature adoption rate 

  • Activation rate 

  • Time to value

  • Customer lifetime value 

  • Churn rate 

  • Average session duration

  • Usage frequency 

  • NPS score

  • CSAT score

Use our guide to the top product adoption metrics to determine which of these metrics you need to track for your business. Then, start tracking how you stack up against industry benchmarks. Or, better, weigh your metrics up against your own previous performance. This will highlight adoption trends specific to your company goals

Finally, combine quantitative metrics with qualitative user insights. When you know how users think and feel about your product, you can make changes to boost product activation and adoption.

Want to learn how customers really adopt your product?

Hotjar lets you understand how people use your product—and how you can improve it.

FAQs about product adoption metrics