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Quora: What are the best metrics for measuring user engagement?

I posted this answer to Quora and figured I would share it here as well. You can find me on Quora here.

What are the best metrics for measuring user engagement?
Metrics are merely a reflection of the product strategy that you have in place.

What you are trying to do should lead what you want to measure, not the other way around. It’s for this reason that the blanket questions and answers around “best” metrics are meaningless- the question is, what are you trying to do.

For example, if you are an ecard that is driven based on holiday traffic, your strategy might be:

  • people should come to my site at every major holiday
  • people should send as many ecards as possible

In this case, your week-to-week retention isn’t important. The only question is whether or not you are sending out ecards, and whether or not you’re a new user or if you came back last holiday.

On the other hand, if you are trying to be more of a communications product, then you might want something like:

  • people should come back for short durations every day to check their messages
  • people should write messages occasionally, but mostly read a bunch of messages

In this case, you care a lot about DAUs and +1 day and +1 week retention. You might also put in a qualifier to that to make sure that people are actually reading/writing messages and not just showing up to an empty messages area.

So ultimately, the important part is to figure out what you are trying to do and what the expected behavior is around it. Only once you have that should you then ask yourself how you’d validate and test it using metrics.

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