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Craig Kerstiens

Tactical Steps for Startup Metrics

Metrics are obviously a very valuable area for start-ups, if you don’t believe in metrics and think you’re idea wins just because its great then you better start searching for your next day job. Dave McClure has done a great talk on start-ups several times over, you can check out a video and corresponding slide show at:

And besides, it’s a pirates acronym, so it’s got to be great. But translating these from concept to actual technology metrics is also something that needs discussion. You can’t exactly say we’re going to use Google Analytics and let it magically tell you everything, furthermore all of the web developers out there talking about tweaks on Google Analytics do little to actually tell you what you need to know.

To start with I’m going to lay out a few of the key features of Google Analytics, assuming it’s the key backbone for web analytics, and because it really is an amazing free tool.If you’re not familiar with google analytics go and explore before reading this, we’re going to skip right over the basics of what are visitors and traffic sources directly to what you need to use and customise to get valuable metrics for a start-up. Diving right in a few key items:

Goals - These are custom items that you want to setup. What is a goal? Well that can be a bit abstract but it can be a specific page that was visited, time spent on the site, or a certain number of pages per visit.

Events - Here you can start track events to any type of your liking. In most cases this can be some in page action, but the key here is to each event you can track a value. This starts to become useful if you want to track most shared content, most liked products, or other items. Typically those kinds of items might exist within your in-house database, but exposing it to Google Analytics gives you an extra level of reporting integration

Custom Reporting - Google is great out of the box, if you feel like it just grazes the surface then you haven’t explored it. But in some cases it’s easier to create a custom report of data that you can’t get exactly to, or to get very quick insight into similar data.

So this is a really high level, but how do you use each of the above to tie to actually implementing the metrics you care about? We’ll go through an example of how you track each of Dave McClure’s 5 key metrics based. For those of you not familiar with his metrics, please go to the above links and listen to his presentation first.