AARRR!!: An Introduction To PirateMetrics For Ecommerce

Jon Tan
Jon Tan
April 16, 2015
2 min read
AARRR!!: An Introduction To PirateMetrics For Ecommerce

In this article

Pirate Metrics is a simple but powerful growth model for startups put together by Dave McClure (of 500 Startups fame), based on the assumption that startups need to get customers through 5 key stages: Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral & Revenue... or AARRR!

In this infographic, you'll learn the basics of Pirate Metrics and how to immediately apply it to your business, enjoy!

piratemetrics for ecommerce

Pirate Metrics is a simple but powerful growth model for startups based on the assumption that startups need to get customers through 5 key stages:

  • Acquisition
  • Activation
  • Retention
  • Referrals
  • Revenue

or AARRR!! This infographic serves as an introduction to Pirate Metrics in ecommerce and provides immediate steps and tips you can use to add some wind to your sails.

With each metric you’ll learn

  • How to meaure the metric
  • The rewards of working on each metric
  • Wisdom from seasoned pirate captains / experts

Anchors aweigh!


Acquisition is your first contact with your visitors. This can range from viewing your homepage or reading a blogpost.

Measure Acquisition by Page Views & Bounce Rates

High page views and low bounce rates are indicators of healthy Acquisition.

Here’s What You’ll Gain From Improving Acquisition:

Understand Your Marketing Channels

Which channels provide the most views? Do they give large spikes or slow and steady streams of visitors?

Grab More Attention

A/B Test pages to lower bounce rates.

“The path to the mountain ahead of you is not the path you took to the mountain you stand on.” - Dave McClure #Founder of 500 Startups, Father of Piratemetrics


Activation is when your customer has their first deliberate interaction with your company.

Measure Activation by The % Of Visitors Who Signup/Subscribe

Signups are a response from visitors stating they like what they see.

Here’s What You’ll Gain From Improving Activation:

Streamline Your Marketing Funnel

Find kinks in your funnel by identifying where visitors exit. Common problems areas are poor UI, copy or call to actions.

#A/B test various options to find an optimal setup.

“After product-market fit and an efficient conversion process, the next critical step is finding scalable, repeatable and sustainable ways to grow the business. If you can’t do this, nothing else really matters.”- Sean Ellis #CEO Qualaroo & GrowthHackers.com


Retention is when a visitor returns to your site.

Measure Retention by Frequency Of Visits

Measure how often visitors return to your site over a period of time. The higher, the better.

Here’s What You’ll Gain From Improving Retention:

Build A Fan Base

Identify the needs and wants of your biggest fans by analyzing the trends amongst visitors who make frequent visits. For instance: Did they arrive from a common marketing channel? Did they respond to the same promotion? Are there similarities in what they’re viewing? Catering your business for this demographic will lead to even more returning visitors.

(On one of the world’s fastest growing startups) “ They don’t just report on numbers, they find growth opportunities from the insights within the numbers and apply them to grow the business.” - Morgan Brown #Growth & Marketing Executive at TrueVault & Qualaroo


Referrals happen when current visitors recommend new visitors to your business.

Measure Referrals by Mentions On Social Media or Through Referral Programs

Measure the number of mentions of your company on social media or use a referral program for in-depth tracking.

Here’s What You’ll Gain From Improving Referrals:

Boost Your Referrals

Lubricate the referral process by providing incentives for both the referee and referer. This has been proven to increase revenue gains by 10-20% for established products and up to 100% for new ones. (Source: BCG Perspectives.com – Fuelling Growth Through Word-of-Mouth)

Be Shared More

Make it easier to share your content by using share buttons, sharable promo codes or affiliate links.

“Once you pull your first users in, you must ask: "How do we get more?" The most scalable approach is to get those initial users to do it for you.” - Ryan Holiday Bestselling author of “Trust Me, I’m Lying” and “Growth Hacker Marketing”


Revenue is when a customer makes a purchase and hands you their hard earned dollars.

Measure Revenue by The Average Spending Of Your Customers

Growing Revenue is an indication that improvements you’ve made to your previous 4 metrics are working.

Here’s What You’ll Gain From Improving Revenue:

More Money

Revenue is the lifeblood of your business, which gives you $$ to spend on building your business, leverage to raise more funds, or simply profits to fund your secret lair.

“ The best thing about a failed A/B test is that it kicks you in the crotch, reddens your cheeks and makes you try harder the next time.” - Oli Gardner, Founder, Unbounce


We hope this guide will help you find your dubloons in the vast seas of ecommerce.

As a next step, check out our free guide on how to accelerate the growth of your ecommerce store!

Jon Tan
Jon Tan

My coffee expenses and my office rental are one and the same.Terrified of mathematics and carbohydrates.

Get the latest word-of-mouth marketing tips and resources in your inbox
Thanks for signing up to our newsletter! You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram for latest updates.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form. Please try again!