Activation Rates

Summary of – an article in

Your activation rate is the percentage of new users in a cohort to reach the required “activation milestone”- the earliest point in the products onboarding flow that through demonstrating the product’s value, is indicative of long-term retention, upon which time the user can be classified as “Active”.

Good activation rate = the first ignition on a hook, showing retention potential – it needs to be Highly predictive for example – Users who hit your activation milestone should retain at a rate at least 2x better than those who do not complete the activation step. It can be both retention in terms of activity and usage as well as monetisation. The Activation metrics needs to also be highly actionable i.e. can be directly influenced by efforts. You should also consider setting activation rates as time-bound, meaning they need to trigger the activation metric within a defined time.

Activation is meant to be a leading indicator of a new user sticking around and becoming a customer—not the act of becoming a long-term customer. Therefore it is a metric of users prior to long term paying retention.

Generally average activation rate is 34%, SaaS products (removing marketplaces, e-commerce, and DTC) is 36% 

examples of activation milestones: 

1. First day of food and weight logged 

2. First 5 survey responses collected 

3. First design published and shared 

4. First video created that received a view 

Key ways to improve activation

1. Simpler onboarding UI/UX 

2. Reducing onboarding friction 

3. Emails and follow-up comms 

4. Optimising copy 

5. Smarter top-of-funnel targeting 

6. Sales outreach 

7. Adding incentives 

8. Showing value earlier 

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