Top 10 Adoption Metrics To Track in 2022

Your SaaS may have a lot of useful products, but they mean nothing if people don’t actually use them. The process in which people become aware of your product, understand its value, and start integrating it into their work lives is called user adoption, also known as product adoption. One of the main goals of any business is to increase product adoption because this is the only way for you to build a strong, loyal customer base and stable revenue. To learn more about the importance of product adoption and how you can measure it, keep reading.

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The Importance of Product Adoption for SaaS

The SaaS industry is, for the most part, based on subscriptions. Thus, your goal as a business is to get users to use your product so often that they buy it from you again every month. If you’re successful, your customers will enjoy your services enough to continue paying. This process explains the basics of increasing retention and decreasing churn.

You can only get customers to become frequent users, so those that’ll increase retention, by increasing product adoption. This can be done by using engagement campaigns in your email marketing strategy, by giving free trials and demos that encourage users to start using your products, the list goes on. However, these various techniques will only be useful if you know how to measure the success of your product adoption efforts. The eleven metrics below will tell you whether or not your strategies are working, and the areas you should be improving.

Image from InSided

Time To First Key Action

What is “Time To First Key Action?”

Time To First Key Action, as the name suggests, measures the time it takes for users to complete a certain action. This could be any action that you want to analyze, ranging from clicking a CTA or a survey. For product adoption purposes, this metric is used to measure the time users take to before discovering certain features of your products.

Why is measuring your Time To First Key Action important?

This metric is important because your customers will only fully grasp the value of your product (or, you may say, have the aha! moment) if they learn about all the features it has to offer. Your customers may be looking for specific features that address their needs, or they may be looking for reasons to pay the price you’ve set. Either way, they have to be aware of what your tools bring to the table. This is only possible if you market your features (an important inbound marketing strategy.)

The Time To First Key Action shows you whether or not you’ve done a good job at marketing your features, and if you’ve explained their usage and purposes well enough. If the numbers are high for this metric, your customers may not have discovered the feature for a long time, they may not have understood its purpose, or they may not know how to use it due to its complexity. All of these cases will decrease customer adoption, and they all signal areas of improvement.

Average Time Spent Using The Feature/Product

Why is measuring the Average Time Spent Using The Feature/Product important?

The time spent using the feature/product is as important, if not more, as the time users spend to find it. If users take a lot of time to start using your feature/product, but then spend little to no time using it after discovering, chances are they didn’t find it useful or worth the effort. Your goal should be to decrease the time spent on finding the feature and to optimize the time spent using it. This will show users that your products don’t have a steep learning curve, which is a motivation for them to continue adopting more products.

Notice that the goal isn’t necessarily to increase the time spent but it’s to optimize it: that’s because users want to get value from your features as quickly as possible. So, they should spend enough time to actually use the product, but not so much time that it takes them hours to complete a task that a competitor could help them with within 10 minutes.

In order to improve this metric, you can use product walk-throughs, and to make the learning process easier, you can work on your product onboarding experience.

Time To Value (TTV)

Image from Insider

What is “Time To Value?”

TTV measures how long it takes your new customers to derive value from your products. There are a few ways to define the term “value.” It may mean discovering useful features and making use of them, customers upgrading to see more of your products’ features, or achieving the desired ROI after using your tools. Once you decide on your definition of “value,” you can measure the time it takes customers to achieve that outcome.

There are several types of TTV that are commonly used that you may consider:

  1. Time to basic value

This version of the TTV measures the time customers spend before seeing the most basic advantages of your products. This may look like using your most basic, free features. Usually, this is used in the demo stages of customers to understand their experience.

2. Time to exceed value

The time to exceed value measures the time it takes customers to discover the features that exceed their expectations. For example, this may look like a customer discovering your survey tool, which may be an addition to all your other core products. For SaaS, this metric is usually used for customers who are at the purchasing stage because purchases happen once the value exceeds customers’ expectations.

3. Immediate and Short time to value

If your product shows results immediately, the TTV will be measured with the immediate time to value. An example of this is Google Drive: once you sign up, you can instantly upload your documents and see the benefits of this service. If users don’t instantly recognize the benefits, but if it takes a short while nevertheless, the short time to value can be used.

4. Long time to value

Some products may require large data sets to be integrated, they may have long onboarding processes, or they may show value only at certain periods. Though this should not be the case for most SaaS products, some complex ones may use this TTV.

Why is measuring your TTV important?

SaaS marketing is based on competition. If it takes too long for your products to do what they had promised to do, your customers will stop using your services and switch to your competition. This doesn’t only mean a drop in your product adoption rates, it also means that you’re losing customers and have little chance of getting them back. The TTV tells you whether or not your product shows its value quickly enough.

Feature Adoption Rate

What is the “Feature Adoption Rate?”

[ number of feature users / number of total users ] = Feature Adoption Rate

When you roll out a new feature, or when you have a feature that you want to analyze, it is best to use the feature adoption rate. This rate tells you about the number of users who have become familiar with your feature and started using it, compared to the number of your products’ total users.

Why is measuring your Feature Adoption Rate important?

The first thing to note about the importance is that there is a difference between feature discovery and feature adoption. Feature discovery is when users have their first interactions with the feature. Feature adoption, on the other hand, is about the number of users who are frequently utilizing the feature. Those who use your features regularly are the ones that get the maximum value out of your product, and getting maximum value means that they’re more likely to stay as your customers. Thus, the feature adoption rate is an important indication of the number of users who are getting the most out of your product.

Product Adoption Rate

What is the “Product Adoption Rate?”

The product adoption rate tells you about the number of people who are actively using your product. There are two numbers you need for the rate calculation:

  1. New Users/Signups: the number of people that subscribed for your product in a certain time period,
  2. New Active Users: the number of users who have completed the key actions that would define them as active users.

[ Active Users / New Users ] = Product Adoption Rate

Why use all the other metrics when you could simply measure the product adoption rate? Because this metric doesn’t look at the time users spend with your product, how much value they gain out of it, how aware they are of its features, etc. These are all aspects you should consider while talking about product adoption.

Image from Apty

Why is measuring the Product Adoption Rate important?

This metric tells you about the success of your onboarding, engagement campaigns, customer marketing, and so many more other key SaaS marketing benchmarks and metrics. If users sign up for your product but don’t end up using it, there are various problems that may be in their way. They may be too confused to use your product, they may have found a better solution and lost interest in the process…the list goes on.

To understand whether or not your product adoption rate indicates a problem, compare your stats to the stats from the Mixpanel study above. The median number of active users (which is defined as the number of users who have completed a set of key actions within their first week after signing up) for SaaS is 17%.


What is the NPS?

NPS is short for the Net Promoter Score. The NPS is a survey that asks users how likely they would be to recommend the product on a scale of 1 to 10. The respondents are put into three different categories based on their responses:

  • Promoters: respondents who answer with 9 or 10. They are likely to become brand ambassadors that will talk fondly of your product and attract new leads.
  • Passives: respondents that answer with 7 or 8. These customers will not become active promoters, but they will not talk negatively about your brand either.
  • Detractors: respondents that answer with a 6 or lower. These customers are likely to harm the standing of your brand due to their bad experiences and negative feedback.

After categorizing your respondents, you should calculate your NPS by doing the subtraction below.

% Promoters – % Detractors = NPS


Pro Tip:

Try HockeyStack’s free NPS survey tool if you’re looking for an easy-to-integrate tool with ready-to-use survey templates 🙂

Why is the NPS important?

A high NPS means that your customers are enjoying your products so much that they’re actively promoting them to others. A low one means that your products or services are so problematic that customers are likely to keep leads from coming. In short, the NPS tells you about your customers’ experience with your products. This is an important thing to know for product adoption.


What is “Churn?”

The customer churn rate is one of the most important key customer retention metrics. This metric measures the number of customers that stop buying your products or services in a specific period. Generally, SaaS businesses measure monthly churn as subscriptions are often renewed monthly. To calculate your churn rate, you’ll need to know the number of customers you had at the start of the period and the number of customers you’ve lost by the end of the period. Once you have the data, doing the calculation below will give you the churn rate.

[ # of Lost Customers ÷ Total # of Customers at the Start of the Period ] x100

Why is measuring Churn important?

There are several reasons why you should be measuring your churn rate:

  1. When it comes to product adoption, the number of leaving customers is a good indicator of your products’ performance. The reason is straightforward: if customers see the value behind your services, they will be less likely to leave.
  2. The goal of product adoption is to establish and maintain a loyal customer base. If your churn rate is high, it’s impossible for you to create that customer base.
  3. Churn rates are important for growth and revenue forecasting, and performance measurement.

In 2020, more than two-thirds of medium-sized SaaS companies had churn rates of 5% or higher. Your goal should be to stay in the 5 to 7% band. If your rate is higher, you’ll want to use the churn optimization feature of Hockeystack to understand the reasons lying behind your data.


Image from SmartKarrot

What is “Retention?”

Retention is another popular metric in the SaaS industry. This metric tells you about the number of customers you have retained in a certain period of time (which is the opposite of churn.) While calculating your retention rate, you should not include the number of customers you acquired within said period.

[ (# of customers at the end of the period– # of acquired customers in the period) / (# of customers at the beginning of the period) ]x 100

Why is measuring retention important?

The logic behind the retention and churn rates is the same. If you want to know whether or not users are integrating your tool into their business lives, you should use one of these two metrics. Of course, the only reason behind retention and churn isn’t product adoption (there may be other underlying factors such as pricing) but adoption is one of the key ones.

Daily/Monthly Active Users

Why is measuring the number of Daily/Monthly active users important?

Measuring the number of active metrics is considered to be unproductive by some, but the problem isn’t with the metric itself, it’s rather with the way businesses define active users (as I’ve stated before.) It’s not enough to just measure the number of logins, active users should be defined with more benchmarks such as:

  • Completing certain tasks
  • Using certain features
  • Spending a specific amount of time

Once you have a good definition of active users, your DAU and MAU data will be more useful. The ratio of these two metrics (DAU/MAU) gives you an overview of your monthly retention. This ratio can be used to estimate the frequency with which users utilize your product over a month. For example, if your ratio is equal to 50%, your customers are using your product 15 out of 30 days (a DAU/MAU of 50% or higher is considered to be outstanding for SaaS businesses.) If your product is valuable, and if your users see that value then they’ll be frequent users.

Average Usage Frequency

What is the “Average Usage Frequency?”

The average user frequency tracks how often customers log in to use your product. The frequency can be tracked over a week, month, or year, and it will tell you about the percentage of customers that are frequent, occasional, or inactive users.

Why is measuring the Average User Frequency important?

Firstly, frequent usage means that customers have understood the usage of your products (if the customer in question is new, and if they become a frequent user in a short time, this means that your onboarding process was successful and that your product is understandable.) If your customers are all occasional users, you should add features or design campaigns that make your product an every-day-necessity.

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You may notice that these metrics are very similar to one another: they all have something to do with measuring time and frequency. That is because product/user adoption is about making your product a daily tool, one that customers won’t stop using. Not all metrics will be necessary, but using several metrics together will give you a better picture of your product adoption strategies.


What is the product adoption curve?

The product adoption curve represents separates people into groups based on their likeliness to try out a new product over time. As you go right on the horizontal axes, the time it takes the group to try a new product increases. This curve should be used to customize your marketing strategies.product adoption curve

Why is product adoption critical for SaaS?

Because the SaaS industry operates on subscriptions and customer retention. In order to sell to customers each month, you should ensure that they see the value behind your services, which is the purpose of product adoption for SaaS.

How do you accelerate product adoption?

Offering demos and free trials, product walk-throughs, optimizing your onboarding process, marketing, and publishing how-to guides for your new features are just a few ways in which you can accelerate adoption.


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