Indicadores: performance indicators for online platforms (a template)

An online platform is a business based on enabling value-creating interactions between external producers and consumers. Over the years, I’ve not only co-founded several including Voice123, Bunny Inc., and Torre but I’ve also invested in many more. As a result, the associated teams and I built a template of the most important metrics for platforms in both early and growth stages. Today, we’d like to share it with all of you — and you can customize it for your own platform. We call this template Indicadores.

The key performance indicators (KPIs)

To make it easier for the team to pursue a common goal, it’s important to have a few key performance indicators. For platforms, this indicator is the core interaction. Platform Revolution defines core interaction as “the single most important form of activity that takes place on a platform — the exchange of value that attracts most users to the platform in the first place.”

In the case of Airbnb, the core interaction is nights booked. For Uber and Lyft, it’s likely to be rides completed. In the case of Bunny Inc., where we sell voice over recordings, translations, and other creative services, the core interaction is projects fulfilled.

Ideally, KPIs are shared with the team every day.

Tara Tyler, former manager of talent at Bunny Inc., and Tania Zapata, co-founder of Voice123 and Bunny Inc., checking out our new dashboards back in 2015.

Additional performance indicators (PIs)

While KPIs are important, platforms require many things to occur successfully for the core interactions to grow. Platforms are like a plane; they require the constant monitoring of multiple factors to ensure the plane won’t crash. CEOs and product managers must review these metrics regularly (ideally, weekly) and look for ways to improve them.

Platforms tend to have two types of users: producers and consumers (of course, on some platforms, producers can be consumers and vice versa). You should have performance indicators for each type of user at each stage of their lifecycle:

Metrics for consumers

Awareness stage:

Acquisition stage:

  • New consumer registrations per channel
  • Consumer acquisition cost
  • Acquisition conversion rates (from home pages or similar to registration)

Activation stage:

  • Activation conversion rates (from registration to activation)
  • Consumer activation cost
  • The success rate of the core interaction’s first attempt

Revenue stage:

Retention stage:

  • Searches (or equivalent)
  • % of searches (or equivalent) that result in a click through for existing consumers
  • For returning consumers, successful core interactions
  • For existing consumers, % of core interactions that result in success
  • Unique consumers having core interactions
  • Engagement per visit (measured in either core interactions or time spent)
  • Percentage of active consumers
  • Churn (learn more)

Referral stage:

  • K-factor for attracting other consumers (learn more)
  • K-factor for attracting producers
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS) (learn more)

Metrics for producers

Awareness stage:

Acquisition stage:

  • New producer registrations per channel
  • Producer acquisition cost
  • Acquisition conversion rates (from home pages or similar to registration)

Activation stage:

  • Activation conversion rates (from registration to activation)
  • Producer activation cost
  • % of new listings that lead to core interactions within a given period

Revenue stage:

Retention stage:

  • Listings (or equivalent) created
  • % of existing listings that lead to core interactions within a given period
  • Unique producers having core interactions
  • Engagement per visit (measured in either core interactions or time spent)
  • Percentage of active producers
  • Churn (learn more)

Referral stage:

  • K-factor for attracting other producers (learn more)
  • K-factor for attracting consumers
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS) (learn more)

Metrics (performance indicators) for job-related platforms

My personal standing-desk setup, featuring an iPad dedicated to showing six performance indicators and a Saturn V rocket (not to scale).

Job-related platforms have a set of unique challenges. The distinction between producer and consumer and between offer and demand is difficult to make. Is the consumer the person looking for candidates (talent seeker) or the candidate looking for opportunities (opportunity seeker)? Is the item being consumed the candidate profiles or the job opportunities? If one follows the money, it may be argued that demand consists of talent seekers and offer consists of the opportunity seeker. However, professionals in high demand can wait for talent seekers to submit offers for them to consider. This is the case for many software engineers in LinkedIn and celebrity voice actors in Voice123 (a platform that matches clients with voice actors). Because of this, on job-related platforms, there are two common ways of connecting the two sides:

  1. By enabling talent seekers to post opportunities and letting opportunity seekers show their interest.
  2. By granting talent seekers access to a database of talent and contacting the opportunity seekers individually.

A job-related platform may be considered the combination of two platforms and will thus need twice as many metrics:

  • Platform 1:
    - KPI: Opportunities posted and fulfilled
    - Performance indicators for talent seekers posting opportunities (acting as producers)
    - Performance indicators for opportunity seekers observing posted opportunities (acting as consumers)
  • Platform 2:
    - KPI: Searches fulfilled
    - Performance indicators for talent seekers searching for talent (acting as consumers)
    - Performance indicators for opportunity seekers open to being found in searches (acting as producers)

To make matters even more complex, job-related platforms may offer value in a third way: by allowing users to create and manage their profiles (Torre, Voice123, etc.). In this case, one type of user creates a profile and another type of user — already aware of the existence of the person — ‘consumes’ the profile to learn more about the user. For example, a person knows a popular voice actor, searches for him or her in Voice123, finds the profile, and ‘sees’ it. Note that in this case, the platform isn’t performing any significant matching. However, it makes it easier for the voice actor to deliver information to the person and for that person to learn information about the voice actor.

A job-related platform may, therefore, need a third set of metrics:

  • Platform 3:
    - KPI: Profile views
    - Performance indicators for profile consumers
    - Performance indicators for profile producers

Learn more

To learn more about the topic, have a look at:

Note: Indicadores doesn’t include some metrics that are important for mature platforms. The links above include references to them.


Related frameworks

  • Experimento: A practical product management framework
  • Usuario: A practical framework for user research and testing
  • Prioridad: A practical framework for product and feature prioritization
  • And more…

If you found Indicadores useful, please recommend me.

Thanks to Andrés Cajiao, Carel F. Cronje, Daniela Avila, Luisa Moscoso, Nicolás Contreras, Rolf Veldman, and Santiago Jaramillo for reading and commenting on drafts of this article.