Customer Journey Mapping Using The Pirate Framework AARRR!

Randall Nguyen
Aug 18, 2016 · 5 min read

As a PM, you’re in charge of the product. One fault that most PMs fall prey to is that the customer journey starts and stops when the customer comes in contact with the product and when they disengage from it. When thinking of your product, you have to think about the end to end customer journey — a continuous loop. By mapping your customer’s journey before, during, and after your product, you’ll identify key levers that you can pull to supercharge your product’s growth.

Using The Pirate (AARRR) Framework To Define Your Customer’s Journey

aarrr
aarrr

The AARRR framework represents key actions that can be levered to grow users. Each of the points, when designed properly, should propel the customer through the loop. Because of this, revenue can be grown by increasing the speed and frequency that the user goes through the loop.

Acquisition

Acquisition is important as you need users to enter your sales funnel. Typically in orgs, acquisition can be segmented into earned and paid channels. Earned accounts for any of the viral loop or social users that enter your funnel while paid represents users that can be attributed to a cost (think PPC, facebook ads, etc.). The goal here is to acquire as many users into your funnel as possible while keeping your acquisition costs below the customer’s lifetime value — the average amount of profit that you’ll make on the customer over their lifetime. Obviously, you would rather have earned channels grow for the long-term but in the short-term, it’s important to get your engine growing by feeding it with paid acquisitions. One framework I like to reference for acquisition is the Hook Model by Nir Eyal. The hook model defines how to create a habit-forming loop to acquire and retain users on a frequent basis.

Hooked Model
Hooked Model

Examples:

  • Paid Channels
  • Google Adwords / PLA
  • SEO
  • Affiliate Networks
  • Ad Networks
  • Social Media — Paid
  • Earned Channels
  • Referring Domains
  • Social Media — Free
  • Direct Visits Due To Brand Name Recognition
  • Mobile App Download via Google Play or Apple iTunes

Activation

Now that you have visitors entering your funnel, you have to convert them into an actual user. The difference between a visitor and a user is their investment in your product. Most visitors have a journey that starts something like this: Problem > Search for solution > Land on some type of page that is supposed to be relevant to the problem > bounce or continue down the funnel. The goal of activation is to get the visitor to invest in your product. In the hook model this is the investment stage. At this point, you want to get the user to sign up for an account, enter their email, download your app, or invest some action into your platform. This stage is important as you can acquire as many visitors as you’d like but if you don’t activate them, they won’t get the chance to see how your product can be a solution to their problem.

Examples:

  • Account Sign Up
  • Opt-in For Push Notifications
  • Opt-in For Newsletter / Emails

Retention

So you had someone visit your product and give you some information about themselves. What should you do with that information? This stage is called retention — the art of getting users back to your product after they used it once. We all know the story, you launch a product, throw tons of cash to acquire new users, you see a DAU growth graph that looks great since going from one user to ten is 10x growth! Now you see that the costs are adding up to acquire the customers so you let off the paid acquisition gas pedal. As soon as you do so, you see your daily usage plummet as new users are not coming in and current users are not returning. This is where the importance of retention comes into play. How are you reminding your customers to come back and solve their problem or get x value from your product? Hooked refers to this phase as the trigger phase. There should be triggers built into your funnel that entices your customer to return.

Examples:

  • Direct
  • Email
  • Mobile App
  • Updated Content / Daily Deals

Referral

Now you have users using your product. You might even see that your DAU growth rate is hitting the double or triple digits because of your acquisition and retention strategies. Now what? The next step is to give your users the tools to share how their problems were solved by your product. What you’re looking to do here is to scale your users to reach some form of network effects. This is done by creating the viral loop to get referrals from your current users. What mechanisms are there in your product for your users to refer others? Are they actually being used? You may even consider offering an incentive to your users to refer you a la Uber or Lyft.

uber referral
uber referral

Examples:

  • Social Share
  • Word of Mouth
  • App Share Features

Revenue

Every action you guide the user to should have a goal. In business, the ultimate goal is to convert users into revenue generating customers. Revenue is the part of the customer’s journey where they take money out of their pockets and purchase something from your company. In 2-sided markets, this can be either supply side, merchants paying to list their product/service on your site, or demand side, your revenue through commission or membership fees when customers purchase or use your service. Enough can’t be said about the importance of being able to generate revenue off of your users’ journey, but this is not the end all of the journey. Remember, the journey is not a one-time funnel but a continuous loop.

Examples:

  • Purchase Products
  • Subscribe To Service
customer journey aarrr pirate framework loop
customer journey aarrr pirate framework loop

Originally published at Randall Nguyen.

The Product Blueprint

Nerd out on Product Management and tech with me. I write a thoughtful, weekly newsletter covering what’s happening in tech, focused on Product Management, startup strategies, and e-commerce.

Randall Nguyen

Written by

Product Nerd @ PayPal

The Product Blueprint

Nerd out on Product Management and tech with me. I write a thoughtful, weekly newsletter covering what’s happening in tech, focused on Product Management, startup strategies, and e-commerce.

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