evaluation playbook
activation playbook
adoption playbook

Calculating your activation rate

What does your activation rate say about your product? Check out this playbook to learn all things activation rate—defining it, calculating it, and interpreting it.

What you’ll learn: 

  • What the process of defining user activation looks like for your product.
  • How to gather relevant data points to calculate activation rate.
  • How to calculate and interpret your activation rate.

What you’ll need: 

  • A clearly defined user activation event specific to your product.
  • Access to user data and interactions with your product.
  • A data analytics tool to analyze and interpret data.
  • A strategy to leverage activation rate insights for product development.

Suggested playbooks to check out before starting this one:

6 steps to calculate your activation rate:

Step 1: Define user activation for your product.

  • Start by understanding what user activation means for your specific product.
  • Determine the moment when users achieve their first significant value from your product—this is typically the aha moment.
  • This definition will vary depending on your product. For a music streaming app, activation could be when a user plays their first song. For a project management tool, it might be when a user creates their first project.

Step 2: Gather relevant data.

  • Use analytics tools to collect data on how users interact with your product.
  • Identify how many users have reached the 'activation' event you defined in the first step.

Step 3: Calculate the total number of users.

  • Determine the total number of users who have started using your product within a given time frame. This could be weekly, monthly, or any other duration relevant to your analysis.
  • Be consistent with your time frame across different calculations to ensure comparability.

Step 4: Calculate your product’s activation rate.

  • Calculate your activation rate by dividing the number of users who reached the 'activation' event by the total number of users.
  • Multiply the result by 100 to get your activation rate in percentage.
  • This percentage tells you how many users out of every 100 find significant value in your product.

Step 5: Interpret your activation rate.

  • A higher activation rate indicates that more users are finding value in your product quickly.
  • A lower activation rate may point towards obstacles in the initial user journey, indicating that there may be a need for better onboarding or product improvements.
  • Use your activation rate to inform your product development decisions and to make improvements to your user journey.
How does your activation rate measure up? We surveyed over 250 of our customers and found that the average activation rate is 30.22%. Companies with an ARR of less than $1M had the lowest activation rate: 22.31%. As for the activation-rate sweet spot? Companies with ARRs of $5M–$10M enjoyed a stellar activation rate of 38.67%. Read more in our Product Experience Benchmark Report.

Step 6: Iterate and improve.

  • Don't just calculate your activation rate once—track it over time.
  • By keeping an eye on how your activation rate changes, you can measure the impact of any changes you make to your product or user journey.
  • Use the insights you gain from monitoring your activation rate to continue improving your product, making sure that more and more users are finding value in your product.
Looking for more Playbooks? Go back to the Product-Led Growth Flywheel →