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Focus Metric Framework


Great for teams that want a framework that's easy to understand, and has a single metric to focus on.

What is the Focus Metric Framework?

The Focus Metric Framework, created by Mixpanel, is tailored to streamline a company's analytical focus towards a singular, overarching metric. This framework represents a strategic pivot from traditional multi-faceted metric systems, positing that a concentrated emphasis on one key metric can drive more coherent and impactful decision-making processes. It aligns various facets of a business—product development, marketing, customer experience—under a unified metric, ensuring all efforts are synergistically directed towards a common goal.

The methodology hinges on a hierarchical structure. The top metric, known as the Focus Metric, is supported by a suite of Level 1 (L1) metrics. These L1 metrics function as supporting pillars, offering nuanced insights into different aspects of the business while collectively driving towards enhancing the Focus Metric.

How do you define the Focus Metric?

The Focus Metric, also often referred to as the "North Star Metric" or the “One Metric Above All,” is the embodiment of a company's value proposition and growth objectives. It's a singular, quantifiable measure that encapsulates the core value delivered to customers.

However, the implementation of a Focus Metric is not without its challenges. Prioritizing one metric, if done without careful consideration, can inadvertently lead to negative impacts on other aspects of the product. For instance, a news website that focuses solely on increasing video views might implement autoplay videos, which could irritate users and ultimately harm user retention rates.

Therefore, it is often recommended to choose a Focus Metric that reflects Active Usage of the product by customers (not necessarily users).

  • Active Usage - An event where we can confidently assume that value has been delivered to the value the user.
  • Customer - A revenue-generating user.

Examples of Focus Metrics

  • Spotify - Number of Paid Subscribers
  • Slack - Number of Paid Teams
  • Instagram - Daily Active People (for ad-based products, all users are customers)
  • Asana - Weekly Active Paid Users


What are the Level1 (L1) Metrics?

Level 1 (L1) Metrics in the Focus Metric Framework serve as the foundational layers supporting the Focus Metric. They are categorized into distinct yet interrelated domains: Reach, Activation, Engagement, Retention, and Business-specific metrics. Each category addresses a critical aspect of the user journey and business operations, providing granular insights that, when combined, enhance the overarching Focus Metric.

  • Reach: Measures the breadth of user or customer base.
  • Activation: Focuses on the initial user experience and conversion.
  • Engagement: Gauges the depth of user interaction with the product.
  • Retention: Assesses user loyalty and repeat usage.
  • Business-specific: Tailored metrics unique to each business's nature and goals.

Examples of L1 Metrics

  • Reach: Total user sign-ups, Website traffic, App downloads.
  • Activation: Percentage of users completing onboarding, Account creations.
  • Engagement: Time spent on platform, Frequency of usage, Interaction rates.
  • Retention: Churn rate, Repeat purchase rate, Subscription renewals.
  • Business-specific: SaaS - Monthly Recurring Revenue; E-commerce - Average Order Value.

Strengths and Weaknesses


  • Unified Direction: Aligns cross-functional teams towards a common goal.
  • Customer-Centricity: Encourages deep understanding of customer value aligned with business goals.
  • Focus Metric is Well-defined: Focus on Active Usage(aka value to user) combined with Customer (aka value to business) creates a robust metric that aligns well with revenue, the ultimate output


  • No Monetization Category: The lack of focus on monetization makes it lack as a growth framework. For example, it doesn’t feel natural that Conversion to Paid or Lifetime Value would all fall under the Business-specific umbrella along with other business health metrics.
  • Lack of Depth for User Sentiment: Unlike HEART and LAMERS, which tracks user satisfaction, the Focus Metric Framework lacks metrics that oversees user sentiment.
Shoin Wolfe
Author of Growth Analytics