What is the north star metric?

North Star Metric, also known as an organizational product north star metric, is a gold standard by which the product team is evaluated inside the business. It is, without a doubt, a broad-brush approach. Still, it provides critical stakeholders with a quick and straightforward means of assessing and monitoring a product’s success and alignment with company objectives.

The North Star model is a tool for visualizing the process by which a product’s north star is determined. It is, in fact, a hierarchy of measurements and key performance indicators (KPIs), with the product’s north star appropriately positioned at the top.

The Importance Of The North Star Metric

When it comes to products, one of the company’s most valuable resources is the time and effort that the product team invests in solving problems, assessing what ground the product is on right now, and the goals for the short term, mid-term, and long-term regarding the product.

Without a North Star Metric or a poorly performed one, the decision-making process will be almost entirely blind. A company without a North Star Metric will decide on the product without knowledge about how its actions affect the product’s performance in the market. By doing so, you will likely make some fatal errors.

A Product North Star Metric can assist you with your decision-making process and understand the order of importance you must establish. Your teams as well. They can understand what they should prioritize to bring the best results for the company’s prosperity if they have a well-thought-out plan.

North Star Metric Versus Key Performance Indicator

When a key performance indicator (KPI) is vague and general—more downloads, more users, more orders—it’s easy to confuse it with a north star, which is why the framework visualization might be helpful. Key performance indicators (KPIs) are always crucial, but they should also serve a higher purpose – and that is the north star of success.

What is the North Star Metric for your organization, and how do you identify it?

How you identify the nature of your industry will determine your company’s North Star Metric. There are a few golden guidelines that all North Star Metrics should follow.

A North Star Metric must include the following elements:

●     As a result, revenue is generated.

●     Your product should reflect customers’ worth in your business.

●     Provide a means of assessing progress.

●     It is also recommended to pick a metric that all firm members can easily understand.

Here’s a quick activity to help you select North Star Metric candidates:

  • First, list everything necessary to keep your business running and prioritize it accordingly.
  • Then, list the key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics you’re utilizing to track the top 3-5 items on that list.
  • Now consider this: which metric stands out above the rest in terms of importance? Is there one that is the most significant or encompasses all of the others?
  • Prioritize your metrics, putting your North Star Metric at the top of the list.

Although it appears to be a simple task, it can necessitate a significant debate to get it correctly.

Keep an eye out for ‘vanity metrics,’ as well. Make sure that your North Star Metric generates revenue for you. When a company’s Facebook post receives thousands of likes but no one clicks through, this is an example of a vanity metric.

How to Implement the North Star Metric at Your Firm

The North Star Metric of the language-learning program Duolingo is based on badges acquired by language learners. The researchers at Duolingo determined that the more users interact with the software, the more likely they will persevere and finish their education. Consequently, the organization implemented a “badge” system and other milestone elements to promote learning and engagement.


In the early days of Netflix as a subscription-based DVD distribution company, it increased its North Star Metric (retention) by focusing on its most engaged customers: those who queued three or more DVDs in their first month of membership.

Keeping this specific demographic in mind, the Netflix product development team created new features and enhanced the overall user experience of the service. Netflix’s North Star Metric improved from 60 percent to 90 percent, indicating that the company boosted the number of engaged users by 30 percent overall.

Real-world examples are maybe the most effective way to comprehend how a product performs in practice. In light of that – Consider the following scenario: you’ve created an app that assists consumers in obtaining discounts on their internet purchases. In this situation, you may have key performance indicators (KPIs) such as:

●     Every month, a certain number of downloads are made.

●     X number of users who are active daily.

●     Every week, X number of discount activations are made.

These are all valuable measures, but they do not capture the genuine value of a product to a consumer in the way that they should.

In this situation, the total percentage discount active every week would be a good product for a north star to keep an eye on. Why? To maximize consumer value and increase the likelihood of utilizing the app regularly, we offer a discount on our products.

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