Metrics to Measure Product-Market Fit

  8 min
Available in 

1. What is Product-Market Fit?

Product-market fit refers to the degree to which a product satisfies a strong market demand. It is a critical concept in entrepreneurship and product development, indicating that a product meets the needs of its target market and is capable of sustaining growth.

Achieving product-market fit (PMF) is crucial for the success and sustainability of any business. It indicates that a product effectively meets the needs and desires of a target market, leading to various benefits that drive growth and profitability.

Product-market fit is a crucial milestone for any business, signaling that the product has found a receptive audience and meets a significant market need.

Achieving product-market fit involves understanding the target market, developing a compelling product, gathering and acting on feedback, and continuously monitoring performance to ensure sustained growth and customer satisfaction.

When product-market fit is achieved, it lays a solid foundation for scaling the business and achieving long-term success.

2. How to Measure Product-Market Fit

Product-market fit can be measured by both quantitative and qualitative metrics. It's essential to evaluate these metrics before making significant investments in your product.

The best way to access product-market first is by having a minimum viable product (MVP), presenting them to customers to gather their feedback. An MVP is version of you new product that includes only the essential features required to satisfy early adopters.

The purpose of an MVP is to validate the business idea and gather user feedback with minimal resources. With an MVP you should get the answers to whether people like your product, dislike it, as well as if they would be able to buy it and recommend it.

Also, by observe and analyze customer interactions with your MVP you should answer important questions as:

  • Do they pick it up and then put it back down?
  • Do they use it multiple times throughout the day?
  • Do they treat it as a short-lived trend and then forget about it?

Additionally, an MVP will also allow you to determine if your product is viable for scaling. If it shows sufficient potential, you can proceed to scale and launch it to the general market. If not, you may need to refine your product or consider scrapping it entirely.

2.1. Quantitative Metrics

Quantitative metrics refer to numerical measurements that provide objective data about user behavior, market trends, and business performance. These metrics are often derived from analytics, financial reports, and user data.

These advantage of these metrics are that they are objective, measurable, easy to track over time, and as such they can be very useful for identifying trends and patterns. Here are some of the most impoortant:

Total Addressable Market
Number of signups
Number of Sales
Customer Retention
Net Promoter Score
Customer Lifetime Value
Client Acquisition Cost
Conversion Rate
Website Traffic

2.1.1. Total Addressable Market

Total addressable market, also referred as TAM, is an estimation of the size of your target market. This number should justify the introduction of the solution to the market.

For example, if you release a product but can only sell it to a maximum of a few thousand interested buyers, it might not be worth the investment.

TAM can be used to better understand product-market fit. By determining what percentage of your TAM could be future customers, you could, according to other factors such as price and cost, end up finding the product-market fit.

2.1.2. Number of Signups

The number of signups can be a crucial indicator of product-market fit, as it reflects the level of interest and demand for a product within the target market. It will also serve as validation of the value proposition, ability to get early customer acquisition and growth potential.

Watch the number of signups from your MVP, and then based on actual (or prospective) sales you could calculate your revenue growth rate, and find your product-market fit.

2.1.3. Number of Sales

If your MVP is already selling, and if it is selling quickly enough you will end up with the most important indicator of all.

Fast-growing sales could be a sign you’ve hit the mark, but it’s not the end-all-be-all metric.

For example, if you’re doing software-as-a-service (SaaS), while you’d be happy to see rapid signup growth, you’d likely be more interested in other metrics such as long-term customer retention, acquisition cost, and lifetime value.

If customers sign up but quit a month or two later, those sales probably won’t mean much to your startup’s trajectory.

2.1.4. Customer Retention

Customer retention is a critical aspect of product-market fit as it indicates the level of satisfaction and ongoing value that a product provides to its users.

You're not just after one-time purchasers; you're aiming for customers who will stick with your products and services over the long term, even without a monthly contract. This is also important as these committed buyers are not only more likely to make repeat purchases but also to refer your products to their family, friends, and colleagues.

While it's ideal to retain customers indefinitely, it's not necessary to validate your product-market fit. Instead, focus on calculating the rate at which customers stop using or unsubscribe from a product or service over a specific period. This indicator, also known as Churn Rate (CR) is a critical metric used to assess the health of a business and its ability to retain customers.

You could calculate your Customer Retention Rate (CRR) by using this formula:

  • CRR = ( (CE – CA) / CS ) * 100

         CRR = Customer Retention Rate
         CE = Customers at the end of the period
         CA = Customers acquired during the period
         CS = Customers at the start of the period

2.1.6. Churn Rate

Churn rate, also known as attrition rate, is a metric that measures the percentage of customers or subscribers who stop using a product or service within a specific period.

Churn rate has become a critical indicator of a company's ability to retain its customers. A high churn rate can indicate issues with the product, customer satisfaction, or product-market fit, while a low churn rate typically signifies a healthy customer base and strong product-market fit.

Churn Rate is calculated by the following formula:

  • CR = ( LC / TC ) * 100

         CR = Churn Rate

         LC = Lost Customers
         TC = Total Customers at the starting period

2.1.5. Net Promoter Score

The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a metric for assessing customer loyalty and satisfaction. It measures the likelihood of customers to recommend a company's products or services to others.

Determining the NPS is done by asking your customers a single question - how can they rate their likelihood of recommending the company on a scale from 0 to 10.

Normally the question asked is: “How likely are you to recommend this product to a friend or colleague?”

A high NPS score shows that your customers like your product and would readily recommend it. A low NPS score shows that your customers might be a bit on the fence about your product (or they might not like it at all).

Yet again, It is not a complete metric to measure product-market fit, but it’s definitely a powerful number to look at in conjunction with other relevant metrics.

2.1.6. Customer Lifetime Value

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is a metric used to estimate the total value that a customer will bring to the company over the entire duration of their relationship. This measures the total revenue generated from a customer's purchases, including initial purchases and any recurring or additional purchases over time.

CLV can be essential for understanding the long-term value of acquiring and retaining customers and guiding strategic decision-making.

For example, if you sell more expensive, long-lasting products (like a house or car), you might only expect to make one sale per customer. However, if you sell smaller goods or services (like monthly subscriptions), you want your customer to continue purchasing from you—increasing the CLV. This means that you will need to have longer retention periods and good customer support.

Use the CLV metric to better understand your product-market fit. If customers stick with your products and services, it’s likely a good fit, and you can consider scaling your idea.

  • CV = VS * NT
         CV = Customer Value
         VS = Value of Sale (average)
         NT = Number of Transactions

  • CLV = CV * CL
         CLT = Customer Lifetime Value
         CV = Customer Value
         CL = Customer Lifespan (average)

2.1.7. Client Acquisition Cost

Client Acquisition Cost (CAC), or mometimes called Cost per Acquisition (CPA), is a metric used in marketing to measure the cost incurred by a business to acquire a new customer or lead.

This should include all costs, fixed and variable, including advertising costs, time spent creating content, affiliate payouts, compensation, business related costs, and product costs.

CAC is an essential metric for evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of marketing campaigns and customer acquisition strategies.

If it is expensive to find and convert customers, you want to ensure that their CLV (Long Time Value) is high enough to surpass the cost per acquisition.

  • CAC = TMC / TA
         CAC = Client Acquisition Cost
         TMC = Total Marketing Costs
         TA = Total Acquisitions

2.1.8. Conversion Rate

Conversion rate shows the percentage of users who have completed a desired action, such as clicking, registering or buying. Conversion rate is calculated by taking the total number of users who ‘convert’ (for example, by clicking on an advertisement) and dividing it by the overall size of the audience. This number is presented as a percentage so you will need to multiply it by 100.

Conversion rates don’t always have to refer to clicks or sales – they can also refer to conversion events further down the funnel. For example, it is possible to calculate the percentage of users who went on to install an app or complete an in-app action.

Conversion rate is a vital metric in achieving product-market fit because it provides direct insight into how effectively your product meets the needs and expectations of your target audience.

As other metrics already discussed, conversion rate can help assessing value proposition, the effectiveness of your marketing message, help validating if some markets are better than others, as well as predict growth rates and growth costs.

  • CR = ( NC / TV ) * 100

         CR = Conversion Rate
         NC = Number of Conversions
         TV = Total Visitors

2.1.9. Website Traffic

Traffic to your website or product landing page can be a valuable indicator of product-market fit. Although traffic is just an entry-level measure (what you really want in the long run is to see signups, account activations and credit card payments), it is a good metric to watch in the early stages to see if your product is catching on with the market.

High traffic means that there is Interest and Demand in your product and that users are curious and are seeking information about it. This also is a good sign of market validation as it suggests that your value proposition resonates with your target audience, indicating potential product-market fit.

An increase in website or app traffic suggests growing interest in your product or service. If users are actively seeking out information about your offering, it indicates a potential demand in the market.

If your traffic numbers are good, then it shows that your audience channels, such as social networks, SEO, etc) are working fine and that your message and marketing is good. Otherwise you will need to improve your copywriting and message.

2.2. Quantitative Metrics

Qualitative metrics provide subjective data that offer insights into user experiences, perceptions, and motivations. These metrics are typically gathered through interviews, surveys, focus groups, and user feedback.

Press Coverage
Influencer Reviews
Product Reviews

2.2.1. Demand

Demand refers to the level of desire or need within a target market for a particular product or service. High growth in demand (and one that is sustained) is a good indicator of product-market fit.

Demand should be inferred from more intentional interest than something like views, shares, and likes. More important factors of measuring demand are:

  • Number of MVP Signups
  • Number of Early Bird orders
  • Size of Waiting List
  • User growth in time
  • Increased usage of product
  • Number of crowdfunding backers

These factors can indicate whether your product is in demand, and help you find product-market fit.

2.2.2. Activation

Activation measures the behavior of your customer in the moment he first experiences your product. This moment is critical because it often represents a key turning point where a user transitions from being a casual observer or trial user to becoming an engaged, potentially loyal customer.

For example, when new customers sign up for a free 7-day trial, do they stop using it after just one day, or do they convert to a paid account as soon as the trial ends?

Low activation rates might not necessarily indicate a lack of product-market fit. Instead, they could suggest a need to enhance your onboarding experience or offer different pricing options. In this case, think about revisiting your value proposition and how you communicate it to your target audience.

2.2.3. Referrals

As mentioned above, Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures how many people would recommend your product or service to friends or colleagues. Referrals, on the other hand, measure how many people actually do recommend your product.

Having a large number of referrals is a powerful indicator of product-market fit because they suggest that existing users find significant value in the product and are enthusiastic enough to promote it within their network.

Tracking referrals is important to see if your customers share this product with their community.

Also, referring new customers can be incentivized through various strategies designed to motivate existing customers to promote your product or service. Here are some effective methods:

  • Creating a referral program that offers rewards to customers who successfully refer new users. These rewards can be Discounts or Credits in purchases, cash rewards or access to free products services.
  • Offering exclusive benefits or access to premium features for customers who refer others. This can include early access to new products, special customer support, or VIP status.
  • Including gamification elements where customers can earn points, badges, or levels as they refer more people, with rewards tied to their achievements.
  • Give customers personalized referral links they can share easily. Track the referrals through these links and reward accordingly.

2.2.4. Press Coverage

Press coverage is important for validating and enhancing product-market fit as it can show how much attention is your product getting from industry experts? PR and press coverage can be an excellent way to have higher awareness and exposure

Positive press coverage from reputable sources lends credibility to your product or service. It also serves as external validation that your offering is noteworthy and addresses a genuine need in the market, helping to reinforce that confidence among potential customers and investors.

Press coverage also exposes your product to a broader audience, including potential customers, partners, and investors who may not have otherwise discovered it. This increased visibility can lead to higher levels of awareness and interest, which can help discover new markets for your product.

Finally, it also contributes to brand building by shaping perceptions, establishing authority, and fostering trust among stakeholders.

As a warning note, press coverage can be harmful in early stages of your product as it can expose your product to harsh reviews that can harm its reputation. Yes, look for press coverage, but not until your product is ready to shine.

2.2.5. Influencer Reviews

Influencers often have a large and dedicated following within a specific niche or industry. By collaborating with influencers relevant to your target audience, you can leverage their reach to introduce your product to a broader audience, increasing visibility and awareness among potential customers.

As influencers are trusted authorities within their respective communities, their endorsement of your product lends credibility and authenticity, helping to build trust among their followers.

Testing your product in these influencer audiences can help you find their acceptance of your product within a specific niche or industry, helping to achieve product-market fit.

2.2.6. Questionnaires

Questionnaires can be valuable tools for assessing and achieving product-market fit as they can serve to understand the Customer Needs. Questionnaires allow you to gather insights directly from your target audience regarding their needs, preferences, pain points, and desired features.

By asking specific questions related to your product or industry, you can gain a deeper understanding of what customers are looking for and how your offering can address their needs effectively.

Besides helping you validate your value proposition by assessing how well it resonates with your target audience, questionnaires also help you to segment your audience based on demographic, psychographic, or behavioral factors. Identifying distinct customer segments with unique needs and preferences, can help you tailor your product, messaging, and marketing strategies to better target each segment, increasing relevance and resonance.

Questionnaires also can help you to improve your product along the time by enabling you to collect valuable feedback on your product and iterating based on customer responses. Regularly surveying your audience helps you identify areas for improvement, prioritize product enhancements, and refine your offering to better meet market needs, ultimately driving toward product-market fit.

Finally, questionnaires also allow you to gather insights into how your product compares to competitors in the market. By asking questions about competitor alternatives, customer preferences, and perceived strengths and weaknesses, you can identify your competitive advantages and leverage them to differentiate your product and gain a stronger foothold in the market.

2.2.7. Interviews

Interviews can play a crucial role in achieving product-market, especially in earlier phases of product development, as it helps in gaining deeper qualitative insights into the customer’s needs, preferences, pain points, and behaviors.

Interviews can also help you validate assumptions about your target market, product offering, and value proposition. By testing hypotheses through qualitative conversations, you can confirm whether your product solves a genuine problem for customers and delivers value in a way that resonates with them.

Interviews also facilitate iterative improvement by collecting feedback on your product and iterating based on customer insights. By continuously engaging with customers throughout the development lifecycle, you can identify areas for improvement, validate changes, and refine your offering to better meet evolving market needs, ultimately driving toward product-market fit.

Finally, interviews also provide an opportunity to explore new potential solutions with customers and gather feedback on product ideas, features, and prototypes that might be important to develop.


As with other types of user opinions, comments constitute a more direct and unbiased form of user input about your product as they provide direct feedback from users regarding their experiences, preferences, and suggestions for improvement.

Monitoring comments on social media, forums, review platforms, and your own website, can gather valuable insights into customer needs and pain points. By responding to comments you can engage directly with users, build relationships, and foster a sense of community around your product.

Positive comments can serve as validation that your product is delivering value to users, while negative comments serve as a way to understand what problems and difficulties users have with their product, or alternative if you’re positioning the product in the wrong market group or geography.

As other advantages we say earlier in the article, comments in social networks can help you gather valuable insights into market trends, emerging needs, and competitor offerings, as well as to facilitate iterative improvement by serving as a source of continuous feedback throughout the product development lifecycle.

By analyzing comments, prioritizing feature requests, and implementing changes based on user input, you can iteratively refine your product to better meet customer needs and preferences, driving toward product-market fit.

2.2.9. Product Reviews

Having earlier product reviews is a good sign that your product has been seen by the community as a worthwhile competitor in an industry.

As other forms of feedback already discussed, product reviews provide direct feedback from users about their experiences with your product. By analyzing reviews, you can gain insights into what customers like, dislike, and want from your product, helping you identify areas for improvement and refinement.

Positive reviews can also serve as validation that your product delivers value to users, and at the same time constitute some kind of social proof of your product and how it can guarantee to potential customers that your product is reliable, effective, and worth purchasing, ultimately influencing purchasing decisions and driving adoption.

Finally, when analyzing the feedback, don’t fixate on the stars or the numbers the reviewer gave, look at the feedback instead. See what your customer bases its likes and dislikes, and make the changes early on to improve your product or service.

Poor product reviews don’t mean your product is doomed to failure. It just means you might need to make additional optimizations before you scale.

3. Books

Here's a curated list of relevant books that that focus on achieving product-market fit, along with related concepts such as customer development, product development, and startup strategies:

  • "The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses" by Eric Ries
    This book introduces the Lean Startup methodology, emphasizing the importance of building products that meet customer needs through validated learning and iterative development.
  • "The Startup Owner's Manual: The Step-by-Step Guide for Building a Great Company" by Steve Blank and Bob Dorf
    A comprehensive guide that provides practical advice on the customer development process, which is critical for achieving product-market fit.
  • "Lean Customer Development: Build Products Your Customers Will Buy" by Cindy Alvarez
    This book offers actionable strategies for understanding customer needs and integrating customer feedback into the product development process to ensure product-market fit.
  • "Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers" by Geoffrey A. Moore
    A classic work that discusses the challenges of bringing innovative products to the mainstream market and offers strategies for achieving product-market fit across different market segments.
  • "Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works" by Ash Maurya
    This book provides a practical framework for systematically testing and validating business ideas, focusing on achieving a product-market fit through continuous iteration.
  • "Inspired: How To Create Products Customers Love" by Marty Cagan
    A valuable resource on product management that emphasizes understanding customer problems and building products that truly delight users, contributing to product-market fit.
  • "The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Products that Win" by Steve Blank
    An influential book that lays out the customer development model, a crucial approach for startups seeking product-market fit.
  • "Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant" by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne
    This book explores strategies for creating new market spaces and achieving product-market fit by differentiating your product from existing competitors.
  • "Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs" by John Doerr
    While not exclusively about product-market fit, this book explains how the OKR (Objectives and Key Results) framework can help focus efforts on the most critical aspects of product development and business growth.
  • "Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products" by Nir Eyal
    This book provides insights into building products that keep users engaged and returning, which is a key aspect of achieving product-market fit.

4. Final Note

In conclusion, achieving product-market fit is a critical milestone for any business aiming for long-term success. By carefully monitoring and analyzing the metrics we delved into in this article, businesses can gain valuable insights into how well their product meets market demands.

Consider with special care the quantitative metrics, as they deal with numeric measurements that provide objective data about user behavior, market trends, and business performance. These metrics can be easy to obtain once you have your MVP working.

Additionally, qualitative feedback from customer interviews, surveys, and reviews plays an essential role in understanding the deeper needs and preferences of your target market.

By leveraging these metrics and continuously iterating on your product, you can ensure that your offering not only resonates with users but also sustains and grows your business in a competitive market landscape.

Keep a close eye on these indicators, adapt to feedback, and remain agile to achieve and maintain strong product-market fit.

MyBusiness Academy
MyBusiness Academy helps people access the best curated content to thrive in the business world. Checkout our guides, articles, tools and market information. You can contribute wit...