VIDEO: Why We Added One Step to the Pirate Funnel

VIDEO: Why We Added One Step to the Pirate Funnel

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Why We Added One Step to the Pirate Funnel

Dave McClure’s Pirate Funnel is the best KPI framework ever invented. Two years ago we made it just a little bit better. Here’s how.

We started applying, advising on and consulting with that very same framework ever since.

The funnel is called the Pirate Funnel, as the first letters spell out AARRR for Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, Revenue. If you want more about these steps please watch this video here.

Now, although the pirate funnel is the greatest thing ever invented, we found one caveat that came coming back.

The part at the top. The part called Acquisition. A couple years ago, we, therefore, decided to cut acquisition up into 2 parts. AWARENESS and ACQUISITION.

We started doing this 2+ years ago and it’s been much simpler to use the model ever since.

As per Dave McClure, this part of the funnel is when a user visits your site/product and doesn’t abandon

The problem with acquisition we’ve found is two-fold.

It actually includes 2 metrics
Getting them to visit the page (aka unique visitors)
Getting them not to abandon

Getting them to visit the page is much more attuned to digital marketing efforts.
Getting them not to abandon is much more linked to landing page optimization efforts.

Secondly, this model was originally created for SaaS businesses. But as we started training other business models such as e-commerce, transactional businesses or media sites we found they would get stuck on this first step. Typically stating that they didn’t require a sign-up or that some of them relied on unique visitors.

For these two reasons, we decided to cut up acquisition in 2 and added a 6th step to the pirate funnel.

We’ve called this step AWARENESS and we define it as “getting people to visit your website or service”. So this is typically measured in unique visitors.

And we’ve kept ACQUISITION as the moment when a visitor doesn’t abandon. Whether that’s engaging with an e-commerce store for a few minutes or leaving their email on a subscription product.

So now we feel like we own a little bit of Dave McClure’s genius 🙂


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