A.A.A.R.R.R. Funnel and The Viral LoopEstimated Reading Time: just 3 min

A Viral Loop is the result of a positive customer experience while interacting with the company’s Value Propositions. More precisely if a customer is happy with a product or service, he/she might be so excited that he/she wants to share with others his/her experience as well as news and info about the company’s products or services.

A Viral Loop creates quick and cost-effective Brand Recognition.

A helpful tool for creating a Viral Loop is the A.A.A.R.R.R. Funnel or Pirate Funnel


The funnel models the Consumer Relationships in 6 stages:

  • Awareness
  • Acquisition
  • Activation
  • Retention
  • Revenue
  • Referral

Each of these stages is managed through a metric that is called The Only Metric That Matters.

Going in detail of each stage:

  1. Awareness: the focus is on the brand-building aspect of Customer Relations

Creating awareness is introducing a brand to the company’s potential customers trying to drive them to act.

The ultimate goal is to tie awareness campaigns to objectives lower in the funnel so that you are driving brand awareness for the right people.

Possible choices for The Only Metric That Matters for this stage are:

  • Impressions
  • SERP Positioning
  • Click-through-rate (CTR)

Possible activities to improve Awareness are:

  • Social & Display Ads
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Guest Posting
  • Engineering as Marketing
  • Publicity
  • Unconventional PR
  • Business Development
  • Offline Ads
  • Viral Marketing
  • SEM
  • SEO
  • Direct Sales
  • Trade Shows and Events
  • OPN
  • Community Building
  1. Acquisition: the focus is on the first action with a user to happen. It doesn’t involve exchanging money for a product or service, but the value in exchange for a contact to get in touch with the user in a second stage.

Once a user is acquired, it is important to fill out his/her profile with attributes that the company can use to help to define products and services as well as their positioning.

Possible choices for The Only Metric That Matters for this stage are

  • New Leads
  • Cost of Customer Acquisition (CAC)

Possible activities to improve Acquisition are:

  • Lead Magnets
  • Website UX/UI
  • Social Proof
  • Social Login
  • Copywriting
  1. Activation: the focus is on the process where the user actually tries the company’s products and services.

Possible choices for The Only Metric That Matters for this stage are:

  • Trial Sign-ups number
  • First App Opening number
  • First Web Sessions number
  • eMail confirmations number

Possible activities to improve Activation are:

  • Product UX/UI
  • Feature Adoption
  • Tutorial
  • Social Proof
  • Social Login
  • Copywriting
  1. Retention: the focus is on having the user coming back after the Activation.

This stage is important to understand if the product, services and channels are delivering the right Value Propositions to the right people.

Possible choices for The Only Metric That Matters for this stage are:

  • Number of Session per user
  • Daily Active Users (DAU)
  • Monthly Active Users (MAU)

Possible activities to improve Retention are:

  • Email Marketing
  • Gamification
  • Rewards/Loyalty Programs
  • Customization
  • Push/Browser Notifications
  1. Revenue: the focus is on the moment in which the user turns into a customer by deciding to pay for the company’s products and services.

Being in a funnel there are two important facts to consider:

  • Revenue is not the last step but only the 4th one
  • At the moment of the first payment, the company already knows the customer because of the first three stages of the funnel

This means that it will be easier to drive a well-known customer to repeat a purchase

Possible choices for The Only Metric That Matters for this stage are:

  • Average Revenue Per User (ARPU)
  • Average Revenue Per Paying User (ARPPU)
  • Lifetime Value of a Customer (LTV)

Possible activities to improve Revenue are:

  • Up-selling
  • Cross-selling
  • Time Pression
  • Discounts/Promotions
  • Shopping cart abandonment
  • Checkout flow
  • UX experience
  1. Referral: the focus in this stage is on having my customers recommending the company’s products and services to other users. Succeeding in this stage means going viral.

Possible choices for The Only Metric That Matters for this stage are:

  • K-factor (how many users I get for one customer)
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • Referrals
  • Social Shares

Possible activities to improve Referral are:

  • Referral Marketing
  • Contest
  • Giveaway
  • Incentives


A.A.A.R.R.R. Funnel is a framework that must be tailored for each specific situation.

The baseline for designing a funnel is the Consumer Journey Map.

AAARRR Funnel Starbucks.png

Consumer Journey Map is a tool for visualizing all the steps a customer must go through during the customer’s experience from when he/she gets to know about company’s products and services on.

It is useful to put the user front and centre in the organization’s thinking.

The A.A.A.R.R.R. Funnel can be obtained by pooling the actions listed in the Consumer Journey Map into the 6 stages of:

  • Awareness
  • Acquisition
  • Activation
  • Retention
  • Revenue
  • Referral

Learn more about the Consumer Journey Map by following this link.

Nicola Zaffonato Administrator

Business Strategy | Product Marketing | Executive Master eCommerce Management | Business Innovation Master | MSc

I am driven by my personal growth and of people/contexts that surround me.

I followed a professional path in Valentino Fashion Group and Luxottica during which, thanks to the ability to understand different businesses and interests, I was able to succeed in Operations, Merchandising and Retail.

These organizations have exploited my ability to mediate and translate needs/constraints into practice, assigning me to Project Management roles.

Luxottica relied on my ability to analyze, to anticipate things and to imagine/implement solutions by appointing me in Supply Chain Management department and assigning me to the Product Management of IoT solutions for Anti-counterfeiting and Retail digitalization.

During this professional path, I also developed my leadership by managing teams to build Processes, Organizations, Systems and Governance Tools.

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