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As a platform founder, understanding and monitoring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) is crucial. KPIs act as a navigational tool, guiding decision-making and strategy. They provide insights into various aspects of the platform, such as user engagement, financial health, operational efficiency, and market position. By analyzing KPIs, founders can identify areas needing improvement, recognize opportunities for growth, and make informed decisions to steer their platform toward success. They are essential for pivoting strategies, optimizing operations, and enhancing user experience, ensuring that every action contributes to growth and sustainability.

Overview of Top KPIs for Marketplaces and Platforms

  1. Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV)
  2. Average Order Value (AOV)
  3. Take Rate
  4. Buyer/Seller Overlap
  5. Buyer-to-Seller Ratio
  6. Contribution Margin
  7. Quick Ratio
  8. Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  9. Revenue
  10. Orders Delivered
  11. Cancellation Rate
  12. Active Buyers/Suppliers
  13. Frequency Rate
  14. Registered Buyers/Suppliers
  15. Activation Rate
  16. Marketing/Acquisition Spend


Detailed Analysis of Essential KPIs

  1. Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV): This reflects the total sales value within your marketplace. For example, if your platform sold 100 items last month at $50 each, your GMV is $5000. It’s a strong indicator of the marketplace’s scale and health.

  2. Average Order Value (AOV): This metric assesses the average amount spent per transaction. For example, if your marketplace generates $10,000 from 200 orders, the AOV is $50. This indicates the spending behavior of customers and helps in optimizing pricing strategies.

  3. Take Rate: The percentage of transaction value the marketplace retains. For instance, if your platform takes a 10% commission on each sale and your GMV is $10,000, the take rate contributes $1,000 to your revenue. This metric is crucial for understanding the direct profitability from transactions.

  4. Buyer/Seller Overlap: This KPI identifies users who are both buyers and sellers. If 30% of your sellers also purchase on your platform, you have a significant overlap, which can reduce Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) as you’re acquiring two types of users in one go.

  5. Buyer-to-Seller Ratio: This ratio helps in understanding the balance between demand and supply. For example, if you have 200 transactions from buyers and 100 from sellers, your ratio is 2:1, indicating a higher buyer frequency. This guides user acquisition and retention strategies.

  6. Contribution Margin: This is the sales minus variable costs. If your marketplace earns $50,000 in sales and incurs $30,000 in variable costs, your contribution margin is $20,000. This metric helps in understanding profitability on a per-unit basis.

  7. Quick Ratio: It compares growth to churn. For example, if you add 100 new users but lose 50, your quick ratio for users is 2. It’s a vital indicator of growth sustainability and user retention.

  8. Net Promoter Score (NPS): Measures customer satisfaction and loyalty. For instance, if 50% of your users are promoters and 10% are detractors, your NPS is 40. It’s crucial for understanding user sentiment and potential for organic growth.

  9. Revenue: The total income generated. If your platform earns from sales commissions, subscriptions, and advertisements, all these contribute to the revenue. It’s a fundamental indicator of the marketplace’s financial health.

  10. Orders Delivered: Number of completed transactions. If you have 1,000 orders placed and 950 delivered, your delivery rate is 95%. This KPI is essential for tracking operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.

  11. Cancellation Rate: This measures the percentage of orders canceled. A high rate may indicate issues in supply chain or customer satisfaction.

  12. Active Buyers/Suppliers: Indicates the number of users actively transacting. If you have 1,000 registered suppliers and 500 make at least one transaction in a month, you have a 50% active supplier rate. It’s key for gauging marketplace engagement.

  13. Frequency Rate: The average number of transactions per user. It helps in understanding how often users engage with your marketplace.

  14. Registered Buyers/Suppliers: The total number of users signed up. It sets the baseline for potential market size but needs to be analyzed in conjunction with activation rates.

  15. Activation Rate: The percentage of registered users who are active. A high activation rate indicates successful user engagement strategies.

  16. Marketing/Acquisition Spend: The total cost spent on acquiring new users. It’s crucial for evaluating the efficiency of marketing strategies and calculating the return on investment.


In the complex ecosystem of online marketplaces, these KPIs provide a comprehensive view of performance, highlighting areas of strength and opportunities for improvement. They are essential for strategic decision-making, helping founders navigate towards sustainable growth and operational excellence. By effectively tracking and analyzing these metrics, marketplace founders can not only understand their current position but also chart a path for future success.

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