Top Metrics to Help Your Mobile App Succeed
While worthy of fanfare, developing and releasing a mobile or web app is really just the beginning of the process to create a truly successful app. Even the most thoughtfully developed apps will need to evolve over time, and one of the most effective ways to spot opportunities for improvement is by monitoring some key metrics.
Metrics fall into a few broad categories, and each one provides a unique look at how the app is performing. For better and worse, an incredible amount of data can be captured, so it’s important to note from the outset that not all metrics will be relevant for every app.
In fact, even the definition of success can vary by type of app — success for one might be increased brand awareness, while success for another is a strong revenue stream. Before you start collecting a lot of information, be sure you understand what’s important for your business to know, and only collect the data that helps to answer strategic questions.
With that in mind, we believe it’s important to keep an eye on four categories of metrics:
App Performance: App performance metrics evaluate the basic functions of the app like load time and crashes, and are foundational to success.
User Acquisition: User acquisition metrics reveal the impact of your marketing efforts, monitoring things like the number of downloads and cost per acquisition.
User Engagement: Engagement looks at how users interact with the app, from how long the average person spends in the app to user turnover rates.
Customer Satisfaction: Customer satisfaction measures how successfully an app meets user expectations, and the likelihood of a user recommending the app.
We’ll look at each of these app performance categories and talk about some specific metrics to gauge how your app is doing.
Useful App Performance Metrics to Monitor
Of all the categories, app performance metrics are the most universally applicable and probably the best place to get started. If users find your app to be slow or regularly crashing, they aren’t going to stick around very long.
Some key performance metrics include app load time, crashes, and latency. As the name suggests, app load time measures how long it takes for your app to open and be ready for use. Expectations are high for this time to be very short — under 2 seconds — in order to avoid frustrating the user from the very start.
App crashes refer to the abrupt shut down of your app. As a crash often causes lost data (or at least wasted time), users are particularly unforgiving of crashes. The crash rate is the average number of crashes per app loads, and we recommend keeping this under 1-2%.
It’s also important to keep an eye on app latency. App latency tracks how long it takes for a user to get a response from the app, once they tap on something in the app. General wisdom is that a 1 second response time is ideal, although users do have some tolerance for slower responses. However, according to AppDynamics, anything over 3-4 seconds of response time could lead to more than 60% of your users abandoning the app.
Important Metrics for User Acquisition
User acquisition metrics help you to know how effective your marketing efforts are in attracting customers, as well as give you insights into whether or not you’re actually generating any ROI for each of those customers. Services likeApp Annie,APPLyzer, and Adjust can help you monitor app acquisition metrics.
Number of Downloads is a basic acquisition metric that links directly to the reach of your marketing. Just like it sounds, the number of downloads tracks how many users install an app onto their device. In and of itself, it tells very little (because downloads do not equal use), but it gives a good foundation for looking at other metrics.
If you’re running a number of marketing campaigns, a metric called App Attribution could be helpful. Attribution provides a glimpse into which marketing vehicles are most impactful, by enabling you to know what sites or promotions generated higher click-through rates and downloads.
Regardless of where those downloads originated, you’ll want to be sure to monitor your Cost per Acquiring a Customer (CAC). The CAC is calculated simply by dividing total spend by total downloads, and obviously the lower the better.
Related to this is Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV). CLTV tells you how much money you will receive from a typical conversion. To be profitable, this value needs to be higher than the amount of money you are spending to acquire a customer (CAC). CLTV is calculated by multiplying the annual income you’ll receive from an average customer by the typical number of years you retain each customer.
Top Metrics for User Engagement
User engagement metrics give insight into how much users enjoy your app by providing information about their activity level. They also help flag potential pain points; user engagement metrics can help developers view patterns in user behavior and improve the usability of an app. Tools to track user engagement metrics include Google Analytics , Mixpanel, and Fabric.
Time factors heavily into user engagement and is a good indicator of value over time. Metrics for user engagement include daily, weekly, and monthly active users (DAU, WAU, MAU), which gauge the number of users within a time period. “Active” can mean anything from opening the app to posting and engaging with content. However, app experts tend to look at the ratio of DAU to MAU (known as “stickiness”) rather than the individual metrics. This ratio shows the number of days in a month that users return to the app and provides a more accurate look at active users.
Retention, one of the most important user engagement metrics, shows how many users return to the app at least one time. The metic is often evaluated at 30, 60, and 90 days. While good retention rates vary by industry, it’s obvious that the higher the number, the better.
App churn offers the opposite performance metric to retention: percentage of discontinued users. Understanding when in the life cycle that users churn is critical to addressing potential engagement problems. If users churn soon after install, the app might have technical problems like frequent crashes or an unfixed bug. Losing long-term users can indicate that the app provides only short-term value or isn’t delivering on expectations.
Both average session length and screen views per visit are also useful metrics in this category. Session length shows how long users engage with the app in one visit, while screen views per visit records the number of different screens they see. Obviously higher numbers for both metrics are desired, as that reflects more user engagement. Likewise, an app session interval, which measures the time between two consecutive sessions, offers an additional way to measure how attached users are to your app.
Key Metrics for Customer Satisfaction
The final category of mobile app metrics deals with customer satisfaction. User satisfaction metrics include ratings and reviews, as well as viralness and in-app feedback. Examining these metrics can show what customers want from your app and allow developers to hone features and in-app support to better meet user needs. Appbot,appFigures, and Lookback all provide app metrics on customer satisfaction.
Reviews and ratings give a terrific snapshot of how well your app is performing, and can also provide incredible insights about what improvements would be valuable. They also have significant power to influence acquisition. App store reviews affect app store ranking, so high scores can help improve the visibility in search results. According to Apptentive’s guide on customer reviews, an app that bumps up from three stars to four experiences a 92% increase in app store conversion.
Another metric, called viralness, reveals the number of new users brought in by a typical current user. This is an especially useful metric for many social consumer apps, as it shows customers are enjoying your app and want others to use it with them. In-app promotions that reward current users for referrals can help increase viral reach. It’s worth noting that, if you gather new users from viral sharing, rather than through direct marketing, this also helps to lower your cost per acquisition.
Collecting in-app feedback about usability problems not only helps you fix issues, but can often help avert negative public posts if you address bugs quickly. Feedback can be gathered within the app via chat systems, email contact forms, and surveys. A particular type of in-app feedback, rating metrics, can complement customer reviews. If a user provides a positive rating, you can prompt them to leave an app store review, thereby helping your ranking.
These highlighted app performance metrics only scratch the surface of the quantitative and qualitative data you can gather about an app. With the overwhelming number of app metrics that you can track, choosing the measurements that are right for your app can prove difficult. Businesses should work with a professional to learn more about the metrics that will deliver the most relevant information about your app.If you’re uncertain how to find the right app development partner, check out this post on the key questions to ask a mobile app developer before you hire them.