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You and your team have worked hard to launch a mobile app that can form the base of or, at least become a major aid to propagate your business. However, any experienced mobile app entrepreneur would tell you that launching an app is just the first step of the mile-long journey.

People interact with mobile apps in a different manner than they interact with websites. To maintain a successful app, you need to measure the right metrics, and optimize and iterate your app to reach your target in terms of acquisition, retention, engagement and revenues or stay visible through high rank in app stores.

In broader terms, running a successful mobile app comes down to balancing the user acquisition cost with user lifetime value. On a closer look, these two seemingly metrics are based on a gamut of other metrics which your team has to be careful about.

As you would notice, data is the lifeblood of all marketing campaigns. Every marketing channel has its own unique set of metrics you measure against, and mobile is no different. Since mobile app interactions differ innately from web interactions, mobile app teams have to be careful about which metrics to track and how to benchmark them.

The answer varies for every industry, vertical and domain the app operates in. Nevertheless, there are a few key metrics which all mobile app teams should be aware of, based on these groups –

  • App Performance Metrics
  • User Engagement Metrics
  • User Satisfaction Metrics
  • App Revenue Metrics


APP PERFORMANCE METRICS

You cannot your app to do well in the market, unless it performs well in terms of functionality and user expectations. Performance metrics look closer into details like speed, stability, load times, crashes, latency and other factors that may affect your app’s overall performance. A poor performing app may face abandonment, uninstallation, negative reviews, and unsatisfactory feedback. It’s important, then, that you treat performance metrics with utmost priority. Apart from load speed, two of the most important performance metrics include app latency and app crashes.

1. App Latency

App latency or API latency is the time taken from generating a request to receiving a response between your app and an API. Latency affects the overall time it takes to press a button, make a call to the API server, parse the info, and finally display the info. The shorter the duration is, the better your app performance will be.

To ensure this, it is required that your APIs are following best practices and receive optimizations on the server size.

Tools: Burp Suite and mitmproxy

2. App Crashes

An app crash is abrupt closing on app while a user is using it, due to a number of variable reasons. Too many or too frequent app crashes can turn your users off the app or cause them to uninstall altogether. Ideally, you should set a benchmark to prioritize and address most critical and debilitating issues and keep the crashes to a minimum. You can test build your app continuously or form a group of test/beta users to identify as many problems as you can before the launch.

Tools: Crashlytics and Instabug

USER ENGAGEMENT METRICS

Once you ensure a smooth performing app, it’s important to focus on user engagement. For a successful app, the frequency and the quality of user engagement matters significantly. Engagement metrics can help you track it and iterate as per your expectations.

3. App Downloads

The number of times your app has been installed or “downloaded” is the primary engagement metrics, and in most cases, a definitive marketing goal, too. You can evaluate your marketing campaigns on the basis of overall number of downloads and the changes over a certain period of time. A drop in the number of downloads can indicate a poor App Store Optimization or bugs and crashes. You can increase your app downloads by fixing the aforementioned shortcomings, or by introducing new strategies and tactics in specific parts of your overall marketing funnel.

Tools: Google Play Store, Apple App Store, Mixpanel and CleverTap

4. Active Users

The active users differ from the number of downloads, as they represent the number of users who are regularly and actively using your app, rather than being dormant. The number of active users depend on a pre-defined “session”, which varies from app to app, and the tool you are using to track it. Furthermore, active users are differentiated as Daily Active Users (DAU) and Monthly Active Users (MAU) – DAU represents the users who have at least one recorded app usage session per day; MAU represents the users who have at least one recorded app usage session per month.

Tools: Google Analytics, Mixpanel and CleverTap

5. Stickiness Ratio

Stickiness ratio of an app is derived by dividing DAU by MAU, and represents the chances of converting a MAU to DAU. While the figure itself might not give much detailed insights, a low stickiness ratio can help you look into other factors which prevent the monthly active users into daily active users. It indicates how actively users are engaged with your app, and how likely a user is to return and use the app more frequently.

Tools: Google Analytics, Mixpanel and CleverTap

6. App Retention

App retention represents the percentage of users that return to the app over a certain period of time, after downloading it. Again, retention rates vary from industry to industry and category to category. In general, retention rate is recorded over a day, a week, a month, a quarter, six months, and subsequently over a year. Such rigorous tracking of retention rates can help you measure the success or failure of a specific built, or a marketing campaign, and fix major issues. To have a commendable retention rate, it’s important to build an app with a highly engaging user experience.

Tools: Google Analytics, Mixpanel and CleverTap

7. App Churn

App churn metrics serve complimentarily to app retention metrics. A high churn rate indicates a poor retention, of course, and vice versa. However, the stage at which the churn happens can help you gain insights and fix specific issues with the app. If the churn is happening with the new users within a short span of downloading the app, you should probably review your onboarding process. If the churn happens at mid-way through a session randomly, you should look for bugs, crashes and other performance issues.

Tools: Google Analytics, Mixpanel and CleverTap

8. App Event Tracking

App event tracking can be considered as a performance metric as well as an engagement metric. It monitors how users interact with important features, navigation paths or flows within your app. As event tracking focuses on specific flows, sequences, features and actions, it can prove to be quite helpful in deciding their viability to the users, setting up priorities and in many cases, revamping the entire UX or functionality of the app.

Tools: Google Analytics, Mixpanel and CleverTap

USER SATISFACTION METRICS

A step ahead of engaging the users actively with your app, comes user satisfaction. Consider it as an indirect marketing strategy, or a measurement of users’ loyalty towards your app.

9. App Rating

An app’s rating is the primary indicator of the way its users perceive it. In fact, it affects the number of downloads considerably, since users pay attention to the app ratings before downloading an app.

Of course, the best way to garner good ratings for your app is to build a smooth-functioning, valuable, engaging app. Another method to boost rankings is to incentivize five-star ratings and reviews. At the same time, you can also get in touch with the users who give poor ratings, address their concerns about the app, and then prompt them to revise their ratings for your app.

Tools: Appbot and appFigure

10.App Store Reviews

App Store or Google Play reviews are feedback left by users that show up in your app’s app store listings, along with the app’s rating. Likewise, the app reviews can encourage or discourage people browsing through your app before they decide to download.

In a fashion similar to app ratings, you should prompt your users to leave a positive review through an overall pleasantly engaging user experience. For users with negative reviews, you can respond directly on the app store and Google play store to alleviate their issues and convince them to change their perception through fixing their complaints against the app and lead them through an exemplary customer (user) service.

Tools: Appbot and appFigure

11. In-App Feedback

In-app feedback is feedback provided by users from within the app itself. Moreover, in-app feedback does not require your users to leave the app to send feedback, and does not affect your overall app rating and reviews directly. In-fact, the in-app feedback generally comes through your actively engaged users. Thus it’s imperative to pay attention to them to enhance performance and experience of your app, as well as turn the users to your promoters or loyalists.

Tools: Drift, Intercom and LiveChat

12. Net Promoter Score

Net Promoter Score is a numerical ranking system based on 0-10 scale. It indicates the likelihood of a user to refer your app to other people. The users scoring your app between 0-6 are treated as detractors (unlikely to recommend / likely to churn or leave a negative review and rating); 7-8 as passives and 9-10 as promoters (likely to recommend your app, give positive reviews and ratings, actively engage with your app).

While it’s important to pay attention to the promoters since they provide a higher lifetime value (discussed later); it’s equally important to reach out to detractors and learn from them how you can improve your app’s score.

Tools: HelpScout and Drift

APP REVENUE METRICS

For any app to be successful (or sustainable), it has to think of a revenue generating model and see through its execution. App revenue metrics measure the feasibility of revenue models, and subsequently the sustainability of an app.

13. Cost per Acquisition

Cost per acquisition indicates the average money it costs you to get an active user. The cost of investments include technology, marketing, advertising, and PR spend of your app. It may also include the salaries or contractual fee spent on design, development, customer support and other services. Accordingly,

Cost per Acquisition = Total cost of campaign / number of acquisitions.

The average cost per acquisition depends on the industry and category the app is operating within. However, the lower the cost of acquisitions are, the better chances you have of building a sustainable and subsequently, profitable app.

Tools: Your main analytics package, AdWords and Fiksu

14. Lifetime Value

Lifetime value (LTV) indicates the total revenue generated through a user before he/she stops using your app. Considering the cost per acquisition and your revenue model, LTV helps you figure the time it takes for a user to turn profitable, and attune your revenue model or diversify your revenue streams accordingly.

Tools: Your main analytics package and whatever you use for tracking revenue.

15. Revenue Target

Revenue target is a straightforward metric – a monetary amount of revenue you want to generate over a specific period of time. Similar to app retention or app churn, you can calculate and track your achievement of revenue targets over a day, a week, a quarter, six months or a year. However, it’s ideal to set a specific annual revenue target and then measure and iterate your progress weekly as per your goals.

Tools: Your main analytics package and whatever you use for tracking revenue.

Conclusion


Data and metrics alone don’t matter much often. To gain proper insights and improvise your app accordingly, you should work with your development team to set up analytical tools, decide which metrics would matter the most to you; set up benchmarks for those metrics and work your way from the ground up to achieve your goals, or better surpass them.

Chances are, your development team knows more than you give them credit for, owing to years of experience working on different apps. To understand how you can track the growth and progress of your app from the very beginning, get in touch with my team at hello@codetoart.com.

AUTHOR: Vikas Hiran
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