The Essential Metrics Checklist for A Mobile App
App Builder Appy Pie, March 20, 2018: It is no secret that it takes a lot of time, energy, resources (especially money) and so much more in building a high performance and engaging app. The success of the app is difficult to gauge as the concept of success for a mobile app is fickle. However, it is of extreme importance to keep an eye on different metrics that can help you determine how your app is doing in the market.
In order to simplify matters for you, Appy Pie has managed to prepare a checklist of 20 essential metrics that have been categorized in four broad categories viz. Engagement Metrics Customer/User Satisfaction Acquisition Metrics App Performance This metrics checklist is instrumental when it comes to scaling and measuring the success of your app. So let’s dive in, and begin our journey to determining and refining the path to success.
The core idea here is to find out how your users are interacting with your app. It includes the main metrics that you need, in order to measure the extent of user engagement offered by your mobile app. This group of metrics would tell you the total number of users who have downloaded your app, how often do they actually interact with it, what are the chances that an occasional visitor may be converted into a dedicated user, and whether there are any abandonment issues with the mobile app. In order to efficiently monitor and measure these user engagement metrics, you can put analytics tools including Google Analytics, Mixpanel etc. to good use.
Ideally if your app users are opening your app at least 5 times a day, you have a fairly engaging app. Two other aspects that determine the user engagement level of your app are – the actions taken by app users in the app and the amount of time they spend using the app.
#1 The Number of App Downloads
The number of downloads is essentially the number of units or the number of times your app has been installed by mobile device users and is probably one of the most basic signifiers of the health of your mobile app and its success charts. In case you observe that there are very few or no new downloads for your app, it means that you need to pay attention to any possible problems or issues further upstream in the marketing funnel you have employed for your mobile app. Hence, if you know what is the number of app downloads and have been observing the trend over the passage of time, you would be able to tell whether your marketing measures are on the right track. If the number of downloads is low or non-existent then it might be an indication that there is a problem in your marketing strategy, the impact or your app store listing or there is a definitive lack of app store optimization. This metric can be measured directly from the app store. Though the number of downloads might not be able to paint the complete picture, but they help in a big way.
#2 The Number of Active App Users
The total number of downloads is not the same as the number of active app users for your app. There might be some users who have downloaded your app and might be using it occasionally or rarely, while there would be some who would be using your app quite actively and interacting with it quite frequently. The idea of an active user varies from one analytics tool to the other as they all have their own criteria, usually revolving around the “session” metric. Session itself is different according to every analytics tool. If we were to take the example of Google Analytics, they define a user session as when the user opens and interacts with the app until 30 minutes of inactivity. This effectively means that as per Google Analytics, a use who initiates a session is an active user.
These active users can then further be segmented according to the frequency of their sessions and categorized into Daily Active Users (DAU) or Monthly Active Users (MAU). As is evident from the names of the categories, a DAU is someone who has at least one session with the app in a day, and an MAU is someone who has at least one session with the app in a month. While DAU is great for determining the number of app users who constitute your app’s active userbase. The ratio of DAU & MAU would help you determine the stickiness of your app and it is this stickiness ratio that is indicative of the chances of being able to turn an MAU into a DAU
#3 Average Session Length
Session length is one of the most important metrics. It is the time period between opening and closing your app indicating the amount of time a user spends on your app. Once you are able to calculate the time spent by the user in your app from the time they open your app till the time they are active on it. This data when collected efficiently can help you segment the users into groups and in determining which users spend the longest time interacting with your app. When you track the length of sessions you have the ability to unlock the app’s revenue potential. The session length and the number of screen views per visit offer you a glimpse of how engaged your users are with your app.
Churn or App churn is the companion metric to retention. Churn may be defined as the measure of what was lost during the given period of time. This can be based on a number of parameters including subscribers, dollars, customers, and more. It can be calculated by dividing the number of customers lost in a month by the total number of customers that you had in the previous month. Churn is especially important when it is your top customers or the most active users who are leaving in place of the ones who are either new or are low value.
#5 User Retention
The magic route to success is solidified only when the users stick to your app and user retention measures the number of users who return to the app after their first visit. Recent studies indicate that more than 20% of the apps are only used once, hence for the success of your mobile app, you must realize the user retention value. It is extremely important to know how frequently the users return to your app. High user commitments or loyalty can help you develop stronger monetization strategies for your app.
The retention rate is the measure of active users versus new users. To put it simply, if your app gained 100 users in a month and you could retain 80 of them, it indicates a retention rate of 80%.
#6 Tracking App Events
Tracking app events allows you to monitor how the users interact with important features or flows in your app and furnishes more specific results as compared to analyzing the screens that were visited by your users. With event tracking, you are analyzing the actual actions that the users are taking with your app. The nature of events can be diverse and may include anything from sharing content with a friend, making a purchase, or reaching a certain point in a game. This helps you decide which events make the most sense for you and your app and track only those events that are direct indicators of your app’s goals.
This is another critical category and includes metrics that can be put to use in order to determine whether your app is able to satisfy the users and meet their expectations. These metrics will tell you which features your users love or miss, how likely are they to recommend your app to friends and family, and are they interacting with your app in the way you predicted. These metrics help you determine whether all your research work about your target users before you built your app was any good at all.
#7 Ratings & Reviews on the App Store
Rating is almost like endorsement. It is the easiest way for a prospective user to see what other users think of the app and it is on this basis, they are going to be encouraged or discouraged to use your app. The reviews too are seriously crucial when it comes to gauging the customer satisfaction levels. It is crucial because the chances of a dissatisfied customer leaving a review is 33% higher than a happy customer. It is important that you keep the app reviews positive, because around 70% of the users read at least one review before making the decision.
#8 In-App User Behavior
Touch heatmaps and user recordings are two of the most effective ways to monitor in-app user behavior. While touch heatmaps help you track the areas with which the users interact the most, user recordings monitor the users as they interact with the app. Both have different objectives, touch heatmaps are great for determining the features that the users spend the most time on or the features that they miss, on the other hand user recordings are critical indicators for how the app makes a user feel and how enjoyable is the app when they actually use it. Together, they can help you determine why a specific event took place, and then help you develop theories about the reasons for any conflict, frustration, and problems.
User behavior metrics help you answer questions like:
- At what time do your users login?
- How much of their time is spent in low connectivity areas?
- Which areas are they getting stuck in?
- Is there a particular area from where they are abandoning the app?
#9 Response Time from Support
This is essentially the time taken by you and your team in responding to any of the feedback from your customer or to their requests. Even as you are analyzing this data, you must take into account the quality of the customer support responses and how satisfied the users are with them. When you measure this data and review it, you would be able to see the response time trends and whether you’re responding in a timely manner.
#10 Net Promoter Score
The Net Promoter Score for an app is the likelihood of a user to refer your app to their circle of friends, family, or even acquaintances. It makes use of ranking on a 1-10 scale with 9-10 as promoters (those who are most likely to share your app and recommend it), 7-8 as passives, and all others as detractors. The Net Promoter Score is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters. An NPS of 50 or above is a healthy one, but be aware that there are chances that your score can drop as low as -100.
Acquisition metrics help you determine where your users are coming from. These metrics indicate the level of popularity of your app in the app stores, the specific marketing channels that are funneling users to your app, cost of acquisition for every new user, and the approximate revenue that you may expect to make off of the average user. These metrics are instrumental when it comes to making critical financial decisions like the amount you are willing to spend in an effort to attract new users in comparison to the worth of a new user.
Though you may have to conduct testing to figure out exactly where the traffic is coming from, but one of the best ways to do this is by testing all the viable channels several times while your app marketing campaign is running.
#11 App Ranking
The ranking of your app on the app store determines the visibility of your app in the app store search results. 65% of the users download the apps that they have found after they searched for something in the App Store, hence it is extremely important for your app to show up in the search results. The more visible your app is in the app store, higher would be the chances of you reaching your target users.
#12 App Abandonment
The abandonment metric is the rate of users who abandon your app specifically before you sign up or begin using it. A high rate of abandonment is indicative of a deficient onboarding process or any other issue that might have become a hurdle when it comes to signing new users on to your app.
#13 Cost Per Acquisition
Quite simply put, Cost Per Acquisition is the amount of money you would have to spend in order to acquire an active user, a paying user, or a subscriber. This might include money spent on advertisements, PR, investment in technology, salaries or fees for myriad aspects of the business including design, development, customer support, legal help, or comparable assistance. The cost per acquisition would have to be tweaked according to the opportunities of revenue generation through your app.
#14 Revenue Target
This is the goal that you set out to achieve in a particular fixed period of time. This metric can help you ensure that the strategies are on the right path. Look at this metric frequently in order to size up where you stand on your pathway to success.
#15 Average Revenue Per User (ARPU)
This is the revenue generated by your average app user, and is of high importance not just for the investors, but also indicates whether you would be able to reach the revenue target you have set for your app. You must keep an eye though on the data and establish a familiarity with it so that the outliers do not end up skewing your average.
#16 Customer Lifetime Value (LTV)
This is the primary metric used to calculate the financial value of the app and the worth of each app user. LTV or customer lifetime value helps the developers calculate user value. This is the total money that is generated by a user in the entire period that they were using the app. Cost per acquisition metric needs to be considered while calculating the LTV. Remember that the user might take a lot longer to spend the kind of money on your app, that you spent in acquiring them. This metric will help you determine the time you need to retain a customer for, in order to draw out some measurable profit from them.
This category includes metrics that you might need to determine the speed and stability of your app. Here you can look at the app crashes, the speed of your app, network errors that might crop up, app load times, and any other such factors that might make the app perform poorly.
#17 App Crashes
This is the frequency with which your app abruptly shuts down even as a user is still using it. If this happens one too many times, the app would discourage the users to carry on using it and may frustrate them to no end. Keep testing and retesting to ensure that the crashes are kept to a minimum.
#18 Speed of the App
This is a measure of how fast the app loads and runs. Speed is not an expectation any more, it is more of a given. Make sure that you treat speed as an important feature for your app. Spend a good deal of time in optimizing, refactoring, and improving the speed of your app.
#19 Network Errors
These are the service provider and HTTP errors that crop up when a user is trying to connect to a network. This often results in app crashes. It is impossible to avoid all forms of network errors, but you can pay attention to handling the error in a more efficient manner and ensure that the user is aware of what is going on.
#20 App Load Per Period
This is a measure of how effectively your app is able to handle numerous transactions or events in one go. It is kind of a stress test, where you would try and do a whole lot of things in one go or in rapid succession and overload the app with a huge amount of input.