If there is one major highlight from the modern-day technological sphere that the world has witnessed in the past few years, it is the evolution of the mobile app industry – in all its various growth vectors and verticals.
Statista measured the global app revenues in 2018 over US $365 billion. This amount is expected to go above US $935 billion by 2023 via in-app advertising and paid app downloads.
Coming up with the app idea and launching your app across various platforms is one part of the picture. Measuring its performance over a longer time period is another. For this, organizations, product managers and digital marketers use various mobile application performance metrics to gauge an app’s performance.
What are Mobile App Metrics?
In order to quantify the volume of an app’s performance, various factors are taken into account that give a clear picture regarding the app’s current performance and future potential.
The mobile application performance metrics that will be discussed, will be broken down into four sections:
User Acquisition Metrics
These are the metrics that tell you about the prominence of your app across various platforms. For example, how popular your app is in app stores, what is the cost to acquire a new user, what are the various marketing channels that are funneling your users to the app, etc. These KPIs are vital to an app’s overall growth as product managers are better-positioned to make strategic and financial decisions based on these metrics. Here are some of the main user acquisition metrics:
App Store Ranking
If a potential user is typing a word or a phrase in an app store search bar and your app is not showing up in the top results, then you probably need to go back and fix this. It is very important for an app to be visible in an app store, so that the target user can be reached.
In order to do this, app store listing can be optimized. This is usually done by using the right keywords, phrases, combinations, etc. Moreover, regular app updates, positive user reviews, app ratings, etc., will also help your app ranking.
Cost of Acquiring a Customer (CAC)
The CAC tells an organization how much it costs to get a new, paying user. These costs are usually the amount spent on all sorts of advertisements, salaries, design costs, technology costs, etc. The formula for calculating CAC is = Total Marketing + Sales Expense / Total Number of New Customers
For instance, if an organization spends $1000 in a month on marketing and advertising to boost the app downloads, and after a month it was able to generate 1000 new app downloads, then the CAC would be $1.00.
Lifetime Value (LTV)
The LTV will help you to figure out the total revenue you can possibly make from a user before that specific user stops purchasing your product or service, or in the mobile app context, decides to quit using your app. This mobile application performance metric is essential for calculating the performance of your user acquisition activities.
Remember, all business models and mobile apps might not profit from a user who tends to use their app after a certain amount of time. LTV gives a clear picture of that specific time and when an organization needs to probably focus on acquiring a new customer, or extending the LTV through various methods such as user feedback, app updates, top-notch customer support, etc.
This is the number that tells you how many times an app has been downloaded across different platforms. If there is a drop in your app downloads, you might want to go back and see what marketing tools, advertisement campaigns or other user acquisition strategies you might have to change.
User Engagement Metrics
Certainly the most crucial mobile application performance metrics that any development professional will track! User engagement metrics give you insights regarding the app’s overall engagement with your users. For instance, how many users downloaded and installed your app, how often a user interacts with your app, the number of purchases made within a certain time period, etc.
User engagement metrics are vital for the marketing team as it gives a real picture and the extent to which users are engaging with your app on an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly basis. Analytics tools such as Google Analytics, Kissmetrics, etc., can be used for measuring your user engagement metrics. Here are some of the common user engagement metrics:
This metric tells you the percentage of users who quit your app, usually before the initial sign up or after launching your mobile app just once. This mobile application performance metric is often referred to as churn rate.
With the ever-increasing competition in the mobile app industry, if your app’s abandonment rate is going up, you need to go back and see what you can do to re-engage your users and make them use your app again.
App Active Users
Getting people to download your app is the first part, what follows is how regular your users are using your app. With millions of mobile apps available to users these days, if your app does not provide value to the user or is not just good enough, you might have inactive users before you even know it.
This metric is usually calculated by the ‘user session’ unit. For instance, Google Analytics records a session from the point the user opens an app until he goes inactive for 30 minutes. It is also calculated by: daily active users (DAU) and more commonly, monthly active users (MAU).
This is basically the opposite of app abandonment – here, we take into account the number of users who return and continue using an app after its first use for a specific time period.
According to a study, 43% of users return to a mobile app at least once in a month’ period since they downloaded it. Retention rate metrics can equip marketers and decision makers to know how their app is performing in terms of long-term app sustainability and growth.
If you are interested to know the user behavior with specific features or sections of your app, then you probably need the event tracking metric. For instance, there is a game app and when the user reaches a certain level, he either stops using the app or shows any other abnormal behavior. This is when you might want to analyze that specific game level event which triggers such a user behavior.
App Performance Metrics
The app performance metrics will give you all the visibility you need regarding the performance KPIs of your app. It will tell you the speed, stability, load times, crashes and other app performance related factors.
These metrics are rather easy to identify and calculate, and can have huge impacts on the overall revenues if not dealt with accordingly. Let us have a look at some of the major app performance metrics:
Speed optimization has become one of the core elements of any web or app platform these days. If your app is taking too long to load on initial launch, or within different app sections, there is a possibility the user might stop using your app.
Rigorous testing of your app across multiple platforms is what needs to be done before an app is launched. Tools such as Rollbar and New Relic can come in quite handy for code optimization and removal of dependencies and various bottlenecks that adversely affect the app’s speed.
Ever wondered why your app is not able to maintain its momentum among users who were making regular interactions not too long ago? Well, apart from all the other app-related issues, one of the bigger ones could be the frequency of your app crashing during a session.
To make sure your app crash numbers are not way too high, it is always a good idea to invest in a team of competent testers and form a beta group before you go ahead and launch your app. These testers will tell you all the occurrences and points where the app crashes, keeping all other factors into consideration as well.
These days, app developers use a number of different application program interface (API) platforms and tools to increase the overall performance of their app via platform integration methods. A number of app requests and responses are being sent/received by an app.
App latency measures the time it takes for an app to send a request to the API server and receive a response back. App latency should not be confused with app speed as these are two entirely different performance metrics. App speed is all about load time in general, whereas app latency is the time required to make API server calls and parse respective call results.
User Satisfaction Metrics
These metrics will tell you hands-on information regarding the performance and popularity of your app among your users. For example, how likely it is that your app’s users will recommend the app to others, what percentage of users were unhappy with a certain section of the app, why a specific user segment is giving a 3-star rating on a particular event, etc. Here are some of the important customer satisfaction metrics:
In recent times, app reviews have become one of the most important factors before another user downloads or interacts with the app.
These app reviews are the comments and feedback left by users over App Store or Google PlayStore – they are the ones who have downloaded and used a mobile app, usually long enough to know the key performance highlights of an app. Most of the times, you might see the negative side of an app in the user feedback section. According to a report, your unhappy users are 22% more likely to leave a review than your satisfied users.
This is the easiest and quickest way to know the popularity of an app on a specific online app store. From 1-5, users can select a rating for your app and that will affect your app’s listing in that particular app store.
A bad app rating can turn away new users from downloading your app and probably might go for a competitor app. According to a study, 79% of app users do check an app’s rating before even downloading the app.
In-App User Feedback
By allowing your users to give feedback while staying in an app session, they can share their thoughts, suggestions, complaints or viewpoints via surveys, app contact forms, live chat, etc.
Remember, these will be your regular users who are actively participating with your app, so the feedback they give should be considered and dealt with a high priority. Certainly, this should be a vital mobile application performance metric that is followed, as this gives you a direct idea on how our target market is receiving your app.
So, Which Mobile Application Performance Metrics Should You Track?
Monitoring mobile application performance metrics is an important part of any developer, product manager or UX designer’s role However, at the end of the day, what matters the most is the vision that you have set for your mobile app both, in the short and the long run. You might have a lot of mobile app metrics at your disposal, however, if you are not clear with your goals and expectations, these numbers or values might not make too much of a difference.
It does take an immense amount of time and effort to gather, analyze and act upon these performance metrics. Each and every member of the team needs to be on the same page in order to achieve organizational goals, otherwise the metrics could very well backfire if they are assessed in a way that is not in line with the original goals.
Was there any mobile application performance metrics that we missed? Comment down below your go-to mobile application performance metrics, that you stand-by!