Measuring Mobile App Success

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The Development of an app and its launch into the marketplace is a great start. Now comes the question of whether or not your app will be successful. How do you measure the success of your application?

A few years back the number of downloads would determine an app’s success. Nowadays the download numbers don’t necessarily reflect the actual success of an app. Even if your app is downloaded, that doesn’t mean it’s being used. And if it isn’t used, how can it count?

The most common problem an app faces is engagement. Therefore, customer engagement is a key focus point for app developers. Measuring and optimizing for the right engagement metrics is the key to attaining and retaining users. Identifying which ones are most important for tracking engagement is a tricky process.

Key Metrics Used for Measuring App Success:

  1. User Analysis
  2. Session Length
  3. Session Interval
  4. Time in App
  5. Acquisitions
  6. Screen Flow
  7. User Retention
  8. Customer Lifetime Value

User Analysis

The users of an app are generally measured as Monthly Average Users (MAU). This user metric can give further details on the type of device, day, time of day and how, when and from where users are accessing your app. You may take the user analytics of your app to the next level by categorizing users into ‘most active users’, ‘superfans’, etc.

By using this metric you can monetize your app based on basic user behavior. You can segment high-use app users who click advertisements. This will also help with campaign-planning and optimization.

Session Length

Session length is the period of time between the starting and closing/timeout of an app on any device. It gives you a detailed picture of how much time users are spending on your application.

Session length can be used to record the spikes and dips of usage on an app. Segmenting users for time spent on the app can help you find the most active users. This also indicates how much time your audience is spending on your app and the reason behind it. Session length varies greatly across different apps. For instance, social media and gaming apps have a better session length when compared to eCommerce ads.

By paying attention to session length, you can collect a report of your users. You’ll want to do this to gain a deeper insight into visitor flow. Only then can you make the application more engaging for your users.

Session Interval

The session interval is the time between users’ app sessions. It tells how often the user opens the app. If the session interval is too long it usually means the user didn’t connect with the app. 

By using session interval metrics, you can easily strengthen your app’s optimization. And it will help you better understand your users’ sessions. You can even consider push notifications to entice user interaction.

Time in App

The time in the app shows how long users spend in your app over a period of time. It paints a picture of the importance of your app to users. This also helps identify how often your app is being used and indicates its value.

By calculating the time spent in-app, you can keep track of users who consistently visit your app for long periods of time. You can also study the user screen flow and make optimizations accordingly.

Acquisitions

Acquisitions give you the number of downloads and install an app from a location that may be done through:

  • Organic Search
  • Word of Mouth
  • Referrals Through Other Apps
  • Paid Campaigns
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Google
  • Other Advertising Platforms

Acquisition reports help track how much money is spent to acquire users, their app downloads and what they’re doing when they get into your app.

The use of acquisitions doesn’t just let you measure downloads and monitor Return of Investment (ROI). It also gives you the lifetime value of an acquired customer. This metric can be used to analyze acquired users versus organic users.

Screen Flow

Screen flow tracks the exits by the screen. The flow between screens helps you visualize the user’s interaction with the app.

With screen flow metrics, you can gain insight into a particular screen of your app. This helps identify what users do on certain screens as well as where they go afterward. It starts tracking at the beginning of the user’s session and continues with every page visited. This metric gives you a behavioral view of purchasing and non-purchasing users as they navigate your app.

With this concrete data, effective design changes can be made to the UX. Even create clearer funnels and in-app marketing campaigns to re-engage lost users.

User Retention

User retention is the percentage of users who return to and use your app. It gives insight into your most engaged and valuable users. There are capabilities to allow in-app purchasing and raise engagement. 

The use of retention metrics helps pinpoint what isn’t working after the app’s update. If a new version is released, you should first identify whether your retention has changed through this metric or not.

Customer Lifetime Value

Customer lifetime value is your primary revenue metric. It displays a representation of the app’s financial value and how much app users and customers are worth in their lifetime.

This can be shown by a monthly average value or shown as the value per customer. Ultimately this gives an insight into financial worth over time, in terms of the user’s loyalty.

The lifetime value metric is the best indicator of overall app ROI and a contributor to the brand’s bigger picture.

Always Test, Iterate & Optimize your Application

You can launch an app that was designed from research, best practices, and web user behavior. But the truth is, it could all just crash and burn. To create a profitable app isn’t to launch and rely on downloads. It’s using informed data and iterating to improve your app. Measuring mobile app success is not a one-time process. Any time a new version of your app is launched, its analysis should be taken. Likewise, any necessary changes and optimization should be integrated.