Business is money and numbers. A mobile app is a powerful business tool, and its success should be measured like other business key metrics such as your revenue, average check size, customer acquisition costs, retention rate, downloads, percentage of users, and customer satisfaction of app users.
A mobile app’s technical and marketing performance over a period of time depends heavily on analytics and metrics: even if you’re building your MVP and you want to make it as cost-effective as possible, you should still integrate analytics. It’s crucial for your app’s future growth and success, as there aren’t a lot of other ways to gain such valuable insights, feedback, reviews and ratings.
While the process of collecting and evaluating data begins after deployment, you need to think about it even before you start to develop your app or run marketing campaigns. Many of the decisions you make during development will be based on the expectations of your app and its performance from a business standpoint.
Though mobile analytics may seem similar to website analytics, it’s different. It includes lots of metrics you can use to improve your product and boost user retention to get more potential users. However, it can be a daunting task to understand which you need to pay attention to.
In this article, we’ll discuss the most important mobile app performance KPIs, user metrics or indicators for mobile apps and discover what mobile app analytics KPIs, channels and tools you can use.
In the mobile industry, all metrics can be divided into three groups:
All of them are equally important for return on investment over a specific time period, and you can’t analyze and improve your mobile app – or your business – without this information. Let’s talk about these metrics in detail.
Performance metrics provide you with data about your app’s technical performance. These metrics allow you and your development team to improve the app from the technical standpoint and pinpoint issues that hamper the user experience.
Of course, we’re going to mention app load time. Mobile users don’t like to wait on a daily basis. They might wait at first for app download, but probably they’ll either abandon or uninstall a slow application. Load times are extremely important for mobile app marketers!
The recommended loading time for mobile apps is under three seconds. However, the current average load time for apps is around 8 to 11 seconds. The difference is drastic.
In 2017, research by Akamai showed that one second of wait time cuts the number of customers by approximately 7%. If you think about it in terms of your revenue, this lag can cost you thousands of dollars every month.
Devices and operating systems
This metric shows what devices and operating systems your target audience uses. You can use this information in a couple of ways:
- To define your target audience better and make your offers more personalized. For example, if you’re a retailer, you can offer Apple products for iPhone users, thus influencing other metrics like revenue.
- Adjust your quality assurance strategy. When you find out the most used devices, you can focus more on them while testing your application. This will allow developers to make your app perfect for most of your users.
Just like with devices and operating systems, this metric will give you a better idea of what you need to test. Knowing the screen resolutions of your users’ devices is especially useful for Android apps.
While iPhones have a limited number of models with known resolutions and screen sizes, Android phones come in such a wide variety of sizes and resolutions that it’s a challenge to test Android apps. There are lots of manufacturers that produce Android phones.
Knowing what screen resolutions are the most popular gives you an opportunity to make the quality assurance process more focused.
Unfortunately, because lots of devices’ operating systems are slightly different and play by their own rules, apps sometimes crash. There may be other reasons as well. For example, the complexity of the product, unexpected user actions, or specific operating system features of a particular device manufacturer.
Crash reports show you at what point the app crashed, what caused this problem, and where you can find it. Crash reports are crucial for testing and fixing your application. The best tool for tracking your app’s technical performance is Crashlytics.
Engagement metrics characterize the way your users interact with your app and show whether they like it. They often relate to user retention metrics – and the better they are, the lower user acquisition costs may be.
There are various tools that can help with this. Smartlook for example, as a qualitative analytics tool provides direct insights into user engagement.
With session recordings, event tracking & funnels – understanding user engagement in your mobile app is a breeze.
Engagement rates have a direct connection to your revenue, so you should pay close attention to these.
Session length and depth
A session is the time during which a user performs actions in your app. Session length can tell you a lot about how engaging your app is. Session depth is another metric that shows how close your users get to the target action – for example, a purchase.
Average screens per visit
This metric demonstrates two things: the quality of the user experience design and your app’s ability to engage users. If the number of average screens per visit is high, this means your app has a user-friendly, intuitive design that encourages transitions between screens.
Daily and monthly active users
Active users are those who launch your app often and perform actions in it. This number should grow each month (and cost per acquisition should be lower). If you see that it’s lagging, you need to take action and adjust your marketing strategy. Push notifications and marketing activities are good ways to increase this number and make your app more popular in app stores.
The app churn rate shows how many users abandon your app after using it a couple of times. You want to keep this number low. If many people abandon or uninstall your app, this can mean different things:
- Your app crashes or lags
- There are few to no updates or no new content
- There are no more levels of achievement left (if this is a gaming or gamified app)
Contrary to the churn rate, the retention rate shows how many users come back to your app after the first use. This metric shows whether your app provides real value to users.
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This is what we all are here for: revenue. Revenue is the money you get from your app, whether through in-app purchases or purchases through the app (yep, those are different things). These metrics also include the money you spend to acquire new users and buyers.
These metrics can also be perceived as mobile app marketing KPIs, as many of them show the direct consequences of your marketing activities.
Average revenue per user
How much do users spend on your app? This metric answers this question and also shows you how well you can make additional sales and how solvent your audience is.
Note that users of different operating systems demonstrate different behaviors. While Android users often spend more time in an app and make many small purchases, iOS users tend to have a higher average check size.
How many successful purchases do people make through your app? If you also have a website, you can calculate and compare the numbers. If the number of purchases doesn’t grow or starts to decline, you need to rethink your user journey or work on more relevant offers in notifications and promo campaigns.
Time to first purchase
The time it takes for a user to make a purchase is different for each industry. You probably know the average for your domain. If your time is longer than average (many app session intervals), think about encouraging people to buy and shortening the path to checkout, therefore improving app conversion rates.
User lifetime value
This metric shows how much revenue mobile app users has brought you since they first used your app. Average Customer Lifetime value will allow you to determine how loyal user base you have and what you can do to target them in a more personalized and meaningful way.
The conversion rate is one of the most important metrics. While you may have thousands or even millions of users, it’s the conversion rate that really matters if your revenue comes from selling goods or services through your app or if you earn money with in-app purchases or subscriptions.
To increase the conversion rate, make personalized offers, make sure your call-to-action buttons are visible, and make sure that the purpose of each action in your app is clear and leads to a conversion.
Cost per install
It may be a challenge to acquire users, especially in the beginning. To do this effectively and find out how much revenue you actually get, you need to find out how much you spend to acquire one user.
You should also identify which marketing channel brings you the highest percentage of customers, and focus on that one when planning your marketing spend.
These are the mobile app metrics you definitely need to pay attention to, whether you’ve launched your app yesterday or five years ago.
In this article we discussed top mobile app kpis and app performance metrics for any mobile app. Your mobile product may require other reports from Google Analytics as well. All you need to improve your app is know how to track mobile app KPIis, and act on the insights and acquisitions you get.
Mobile app metrics are crucial for any application. They show how well the application works from a technical standpoint, how engaged people are with your app, and how much money active users bring to your business. Apart from that, you should look into App Store optimization and Google Play Store efforts.
The most important technical KPIs for mobile apps are load time, crash reports, and device information including screen resolutions and operating systems. These metrics allow you to control your technical performance and improve the testing process. Identifying the devices your app runs on will give you a better understanding of your target audience and their sessions.
User engagement metrics influence revenue, so they’re by far the most important mobile app KPIs. Learn how long people spend in your app and how many screens they visit before churning or completing a target action (like making a purchase).
To keep track of all these metrics, you need to integrate analytics into your mobile app. Mobile analytics tools are all different, so you need to choose the perfect one for you. A comprehensive analytics tool will include demographics, crash reports, heatmaps, and session recordings that allow you to see exactly how people use your app.