Crucial Metrics to Measure An App’s Success & Where to Find these Numbers

Posted in March 2018 by Silke Glauninger

App Analytics

When you are charged with the task of marketing an app, there’s no getting around analyzing some metrics. In other words, it is your responsibility to know, how your app is performing.

There are many app metrics you could measure. But depending on the current status of your marketing and type of app, the variety might be too big.

You can measure user’s engagement, customer’s satisfaction and so on. These metrics are important to scale and measure the success of your app. Yet, the KPIs will vary from one app to another.

In this post, we will give you an overview of mobile app metrics, you should actually measure to find out app success.

What Kind of App Metrics You Should Keep In Mind

Depending on the monetization model, there’s a lot you could measure for finding out the success of an app. However, every mobile team should care about at least one or two KPIs from each of the following metric categories:

  1. Visibility & User Acquisition Metrics
  2. Conversion & Growth Metrics
  3. User Engagement & Retention Metrics
  4. Performance & Quality Metrics

Which Metrics to Track for Measuring App Success

Visibility & User Acquisition Metrics

App Store Visibility & Lead Acquisition

When thinking about App Store Marketing, it’s crucial to know how potential customers can find your app. Considering that about 63% of apps get discovered through app store searches, you should always track your app store visibility.

Which metrics you should track continuously: - Keyword Rankings - Top Chart Rankings - App Store Featurings - Impressions / Reach (How many people saw your app) - Clicks / App Store Page Views (How many people showed interest in your product)

Which KPIs to measure: - CVR (Conversion Rate) - Impressions to Clicks alias CTR (Click Through Rate)


The first thing to start with is optimizing your app store search rankings. The right keywords will display your app on the top of the search rank and also bring you the right customers.

There are platforms, such as App Radar, where you can easily measure your position on the rank of the chosen keywords and also how your competitors’ performance is doing. Every day you get an overview of your app rank. The platform measures for you, and so you can finally see if you are going for the right keywords and if you are using them in the correct spots in order to have a good position.

User Acquisition Costs

Metrics like User Acquisition costs are helpful to sort out your app marketing campaigns. How many do you spend to get a user / subscription / in-app purchase.

Which KPIs to measure: - CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) - CPI (Cost Per Install)

This KPIs are crucial because it will show you If your app marketing efforts are bringing you the right results. Depending on the results you might need to do some changes, such as a adapting a bid, optimizing your keyword strategy or improving media etc. If the performance isn’t going as you wish, you need to analyze where the biggest part of your users are coming from to understand what should be changed.

Long story short, the CPA / CPI is going to show you how much you are spending to make one user take the selected action. To calculate that is simple: just divide the amount spent on user acquisition by the total number of desired actions you achieved.

Note: If you wish to lower your User Acquisition Costs in general, increasing organic visibility is a recommendable way to go. Working on your App Store Optimization, can dramatically decrease UAC.

Conversion & Growth Metrics

App Installs/Downloads

Every ASO effort that you made had one goal: downloads. When you analyze the number of downloads you have, you are simultaneously analyzing how good your app store optimization actions were. The best way to measure it, is keeping a spreadsheet with the number of monthly downloads and take notes of every time you made a change in anything that influences ASO. This way, you will have a comparison pattern.

KPIs to measure: - Downloads per Day / Week Month - Download Increase - CVR (Conversion Rate) - Page Views to Installs

One thing that is really important to keep in mind is to differentiate organic from paid downloads. The organic ones are the users that came for free, so the higher your organic install rate, the better.

In you own an developer’s profile, you can follow the number of installs. If you are making an app campaign, there is an important metric for you called organic uplift. To measure it, you’ll have to see how many organic app downloads you had for each paid one. The higher the result, the better.


In-App Purchases / Sales

There are different ways to earn money from your app. Anyway, it is crucial to know how your monetization is performing. First of all, you do not make selling efforts for nothing. If you decide to sell something, you must have a buyer. Secondly, how are you going to measure it? This metric you are going to follow is based on your app installs.

KPIs to measure: - CVR (Conversion Rate) - User to Purchasing Customers

Out of the number of downloads you have, how many of them have actually spent money on your app?

These numbers are easy to find, they are straight at the iTunes Connect and Google Developer Console. To calculate your efforts you should divide the total revenue by the total number of users. If the average isn’t what you expected, maybe it is time to focus on a different audience or to be more specific about it.

How to Increase App Downloads and In-App Purchases?

The best way to increase your app downloads and in-app purchases is to reach the right users. You have to structure your ASO efforts and app campaigns in such a way that every click can become a potential client that you want to reach. This way you are going even to get more relevancy for the search algorithm, since everyone that visits your app page, install it.

User Engagement & Retention Metrics

User Engagement (Active Users, Session Length, Usage Frequency)

Just striving for app downloads is neither enough for you nor for the app store algorithm. The user has to keep engaged with your app. But how are you going to know if the user is actually engaged? Well, to answer this question there are a few metrics that you will need to analyze before.

  • Sessions: the session means one time that a user opened the app within a time frame. Therefore, the more sessions you have, the more popular your app is. Basically, it means that almost every time that the user sees your icon, he feels like using it. The session can be defined by you as a user or a device. You can get a number of that by dividing the number of your active users by your monthly active users.

  • Session Length: This metric shows the level of engagement of each user. The session length points out how long the user had your app opened, how long a user stays in your app in an active session. Bear in mind that the number of crashes can be related to it. So, before analyzing this metric, investigate any current problems. If your app is a weather forecast app, for instance, the session length is irrelevant for your product. It is better to analyze the next topic.

  • Session Interval: What is the usage frequency? How long does a user stay without opening my app? Usually, the shorter the interval, the better.

Important to know: When looking for active users on your app analytics, do not forget that the platform usually considers the active users a unique visitor, who may have had several sessions.

KPIs to measure: - DAU / MAU (The average of daily or monthly active users) - Churn Rate (How many users stopped using your app after a certain period of time)

App Retention, User Loyalty & User Value

When analyzing these metrics we understand why it is important to attract the right users. If a person downloads your app and soon after uninstall it again, this counts more for your churn rate than for your download metrics. App retention is no easy task for marketers.

Based on Localytics Study, an average of 42% of users return to an app at least once within a month after downloading it. The number drops to 29% in the second month and 25% in the third. The number of people that return shows the value of your product.

KPIs to measure:* - Retention Rate - LTV (Life-Time Value)

The retention rate is always based on the return of the user after his first visit. This way you can identify your valuable customers and can work on their experience on your app or work with a specific target audience.

To calculate the retention rate, you will need the number of customers at the end of the period minus the number of new customers acquired during the same period. The result has to be divided by the number of customers at the start of the period. Multiply by 100 and, voilà, you have your retention rate.

Another good question to ask is: How much revenue is your user bringing to you? This is the most basic metric that will show you if you’re attracting the right customers to your app, and if they are taking the actions you expected from them. Set a goal of LTV and target your campaign and ASO efforts to reach this number.


How to Optimize User Engagement Metrics for Your App?

The user has to know what he is downloading. The best way to have engaged customers is to be crystal clear once he gets on your landing page. Show exactly what your app does on your screenshots, use your app name smartly and use the description to tell the features your app has. If the user knows perfectly what he is downloading, it means that he needs it somehow. This dramatically increases the chance of great app engagement and retention rate.

Performance & Quality Metrics

App Rating and Reviews / User Feedback

The most relevant success factor for any users-centered product for sure is getting positive customer feedback. Offering a high-quality app that meets the needs of your customers should be your main goal for sure. So, measuring app ratings and user reviews is crucial to track the success of an app.

Anyway, customer feedback in form of app rating and reviews is essential in two ways: - It is crucial because the developer can see the strongest points of the app and the ones which should be improved. - The number and the average score of ratings, as well as the number of reviews, has a strong influence on how your app ranks in app store search results.

How to improve app ratings and reviews

The point of time in which a prompt is shown to the user, can have a great effect on the rating result. Track app crashes to make sure you do not request a rating/review immediately after a crash or the day after. Ask for ratings when the user is happy. For instance, after he has been using it regularly for 10 days, or after he has won a level of the game, etc.

Technical App Performance

In addition to your users’ feedback, it’s crucial to keep an overview of the technical performance and quality of the app. Low app quality and frequent app crashes will lead users to leave and uninstall your product.

  • App Load Speed: If you are an SEO enthusiast, you will understand how important the loading speed of a page is.
Based on a CA Technology study, 50% of app users are dissatisfied with app load time and 25% would leave a brand because of a long time of loading speed.

The download speed should be 6 seconds max. Make a test yourself, and if is takes more than 6 seconds, show to the developer. This metric certainly affects most of your retention and engagement rate. In addition, this can bring bad consequences such as the user review on your app page. You can use “User Timing – SDK” from Google to check your app performance both on iOS and Google Play.

  • App Crashes: The best way to measure crashes is by analyzing the percentage of sessions that presented a crash. The developer should always keep monitoring the health of the app. Just like the app load speed, this metric is related to the app engagement and retention rate. Be aware that the worst time to have a crash, is exactly when the app is loading. If this keeps happening, fix it first.

Summary / Outcome

To measure the overall success of an app, you will need to follow several metrics like the ones mentioned here. Even though you might not always have all the metrics in mind, we strongly recommend that you regularly get an overview of them. Leveraging this data, you can find out at which stage in the user lifecycle you might lose customers and what to improve in your app marketing strategy. So, make sure to get the right data out of ASO tools, Developer Consoles and Analytic Tools to get yourself a complete picture of app success.

Keep Optimizing. :)

Author
Silke Glauninger
Silke is Marketing Manager at App Radar. When not writing about app marketing, you can find her looking for new places to explore or watching series with a cup of tea and chocolate.

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