Whether it’s your first app or one of many, you should know how to develop a great app. First of all, you should track potential trends in app markets to get an idea of what kind of app you are going to design. Then, you should identify your audience and observe their needs and expectations from your app. Designing your app’s experience, coding it and lastly testing it will be the next steps. If you do all of this right, your mission is a success, right? Or is it not? You may develop a great app that covers all these steps, but does having a great app translate to having a successful one?
To achieve success (whatever success means to you: being in the Top Charts section of major app stores or reaching a certain amount of daily revenue, etc.) you need to track some vital mobile app metrics to gain an advantage over your competition. Here are the metrics you should track and how you should calculate them:
App Crashes & App Load Time
App crashes and app load time metrics represent the quality of your app and in my opinion, they are the most important ones, because if your app is not good enough, you can’t convince anyone to download and use it. The metrics which will come later have no value if there is nobody to use your app.
These metrics are directly related to user experience. If some of your users lose their achievements in your game or their precious work in your app because of a nasty crash, or starting to ask questions like “What’s taking so long?” when using your app, believe me, you are in trouble. This is because they are probably thinking about deleting your app right that moment.
How can you track these metrics and avoid all of these problems? Well, you can get the crash data from App Store and Google Play, but the data they provide is not real-time, so it is not enough to quickly troubleshoot and fix the issues. You can also use tools like Crashlytics, Instabug and Hockeyapp to acquire more accurate crash data. However, the best and the cheapest way to track these metrics is to monitor the reviews about crashes, bugs and longer load times. Updating your app regularly is the best way to prevent those problems and can make your app’s user experience as smooth and solid as possible.
Session Length & Intervals
Session length and intervals are the metrics used to measure users’ behavior. Session length indicates the time of a session that is spent by a user in your app. If the metric starts to decrease, it’s an indication the user is losing interest in your app.
Session intervals is the time that passes between the session and it shows how often a user opens your app. It’s an important metric to find out how valuable your app is to a user.
You can track these metrics using app analytic tools like Flurry, Tune or AppAnnie.
Daily Average Users (DAU)/Monthly Average Users (MAU)
These are important metrics that show the number of users who are interacting with your app in the specific time period (daily and monthly). Measuring them will help you to decide which revenue model you are going to use. If these metrics tend to decrease, it means users didn’t understand your app fully or you have failed to create the desired impact on them.
Like session length & interval metrics, you can measure them by using app analytic tools.
100,000 users have downloaded your app, congratulations! But, did they open it again the day later, a week later or a month later? Research shows that many apps are downloaded and never used more than once. This can be a real problem when marketing your app, because we know that acquiring a new customer is far more expensive than keeping an existing one.
The retention rate indicates how often users visit your app after the initial download. Measuring this important metric helps you to see the flaws in your marketing efforts and determines your app’s viability in the market.
You can track retention rate by using app analytic tools. Besides that, there are several methods to calculate this metric, but the most common and easy way is by looking at the number of users returning to your app on an indicated day (the most common time frames are 1 day, 7 days and 30 days) and dividing it by the number of users who installed your app on Day 0.
Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)
Customers find your app through any channel you used to reach them; major app stores search pages, heard from friends and families, social media developer pages, app review sites or paid campaigns. With this metric, you can see where users came from, and in additional, learn how they behave once they start using with your app. You can also understand whether or not you exceeded the allotted budget for your marketing campaign by measuring it. If your CAC rises above the Lifetime Value (LTV), then your marketing campaign is unprofitable and you need to take the necessary precautions to make it profitable again.
You can track this metric by using attribution tools.
Average Revenue Per Use (ARPU)
How much revenue do you generate from each user? The average revenue per user (ARPU) indicates the value of an individual to your app business. Keeping your ARPU higher than the Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) means you are making a profit.
This can be calculated by simply adding up the revenue your app generates each month, and dividing it by your total number of users.
Lifetime Value (LTV) is defined as the measure of value that a single customer generates over the lifetime of using your app. It may be the most important revenue metric you need to track. To calculate LTV, you need to understand Customer Churn and Average Revenue Per User (ARPU). You know how to calculate ARPU. To calculate customer churn, you need to look at the rate of how many users leave over a given period (usually a month). For example, if your app has 100 users and at the end of the period, 25 of them stop using your app, your churn during that time period is 25%. Once you have the values, you can use the equation that is given down below:
LTV = ARPU x (1/Churn)
There are several metrics you can track, but these are the most important ones. If you want true app success, you should keep monitoring these metrics and in light of the data, take the necessary precautions and optimize your app marketing strategy.