Top App Performance Metrics To Monitor
Even the most thoughtfully developed apps will need to evolve over time, and one effective way to spot opportunities for improvement is through use of app performance metrics.
App performance metrics fall into a number of different categories, and each one provides a unique look at app performance and areas for improvement. Broadly speaking, we believe it’s important to be keeping an eye on user acquisition, user engagement, and customer satisfaction.
User acquisition metrics reveal the success of your marketing efforts, monitoring things like the number of downloads and users. Engagement looks at how users interact with the app, from how long the average person spends in the app to user turnover rates. Customer satisfaction measures how successfully an app meets user expectations and the likelihood of a user recommending the app. We’ll look at each of these app performance categories and talk about some specific metrics to gauge how your app is doing in each of them.
App Performance Metrics for User Acquisition
App performance metrics related to user acquisition help you to know where to focus your marketing efforts and how to tap into new customer bases. Acquisition metrics range from app store rankings to insights on how users became aware of your app. Services like App Annie, APPLyzer, and Adjust can help you monitor app acquisition metrics.
A primary acquisition metric is app store ranking. Ranking refers to the visibility of an app when a user searches for it in the app store. A high ranking means that an app shows up within the top search results. App ranking is increased through optimized keywords, positive user reviews, and regular updates. Ranking matters most for iOS apps because Apple uses a search algorithm that places higher ranked apps first.
Number of downloads represents another critical acquisition metric. This measurement links directly with the extent of app reach. Just like it sounds, number of downloads tracks how many users install an app onto their device. Low numbers of installations could mean that marketing campaigns need to be further tailored or that the app could use an upgrade.
It’s also useful to track the sources that lead users to discover your app, which is a metric called app attribution. Attribution provides a glimpse at the success of marketing efforts by enabling you to know what sites or promotions generated higher click-through rates and downloads.
One additional metric we like, called viralness, reveals the number of new users brought in by a typical current user. This is an especially useful metric for many social consumer apps. If you gather new users from viral sharing, rather than through direct marketing, you have a lower cost per acquisition. Viral acquisitions also tend to engage more because they interact with friends and family already vested in the app. In-app promotions that reward current users for referrals can help increase viral reach.
App Performance Metrics for User Engagement
User engagement metrics measure the value customers get when using an app. These performance metrics are worth tracking for most types of app. The data provides information about the activity level of consumers and flags potential pain points. Tracking user engagement metrics can help developers view patterns in user behavior and improve the usability of an app. Tools to track user engagement metrics include Google Analytics, Mixpanel, and Fabric.
Time factors heavily into user engagement and helps to measure the activity level of customers. Metrics for user engagement include daily, weekly, and monthly active users (DAU, WAU, MAU), which gauge the number of users within a time period. “Active” can mean anything from opening the app to posting and engaging with content. However, app experts tend to look at the ratio of DAU to MAU (known as “stickiness”) rather than the individual metrics. This ratio shows the number of days in a month that users return to the app and provides a more accurate look at active users.
Retention, one of the most important app performance metrics, shows how many users return to the app at least one time. The metic is often evaluated at 30, 60, and 90 days. While good retention rates vary by industry, it’s obvious that the higher the number, the better. It’s a strong indicator that users value the app. We talk in another post about how to keep users engaged with your app.
App churn offers the opposite performance metric to retention: percentage of discontinued users. Understanding when in the life cycle that users churn is critical to addressing potential engagement problems. If users churn soon after install, the app might have technical problems like frequent crashes or an unfixed bug. Losing long-term users can indicate that the app provides only short-term value or isn’t delivering on expectations.
Both average visit time and screen views per visit are also useful metrics in this category. Average visit time shows how long users engage with the app in one visit, while screen views per visit records the number of screens clicked in a session. Longer user sessions and more screen clicks show a high level of user engagement. Likewise, app session interval, which measures the time between two consecutive sessions, offers an additional way to measure how attached users are to your app.
App Performance Metrics for Customer Satisfaction
The final category of app performance metrics deals with customer satisfaction, which shows consumer preferences and expectations. User satisfaction metrics include user ratings and reviews, as well as in-app feedback and satisfaction surveys. Examining these metrics can show what customers want from your app and allow developers to hone features and in-app support to better meet user needs. Appbot, appFigures, and Lookback all provide app metrics on customer satisfaction.
Reviews and ratings can provide incredible insights to your business about what additional features and improvements would be valuable. They also have significant power to influence acquisition. App store reviews affect app store ranking, so maintaining a positive score improves the visibility of an app. According to Apptentive’s 2016 guide on customer reviews, an app that bumps up from three stars to four experiences a 92% increase in app store conversion.
Collecting in-app feedback about bugs and usability problems can often help avert negative public posts by allowing you to quickly fix any issues. Feedback can be gathered via chat systems, email contact forms, and surveys. In-app feedback reaches customers actively using the app and requires no outside windows or web browsers, which streamlines the process for users. A particular type of in-app feedback, rating metrics, can complement customer reviews. If a user provides a positive rating, you can prompt them to leave an app store review, thereby helping your ranking.
These highlighted app performance metrics only scratch the surface of the quantitative and qualitative data you can gather about an app. With the overwhelming number of app metrics that you can track, picking and choosing what measurements are right for your app can prove difficult. Reach out to us today if you want to learn more about what metrics will deliver the most relevant information about your app.
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If you’re looking to build a custom application, there are many different questions to ask an iOS app development company. Still, one of the most common questions we receive about the development process is whether we recommend building both iOS and Android versions of an app simultaneously or just one at a time. And if app development for each platform occurs at different times, should iOS development or Android development come first? We touch on this question in Chapter 3 of our book InspiringApps: A Business Perspective on Building Mobile Apps, but we will provide more insight on this debated topic here. Should we develop iOS & Android at the same time? When feasible in mobile app development, we recommend picking a single platform to start with rather than developing for both simultaneously. You may not have that luxury if you’re developing an app to release to consumers who all need to have the mobile app at the same time—perhaps in conjunction with a film or other product release. If it’s possible, though, we think one at a time in the development process is better because it will enable you to learn from your customers on the first platform. Unless a mobile app is extremely simple, it will go through several iterations before it offers the desired experience. Trying to manage learnings across both iOS devices and Android devices is cumbersome. Instead, the feedback and refinements from the first platform can be leveraged to speed mobile app development on the second platform, saving both time and money in producing across mobile devices. What factors should we consider in picking an OS? When advising customers whether to focus on Android development or iOS app development first, we consider these factors to help guide the decision. Industry & Demographics You may find an industry bias for operating systems (OS) that affects your project. For instance, we found iOS devices more prevalent in medical applications, while Android app development seems more prevalent in construction. If you don’t have industry insight, try checking your website’s analytics to determine user platforms. Trends might help decide what type of platform may be best suited. You can also use sites similar to Mixpanel to discover applications and software that would be more suited to that platform. If one platform is used far more than the other, you know a preference exists and should develop accordingly. Likewise, depending on the market you are serving, you may also find that age-related differences affect whether you should focus on iOS app development or Android app development first. Market Share For app developers who intend to produce mobile applications for the general public and do not know the OS preference of their target audience, these market considerations may provide some guidance: In the United States, the market share of both iOS and Android has stayed just about constant over the past year, hovering at or around 60% and 40%, respectively. In Europe, the UK, Asia, and many other countries, Android has had a higher market share than iOS. Android maintained its lead in global market share capturing around 70% in August of 2022. Android devices have captured most of the global market share for many years. Google provides free, open-source software that manufacturers can install on their smartphone devices. Because of the large number of Android users and the lower cost of Android devices to consumers, Android developers are at an advantage in many markets. Unquestionably, Android is the world’s most popular smartphone OS. However, Apple has a powerful brand, particularly in the US, where Apple's ecosystem, stable OS, and device durability enable iOS to keep large numbers of active and premium smartphone users. OS Adoption Rates & Upgrade Complexity Apple has a remarkable track record of getting iOS users to upgrade to current versions of its OS, whereas Android adoption is much slower: As of May this year, 89% of users are on the current iOS. As much as 60% of users keep older versions of Android on their phones. Apple handles the distribution of its iOS updates exclusively. Developing for and supporting a smaller number of OS versions on Apple devices leads to quicker builds, faster testing, and more straightforward support in the long run for iOS developers. Google only gives direct updates to its products, like the Pixel series. Other manufacturers like Samsung must first get the update from Google and optimize it for Android devices before they can send it to Android users. Some mobile carriers also go through updates before distribution, too. Android developers may have to deliver more app fixes as a result. Speed & Ease of Development & Publishing Speed and ease of development and publishing are not as cut and dry in terms of pros and cons. Android pros include: The Android platform enables a more flexible development environment. Because Windows, Mac OS, and Linux all support Java—which Android relies on—Android developers can build Android apps on various machines. Google Play allows developers to publish multiple versions of the same app (alpha and beta) to ensure developers can test the app live, fix bugs, and launch it to a broader audience. However, developing and maintaining apps is generally more time-consuming for Android than for iOS: Whereas iOS developers build for a limited type of device (iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch), Android accessibility to a wide range of devices means more devices to test and support. Google has become less lenient and more time-consuming towards apps that developers want to post on Google Play, narrowing the line between ease of publishing on Google Play vs. the App Store. And through TestFlight, Apple does support previewing versions of an app with up to a thousand beta testers before releasing it for wide distribution in the Apple App Store. Development Cost & Profit Opportunities Cost and profit will vary depending on the type and complexity of the app you’re developing; still, Android apps are generally more expensive to create than iOS apps are for iPhones. Overall, Android users tend to favor free apps and spend less on in-app purchases than iOS users, which can lead to higher sources of profit on iOS, not accounting for market differences. Should we develop for iOS or Android first? If you’ve considered all the above factors, and neither platform is the clear winner, we’d recommend starting with iOS for a US-focused app. Our reasons are speed to market, lower development cost, and revenue generation potential. Please contact us if you’d like to discuss your particular situation or have other questions on this topic. We’d love to hear from you.
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Boulder, CO—InspiringApps, a premier web and mobile app development company, is proud to be Certified™ by Great Place to Work® for the second year in a row. The prestigious award is based entirely on what current employees say about their experience as part of InspiringApps’ team. This year, 92% of employees said it’s a great place to work—35% higher than employees at a typical US-based company. InspiringApps recently celebrated its 15th birthday. Over the years, its leaders have rolled out various initiatives to boost employee engagement and retention. Listening to employee feedback is a big part of that. For example, team feedback as a result of last year’s Great Place to Work survey created IA Commits, pairing inspiring not-for-profit clients with developers who can use a hand-up early in their software career. “InspiringApps wouldn’t be what it is today without our amazing people,” said Brad Weber, CEO and President of InspiringApps. “InspiringApps is better because of the people who work here. We are all passionate about our craft and united in our goal to make a real difference in the world.” According to Great Place to Work research, job seekers are 4.5 times more likely to find a great boss at a Certified great workplace. Additionally, employees at Certified workplaces are 93% more likely to look forward to coming to work and are twice as likely to be paid fairly, earn a fair share of the company’s profits, and have a fair chance at promotion. “Great Place to Work Certification™ isn’t something that comes easily—it takes ongoing dedication to the employee experience,” said Sarah Lewis-Kulin, Vice President of Global Recognition at Great Place to Work. “It’s the only official recognition determined by employees’ real-time reports of their company culture. Earning this designation means that InspiringApps is one of the best companies to work for in the country.” About InspiringApps App development that makes an impact. InspiringApps builds digital products that help companies impact their employees, customers, and communities. Yes, we build web, mobile, and custom apps, but what we offer is something above and beyond that. What we offer is inspiration. Our award-winning work has included 200+ apps since the dawn of the iPhone. Our core values: integrity, respect, commitment, inclusivity, and empathy. Our guarantee: finish line, every time, for every project. About Great Place to Work® Certification™ Great Place to Work® Certification™ is the most definitive “employer-of-choice” recognition that companies aspire to achieve. It is the only recognition based entirely on what employees report about their workplace experience—specifically, how consistently they experience a high-trust workplace. Great Place to Work Certification is recognized worldwide by employees and employers alike and is the global benchmark for identifying and recognizing outstanding employee experience. Every year, more than 10,000 companies across 60 countries apply to get Great Place to Work-Certified. About Great Place to Work® Great Place to Work® is the global authority on workplace culture. Since 1992, they have surveyed more than 100 million employees worldwide and used those deep insights to define what makes a great workplace: trust. Their employee survey platform empowers leaders with the feedback, real-time reporting, and insights they need to make data-driven people decisions. Everything they do is driven by the mission to build a better world by helping every organization become a great place to work For All™. Learn more at greatplacetowork.com and on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
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