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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Boulder, CO—In the latest article from Built In Colorado, InspiringApps’ Director of Operations, Stacy Griffin, joins other leaders in sharing their career journeys, the lessons they’ve learned, and their advice for other women. Describe your career journey and current role. My career journey spans over 20 years in technology, project management, and people management. I started out as a developer at IBM and then moved into a developer lead role, which is when I began managing projects. From there, I pivoted to a formal project management role, which involved interacting with the business, gathering requirements, and managing technical project delivery. I eventually joined InspiringApps as a project manager, applying those same skills. Recently, I was promoted to director of operations, a new strategic role. I manage people and projects as a member of the leadership team. I’m also involved more on the sales side. My job requires managing a team of developers and overseeing client engagements and project lifecycle and delivery. It requires a lot of communication with clients and developers, both of whom have distinct working styles. To set expectations, I draw from years of experience in listening and applying empathy. I also have a master’s in computer science, which gives me aptitude and credibility with technical audiences. What advice do you have for other women who manage tech teams or aspire to? I have two pieces of advice for women who aspire to manage tech teams. First, find a role model. Look for mentors, ask questions and try to learn from the people around you. Secondly, avoid imposter syndrome. You should feel comfortable in your own skin. Remember that you’ve earned your seat at the table. What’s one important lesson you’ve learned in your time as a leader, and how has that made you a better manager? I’ve learned that there’s no single right way to manage people. Having the courage to manage in a way that’s comfortable and authentic to my personality allows me to lean into my strengths and improve in areas where I need to grow. It’s also important to know that treating people with autonomy and respect builds trust. People appreciate it when you’re honest and open. I’m not a micromanager, and I naturally take the role of supporting people. I’ve learned to combine open dialog with frequent check-ins. Bringing my authentic self to work makes me a better manager.
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Intentional company culture combines organizational values and mission with the rewards of employment that come in four main styles: Loyalty-based Performance-based Opportunity-based Lifestyle-based No style is better than the other; it’s dependent on the company and the employees hired. For instance, if your staff prefers lifestyle-based culture (flexible work or other perks) over performance-based culture (raises and promotions for a job well done), the employees may stay dissatisfied and leave to find a company culture that suits their preference. In InspiringApps’ infancy, the personalities of the relatively few people involved drove our culture. But as the company grew, we were careful to emphasize the characteristics that fostered a positive work environment and eliminated any contrary to what we’ve come to value—empathy, inclusion, and personal growth for our employees. Why do your employees need an intentional company culture? A recent survey found that 79% of employees who left their jobs did so because of a lack of appreciation, and 50% said they were more motivated by appreciation than money. This sounds like a job for company culture! In an ideal world, company culture and performance should work in tandem. Employees who are happy with their jobs have higher satisfaction rates. However, lousy work culture can hurt employees, bringing high turnover rates, burnout, and subpar work. Creating an intentional company culture requires consistency and time. There is no shortcut. Intentional company culture benefits from open minds. Influential leaders seek to: Understand what employees appreciate and what causes them pain. Hear employees’ suggestions for improvement. Follow through with promised changes. Repeat the above frequently. Intentional company culture requires commitment from everyone—especially the leadership team. InspiringApps understands this fundamental truth. An InspiringApps employee explains it best: How To Develop & Maintain a Great Company Culture Engaged employees are critical for business success. Experience is the best teacher, and we’ve learned plenty of lessons regarding things that keep our employees a happy part of the team. We built our culture slowly and methodically, and we’re proud to celebrate strong retention, with over 40% of our staff staying with us for more than five years. Among all the lessons we’ve learned, the following best practices stand apart from the rest: Promote from within. Offer excellent benefits. Be inclusive. Communicate consistently. In the following sections, we discuss each best practice in detail and share our experiences to help every company develop and maintain a great culture. Promote From Within Today’s employees are looking for a company with opportunities for career advancement and appreciate roles with a clear path to growth and promotions, as they give them personal goals to work towards. Along the employee journey, InspiringApps offers professional development opportunities that help our team members stay on top of their skills, expand their capabilities, and incorporate new and developing interests. By doing so, our employees can have long tenures at InspiringApps, while remaining competitive. At the same time, we can hire the best candidates for our growing positions right from our own team. As the InspiringApps client roster scaled, so did our team. We promoted long-time employees into our development team lead roles, recognizing their wisdom and honoring their commitment to our team through their tenure. Offer Excellent Benefits Many startups, including InspiringApps, may be resource-constrained in the early days. Health and retirement benefits are expensive, so we focused first on benefits that didn’t require a direct cash outlay. Establishing a two-day-per-week remote work policy over a decade ago, accommodating part-time employees, and offering flexible work hours were all low-cost ways to treat our team with respect. As InspiringApps matured, we also added more traditional benefits. In addition to a 401(k) plan with match, profit sharing, and a generous and flexible PTO policy, we recently increased the company’s health premium contribution from 50% to 100% and added company-paid vision, dental, disability, and employee assistance (EAP). Be Inclusive Inclusivity is a mandate kept top-of-mind in the projects and clients we take on and the staff we hire and promote. In a historically homogenous industry like tech, inclusivity can be a challenge. Through intentional recruiting and a focus on providing opportunities for traditionally underrepresented groups to join the field, InspiringApps is working to build a more diverse team that better reflects the communities we serve. Promoting women in tech is one way we’ve made strides in our company. At InspiringApps, women make up 40% of our leadership team and more than a third of our employees, which is 20% more than the US average. Promoting diversity and inclusion provides various perspectives, which is essential for the challenges we’re addressing in our consumer apps. We consider it a competitive advantage as we continue to innovate for our clients. Additionally, we’ve made a concentrated effort over time to welcome new employees. Years ago, that welcome included a team lunch on Pearl Street. Since our team has grown, that lunch is now digital—and the efforts to be inclusive extend much further than that. Communication and connection are ingrained into the way we set up projects, make progress on initiatives, and more. Communicate Consistently Secrecy and unexplained decision-making from leaders lead to unengaged employees. Transparency is the answer. About 85% of employees are most motivated when they know what’s happening and why. Open and frequent communication, including standups and all-hands meetings, project or team demos, company newsletters, and social media, encourages employees to gain trust in leadership. When you share company goals regularly, your employees will feel confident in knowing the direction they’re working. The more your employees see open communication from leaders and are encouraged to participate in decision-making, the better communicators they’ll be with your clients, modeling positive communication behaviors in everything they do. Technology is your ally when it comes to employee engagement. Offering a Slack channel or other internal chat features, an employee app, or an intranet site where employees can share and talk directly to leaders can inspire a transparent culture. The Value of Culture InspiringApps nurtures a culture of respect, empathy, and inclusivity. Our commitment to culture is exemplified by an official Great Places to Work ® Certification™. But that recognition is only a small window into the little things that our team is doing every day to reinforce the culture we’ve been nurturing for years. Our culture is one of our most valuable assets. It defines our expectations for the way we treat one another. Beyond making InspiringApps a pleasant place to work, our culture is evident in our client relationships and in the apps we create. Building award-winning apps starts with a language that’s foreign to many of us: code. For more than 15 years, our app development team has built easy-to-use iOS, Android, and web applications serving over 100 companies in a dozen industries. See our work.
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