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.

Final Thoughts

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.