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The insider’s guide to mobile app KPIs

Analyzing your app’s vanity metrics is an easy way to make yourself feel fantastic about your product. But, do you know if the mobile KPIs you’re measuring will actually help you gain the best insights on your app, optimize effectively, and generate more revenue?

To turn an average mobile product into a successful business venture, developers have to do more than just measure mobile KPIs. Developers also have to learn the best methods for measuring mobile KPIs, and find out the most relevant KPIs to measure.

The following 15 mobile KPIs have been specifically chosen to help you stop viewing your product’s in-app measurements as just numbers, and start seeing them as individual ‘road maps’ to generating a lot more revenue from the app store.

Must-Measure Mobile KPI #1. Average session duration

What it means: Your app’s average session duration is the average amount of time that your users spend in your app from open to exit.

How it indicates your app’s success: Winning over an audience’s attention is a major part of building a successful mobile app brand. So, the more time that users spend using your app, the more influential your product can be. High average session durations show that people are engaged with your product, and are receiving some type of positive fulfillment from it. This can be equated with a strong UX, increased advertising revenue, and/or more in-app purchases sold. Keeping close tabs on your mobile app’s various indicators of user engagement is critical, as this is always a safe way to keep your audience happy, and increase your brand’s value.

Must-Measure Mobile KPI #2. Daily active users

What it means: Daily active users is a measurement that represents the number of users who engage with your product at least once per day.

How it indicates your app’s success: Your app’s DAU shows the number of unique users who engage with your product each day. This is a sign of how much interest your app is receiving on any given day, as defined by some kind of ‘action’. For example, DAU may be measured according to the number of people who sign in, play or interact with your product. It’s a sign that your app is doing a great job of ‘pulling’ people to your product on an ultra-consistent basis.

Must-Measure Mobile KPI #3. Churn

What it means: Similar to a ‘turnover rate’ when used in a business sense, your app’s churn is the percentage of users that you lose over a given period of time.

How it indicates your app’s success: Churn isn’t fun to talk about , but it’s one of the most important mobile KPIs to keep track of. In fact, mobile apps tend to have a high churn rate across the board, so it should be your goal to outperform the industry standard. By keeping your mobile app’s churn lower than average, you’ll be able to retain users for longer periods of time, drive more revenue for your product, and increase the overall value of your brand.

Must-Measure Mobile KPI #4. App search results

What it means: If people can use your mobile app to search for products, keywords or any sort of search term, then your app search results are essential in terms of taking users to what they want within your app.

How it indicates your app’s success: A good quote that reflects the importance of app search results is, “He who would search for pearls must dive below”. Digging deep into your product and its users will help you find out precisely what people are searching, and better assess your users’ ultimate wants and needs. If multiple users are searching for terms that don’t show any results in your app, for example, then your app may be missing a feature or product that people are begging to see. Ultimately, to ensure that your users are able to find everything that they want from your product, creating a great search UX on mobile is a must.

Must-Measure Mobile KPI #5. Monthly active users

What it means: Your number of monthly active users tells you how many people are using your app at least once per month.

How it indicates your app’s success: This metric is similar to daily active users, but on a monthly timeframe. It’s a reflection of how many users interact with your product on any given month. Like DAU, your MAU should be measured according to a consistent ‘action’ such as log-in, open, or some other user interaction. Having a healthy MAU reflects a potent product with potential for monetization.

Must-Measure Mobile KPI #6. Unresponsive gestures

What it means: Unresponsive gestures illuminate which gestures your users are attempting on certain areas of your app, yet are not receiving a response from your application.

How it indicates your app’s success: Users who can’t get a response from certain gestures in your app almost immediately become upset, which can lead to mobile app uninstalls, negative reviews and lost revenue. Unresponsive gestures can happen a lot. The issue is not that they aren’t fixable, it’s that most developers don’t even track them properly in the first place. One of the keys to making your mobile app better than the rest is in knowing precisely when unresponsive gestures take place in your product. Appsee’s touch heatmaps are designed to help you track every gesture that your users make inside of your app, so that you’ll know exactly when users’ gestures aren’t triggering a response. Touch heatmaps can help you watch for unresponsive gestures, and solve them as they occur.

Must-Measure Mobile KPI #7. Average number of days to first IAP

What it means: This measurement shows the average number of days that it takes for a user to make a purchase inside of your app. You can also think of this measurement as the average amount of time that it takes to convert one of your users into a paying customer.

How it indicates your app’s success: Mobile apps that rely on in-app purchases need to convert users into paying customers as quickly as possible, while still solving user’s pains, and delivering lots of value. So, the smaller this measurement is, and the sooner you can minimize this measurement, the better off your product will be. The goal is always to make your users feel comfortable about purchasing items inside of your app as fast as possible.

Must-Measure Mobile KPI #8. Retention rate

What it means: Your app’s retention rate is the percentage of your users who visit your app at least once every 30 days. In the mobile app industry, retention rates are measured over the course of one business quarter (90 day period).

How it indicates your app’s success: Retention rates indicate how loyal your users are. Retaining users is one of the highest priorities that a mobile app developer or development team can have, because user retention is normally a direct reflection of your audience’s happiness with your product. Retention is also one of the most difficult measurements to grow, so it’s best to focus on growing your mobile app’s retention from day one.

Must-Measure Mobile KPI #9. Session interval

What it means: Session interval is a measurement that reflects the average amount of time that passes between one user’s session and the next session.

How it indicates your app’s success: Basically, your app’s session interval indicates how frequently people engage with your product. Tracking this KPI is important because your app’s session interval can signal noteworthy changes in how people use your product within a certain time bucket. When your app’s average session interval decreases (this is a good thing), you could potentially see an increase in your app’s advertising revenue, in-app purchases, social media engagement and a number of other positive metrics. To optimize your app’s session interval, your time will be best spent improving your app’s UX, or making your product more habit-forming.

Must-Measure Mobile KPI #10. Conversion rate per each item paid

What it means: This measurement demonstrates how well your app’s in-app purchases sell or don’t sell. Your conversion rate per each item paid provides you with a quick, easy and visual way to find out what your audience enjoys purchasing from your app. It’s also a great way to validate which ‘pain points’/needs your users are willing to pay for to solve.

How it indicates your app’s success: You should want your conversion rate per each item paid to be as high as possible, because this is a sign that your in-app purchases are popular with users. And, if you’re seeing low conversion rates for some paid items, then you’ll know that those items need to be optimized to improve conversion, or even replaced if necessary.

Must-Measure Mobile KPI #11. User sign-ups

What it means: Your app’s user sign-ups represents the number of users who sign up or register an account to use your app.

How it indicates your app’s success: Users who sign up to use your app may be easier to retain, as they’ve shown greater commitment to adopting your product. When you collect the email addresses of users who sign up, you’ll also be able to build a valuable asset that you own. If you aren’t getting the number of user sign-ups that you want, it’s important to ask yourself, “Why are My App Users Not Filling out My Sign Up Screen?”

Must-Measure Mobile KPI #12. Daily app launches

What it means: The number of daily app launches that your mobile app receives shows how many times your app is opened on any given day.

How it indicates your app’s success: Paying attention to your daily app launches and how this figure fluctuates throughout the week is a great way to find out when people interact with your product most and least often. If you know that your app attracts peak usage on a Thursday evening, for example, then you might schedule a flash sale or other promotion at that time. On the other hand, you may want to increase your marketing efforts during times when your app is launched least often.

Must-Measure Mobile KPI #13. Number of screens per session

What it means: This measurement determines how many screens your users visit each time they use your product, and how they interact with those screens.

How it indicates your app’s success: It’s usually a good sign when your users engage with a significant number of screens per session, as this shows that your product is interactive and useful to people. It’s also helpful to know which screens your users enjoy visiting most often during sessions, as this indicates which type of content or features your users want to experience more of.

Must-Measure Mobile KPI #14. Crashed sessions

What it means: Crashed sessions pinpoint how frequently, at what time and where in the UX your app is crashing.

How it indicates your app’s success: Because mobile app crashes are one of the leading reasons why users abandon mobile apps, it’s important to stay on top of your app’s crashed sessions. Using a tool like Appsee’s Crash Recordings makes it convenient for developers to track and solve product crashes as soon as they happen. You’ll be able to use this tool to watch the exact sequence of events leading up to any given crashed session, just as if you’re watching from the user’s viewpoint.

Must-Measure Mobile KPI #15. Screens with longest and shortest visit duration

What it means: This measurement works as an extension of the ‘number of screens per session’ KPI, and provides even more detailed information about the aspects of your app’s screens that users interact with most often.

How it indicates your app’s success: By understanding which screens your users spend most time using, you’ll also come to understand which types of screens your users don’t enjoy using. This will help you improve your app’s screens, provide users with a better UX, and generate more revenue for your mobile app.

Conclusion

Peter Drucker, one of the great business management gurus, had a saying that’s just as relevant to mobile KPIs as it is to business:

“What gets measured, gets managed”.

By knowing which mobile KPIs to measure, and understanding how those KPIs relate to your mobile app’s success, you can effectively optimize your app, boost your user-base, and hopefully bring it to the top of its category.

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