Top 17 mobile app metrics to track
Once you've developed your app, you need to ask yourself an important question: How to measure the success of my mobile app?
To continually engage users and meet their expectations, it's best to look at critical metrics and use that data to make improvements and implement the right solutions.
To have the most holistic view, it's a good idea to look at these app metrics from many different perspectives. What users say about your app is always important. How much time do they spend in it? What is your average customer acquisition cost? How many crashes does your app have? What are the key mobile app metrics that you need to track to measure whether it's succeeding?
Tools for mobile app metrics
There are lots of tools you can use to measure and track different metrics in web and mobile apps. The most popular one is Firebase, a great solution from Google.
Apart from measuring the success, this platform can also for example help you send notifications to the users. Here’s our article about targeting audience with Firebase. But no matter what tools you use, their purpose is to make it easier to track metrics and KPIs and give you answers about what to do to make your mobile app better and better.
As you can see, both business and app data are important. Here's a list of helpful metrics we recommend you to measure:
User satisfaction metrics
Measuring users’ satisfaction is an activity possible to do on your own — you can track ranking and feedback data and list it manually. But one way or another, it’s important to collect this data and draw conclusions.
Mobile app store ranking
Well, if it makes it to the top of the ranking, it’s probably enough to determine that the mobile app is doing pretty good. Checking this kind of ranking is one of the simplest ways to track success. If your app was made for both platforms you need to check everything — Google Play Store for Android and Apple App Store for iOS.
But beware, because even if the app made it to the top, it doesn’t mean it will stay there forever. Even the most popular apps can fall off in different circumstances. For example if they crash, but also if the users don’t like a new update because it brings something useless or annoying. Customers won’t be using the app they liked previously just out of habit. Especially when it comes to new solutions.
Reviews and ratings
In mobile app stores there’s a possibility for every user to rate the app and write a review — a comment on the performance, usability and so on.
A so-called word of mouth is probably the most valuable thing you can get from users of your mobile app. It seems quite obvious that reviews on the Apple App Store, Google Play and Huawei AppGallery are important. Yet still lots of people think that these reviews are inadequate and useless. That’s not true. There’s always a possibility to get a malicious rate that isn’t very honest, but it’s more about taking common opinions into account. If lots of people describe a similar problem in the app, it’s probably real and requires action.
There are also other ways to know people’s opinions on your mobile app, apart from app stores, like surveys and social media activities. In this article you’ll find lots of hints on that.
These are the metrics measuring the engagement of users of your mobile app. Among different app metrics, these are the ones that are absolutely necessary.
They will give you a hint how to manage your app in terms of increasing downloads, active users and retention, so generally, the engagement and consumer satisfaction.
It gives you information about the number of downloads. You shouldn’t only measure the whole number, but also divide it into weeks, months and so on. Why? Because it lets you see the impact of your marketing efforts. If the app is downloaded a lot after promotional campaigns, it means they work. If it’s downloaded only after campaigns, it means that the app basically can’t do without them.
On the other hand, when the number of downloads won’t go up no matter what you do in your marketing campaigns, it’s a sign to change the strategy.
The number of mobile app downloads worldwide has been increasing constantly from 2016 onward, surpassing 200 billion in 2019. According to Statista, mobile apps are projected to generate more than 613 billion U.S. dollars in revenues in 2025.
Monthly active users (MAU)
With monthly active users (MAU) indicator you can look at the total number of active users per month and compare with previous months to see if it is increasing or decreasing. It also shows you what the audience generally looks like so that you can adapt your marketing strategies, plans for new features and notifications to them. Monthly active users metric is also the one to show you if your retention activities work.
Daily active users (DAU)
Why is it important to count daily active users (DAU) apart from monthly active users? Well, let’s consider who should receive a more personalized treatment.
In fact, it might turn out that many people entered the app by accident or just once and left it for a long time. But if the characteristics of daily active users are common at some point, these are the most important characteristics for you. On this basis, you should base most of your planned activities, for example discounts (in e-commerce), dedicated notifications etc.
Number of all users
This is a metric you should always keep an eye on. Collect the results from the very first day the app gets to mobile app stores. The number of all users, compared to the number of daily and monthly active users will tell you if the app is useful or if people are encouraged to download but quickly forget about it.
This metric measures how long each session lasts. One obvious fact is that the more engaged and interested the user is in the app, the more time they spend there. But it also depends on the complexity of the mobile app. If there are many screens to get through, the session is longer. If core features are accessed easily, the session lasts shorter.
You can measure how much time it takes to use the core feature (or features) of your app. As long as they made a good use of the app (used the core features), it’s fine they don’t spend much time in the app.
However, if lots of users wouldn’t manage to successfully use the app’s features based on the session duration, you can call it an issue. It means they didn’t get what they came from and it might mean they’ll delete your app shortly if that happens repeatedly.
One more tip is to find the average duration of a session and then compare it to new users’ actions in the next months. Does it take more time for new users to get to the particular screen in the app?
Retention rate basically tells you if and when users come back to the app. The most general definition is: the number of users the app retains over a given period of time (percentage of existing users who remain loyal and come back to use the app). Different time frames can be taken into account and the retention rate can be defined variously. It’s a direct indicator of how satisfied your customers are with your product.
See the statistics for global mobile app engagement and retention rates 2019-2020. According to Statista, in March 2020, the total sessions on mobile apps worldwide spiked at 8%, while retention after 30 days from the first install recorded its lowest rate in the examined period. Due to the global outbreak of coronavirus pandemic, engagement with mobile apps skyrocketed in 2020. However, the share of users who opened the app after 30 days from the first install decreased.
Churn rate, on the other hand, measures the percentage of users who have just stopped using your app. Understanding when it’s happening is the first step to understand why it’s happening so you can fix things and make users come back. Churn rate is the most important of all mobile app metrics and you should monitor it carefully. It shows users’ engagement and directly affects the revenue gained from the mobile app.
Revenue metrics basically show you how much you’ve gained, who are the users you gain the most profit from and when it happens. Establishing it is necessary in order to measure the success of your mobile app in terms of profits and to improve it.
For each product, you have various options to gain revenue, for example by:
- selling products (e-commerce)
- in-app purchases.
Depending on the way of gaining profits from your product, there are different mobile app metrics and different areas to be taken into account. Let’s focus on the most important and common ones.
Average revenue per user (ARPU)
Average revenue per user (ARPU) measures app monetization — the average revenue each user provides. Basically, it shows you how well you’re converting user engagement into revenue and how much profit you gain with one user.
To calculate it, you need to divide your total revenue by the number of active users or the number of users over a given time.
Simply put, ARPU has to exceed CAC so that the app maintenance and engaging new users is profitable for your business.
This app metric also is useful to determine whether each user brings in as much revenue on average as previously assumed. If so, great, keep going with your efforts. If not, that means you need to take action (probably involving app marketing).
Customer acquisition cost (CAC)
CAC shows you how much you spend to acquire a new customer (paying user). It includes the cost per user who downloads the mobile app.
Most of customer acquisition expenses (like for marketing campaigns) are under your influence and cannot be higher than ARPU (revenue gained from each user).
You can calculate this by dividing all acquisition costs by the number of acquired users.
Return on investment (ROI)
Return on investment is one of the most complicated KPIs to count but also incredibly valuable. To calculate it, you’ll need to sum up all the costs you incur and the overall revenue from the app. ROI can also be considered more implicitly, e.g. in terms of specific actions.
When it comes to mobile app metrics, you can for example calculate the ratio of the campaign's earnings to the campaign's costs (how much money is generated by a marketing campaign compared to how much was spent on it). However, determining how much money is earned from users who downloaded the app thanks to a given campaign is quite difficult due to the large number of variables involved. You can divide these campaigns by platforms, for example: Facebook campaign, Google Ads etc.
It’s always useful to track the users who came through the particular campaign and with appropriate data, you are able to check if your actions have actually been profitable.
Customer lifetime value (LTV)
The customer lifetime value (LTV, CLV or CLTV) shows what you should expect to earn from each user until they stop using your app. This of course depends on the specifics of your app, but it's worth noting whether your app users are only providing revenue as soon as they download your app, or if their entire activity is profitable.
To determine lifetime value (LTV), take the total user spend associated with your app and divide it by the total number of buyers to date.
App performance metrics
It’s quite obvious that the app performance is one of the key factors that determine the success of your mobile app. Thanks to these metrics you can assess whether using your app is convenient and easy or not.
Let’s define particular metrics that can show the specific numbers that will be helpful when it comes to performance improvements.
Number of crashes
First simple thing you should track is the number of crashes occurring in the app. We all know that in-app crashes are annoying, so limiting and fixing them is very important. Also, other app metrics can be directly affected by the number of crashes.
Try not to let crashes happen in the app, but if they do, provide everything you can to prevent users from deleting the app right after downloading it because of the errors.
It’s a measure that shows how much time it takes for the app to load. Just like the previous one, this metric tells about the overall performance and can affect other very important matters. Nobody wants to wait long for the app to open, it makes users leave or even write negative reviews. That’s why you should measure the app load time and keep it as short as possible.
Keeping the app fast-opening and free of crashes works great for user experience and therefore makes your product profitable.
Average response time (ART)
ART measures the time it takes for a server or app to respond to all its inputs and requests. In theory, the lower the average response time, the better. This means that the performance is good. However, you need to be careful as your app may be opened by more users at certain times or during certain periods, and then the server experiences a higher response time. The average time is put into change, which may give the impression that the overall performance of the app is worse.
Latency measures how long it takes to make a request and get a response from API. You should be particularly sensitive to these results if having a cross-platform app. The latency should be equally low on each platform.
Measuring mobile app analytics and metrics may not be the easiest task you need to focus on after releasing the product to app stores but it’s definitely worth doing. Even if the counting and analysing seems quite tedious, remember that the number or percentage results are the most convenient ones to read and interpret. Do the calculations, create graphs and statistics constantly to see the results and show them to others easily.
When you continue improving your app and building a loyal user base by measuring and optimizing these metrics you can retain users and attract new users to download your mobile app.