We can’t emphasize this point enough: you must take a data-driven approach in order to have a successful app.
This means identifying and tracking the key metrics that most affect a mobile app’s performance. Having the right tools is critical to staying on top of the data so that you can create, revise, or – in some cases – abandon features and marketing efforts as needed.
The most important app metrics – or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) – to track can be categorized based on which part of the user journey you are evaluating. We have broken down key metrics by the 3 key areas of every app: Marketing, Product, and Business.
Let’s take a deeper look at each KPI that should be monitored for all 3 areas:
Top App Marketing Metrics
1. App Store Conversion Rate (CVR)
This is the percentage of users who download your app from the total number of users who visited your app store page. CVR varies based on the app category, app platform (iOS or Android), and country.
The average CVR in the US is 32.53% in the Apple App Store and 29.7% in the Google Play Store – but this varies widely by category. For example, in the App Store, the average CVR for the Weather category goes as high as 87.3% whereas Food & Drink has an average Conversion Rate of 5.8%.
The graphs below by show average CVR by category for the Apple App Store and Google Play:
2. CTR (Click through Rate)
CTR measures the number of clicks your ad gets divided by the number of impressions or ad views that ad receives. It’s the measurement of how frequently an ad urges viewers to “click through” to the specific place to which that ad leads.
CTR reflects users’ interest and engagement, so the higher the CTR value the better. High CTR is tied to an ad’s quality and relevance and can influence the price you pay per ad serve.
3. CPI (Cost per Install)
CPI tells you how much it costs to acquire a new user from a paid ad. It’s calculated by dividing your ad spend over a specific period of time by the number of new installs mad during that same time.
The benchmarks for CPI vary significantly depending on the type of app, industry, country, and ad platform.
4. CPC (Cost per Click)
This metric tells you how much you pay per click on a paid aid. It varies greatly by ad platform, by device and even by ad placement. The CPC for an Instagram ad will be different from an ad served on a desktop feed, from an ad served on a mobile feed, etc.
5. ROAS (Return on Ad Spend)
ROAS measures the revenue you receive for every dollar spent on advertising — so basically how profit you make from a specific ad campaign whether its Apple Search Ads, Facebook, etc.
Top App Product Metrics
1. CVR in the App Funnel
It’s important to track the funnel conversion rate for an app and engage with users where there is a drop-off.
Here is an example of the typical user flow for an e-commerce app:
Check out the funnel points where users are dropping, analyze reasons for the drop-off, and make improvements in that step in order to increase your conversions.
2. Session Length
Session length is the amount of time a user spends in your app. The time begins when the app is opened and ends when it is closed. The ideal session length for apps varies depending on the type of app.
Session length is an important metric to measure because it helps to determine whether the user is spending enough time on the app to trigger important action. For e-commerce, this action would be purchase; for travel, book a ticket; for meditation, completing a meditation session; for content, reading & sharing content. If a session length is not long enough, that means there’s a problem that needs to be solved.
3. Retention Rate
This is the most important metric for apps. Even in our expert interviews, all mobile app veterans specify this as a must-measure KPI.
There can be different types of retention:
- N-day retention – users are active on a particular day after installing the app. It is the same as classic retention.
- Unbounded retention – Users are active on a particular day or after that day. Sometimes also referred to as rolling retention.
- Bracket retention – users are active within a particular time period.
Based on the app type, you should select which retention to follow. For a gaming app, N-day retention is relevant – while for a movie booking or travel app, unbounded retention is more relevant.
This is what typical retention curves look like – for app #1 retention is clearly higher. Mobile app developers should always aim to move the retention curve up for overall app success.
4. User behavior cohorts
User behavior cohorts are important for analyzing retention based on actions in the app. For instance, new user behavior cohorts can be based on:
- Source of acquisition
- Device type
For a current user, it can be based on the frequency of performing a critical event. For e-commerce, it’s order value while for food delivery it could be how many times a user places an order in a month.
Similarly, product behavior cohorts can be created to help users achieve behavior that increases retention.
Top App Business Metrics
The lifetime value (LTV) is used to see how much revenue an average customer generates. This metric is directly linked to your business revenue, so it’s very important.
2. CAC vs LTV Ratio
CAC is the Cost of Customer Acquisition and LTV is the Lifetime Value. A comparison of these 2 metrics helps to evaluate what the maximum cost for a user acquisition should be. So, you should allocate more budget to paid media sources for which this value is higher compared to media sources where it’s lower.
For an app to be profitable, CAC vs LTV should be greater than 1. When it is less than 1 it means that the app is losing money.
3. ROI (Return on Investment)
Similar to ROAS, ROI tells you how much profit you’re making from your marketing efforts. The difference is that ROAS is about measuring the performance of a specific marketing channel, while ROI is a broader measure of overall marketing performance. This number truly represents your bottom line – and can be either a positive or a negative number. Obviously, a positive number is the goal!
Summary of key app metrics to measure
There are many mobile app metrics that you can keep track of – some are more important to certain types of apps than others. Be sure to evaluate closely what makes the most sense for your particular app and that you have the proper measurement tools in place.
In general, the top 12 most important app metrics to measure fall into 3 categories: marketing, product, and business. They all play a different role in the insights they’ll provide into the user funnel, but they all ultimately work together to accomplish the same goal – to help you evaluate, revise and improve your efforts to have the most successful app possible.
Create a customized dashboard to get actionable insights by tracking all your app KPI’s in one place. Get in touch with our team for help & setup!