Key Performance Indicators For Mobile App Success

Key Performance Indicators For Mobile App Success

A business management writer Peter Drucker once said –
“What gets measured, gets managed”. It is important to measure all the facets you want to manage.

For measuring the performance of any mobile application, we have various key performance indicators (KPI) which need tracking. There are many metrics which enterprises must measure. Every company has its own aims and key performance indicators for their business. Capturing data and detailing it out is not an easy task. The more the data we capture, the complex it becomes to interpret them. Does mobile app analytics help? Yes and no. In time, you shall know.

However, the relevant questions here are:

  • 1- What should I track and what I shouldn’t?
  • 2-What is going to give me actionable data?

With the innovation and advancement in technology, business enterprises are getting multiple opportunities to engage with their customers. With the growing competition in the domain, it is difficult to find out how far the application is readily available for customers, how efficiently these enterprise applications will make a difference, and how will it move your business to the next level.

Here are a few parameters to track the progress of your application:

1. App Downloads

Application downloads are great metrics which help in measuring your mobile application’s progress, although this KPI is not a definitive measure of success. Applications with an annoying number of ads are the worst. I am sure you might have used such apps where you never know to which bad link or unwanted app the next tap might take you to because of accidental tap on unexpected apps popping on your screen. This surely results in uninstalling your app. However, it is suggested that downloading be considered an important metric and should be tracked.

Although, the download is a great metric to look upon, but metric itself is not really actionable. Most companies are very much obsessed with their number of downloads and consider it an important mobile app analytics metric, but then it is important to recall that download metric is simply a function of marketing. Download as a metric explains that your marketing team has done a good job. What then? Read on the next point.

2. Retention Rate

User retention is perhaps one of the main metrics for establishing an application’s success for a long time since it tells us the number of users who have uninstalled the application after using it some time and then how many users went on using it. The overall retention rate is both a function of your users’ in-app behavior as well as it is a metric tied to in-app monetization. Retention rate is what percent of users who return to the app/site after their first visit. Applications must strive for longevity and need to be at heights in performance for higher retention.

Retention Rate is a key metric which helps in strategizing the specific percentage of users returning to your product. This metric also helps you in creating marketing campaigns targeting those who never installed the application or the ones who left the application after a first, second or third visit.

3. Application’s Load Time

For enterprises, time is money. If anything which bothers users while they are using your app, it slackens the loading pace and the chances of uninstalling the application increases and it gets easily replaceable by another competing application service. We simply cannot afford to annoy the user. Stats prove that less than half a second of delayed response on animation or loading of icons/elements on the app is responsible for 68% of apps being uninstalled.

So go determine the loading speed of your app. Find ways to improve the experience on the app, the technical experts will tell you how.

4. Session Length and Intervals

Observing the number of sessions and studying the length of each session are important metrics for mobile app professionals. It helps identify the type of users as well as give a clue to their purpose of visit. It can help bring clarity to the expectations of the users from your application. Certain types of mobile applications like booking/accommodation have longer sessions, studying the analytics of which is important to replan your app flow at times to help your app engage best with its users.

5. Shortest and Longest Duration With Screens

This parameter as a KPI helps in revealing out which application features are simply amazing and which are completely forgotten. Also, this application helps in uncovering bugs and errors in an application. This can be understood more deeply by observing if users are leaving the page much faster than they usually do, that might be a sign of broken feature. It is suggested to use session recording tools (Smartlook, inspectlet, uxcam etc. ) which may help in investigating, recording and analyzing how users behave in your application.

6. User Lifetime Value (LTV)

Another important key mobile application analytics metric is lifetime value of a user. Although companies know that it is one of the most important key metrics, still companies are striving hard to implement this metric. LTV not only helps in tracking revenue per user but the potential and future revenue which users can bring. Therefore, it can become an intelligent predictive metric for future success.

CLTV= f(Monetization, Retention, Virality)

Let us know each term quickly:


Monetization is a sum of average revenue per user, average per paying user and average revenue per daily user. So, it is precisely the amount which your user spends on your application before he/she no longer engages with it.


Retention, as we saw, is the user engagement. It will measure how often people return to the application after the first session.


This reflects how many new users a current user brings for you by sharing your application through social media, word-to-mouth or by any other referral programs.

Make sure to keep track of your users’ lifetime value (LTV) which is the total amount of revenue they’ve generated since first using the app.

7. First-time User Drop-off Points

This mobile app analytics strategy is also a great key metric. It tracks the first-time user drop off points and then target campaigns to bring them back to the application and complete tasks.

Surveys and finding explain that there are various ways why a user may leave before converting during the first session:

  • It can happen if you tried forcing your user to login/register too soon.
  • It can be possible as users are facing too many on-screen interruptions and too many steps to complete a task.
  • The bad performance of the application can also be one of the reason that your user may leave your application very early.

Final Thought

So, the point is very much simple and clear, you have to have certain key metric parameters in hand which can help formulate your mobile app development strategy and tracks users. Based on your tracking findings and investigations you can fabricate the targeted campaigns to bring those users back to the application. Complete the post campaigning task is quite easy since you can retarget users through push notifications or emails. Using qualitative analytics tools like user session recordings is useful to study users dropping off in middle of a conversion funnel.

Conclusively, we can say that success of any application does depend heavily on its creator’s’ ability to monitor and optimize it. It is vital to properly identify which key performance indicators are relevant for tracking and how they will affect the growth of an application. We have listed few of the key essential KPIs which can help towards the success of your mobile app, but as you read this, there are new KPIs being innovated to study the customer behavior best. In the competitive world where we try to make a mark, all we can do is put in our efforts best. Through learning, spreading awareness, innovating, adapting and staying at the top of things! All the best with your app.

Don’t miss to check these out as well:
9 Best Practices for Deploying Top-Ranking Mobile Apps
How to Promote Your Mobile App – An Algoworks Guidebook
3 Misconceptions About How To Build A Mobile App
5 Essential Elements of Successful Mobile Application
Top 7 Mobile App Development Trends 2018

References: innoppl, webanalyticsworld, ymedialabs

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Rachit Agarwal

Rachit Agarwal

Director and Co-Founder at Algoworks Technologies
Rachit is leading the mobility business development function, mobility strategy and consulting practice at Algoworks. He is an expert of all mobile technologies and has experience in managing teams involved in the development of custom iPhone/iPad/Android apps.
Rachit Agarwal

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