12 Metrics that every app team should track

Posted by admin(administrator) on July 27, 2017

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Mobile app success is not achieved overnight. Identifying the problem an app is going to solve, researching about your user segment, designing and developing the app is just the beginning. Measuring the right metrics and making necessary changes quickly is the next most important step on your way to a successful application.

So what are the right metrics to track?

Before you begin to identify what metrics to track, it is important to understand what is a metric?

It seems like a rudimentary question, but try answering yourself and more often than not you will have a hard time defining it. Try asking this question to a couple of friends and you will be surprised with the answers you get.

In this post Avinash Kaushik defines metric as just a number. Google Analytics defines metric as quantitative measurements of your data that can be calculated in sums or ratios. Sums for example is the total number of sessions in a time period. Ratios as in total number of sessions by new users vs total number of sessions by returning users.

On the other hand, KPI is a metric that helps you understand how you are doing against your business objectives.

So getting back to where we started off, how do you identify the right metrics?

As David Skok mentions, the secret is to start with the end goal and work backwards.

Which is exactly what i will do in this post. Although KPI’s & metrics are unique to your company, in this post I will list a generic set of goals and metrics that should be tracked to achieve those goals. Along the way wherever possible i will also list down mobile analytics tools that can be used to track some of these metrics.

Feel free to comment about any goal, metric or tool that you feel may be necessary and is not mentioned here.

Goals: Highest app Quality, Increase app Usage, Increase app Engagement, Increase Revenue.

Goal – Highest App Quality

Performance metrics
It is important to keep an eye on your application performance. Metrics like number of seconds it takes to load you home screen, number of seconds it takes to make a successful purchase etc. Monitoring these metrics will not only provide users with a great user experience but will also help you identify system performance issues. If a certain screen is taking more time to load than expected then may be you can check your API response times or API failure rates or even the capability of your systems to handle peak loads, etc.

App Crashes
One of the most annoying experience for users is when an app crashes while performing an important action. It not only disrupts the user from what he/she was doing on the app, it can also lead to negative reviews on the app stores. Hence monitoring app crashes is important for a good user experience. An app with fewer app crashes speaks volumes about the quality of your overall app architecture.

Tools: Google developer console and Apple’s’ itunes Connect provides data on the number of daily crashes. However, if you want to deep dive and identify the exact line of code at which the app crashed you can use tools like Crashlytics. If you want to observe on what action the app crashed, tools like Appsee provides video recordings of crashed sessions.

App not responding (ANR)
While app crashes relates to unhandled exceptions that are at runtime, app not responding is more to do with your app responsiveness. Applications display an ANR message normally when it cannot respond to UI events. It can get really frustrating for an user to key in something and then see this error displayed.

Goal – Increase App Usage

Monthly Active Users (MAU)
Monthly active users is one of the most basic metrics. Keeping track of MAU will give you an idea of your active user base and hence the popularity of your application. Observing MAU trends closely can help you take key decisions on system readiness to handle load, your marketing strategies, etc.

There are usually two type of users that you have to pay attention to – New users and returning users. New users helps you identify how many are first time users of your application and thereby helps you analyse the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. Returning users is an indication of your apps’ stickiness.

Tools: Google Analytics and AppsFlyer provides this data reasonably well.
Click here for a comparison of these tools.

Screen Abandonment rate
Screens at which users exit the application. Track this on all your important screens. If you notice that the abandonment rate is higher on the purchase screen, then it is time pay attention to your purchase screen. Identify what can be changed on key screens to ensure you have the maximum conversion rates. Getting users to purchase screen is a challenge in itself. Ensure you do not throw away all the hard work on the most important screens.

Events
Events give you an idea of what actions are users taking in your app. Does the sign up on first screen lead to more conversions or the offers in the offer section leads to more conversions? Are your users just browsing the application without adding anything to the cart or is their a high rate of cart abandonment. Questions like these are very important to answer if you want understand what users are doing in your application

Tools: Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics and Mixpanel.
While you can track events, unique events, sessions with events, etc. in all the three tools, Adobe Analytics helps you create custom histograms to visualise customer behavior and outliers across
events.
On the other hand, Mixpanel offers an event based timeline of every action a customer takes in your app providing an unified view of all actions from a particular customer.

Check this for a detailed comparison of all the three tools

Goal – Increase App Engagement

Session length
Any app developer wants users to spend maximum time on the application. This is a clear indication of user engagement. Session length depends on your industry. If it is a gaming app then you would want your users to spend more time on your app. On the other hand if your app helps manage expenses then may be session length may not be that high..

Session Interval
Session interval is the time between two sessions. Closely tracking this will help you understand how sticky is your application. Apps like Facebook and whatsapp will have a very small session interval because users keep checking them very frequently. But if it is a travel application, then the interval between two sessions may be more.

Average time on screen
Your users might be spending a lot of time on your app, but on what screens are they spending time on? How much time are they spending on your most important screen? This metric will help you answer this. Together with screen tracking, average time on screen will help you understand if your users are spending maximum amount of time on the most important screen. If they are not, then at what screen are they exiting the app? Closely tracking this will give a lot of key insights.

Tools: Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics provide data on basic usage metrics like sessions, event, etc. However, Google Analytics user explorer report provides detailed information on number of sessions, average session duration, user’s’ activity within a session, etc. at a very granular level.

Goal – Increase Revenue

Acquisition cost
Customer acquisition costs (CAC) and Lifetime Value (LTV) are very important to track from a profitability point of view. There is no point if you have millions of users using your app if you are not getting back more than what you have spent to acquire those millions. You may use multiple methods like social media marketing, SEO, paid advertising like Google AdWords, in-app ads,etc to attract users. If you are not monitoring which of these channels is getting you quality users, then you might end up spending huge amounts on ineffective channels.

In this blog, David Skok clearly mentions the importance of CAC and also goes on to define a thumb rule that that LTV should be a minimum of 3 times your CAC. He also goes on to mention that CAC should be recovered in < 12 months in order to have an effective business model. Tools:AppsFlyers’ OneLink deep linking offers a single link that can be used across all sources and provides detailed attribution analytics that can help you track the best sources of acquisition.

Lifetime Value(LTV)
The amount of money a user spends before churning is the users’ lifetime value. Or in other words gross profit per customer divided by churn. You need to track two other important metrics – average spend per customer and churn – to ensure you have a healthy LTV.

While average spend per customer may give insights such as where is the user actually spending? Is he / she a repeated buyer or a casual buyer? Is the user more inclined to offers? Answering such key questions are important to tailor your business model to suit users and thereby ensuring you increase your overall profits.

Churn is the number of users who have stopped using your product / app during a certain time period. This is a metric that can give you sleepless nights. What is your churn rate? what channels were churned users acquired from? At what point did users churn? How long did they stay on your app before churning out? Questions like these are very important to ensure that your users stick to the app.

Tools: Both Google Analytics and AppsFlyer provide detailed LTV reports and analysis

App Ratings & App Reviews
One of the first things that user notice on app stores are app rating and app reviews. Healthy ratings and reviews are an affirmation to users to install your app. With millions of apps around, appstores are nowadays giving more importance to app ratings and reviews in their app listings. Hence take utmost care of both these from the day of your app launch

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