Looking to make your app successful? Well, what exactly defines “success”? This article aims to highlight the key indicators of what makes an app good and tells you how to measure each of them in an organized, simple to follow fashion.
There seem to be many ways to measure mobile app success, so many that it can become downright confusing. Do you go by how many users you have? Do you go by whether or not your app’s been featured in the App Store? How about a simpler benchmark—like whether you can actually conceptualize a minimum viable product (MVP) in the first place?

Mobile App Success?
When it’s all said and done, there are numerous ways to measure app success, but only a few really count. Look for these metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to know for sure if your app is meeting your Key Performance Indicators or not.

Time in Your App

This metric boils down to exactly how much time a user spent inside your app over a specific period of time. For example, this user was inside my shopping app for 10 minutes, doing everything from browsing in the app to finally completing the purchase.
It’s an important metric because it exposes how frequently your app’s is used and the engagement level of the users. Measuring behavior over a period of time, it presents you with a clear-cut view of any user trends and patterns.
For example, if a specific demographic of users is spending an unusually long period of time in your app all of a sudden—say, stay-at-home moms with a college degree, always on Friday afternoons—it’s the perfect opportunity to dig deeper and find out why. You can then utilize any info you find to personalize this demographic’s app experience for more conversions and engagement.

The Number of Users of Your App

Naturally, this brings us to another crucial KPI: how many users your app has. It’s a huge mistake to skip this KPI because it tells you so much about how your app is performing (or not performing).
Think of this metric as essentially doing customer research to figure out exactly who is using your app and for what purpose. You need to go further than just determining the initial downloads and one-time opens into more meaningful territory like who’s using your app, why they’re using it, and what value (if any) they’re truly getting from it.
Once you know this crucial info, it will greatly help you to focus your efforts on improving the user experience in certain areas to drive more revenue. This can include anything from kick-starting effective app-marketing campaigns to segmenting your user base with confidence.

The Speed of Your App

People on the web today are impatient if nothing else. And ADHD. Especially when using digital products. They expect fast, fast, fast experiences, and your app has to deliver on this metric to be competitive. Measuring the speed of your app is critical to ensuring a thriving and growing user base. Throughout the years, the speed of apps and websites has only increased, so your users are going to be expecting that your app delivers performance to match this trend.
Consider issues like how long it takes for your app to load, as the essential, first step. If your app takes several seconds to load, then you’ve already subjected your users to a lot of friction—before they even get to truly experience your app! Users won’t put up with load times like that. As data from Think With Google shows, users will actually abandon a mobile page for ever(!) if it fails to load faster than three seconds.
So be sure to keep careful track of the speed of your app. You don’t want your users leaving in droves because your app is making them wait too long.

The Retention Rate

In its simplest terms, app retention is a measure of the percentage of your users who come back to your app from the date of their initial (first) visit. This vital KPI keeps track of the most engaged and therefore valuable users.
Armed with the info from the retention rate, you’re able to come up with improved targeting capabilities and sharpen your in-app purchase tracking—since now you can do it based on the level of user engagement. You can also personalize the app for your users, as you’ll also get access to data like the purchase frequency, devices used, and location of your more engaged users.
The beauty of tracking this metric is how it lets you see what features are being well-received by your users and which aren’t—based on their user behavior over time with every update. For instance, the moment you’ve just released a new version of your app, determine if your retention has increased or decreased.

Revenue Per User

Usually, the goal of your app is to make you money, period. You went through all of the planning, trial and design and development stages so you could eventually generate some revenue from your app.
That’s why it’s very helpful to measure how much money each average user of your app is really bringing into your pocketbook. You want to figure out how valuable each individual who uses your app is to your endeavor.
Yes, the revenue is going to be calculated off of your app’s downloading cost, any in-app purchases, and conversions. However, here’s where the tricky part comes into the equation when you’re trying to determine the average revenue per user.
You see, you want to go beyond just what the user spends while in your app since said average user will typically spend across several channels. You can’t neglect the increases found in overall spending. For instance, someone using your retail app could also buy in-store and on your retail website, from their desktop.

The Number of Social Shares

Social proof through social-media sharing helps you determine how popular your app is and how many people are talking about it. Naturally, your app is doing well if a lot of people talk about it or share it on Twitter, Facebook and the like, but this data can also help you get more insight into how to use social media for app promotion.
In particular, when you’re social-listening, pay attention to indicators like when your app was shared, where it was shared, and in what relationship or context. Is it mostly talked about after work, during work, or at night? Is it only talked about on social media when something big in its industry happens in the news, but not so much at other times?
Here are some popular social-listening tools to help you keep up with what people are saying about your brand online:

Tracking this metric is extremely vital if you have any social-media integration or functionality built right into your app.

Your App’s Churn Rate

Churn rate is defined as the rate at which the active users of your app uninstall or unsubscribe from your app. Needless to say, the objective is to keep your app’s churn rate as low as possible, as a higher one indicates a level of dissatisfaction with some aspect or aspects of your app.
Trying to determine what could be behind a relatively high churn rate is as simple as investigating where and when the app crashes or where and when your users either log out or stop using the app.
At the same time, it’s vital to realize that churn rate can also be due to little activity on your part as the app creator, as opposed to outright problems with the app. For example, the churn rate can increase if you fail to update your app on a regular basis, add new content from time to time, or include new achievement levels (assuming you published a gaming app of some sort).

The Average Time to First Purchase

This metric relates to how long a user takes to make that first purchase from the time he’s first downloaded and installed your app. Be careful with this metric because you’re not just counting the purchases within your app exclusively.
While in-app purchases may be the more obvious ones to count, don’t forget about buys from your website and the premium or upgraded version of your app that he could purchase.
You want to keep track of the number of days or even weeks from the initial download to the first purchase.

Know the Right Metrics and KPIs to Track

App success can be measured in a plethora of ways, but it’s vital to your app’s success that you know which ones are most important. Even before choosing a technology partner to work with on your app, you can measure the app performance yourself. Only when you measure these metrics and KPIs will you be able to understand what you have to look at and constantly monitor to determine if your app’s doing well or not.
It’s also important not to get bogged down or obsessed with just one metric in particular; these different metrics all combine to provide a bigger and broader indicator of how well your app’s doing.
The good news is that, even if you see one metric that’s off or not performing to how you want it to, there’s a lot that you can do to improve any given KPI. And it usually doesn’t take much time or effort to do so.

Author bio: Nikunj Sanghvi is a technology executive with experience ranging from hands-on development to managing multimillion dollar consulting businesses, leading all aspects of sales and business development to operations and delivery. Delivering beautiful and useful digital solutions is not just a job for him, but a passion. He is currently the Head of Sales and Business Development at Robosoft Technologies. At Robosoft Technologies we are experts in defining the right KPIs and metrics that are bound to track the overall performance of a mobile app. We’ve done it 1500 times (we’re not joking!).