September 10, 2018
Measuring Your App’s Post-Launch Success
September 10, 2018
The app that you’ve spent months, maybe even years, creating and iterating is finally available to download. Now you just have to wait for the hype to build itself up and shoot your product to the top of the charts...right?
Well, not exactly. The chances of your app gaining a million users overnight without any ad spend or marketing effort (think Flappy Bird) are slim. There’s a myriad of metrics and analytical processes that can help you formulate a winning marketing plan that will increase traffic to, and within, your app. Designing and building the actual product is just the first step—attracting users and earning their screen time is equally as important as development.
In this guide, we’ve highlighted some of the most useful statistics that will give insight on how to effectively market your app, drive user engagement and retention, and adjust the product to best serve your audience.
Metrics to Track
The most obvious metric by which to gauge the success of your mobile app is how many users exist in your database. While the number of app downloads is a useful statistic to measure how your app performs on the store, it neglects the fact that 23% of users only open an app once after installing. Tracking your sign-up conversion rates, or how many users are registering and therefore providing personal information, paints a far more accurate picture of the size and composition of your user base. Another important metric is user growth rate, or how fast you’re acquiring new users. It’s also helpful to attribute spikes in your growth rate to certain marketing moves, events, or updates.
User engagement describes how your audience interacts with your product, and is especially important because it provides insight on your app’s overall profitability. The time a user spends in your app is a finite resource, so high engagement rates signal that users find value in your product, making your monetization strategy more lucrative. Analyzing average user sessions, which should include how often a user enters the app, how long the app remains open, and the length of intervals between sessions, will inform you of how well your product captures an audience’s attention. Another important figure to pinpoint is the number of daily active users. Although a pretty basic statistic, your DAU numbers gives a more complete understanding of how well your app fares in the competition for humanity’s increasingly limited attention spans.
The third benchmark used to gauge app usage is retention, a measure of the rate at which users return to your product. Across the industry, retention is quantified as the percentage of an app's users who return to the app within 3 months of their first session; the average retention rate for 2018 is just 29% according to Localytics research. On the flipside of this metric is churn rate, which is just the opposite of retention--it’s the percentage of users who stop using your app over the course of 90 days. Because the battle for converting new users is certainly uphill, driving engagement downstream among users who have already bought into your product is probably the most effective strategy for generating profit. That being said, streamlining sign-up processes and wooing users upon first use can help reduce churn rates.
We recommend focusing on acquisition, retention, and engagement before honing in on revenue; in fact, if you try to ramp up monetization before optimizing the three previous categories, you might inadvertently damage your metrics. Once you’re ready to start generating a profit from your app, specific revenue metrics can offer a clearer understanding of if and how your product turns a profit. There are quite a few ways to measure profit, including:
- Average revenue per user: income generated per user. A sweeping statistic that gives a general idea of how you’re capitalizing upon your current audience’s spending habits.
- Cost per acquisition: how much marketing spend is used per newly acquired user. This tells you more about the efficacy of your campaigns.
- Effective Cost Per Mille (more commonly known as eCPM): total earnings per thousand impressions. This is especially helpful with justifying advertising campaigns, as it quantifies revenue generated from ad views.
- ROI: the standard benchmark you probably learned in high school economics; describes the efficiency of an investment. This is useful in examining your marketing spend to identify what pays off and what doesn’t.
A factor key to boosting your app’s acquisition rates is marketing. Brand awareness is a big buzzword currently, and for good reason--becoming a household name and developing a recognizable, specific aesthetic is an incredibly effective and organic way to attract new users and increase the number of app downloads. As these individuals start downloading your product, ask them to provide more information on how they came across the app. Unobtrusively integrating an attribution field into the sign-up process can help you understand where your marketing strategy works and where it doesn’t. “Going viral” is a common goal among startup apps, and the k-factor is a metric that can actually quantify virality. The k-factor measures how many new users each existing users bring onto the product, which can tell you how well your inorganic marketing schemes encourage organic growth. For more information on how to build out a winning marketing strategy that can boost your acquisition, engagement, and retention rates, check out our App Marketing Playbook (coming soon!).
Customer satisfaction is the ultimate marker of an app’s viability in the market, so maintaining and improving the quality of the user experience drives engagement and retention. Tracking operating system biases among your audience can help inform decisions on product updates or releases; for example, if you released an iOS-exclusive first version and find that a substantial volume of Android users express interest in your app, then developing on both platforms would represent a viable opportunity to increase acquisition. Your audience should be at the core of every decision you make, so keep a pulse on user pain points and make continual improvements to the experience to keep customers happy. Reading reviews and keeping an eye on marketplace ratings obviously provide insight on user happiness, but encouraging users to express comments or concerns either through notifications to leave comments on the app store or other feedback channels ensures that you’re getting the responses you need. Most importantly, onboard analytics to see what features are utilized the most, what screens garner the most attention, and where users get stuck most frequently. This vital information paints a detailed picture of how your user experience performs as intended and where it needs improvement. To help add more color to this picture, conduct surveys and interviews with real users or beta testers.
Data Driven Mobile Solutions
In today’s incredibly saturated app market, apps that become viral sensations with virtually zero marketing effort are becoming increasingly more rare. This reality shouldn’t discourage you from creating mobile solutions for real problems people face; it should encourage you to be creative about how best to attract users and generate a profit. Remaining diligent about tracking concrete numbers on user engagement, marketing efficacy, and revenue generation can help you single out areas for improvement as well as points of strength.