The 7 Most Important Metrics Every Growing App Needs To Track

How do you determine what app metrics should you track? For starters, the metrics that you would track for your app is going to look different on day one as compared to when it’s growing in traction.

The metrics or KPIs will be different also for different types of apps. What then are the most important app metrics to track?

We interviewed 7 experts asking them about the most relevant metrics and KPIs to track for a growing app. Here is what they have to say:

#1 Figure out what people would love

figure out favorite KPI

David Shak, CEO at Caspy

Most importantly, at a very high level, figure out how to measure how much value is being realized (or perceived).

App KPIs are going to be different for different types of apps, but a couple no-brainer KPIs are things like number of downloads/installs, DAUs (Daily Active Users) and web site traffic.  Metrics that are leading indicators of growth are the key to planning the future, if you can figure out what people love, you can figure out how to convince more people to love the app.

For a consumer app, growth KPIs are all about awareness:

  • Social shares
  • People on twitter talking about you

In the case of Caspy’s experimental app “TheDonaldTest.com”, we could see when people were sharing their test results – more shares meant more growth.

For a non-consumer app, traditional usage metrics like DAUs and time in the app are best.  In Caspy’s case, we closely watch how many times people open the app, and especially, how a user acts on the AI driven advice we deliver.

Generally, I always say “never throw away data”.  Track everything the users do, their mouse clicks, when they do anything on the page, everything.  

If you’ve got the data, you can look back at it to prove or disprove a hypothesis on a KPI.  If you’ve got the data, you can look back at historic tracked user actions and correlate them with the growth of the app, who knows, you might find something you weren’t expecting like, the number of photos uploaded to the system somehow correlate incredibly well with growth

#2 Don’t focus on one but experiment with your app metrics

experiment with your metrics

Nicolas Anjoran, independent entrepreneur and developer at iLightShow

If I had only one sentence to say, I’d say: don’t focus on a specific couple of metrics or KPIs, experiment with all of them and make your own opinion. Every app is unique, since they will all target different users/behaviours.

That being said, there are two main subjects that I try to focus on, on every project:

The first point is about the app quality. Because, as far as I know, people will not pay for something that does not work. Make it simple, but make it properly. For this one, you can track user reviews and use a crash/bug tracker. Discuss with users to get some relevant feedbacks from them, if your app has some great value, they will tell you. Remember that it’s easier to keep and convert an existing user than attracting some new ones.

The second point is focusing on how the world influence your growth. Learn from all the KPIs you can track, take the most of them by always trying to understand how and why they evolve. Did a blogger post something about your app? Did your app become the best/worst rated app on the App Store? Read the reviews, search on Twitter, Facebook, Google it or whatever you want, but find answers.

In this way, you will be able to build and improve your own strategies. Just experiment. Analyse how you succeeded and how you failed, make a conclusion and keep trying!

#3 Figure out how the app is being received and treated by users

Key Performance Metrics

Prasanth Korada, UI/UX designer at Gaddr

Key Performance Metrics– the holy metrics of a product which not only helps you row the boat in the right direction but also provides a holistic understanding of how your app is performing. Even with a brief google search, you will find hundreds of metrics that are being suggested for a successful app. In my opinion, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing the KPIs, more the merrier. The ‘best KPIs for your app’ are the KPIs that are adapted based on your product’s intended purpose.

As a UX designer, I am obsessed with finding out how the app is being received and treated by the users. As a point of view of an experience designer, these are the questions I think that one needs to ask while setting up the KPIs instead of metrics written in stone.

How enjoyable is the experience?

It would have been nice to have an emotion detector as a feature of the mobile phones which would tell us how the users feel while they use the app. But, unfortunately, UX designers have to take up other routes such as user diaries or think-aloud testing of an app. However, by understanding the screens where your users spend most of the time, gives a direction of what your users don’t enjoy using. Also, have well-built feedback forms that fit well with the app, people speak up to you sometimes in ALL CAPS if they don’t like something. Take the cue.

How trustworthy is your product?

Trust is such a delicate thing, and especially with digital products. Though the amount of trust the users have on your app is dependent on your marketing, value ,context or other earthly stuff. By tracking how your users allow permissions to the app and keeping a count of social shareability of the product, companies can get a direction about the trustworthiness.

How engaging is your product?

By checking the session times and number of times the app is accessed per period will give you an idea of how engaging your product is. Though the lack of engagement might mean a lot of things like, there are no ample triggers to open the app, or the interface is too buggy. It’s important to figure out where you are going wrong by tracking appropriate metrics.

How is your revenue & growth looking?

Of course, if your app has a revenue stream you need to know how you are making money. How close are the users translating to the payment step before dropping off. If there is no existing revenue in, maybe figure out metrics that would help you access how you could add a revenue stream.

Do you know what your problems are?

KPIs can also give a really solid foundation while solving existing problems or tracking metrics that would help you access if something is actually a problem or not.

#4 Give importance to user feedbacks and implement the changes

user feedbacks

Chandan Kumar, founder at Site Relic

There are two metrics I would always consider as an important metrics.

  1. User base – if an application is behind the login then track the number of registered users on a weekly or monthly basis and take necessary action to grow. Don’t stop there, also focus on returning users or active users.
  2. Feedback – Getting feedback is an essential to any website or application. You get a lot of ideas from around the world at no cost. Recently, I launched Site Relic and added feedback collection system from Hotjar and was amazed to see some of the suggestion which I never thought of.

So collect the feedback and implement whatever is possible and relevant to your business. Let them know that you are listening. This boosts the brand trust and website/application usage.

#5 Focus on conversion and business KPI

conversion and business KPI

Yaroslav Stepanenko, Product Marketing Manager of Setapp

Here are the following KPIs essential for your app:

Conversion Funnel:

  • Traffic to a Trial User
  • Trial User to Engaged User
  • Engaged user to Paid User
  • Paid User to Retain User

Business KPI:

  • Cost per visit
  • Cost per trial user
  • Cost per paid user
  • Customer lifetime
  • Customer lifetime Value
  • CAC<>LTV (correlation of a client acquisition cost and customer lifetime value)

#6 Spot the leakage in the funnel where you lose your users

Spot the leakage in the funnel

Dennis Passway, founder at Unhoard.io

I’ve built several digital products, big and small, and use various metrics to track the performance of my apps. I recently launched Avoiding.club, a simple tool to avoid meetings. For a simple app like that I mostly track page-views, and the percentage of users that convert from the landing page to the actionable pages.

My main project is Unhoard.io, a tool to rediscover things you found in the past. We have various important metrics we track there. We track obvious things like how many people sign up for an account from the public pages and where in the funnel we lose them. We also track our user growth. Another important metric is also how many, and why, users upgrade to a paid account because that is what funds the project. We also track smaller things that could indicate what our users want. For example: on what day users are most active with the app.

#7 Pay attention to user growth

user growth

Nikolay Mihaylov, CEO at Lookaround

The most important KPIs for an early-stage mobile app startup are:

  • percentage user growth
  • Monthly Active Users (MAU)
  • Weekly Active Users (WAU)

Smruti Hingnikar
 

Smruti works as a content marketing manager at Arkenea, a mobile app consultancy expert in building experience rich apps for startups and businesses. She can be reached at @Smruti_26 on Twitter.