As the world continues to shift towards mobile, the success of a mobile app or campaign is being redefined. While app developers used to rely on metrics such as downloads and overall revenue, in recent years their focus has narrowed down to the nitty gritty. Mobile app analytics are not becoming a driving force for not only understand what users are doing, but why.
Companies that can fully understand why their users are engaging with them will have a much easier time achieving success (in the 2017 definition of the word). By engaging users in ways that fit their needs and provide value, you are able to prove to them in their mind that you are worth coming back to again and again.
In order to help you better understand exactly why your users are engaging with you and how to better serve them, you have to understand which user engagement metrics you need to be tracking. In this article we will review 10 mobile app analytics that you need to be tracking and why. Before we begin, let’s talk about the “why” factor.
The “Why” factor
The “Why” factor of mobile app analytics is really just another way of talking about the value proposition of your app. If someone came up to you on the street to talk to you about your app, you should be able to the question “Why should I use it?”
Your answer to this question is your value proposition. It is the reason why users will download your app and, if the value is there, is the reason they will continue to use it.
Each of these mobile app analytics we are about to cover will help you to discover why users are engaging with your app. Once you figure this out, you will have a much clearer idea of how to meet their needs and be successful.
1. Number of downloads and installs
The first mobile app analytic you should be tracking is how many people have actually downloaded your app. This seems obvious, but there is more to it than you might expect. While tracking total numbers is helpful from a marketing standpoint to raise awareness of your app, it is also important to track where these downloads are coming from.
This is a good way to evaluate the effectiveness of your advertising campaign. For instance, if a number of downloads are coming from a site or source that you have never heard of, you should find out why. Remember, finding out what your users are doing is important, but why they are doing it is where the true knowledge is found.
Tracking your users is one of the best ways to understand their behavior. User data can be measured in a number of different ways, such as:
- MAUs: Monthly active users
- WAUs: Weekly active users
- DAUs: Daily active users
These metrics can be further broken down by demographic, device, gender, age, and whatever else you need. Each of these can become a segment as you continue to grow, so figuring this out early will give you an advantage later.
3. Active users
Now that you know how many people have downloaded your app and who they are, you now need to see who is actually using your app. When 25% of apps are used once and then discarded, mobile app analytics like active users are more important than ever.
A good benchmark to have is that the active users number should be higher than the number of new users. This indicates that users are recurring, coming back more than once. This is the basis of value and user engagement.
4. Session length
Mobile app analytics can be complicated, but when it comes to session length, it is really quite simple. Session length measures the time period from when someone begins using your app to when they leave. Basically, how long they are spending in your app in an individual session.
By itself, session length is not as helpful as other mobile app analytics. However, by cross-referencing this metric with others, you can understand exactly what your customers are doing while using your app.
5. Session interval
Like session length, session interval is pretty self-explanatory. Session interval is simply the time between one user session and the next. By itself, this metric is not that interesting, but you can use it to measure the retention and stickiness of your app. Users that come back over and over are likely keyed-in to the value of the app.
6. Time in app
Time in app measures how long users spend within an app. The range that you are looking for with this metric is going to looking very different depending on the type of app you are creating. For example, a social media app mobile app analytics would look much different than an entertainment or gaming app.
The important thing about time in app is that it helps you ask the right questions. If someone is using your app much longer than other users, you should find out why. Use time in app to find irregularities and then try your best to explain what went wrong, if anything.
7. Screen flow
Another incredibly value member of the mobile app analytics family is screen flow. Screen flow allows you to see the exact path (or flow) that users take within your app. This is a great way to solve and unanswered questions that other metrics have discovered.
An essential part of measuring screen flow is having a set app flow that you expect users to follow. Then, when users don’t convert or follow said path, you will know. Not only that, but by seeing which steps they took, you can evaluate if changes need to be made in the flow so that it is easier for users to find what they are looking for.
8. Retention rate
Retention rate is the percentage of users who return to your app at least once in the last 30 days. In the mobile industry, however, retention rates are often calculated by quarter or 90 day periods.
The reason why we use this mobile app analytic is to figure out if user retention is improving over time. It’s also a good best practice to measure this across different devices and app versions.
9. App crashes
An important customer retention technique that should be in the back of your mind is how the user interacts your app. UX and UI design are coming to the forefront and companies that don’t subscribe to these frameworks will soon be on the outside looking in.
Tracking app crashes is a good way to stay on top of technical problems that users are coming across. An app that crashes often is an app that will soon become frustrating to users. Monitor your app crashes and as you start to grow, cultivate a beta testing group to avoid unnecessary technical glitches.
10. Lifetime value
Lifetime value (or LTV) is the total amount of revenue generated by a user before they stop using your app. This is a very simple way to measure the profitability of your app and plan for the future. Keep in mind, especially when you first start out, that a user’s LTV might be lower than the amount spent to get them in the first place.
Don’t fret! More users will come that more than make up their own cost. Once you have a good idea of lifetime value, you will be able to see what sort of profits you will be able to make in the future. If your users are not making the money for you that you expect, this will be a good indication that something needs to change.