by Randa ElBaz
If you’re new to app development or are working in a small team with a tight schedule and limited resources, it’s easy to get so invested in the technical details that other critical aspects like mobile app analytics get overlooked. If you want your app to offer the best user experience possible, there are certain metrics you can’t avoid tracking. App analytics are vital to help address potential pitfalls like low usage rates, poor adoption, virality, user attraction, and user retention.
Ready for the next level of mobile app analytics? Check out this advanced list of metrics to help you achieve more successful app iterations.
Each of the major companies above have released at least one major app update in the last couple of years. Whether it was a visual redesign, a flow change, or a major revamp of the entire application, these companies can’t afford to make such decisions without depending on reliable data. They also could not have achieved stability without systematically collecting and analyzing granular pieces of information.
With deployed applications, analytics offer insights that can be utilized to enhance user engagement, increase user retention, and identify specific functions to enhance overall user experience.
These mobile analytics also need to be relevant to the project’s business objectives so that they can boost the app’s return value. A recent report by the Aberdeen Group found that companies who measure mobile analytics achieve an 11.6 percent boost in brand awareness, while companies that don’t experience a 12.9 percent drop.
Benefits of utilizing mobile app analytics:
Achieve monetary goals
Better serve users
Measuring specific metrics will help you determine what results in the best ROI to reach your targets.
How do you know what your users want without tracking their patterns and gathering substantive feedback? Analytics help you collect valuable information and insights so that you can prioritize investments in subsequent stages to improve your app for your users.
App analytics can help you identify churned users who only open your app once and never return. You can then use this data to help formulate a strategy to win back these priority targets.
At minimum, here’s what to track: the three most basic and most important mobile app key performance indicators (KPI) that you should be measuring.
1. Number of Downloads
Perhaps the most established indicator of mobile app success, the quantity of downloads is a reliable signal of an application’s popularity. Download rates vary widely across app stores. Two-thirds of iOS apps don’t even garner 1,000 downloads in a year, while reaching Top 10 Free status in the App Store can mean achieving upwards of 100,000 downloads per day.
Some applications invest heavily in pre-launch marketing to attract strong initial interest, a strategy that builds momentum for future success. Pokemon Go, for instance, gained traction even before it launched because of its familiarity to the public and compelling advertising, which resulted in a huge spike of installations on the day of release.
2. Retention Rate
A large number of app downloads doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going in the right direction. Apps like Facebook and Candy Crush rely on daily active users (DAUs) rather than number of installations.
Retaining users is one of of the most difficult goals of an app. According to Quettra, an app loses an average of 77% of its daily active users during the first couple of days after installation. Within 30 days, it loses 90% of DAUs. Within 90 days, it loses over 95%.
After a few weeks of Pokemon Go’s firecracker release, it failed to maintain solid retention rates and dropped out of the top app rankings because people weren’t using it despite having it installed.
When designing your user retention strategy, remember that user retention is directly proportional to user engagement — the greater the engagement, the higher the retention.
3. Session Length
The session length, or interval, is the time each user spends in an application. Average session lengths vary widely by classification, from 7.55 minutes for gaming apps to just 2.61 minutes for innovation apps.
This performance indicator can greatly impact decisions about an app’s core functions. Recently, YouTube changed their algorithms to rate videos higher not just based on views but also on minutes watched. This effectively promotes content that is consumed fully and not just clicked on more, offering a more robust recommendation experience for users.
Ready for the next level of app analytics? Check out this comprehensive list of metrics to help you achieve more successful app iterations.