Your Top APP Metrics For Success

The top metrics for your App

An explosion of apps on mobile devices

An explosion of apps on mobile devices

One of the key messages we share about metrics and KPI’s is how they will need to evolve and change over time. The requirement of result outcomes for a business will continue to focus on profit, cash-flow and other traditional life blood measures, however the actual KPI’s that help produce those results evolve over time.

Consider a business that sales an information product. They may have sold this product in hard paper format 20 years ago, however since then a thing called the smart phone and apps have been created. Their new business model may require the same product or service to be sold over a very different market place and therefore their KPI’s would have changed.

This article address’s some key metric measures I see could be applied across many more companies within the world of apps.

Fact Corner:
  • In 2008 the App store on ITunes opened with 500 apps.

  • 10 million apps were downloaded in the first 7 days of opening the App store

  • July 2015 say the app store have 1.5 million apps!

  • By 2017 there is expected to be at least 268 Billion app downloads!

(Figures sourced from Statista and Google search)

Any business producing an app should ensure the mix of their metrics covers the following core areas:

  1. Business Metrics (Financial)

  2. Performance Metrics (reliability and fit for purpose)

  3. User Metrics (user experience)

  4. Engagement Metrics (socializing your app and brand)

From the above model we can dive a little deeper and generate the specific areas to measure.

The honeymoon period is the short period of time just after app download

The honeymoon period is the short period of time just after app download

Important Metrics:

Post Download honey moon access:

The first 72 hours after initial app download are critical to understand the number of times your app was accessed.

Post Download honey moon session time:

The first 72 hours should also measure the trend of increased session time used per access by the user.

Post Honey Moon:

The prior metrics remain but now the increasing importance is to understand the number of within app pages and screens are view (include time per screen).

This metric is vital to help understand which screens are most popular so content can be focused in the best user experience areas.

Call to action results:

The app purpose may have a design for certain design calls to action, these can be sales, subscription, external link action. The measures are the source of your post app installation revenue so remain a critical measure.


Measuring the conversion of transaction completion provides rapid design feedback to ensure the transaction user experience work flow is enjoyable, and provides retain sales. This provides insights to the copy writing and images on the screens used plus ease of transaction made.

Encourage action, not just a like

Encourage action, not just a like

The wider community.

Having a measure of your social shares and mentions provides the basis of brand recognition, trust and confidence. Through analysis of the context in which these shares occur can provide relevant fast feedback to the app design and identify marketing campaign timing opportunities.

Mature use

With so many apps available on the market it remains a huge challenge for apps to stay relevant, engaged and at the front of phone space. Therefore plots of accumulative weekly use of your app will provide important pointers for marketing, service development and product life expectations.



The above core metrics are amongst the most common used within the app market. Their priority will be different if your app is Candy Crush or a brand new niche fly fishing knowledge app. The foundation metrics will allow deeper analysis and help create the design of your business critical success factors in the important areas such as, app download time, user experience and operating system or device user friction.

The world of apps is rapidly growing however there is a stable 25 average number of apps installed per mobile device with only a handful been retained for repeat use.

The original design of the app needs to help address the customer desires to download. Is the app a need, want or wish in their daily lives and thus its design needs to be reflected accordingly, but that is a whole other article to be written.

Key Message and considerations for further metrics:

  • The app does not serve the business, it should serve the customer and the customers’ demands change over time.

  • Your app may solve an immediate problem and become discarded swiftly. This is a signal that your app design needs to cover either more problems to remain relevant or be designed and measured with these realities in mind.

  • Your successful app needs to adopt the KISS approach: Keep It Simple and Special. A clear, simple, fast and easy design and use making the balance between common hand behavior, swipe left or right, like etc. but also create a special experience.

  • Developing the app in phases and stages of its launch can help identify friction points within the app for successful design but also help establish trust as the apps capabilities roll out.

  • Do not forget that your metrics will only tell you what you ask them. It is important to ask the correct questions for your service and product to enable the best analysis and customer delight.

Metrics are the star of the App show

Metrics are the star of the App show

 The application of these metrics for personal use:

Many of us have several apps on our phone that we sometimes look at and wonder if we ought to keep them or not. The application of these metrics will help you make a more logical and not emotional decision if you should retain the app on your phone. This helps save phone memory, often improve the privacy of your actions, improve the performance of your phone and free up space for those Instagram photos of your cat.

A Deeper Dive of more metric considerations:

  1. Number of app crashes

  2. API Latency more than 1 second

  3. Network errors

  4. Full application latency of more than 3 seconds

  5. Regional holiday peak use of app or other seasonal variables

  6. Trend of specific mobile device used

  7. Location of use, city, state, nation etc.

  8. Session interval length

  9. User acquisition cost

  10. Life Time Value per user (LTV)

  11. Average and median revenue per user (AMRPU)

  12. App star rating

  13. Qualitative review metrics

  14. User experience and customer experience measures

Consider impacts through a strategic approach

Consider impacts through a strategic approach

Creating a Strategic App

With more than 20% of apps been used only once after their download it is important to have a clear communication line to the market and users plus a strategy with your service. There may be a strong reason for someone downloading the UBER app and only using it twice a year for their company party or conference in a serviced city, a map app for Berlin will have its use for a few days, the Christmas pudding app is only used once and then forgotten. If you wish to engage with your users and customers then establishing a clear story and communication channel with them to explore, trial and use your app on a continual basis is important.

Enjoy this short video by Adam Singer who provides a broad sweep view on mobile app metrics


Questions for the reader:

  • Which are your favorite apps?

  • Which apps had great design but you use less now? And why is this so?

  • Which feature would you love to see in an app that does not exist today?

  • Who else could benefit from this article? 

Further Reading

Creating a dashboard

 The difference between KPI's and metrics

JAMSO helps people and business transform their performance. We help clarify the optimal metrics and KPI’s for success. Read and use our free advice, projects, training ideas on metrics, Key Performance Indicator design, dashboards, business intelligence, Internet of things and big data help.