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App Metrics Explained. KPI’s You Need To Track And Know For Your App

by | Jul 31, 2019 | App Development

While creating a successful mobile app means putting up time and money to invest in the right team that will create a beautiful and functioning application that you can publish in the App Store, the hard work doesn’t stop there.

Mobile apps require a constant stream of feedback, data, and analytics so the creative teams behind them know more about their users and how they can continue to improve the experience.

App metrics provide valuable performance data on everything from how your app was found, most used features in your app, causes for engagement and return to the app, and so on—all of which are carefully calculated through the use of analytics software designed specifically for mobile apps.

Top Mobile App Performance Metrics

Daily and monthly active users

Keeping track of your daily and monthly active users is essential. After all, the average app loses about 80% of their daily active users (DAU) in just the first three days, and nearly 90% within the first month.

App metrics

By tracking your app’s active users by day and month, this provides a useful barometer for how the app is doing and overall user retention, rather than just tallying up the total downloads.

Retention rate

The retention rate is the percentage of users who keep using your app over a specified period of time—be it a week, month, or quarter. The opposite is called user churn. So if you have a 90-day user retention rate of 20%, then the user churn rate would be 80%.

Having a good understanding of your app’s retention rate is key in understanding your customer base and how your app is fairing on the market. It’s a leading indicator of potential revenue for your app as well as the growth trends involved. After all, your app may have 500,000 downloads, but how many of these are actually active users? This is what matters most. Overall, the retention rate is a much more useful metric than total downloads because it’s all about retaining your users.

You can calculate your retention rate using the following formula:

# of monthly active users / # downloads = aggregate retention rate

app metrics

Cost per acquisition

The cost per acquisition, or CPA, is exactly as it sounds—it measures the cost to bring in new users. So having a lower CPA is considered a good thing. If your CPA begins to exceed your customer’s lifetime value, or LTV, this indicates that you may be losing money on each new user.

CPA is based on all the costs associated with bringing in new users, such as marketing campaigns. Companies typically calculate the CPA by dividing the total marketing costs by the total number of acquired users.

Average daily sessions per daily active user

This metric demonstrates how often users are opening and engaging with your app each day on average.

You can easily track the average daily sessions per DAU using the following formula:

Number of daily sessions / number of DAU = Average daily sessions per DAU

Lifetime value (LVT)

This term is also sometimes referred to as a customer lifetime value, or CLV, and shows how much each user is worth to your app and the total amount of money you’re making off a given user—or customer—over the life of their customer lifetime.

Knowing the LVT plays a crucial role in app metrics because it’s the number that drives your marketing budget and paints a picture of how much you pay to get users.

Average revenue per user (ARPU)

Another useful metric is the ARPU. This shows how much money your app is generating per user and can help your team identify at what point you should be earning more. In other words, it helps to see and establish monetary goals.

You can see how much each user is worth by using the following formula:

Lifetime revenue of app / lifetime # of users = ARPU

Return on Investment (ROI)

When putting in time and money on mobile app marketing efforts, you want to be able to see what the ROI is for every campaign. This involves a lot of data and factors, and so the ROI is a metric that is notoriously difficult to determine accurately.

Generally, you’ll want to see what all of the costs are for the investment on your marketing campaigns and how these costs are impacting your profits. Since there are a variety of factors involved, you’ll want to focus on one at a time.

So for example, if you want to see what the ROI is for an email marketing campaign you sent out, you can add up the total costs involved in creating that campaign (such as design, copywriting, etc) and plug that into the formula below along with the money earned from the campaign.

ROI formula:

Money earned from investment – Cost of investment / Cost of investment = ROI


When it comes to your mobile app analytics, stickiness refers to how memorable your app is and how well it “sticks” with consumers.

More specifically, it relates to DAU and MAU, and can be calculated by dividing the DAU by the MAU. The higher the stickiness percentage, the more your app has users who are returning.

So if you have 10,000 daily active users and 20,000 monthly active users, your stickiness will be at 50%.

app metrics

Mobile App Analytics Best Practices

It should go without saying (but we’ll say it anyway) that mobile app analytics are a crucial component in understanding your app’s user behavior since it allows you to track what these users are doing in your app.

Now that you know some fundamental mobile app metrics, like ROI, daily and monthly active users, and so on, here are some tips when it comes to mobile app analytics best practices.

#1 Use mobile analytics tools

There are tons of mobile analytic tools out there, some free, many paid, but the key is to use them! These tools are designed to optimize your app and provide valuable insight on how you can retain users.

#2 Be patient

When using mobile analytics tools, the key is to be patient when analyzing your data—change won’t happen overnight. It can take time for you to notice trends and make sense of the analytics.

#3 Consider analytics early

It’s essential to start collecting data on your app at an early stage to understand how updates in your app’s performance will affect metrics and to make improvements. Consider analytics as early as the design stage.

#4 Understand your user’s journey

It’s important to understand what your user is doing in the app—after all, they might not even be using the app for its primary purpose. Knowing the path the user is taking when navigating your app will help you understand the user journey and what’s expected of your app. Knowing this will help you search for more ways to maximise your conversion rate.

#5 Set aside time for qualitative data

What better way to glean insights on your user than by asking them directly? Having both qualitative and quantitative data will help paint a much clearer picture of what’s going on when your users interact with your app. You can do this by getting feedback before you launch your app or after by sending in-app messages or getting user ratings.

#6 Measure what matters

As you can tell, there are simply tons of mobile app metrics out there you can utilize to learn more about app, but it can be pretty exhaustive. Don’t waste time on metrics that aren’t going to do much for your bottom line, such as the number of downloads or page views. Sure these are useful to know, but you should figure out what your goal is and establish a clear-cut strategy that aligns with your app’s primary offering.

Hard metrics, such as what user actions are taken after a specific push notification occurs or the customer lifetime value are far more beneficial and will provide more valuable insight that can help you in the long run.

application metrics


App metrics are absolutely essential because they allow product teams to clearly see if their app is failing or succeeding. Relying solely on broader indicators, such as the number of downloads and total revenue, are not sufficient to keep your app afloat and can hide valuable information that can lead to your app failing.

In our Simple Starter package, we include crucial user metrics and research to ensure your app is targeting the right audience.

Taking advantage of the technology behind mobile app metrics allows companies to see what the issues are and take action every step of the way to ensure long-term success.



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