The mobile app market is expected to reach 36.7 billion dollars in revenues by the end of 2015. With so much at stake, competition is rapidly evolving into a fierce battle to conquer users’ attention.
With app stores rapidly becoming crowded, how can you measure the success of your efforts? Mobile app development is not just a matter of downloads anymore. You need more specific KPIs to understand what’s going on.
Obviously, downloads are the first and most eye-catching key performance metric any company will analyze. They tell you how many people have chosen your app and whether or not your launch strategy was really effective. Like all other marketing-related fields, though, a single number means nothing without context.
Many years ago, when app stores were much less competitive, getting your app installed could be considered a great accomplishment in itself. Today, it is just the first step of the mobile customer journey, and it does not guarantee success in the long term. Too many users install apps that immediately fall by the wayside, forgotten and neglected.
A business development plan for the Age of the Customer can’t do without a customer-facing app, to bridge the online and mobile experiences. That said, the number of downloads does not indicate whether or not a mobile app campaign has been successful.
Yet marketers often still focus this KPI, spending all their budget in huge one-shot advertising campaigns (maybe even on traditional media) rather than planning a long-term customer engagement strategy.
According to a new research from eMarketer, mobile ad spending will reach 28.72 billion dollars in the United States in 2015; 3 billion will come from mobile application install ads, up 80 percent from 2014.
Considered in a broader digital marketing perspective, a well-designed app is a unique opportunity to add value to your strategy and instill the idea of a cutting edge brand, unlocking the power of a truly amazing digital customer experience.
While a mobile-friendly website is still considered the most important business card, in many respects it is not the top priority anymore. Apps now account for 86% of the time spent on mobile devices, replacing web browsers as the primary door to access the Internet.
In a world where the smartphone has become an extension of the body (particularly for younger users, the so-called millennials), an app should be never treated as a simple porting of the official website.
Your brand will be in the hands of users practically 24/7; your products and services will be one tap away in the purchase moment. This is an opportunity you should not waste. To ensure success, your app should bring something fresh and exciting to the table, enhancing the mobile customer experience and stimulate emotional connection with the brand.
With the launch of other disruptive mobile devices (i.e. the smartwatch, with Apple Watch and Android Wear already battling), and the connectivity of cars, objects, houses and stores, new apps will invade big and small digital screens.
This trend forces developers and marketers to adapt their output to the needs of tech-savvy customers. The number of downloads, needless to say, is totally inadequate when considered as the only KPI to measure engagement and loyalty.
To optimize the reach of your app, you need something more. What? More specific and dedicated KPIs. Every app is different, and there is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution, a set of key performance indicators working with no distinctions.
You need to pick the ones that fit your app. The ones that fit your business goals. And measure them in a given period of time. Here we share the top 10 KPIs to measure mobile app development success, according to Neosperience.
To download an app (specially when free) it’s the easiest thing in the world. What happens next is critical: how many of those that have installed your app actually use it? Monthly and daily active users tell you the truth about how much the world loves your app.
How many times users open the app and interact with your contents? The fact that they have the app installed in their smartphone is useless if they just open it once and for all. Hold frequency in check; the usage during the first week is a plausible signal of what will happen in the future.
The length of a single session is a performance indicator you should always consider in correlation with the number of active users in a given time and the depth of visit. This is even more true for gaming apps or section dedicated to the gamification dynamics.
DEPTH OF VISIT
This is an important engagement metric. The depth of visit is the number of screens or pages visited in one session. This information gives you two critical insights: how engaging and useful your content is; and how seamless and smooth is the experience you actually deliver.
When the primary objective of your app is to sell or convert (i.e. retail app, fashion branded app and e-commerce), you should measure conversions in a given time. A conversion can be a purchase, a subscription or registration, depending on who you are. But remember that lifetime value is always more than a one-shot sale.
REVENUE PER USER
The potential of a loyal user base is pictured by a metric too often overlooked: revenue per user. This number indicates the overall value of an individual to your app business; not just in-app purchases (the Holy Grail of mobile marketing these days), but the app spending across all other digital channels.
If your app is content oriented, in-app purchases are not the only KPI you might want to monitor. Mobile customers, more often than not, connect the app they install with their social media account. Social shares indicate interest in the content you deliver, and are perfect to increase word-of-mouth and build a trustful community.
When you plan a loyalty strategy, one sale is nothing compared to repeat sales. Customer retention is cheaper than acquisition but harder to achieve. In a mobile market where a roughly 65% of users stop using an app no more than three months after install, retention rate in a given time is perfect to tell you how much your customers are engaged.
To know what’s the cost of customer acquisition, you need to understand where existing users found your app. App stores, in fact, are just one of many channels to promote your app. Search engine advertising, organic search, in-app referrals or social networks: different tools with different costs. This metric shows you the most efficient way to reach your potential audience.
You can have the hottest app in the whole Internet, but it’s customer happiness that ultimately proclaims your success. And happiness is strictly connected with the user experience. Defective UI, bugs and crashes keep users away. Always check reviews and ratings to understand what customers think and what needs a fine tuning.
Success is marked by having loyal users that are regularly engaging with the app: spending their time to visit the different sections, converting, making purchases, playing with it. In the race to mobile engagement the app install is only the opening sprint. Find the right partner and develop a long-term omni-channel customer experience strategy.