16 Metrics to Ensure Mobile App Success: Part 1 Performance Metrics

April 08 2015

The Mobile App Developer Guide: Optimize your app and reach benchmarks with these 16 mobile app development metrics. Read more about the metrics.

Smart mobile teams know that developing and releasing a mobile app is just the first step in the long journey to delivering a successful and 5-star mobile app. If you have to make your app successful (however you define success – improved brand, more money, more engagement), you need to measure the right metrics, and optimize and iterate your apps to your target goals.

In this blog, we will explore the key app metrics to collect and analyze. But first, let’s break these metrics down into consumable chunks.

At a high level, there are four broad buckets of metrics you need to track for any app.

  • Performance metrics: These IT measures focus on how the user is experiencing the app.
  • User and usage metrics: These data points provide visibility into the user and their demographics
  • Engagement metrics: These metrics highlight how user are engaging with the app
  • Business metrics: Focus on business (revenue etc.) flowing thru the app

If you are wondering – these are a lot of metrics, where do I start? The ideal place to start is to analyze the performance metrics. These are the highest value experience metrics – and if you don’t get them right, the likelihood of finding a large set of users (and business success) will be challenging. After all, if the app doesn’t work well, i.e. crashes a lot or is very slow or unresponsive, why would users download it in droves or engage with it? There is a very clear and direct correlation between your application’s performance and achieving your desired business outcomes.

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 2.04.25 PM

Performance metrics

  1. App crashes – Everyone who uses mobile apps has experienced crashes at some point. Crash rate is the average crashes per app loads (an app load is the launch of an app). The typical crash rate is 1-2%, but this varies widely depending on the type of app, its usage, maturity, etc.
  2. API latency – Apps of today leverage several API’s or services. Latency refers to the round-trip time from a request to a response. The general rule of thumb is to optimize to around 1 second response time.
  3. End-to-end application latency – It’s not just enough to track API latencies; you also need end-to-end response time to applications that are powering the API’s. Again, the general rule of thumb is to optimize to around 1 second response time. Users may have some tolerance for slower response times, but the data generally shows that anything over 3-4 seconds total response time and the majority of user (60% or greater) will abandon the transaction and may even delete your app altogether. (Further reading: The App Attention Span Report)
  4. App load per period – This metric is related to the number of transactions or calls over a certain period of time. It is critical because you want to make sure that as the load increases, your application performance doesn’t degrade. Load can be very spiky in nature for some apps, so you need to know that your app can handle sudden changes in load without slowing down.
  5. Network errors – network errors are typically the service provider or HTTP errors seen by the app when the app is interfacing to a networked service. Network errors can lead to crashes or slow response time (with multiple retries).

How to get these metrics?

The App Stores (iTunes and Google Play) provides basic performance metrics. However, the metrics are very limited – with crash data only – and not real-time enough for enterprises to quickly troubleshoot and fix the issues. A few free vendor tools also provide basic crashes reporting capabilities, but mobile team would do better by not settling for just crash monitoring. App teams should look for solutions that provide a comprehensive set of metrics (crashes, app latencies, API latencies and application latencies) to solve all issues affect app end-user experience.

Interested in getting insightful data and performance metrics? Check out a FREE trial of AppDynamics Mobile RUM today!

Kalyan Ramanathan
Kalyan Ramanathan is the VP of Product Marketing at AppDynamics, the leading Application Intelligence solution provider. Kalyan has over 20 years of experience in software and marketing. Prior to AppDynamics, Kalyan was the CMO at Crittercism, the first mobile app performance management vendor. Previously, Kalyan served as VP of Marketing at Electric Cloud, a DevOps automation leader and as Senior Director of product marketing at Opsware/HP, where he oversaw marketing efforts for the cloud and data center automation solutions. Kalyan has also led product management functions at Collation (acquired by IBM) and Portal Software (acquired by Oracle). Kalyan has an MBA from Stanford University.

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