16 Metrics to Ensure Mobile App Success: Part 2 User and Engagement Metrics

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In my previous post, I discussed the value of monitoring performance metrics. Analyzing app crashes, API latency, application latency, app load per period, and network errors will ensure your app is running optimally and your users are able to access your mobile app in a timely manner. In this post we’ll dive into exactly how your users are using your app — where are they coming from, what device are they using, how often are they using your app, and more questions that you need to be asking to ultimately have a successful app.

As you recall from my last post, there are four categories 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

User, usage, & demographics metrics:

  1. MAU/DAU – The monthly active user (or daily active user) is a coarse metric that highlights the user base of the app. Keep track of your MAU’s and its trends (is it growing/shrinking/stagnant?) This metric is particularly important if your revenue model depends on advertising for which a large user base is required in order to be successful.

  2. Device and OS metrics – Apps are consumed on a wide variety of devices. You need to know how/where your key users use your apps – what devices (smartphones, tablets, IoT devices) and what OS/version (iOS 8? iOS 8.x? iOS 7.x, etc.) to focus your efforts on where your users are.

  3. Geo metrics – Don’t ignore the geography aspect of app usage. Are your users in the US (or is it outside the US)? Where do you see the usage within the US? Which states? This kind of data will enable you to identify issues faster. For example, if you have an app that targets a broader geography but only gets regional traction, you can now start to dig into the reasons why.

How to track these metrics?

Again, App Stores provides basic download data but lack real-time view into the true usage of the app. Look for solutions that provide instrument apps to track this information in real-time and with detailed device, OS, geography granularity.

Engagement metrics:

  1. Session length – Session length is measured as the time period between app open and close. It indicates how much time your users are spending in your app per individual session. The more engaged the users are, the longer their session length.

  2. Session interval – Session interval is the time between the user’s first session and their next one, showing the frequency with which your users open the app. This can signal the immediate value gained from downloading and running the app.

  3. Retention rate – We know that many apps are downloaded are never used more than once, but the value of the app or the experience wasn’t what it should be. Retention is measured as the percentage of users who return to your app based on the date of their first visit. Retention, or “cohort,” tracking highlights your most engaged – and valuable – users, creating better targeting opportunities and personalization of the app experience.

How to track these metrics?

Engagement metrics are provided by solutions that provide rich app analytics. Also, your notion of engagement may vary. Look for solutions that tracks these metrics out of the box, or can get these metrics with some customization.

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

Kalyan Ramanathan

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.