Tuesday, February 12, 2013

5 Key Mobile App Metrics

My company, 1-800 CONTACTS, recently released its first mobile app. So I’ve been curious as to what KPIs are the most important to track with mobile apps and why. If you’re an iPhone user and wear contact lenses, feel free to download the app here. It’s free and totally awesome.

Mobile apps are becoming more and more popular. It’s very important to understand not only the need to collect accurate metrics but which ones you should be caring the most about. Until now, many methods used to measure mobile applications are taken from web analytics similar to that of a website. But mobile apps are not websites. I know most people understand this basic concept. But if we understand that it’s a different channel, we need to understand which KPIs are the most suitable for mobile apps as well.

So how do we go about pulling data on these ever-so-important metrics? Well, first I believe it’s important to grasp this concept: the most important insight is that which will make your app more effective. You can track KPIs like number of downloads, types of devices and operating systems, frequency of use, and any other traditional metric that’s been dragged from the wonderful world of web analytics. Yes, these are important to know, but they are all output metrics. They give you insight into the design, interaction, and service levels. What they do not tell you is what to change in order to achieve business goals.

So, to make your app more effective we need inputs! Here are 5 key input metrics I believe to be the most important:
  1. Funnel analysis: This tells us why users fail to complete our desired user-actions, such as in-app purchases, ad clicks, or even a transaction. 
  2. Social sharing: This tells us what aspects of our app are capturing not only the minds of our users, but their hearts as well.
  3.  Demographics and user behavior: Correlating these two things will tell us why our user base does what it does. 
  4. Time and location: These, together, give us insight into the contexts in which our app is used. 
  5. Screen hierarchy: App interfaces are very hierarchical in nature and users have to navigate through it all. There’s simply not enough screen space to display everything.
So there you have it. I’m not going into further detail on these metrics as this post is more to educate you and open your mind to how mobile apps should be tracked. If you have any questions leave a comment and I can elaborate. Thanks for reading!

If this sparked some interest and you want to learn more, click on the below link to listen to an excellent presentation by Greg Hrebek on how to drive your app to success.
Mobile App Video


  1. Out of the five the 1st and 2nd are must haves, the other I feel you could take it or leave it.

  2. I agree with Ricky although i would include #3 in must haves. Nice post.

  3. Thanks Ricky and Pablo. If I had more time I would expand on each to give a better idea of why all are crucial metrics to track. Thanks for commenting.

  4. I wonder how beneficial #4 really is and how accurate the data is. Seems more like stalking data to me.

  5. thanks for the report. I think that screen hierarchy is extremely important. If the most used links are not on the top of the screen, you are doing a disservice to your users.

  6. It would be interesting to see a study on screen size, does the size matter? Will you conversion rate increase if the screen hierarchy matters?