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Measure What Matters: The Four Metrics Businesses Should be Measuring for Mobile App Success

When the Apple App Store first launched in the summer of 2008, there were roughly 500 apps available for download and, as presumed, growth was expansive and widespread across all app categories. Now there are more than 6 million apps combined across the broader app market, hence the phrase, “there’s an app for that”. According to Gartner, however, less than 0.01% of mobile apps will be considered a financial success through 2018.

App growth and success rely solely on engagement from users, which presents an interesting challenge for new and existing businesses. Last year consumers, on average, spent 5 hours a day in front of a screen, and with the oversaturation of the app market, consumers are now forced to choose where their time is spent. They need new and innovative app experiences customized to their personal desires, preferences, and even location to be engaged. So how do businesses compete in a market that has tapped out its most precious resource: a user’s time?

Measurement is the Key to Success

How do businesses become (or stay) successful in a matured industry that has hit critical mass?

Collect data to make app improvements, retain users, and drive conversions to beat out competitors.

It sounds simple, but surprisingly only half of companies are currently measuring user engagement and return on investment (ROI) on their mobile apps.

With an increase in competition within the app market, mobile app analytics is the single best solution to guarantee business growth and success. Here are four metric categories businesses should already be measuring for success:


Performance metrics allow businesses to understand how their app is executing from a technical standpoint and provide insights that might prompt changes where necessary to improve overall app health. These metrics provide insight into app crashes, latency issues, as well as network errors and much more.

Having insight into this data helps improve user retention rates. For example, businesses would be able to understand how their app runs on each carrier’s network, how performance varies by operating systems, and even how geographical regions play into poor app performance. If a business was to find that its app performed poorly in certain regions due to limited connectivity on certain networks, it might consider creating an offline mode for the app or preloading data so that it is already available to the user.


Audience metrics allow businesses to understand their users. These metrics give insight into things such as users’ devices and operating systems, as well as geographic location.

Having insights into these metrics allow businesses to improve conversion rates, for example, by using geo-targeting of users to serve specific offers or content based on a user’s location and/or language.

Audience Engagement: 

These engagement metrics dive deeper into audience metrics by providing more in depth details about user behavior: How long was their session? What pages (or screens) of the app did they visit, and in which order? What screen did they exit on?

Measuring these metrics could, for example, help improve user retention and ROI by understanding what path users take when they open an app. Businesses can then easily identify potential problem areas such as exit screens where users decided to close the app. An example of this would be a high number of exists on a shopping cart screen. This could indicate that the shopping cart screen is potentially lacking critical information needed for a user to complete the check-out process.


Value metrics are all metrics relating directly to business performance. These include things such as customer acquisition cost (CAC) – where did customers come from and how much did it cost to acquire them -, revenue, and lifetime value of a user (LTV) – the value of the app in relation to the value of how much each user is worth. An example of how critical value metrics are can be seen in the LTV:CAC ratio. By using a customer acquisition cost (CAC) and lifetime value (LTV) ratio, companies can glean insight into overall business growth and performance. For example, it might be assumed that a high LTV with low CAC always means a higher return on investment (ROI), and therefore business growth. However, taking a deeper plunge into the CAC metric could tell you that while current customers are delivering great ROI, new customers are struggling to convert, in turn slowing business growth. Having insight into these metrics can allow for adjusted business strategies to maximize growth and ROI.

These basic types of metrics produce invaluable insights that inform targeted, conceptual, strategic and user-centered decisions for app design, audience targeting, marketing, and all other components of a successful business.

It’s no longer the era of 3G and pixelated selfies. It’s 2017, the year in which the mobile app market has hit critical mass. And to compete in this oversaturated market, businesses must measure what matters to engage users, improve user experience and, maximize ROI. Out-of-box measurement tools are cheap and easy to implement, and for your more complicated scenarios, Merkle is here to help.

To see how Merkle helped T-Mobile optimize data and analytics using cloud marketing tools, view our recently completed webinar at your convenience.