How Do You Evaluate App Success?


According to Flurry, an analytics firm, given a choice between using a native mobile app or a mobile website, the average smartphone user in the U.S. chooses the app 86 percent of the time. If you want to engage users, make yourself visible to your users. However, visibility alone does not confirm success. So how do you evaluate app success?

There are three important key performance indicators (KPIs) to gauge your app's success: acquisition, user engagement and conversion.


Acquisition or download measures your app's reach. The magic number depends on app owners' individual goals. When defining your goal, make allowance for the fact that a niche app may not have a gaming app's high download rate, yet can still be considered successful. But downloads don't automatically ensure active users. Successful acquisition means your users have downloaded your app and not yet removed it from their smart device.

Analytics tools give you insights into user behavior. App analytics have two major benefits: They help you understand user demographics and direct or redirect the focus of your app marketing strategies that get the most user downloads.

User Engagement

User engagement follows on the heels of user acquisition and reflects on how well-liked your app is. Data on app feature usage, session length and uninstalls help you perceive the success rate of your apps' user engagement. Data about these metrics can be converted into actionable information. For instance, an uninstall is a clear indication your app does not provide value to the user. Maybe the user was not your target audience in the first place.

Session length shows the amount of time a user spends on your app. For an accurate estimate of session time that eliminates idle time, you can incorporate timeout.

App feature and content usage will not only help you identify superfluous and difficult-to-find features, but also features and content that engage users the most. You can then decide what content to include/remove in subsequent versions.


Conversion means getting users to move toward the goal you initially set for your app. The goal could simply be getting them to download, register, read your content or move up from your app's free version to the premium version. For instance, if your app is a media app, conversion could mean getting users to read and share news updates.

To optimize conversion, you must understand typical user demographics. Demographic data provides insights into the category of people who use your app the most - e.g. young adults, working moms, students, etc. Often, understanding what drives conversions is often the key to understanding what leads to uninstalls and abandonment.

While these three are the most overarching KPIs common to all apps, it's just as important to identify and work on particular performance metrics specific to the app experience you are building.

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