10 Key Metrics to Measure User Engagement in Mobile Apps

mobile apps

For a mobile app to be a success, not just clicks or ratings or measuring app downloads is sufficient, but it’s important that the app’s main value proposition is well understood by the users. There is no one-miracle-metric to measure engagement though, the purpose of the app, outcomes, and goals should be well clear to determine the right metrics for your mobile apps.

As brands are starting to develop their mobile presence and hope to meet user requirements, creating an engaging user experience is becoming a prerequisite for them. Building apps and looking to leverage the mobile platform to get more users for your business is good but the success of app publishing would be determined by the user engagement and activity of your app. The number of apps on Play Store and iTunes are uncountable and that would keep on increasing. Most of the developers don’t even bother to look for their app’s performance after publishing it and it’s like first making a ship and then letting it go without any direction.

If you have to make your app a success, you need to measure the right metrics and iterate and optimize your apps to your target goals. To do so, here are the top 10 metrics to measure user engagement in your mobile apps.

1. Number of downloads

To achieve app success, the very first step is reaching a substantially large number of downloads. This is considered the most important metric for measuring the user engagement since the vital objective is to consolidate a broad user base.

Understanding and tracking the source of your app installs is also very important. From a marketing point of view, this will help you evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and advertising channels.

Tools you can use for this: Play Store and App Store reports

2. Total number of users (new and old)

Tracking users for your mobile app is requisite to build better engagement with your users, like launching successful app marketing campaigns, tracking specific behaviour and segmenting audiences. The numbers can be seen by Daily Active Users (DAUs), Weekly Active Users (WAUs) or Monthly Active Users (MAUs) and that can further be broken down by the device, age, demography, gender and many other. In addition to measuring engagement, getting these numbers helps planning for the growth of your app.

3. Active app users

Active users

The active user metric is different from installation and downloads metric because it sees if users are actually using the app on a regular basis rather than just downloading it. These numbers are great for giving you a baseline understanding of your app’s growth. For a better understanding of your app usage, DAU (daily active users), Weekly Active Users (WAU), MAU (monthly active users) and stickiness (DAU/MAU) are considered few critical metrics. The number of active users on your app should be higher than the new user’s number as this would indicate that there are recurring users of the app. Analytics tools have different criteria and sometimes ‘active user’ may revolve around the ‘session’, like for Google Analytics, which considers a user session only if the user opens and interacts with the app until 30 minutes of inactivity.

Stickiness is also an important factor and by knowing which features are making your app addictive or sticky, you will know the key parts of your app to drive engagement.

4. Session interval

This is the time between two consecutive sessions of your app and shows the frequency at which user opens and uses the app. This could be a way to measure the addictiveness because it tells how soon or not soon users are returning to your app. This certainly quantifies the retention value and stickiness of your app, and also gives you direct inputs for improvements.

5. Session length

Session length is the measure of the time period between the opening and closing of an app by the user, or in between the first activity and the last activity that he performs. More engagement would mean longer session durations. Also apart from the session length and the number of sessions per day, developers can identify those customers who spend a lot of time on the app just to improve the experience for less-engaged users.

6. Time in the app

This defines the time a user stays on your app. Time in the app is a function of session frequency and session length which tells how long users are staying in your app on a daily, weekly or monthly basis and similar to other mentioned metrics this also helps increase the understanding of the user behavior and app usage patterns.

Few questions you should ask yourself when users are not opening the app and to increase user engagement; “Are user’s screen flow similar?”, “Why are they using the app for long or short periods of time?” or “Are they just searching or also buying more?”.

Tools you can use for last 5 metrics: Google Analytics, AWS Mobile Analytics, Fabric

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