The complete guide to mobile app KPIs for 2024

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Olivia Doboaca
The complete guide to mobile app KPIs for 2024

Table of Content:

  1. What are the mobile app KPIs and why do they matter?
  2. What’s the difference between mobile app KPIs and mobile app metrics?
  3. What are the most popular mobile app KPIs?
    • Mobile app KPIs focused on acquisition
    • Mobile app KPIs focused on conversion
    • ​Mobile app KPIs to measure sentiment and ASO
    • Mobile app KPIs to measure app performance
  4. Afterword
  5. FAQ
    • What are mobile app KPIs?
    • How do mobile app KPIs differ from mobile app metrics?
    • What are some key mobile app KPIs to focus on for growth?

The complete guide to mobile app KPIs for 2024

Mobile app metrics and KPIs make or break an app’s progress. By the end of this read, you'll get the hang of mobile app KPIs and learn how to use them to your advantage. Grab some coffee or some tea, this is a big one.

Before we begin with this monster, by the way, we’d like to mention that AppFollow performed research on global mobile app metrics for 2023. It’s worth a look. Click this cool banner below to get the report!

What are the mobile app KPIs and why do they matter?

So, you've got an app and no clue if it's doing well? Time to look at mobile app KPIs. These metrics are your recipe for figuring out how many new users you're pulling in, how engaged they are, and if you're actually growing.

Picking KPIs that match your business goals is like getting a compass that actually points to where you want to go. Here's the deal on what you'll get out of it:

  • Seeing the big picture: get your hands on mobile app metrics that line up with what you're after. You'll figure out what's working and what's not in user behavior.
  • Making smarter calls: use those KPIs to steer your app. You'll know where to throw your cash and what to fix first.
  • Keeping users happy: keep an eye on your app's performance KPIs. They tell what your users like and what makes them leave.
  • Boosting your cash flow: even if you're not all about the money, sharp KPIs can pump up your app's revenue.

What’s the difference between mobile app KPIs and mobile app metrics?

People mix them up all the time, but they're not the same thing.

Mobile app metrics are the raw deal. They're all about the details of your app—how many downloads, how long people stick around, crash rates, and all that.

Mobile app KPIs are the metrics that matter big time for your app's success. They're tied up with what you want to achieve and are constantly watched to make sure you're on track.

Got no clear goals for your app? Figure out what you want your app to do, then pick the right KPIs to get there.

Pro tip: don't try to tackle all of them at once. Stick to the ones that actually make a difference at the time. No point in beefing up numbers that don't mean anything for your bottom line.

Mobile app KPIs focused on acquisition

Now, about KPIs for measuring how many new users are hopping onto your app. The big deal here is grabbing quality users—the kind you can turn into those who actually pay. So, let's check out the KPIs that'll help you keep an eye on this.

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Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)

CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) is a microscope zooming in on what you're trying to get each user, channel by channel.

To get your CPA, just do this quick math: Take your total spend on finding new users and divide it by how many of them you got on board.

CPA = Total Spend on New Users / Number of New Users

Now, CPA and CAC are both big deals in the app world, but they're different. CPA gets really specific about the cost of each move you make. CAC is your bird's-eye view of what you're spending overall to get users in the door.

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) tells how well your cash is working in pulling in new users. If your CAC is going up, you're probably throwing too much money at them.

The CAC math is simple: Total bucks spent on getting new users, divided by the number of new users you acquired.

CAC = Total Spend on New Users / Number of New Users

But here's the twist: it's not just about spending less to get customers. You want users who stick around, not ones who bounce after a quick look-see.

To cut down your CAC while getting good users, start by giving your target audience a hard look. Make sure your pitch and where you're pitching hits the mark.

And hey, don't just pour money into ads—go organic. Dial back on the paid promo stuff and put your efforts into SEO content instead.

Lifetime Value (LTV)

If you want to know how much cash your app's users are really worth over time, you have to keep an eye on their Lifetime Value (LTV). It's all about the total money users bring in while they're using your app.

Put your CAC and LTV side by side for the real story. If your users' Lifetime Value is kicking the Customer Acquisition Cost's butt, you're on fire! It means you're pulling in users who stick around and actually pay.

To figure out LTV, here's what you do: multiply the average cash each user brings in (that's your ARPU, more on that below) by how long they typically hang with your app.

LTV = Average Revenue Per User x Average Customer Lifespan

Want a better LTV? Pump up user engagement, push those in-app buys, upsell your fancy features, and cut down on users leaving your app.

User Growth Rate

Your team can get some real-deal insights from tracking this KPI. This one is about how many new users register and move forward with your app.

To calculate the User Growth Rate, do this: take this month's user count, subtract last month's, then divide by last month's numbers and multiply by 100. Like this:

User Growth Rate = ((This Month's Users - Last Month's Users) / Last Month's Users) x 100

This KPI is a sneak peek at trends in keeping users around. This KPI helps you find out what's working and what's not in different markets, so you can figure out the smartest ways to grow.

Return on Investment (ROI)

ROI is basically how much bang you're getting for your bucks in app development, upkeep, and marketing.

To figure out ROI, here's the drill: subtract the cash you first threw in from the money your app's making. Then, take that number and divide it by your initial investment. So, the formula goes:

ROI = (Money Made - Initial Cash Out) / Initial Cash Out

A thumbs-up ROI? That's great. It means your app's not just breaking even; it's making extra cash. ROI's a handy-dandy KPI for all sorts of campaigns. Keep tabs on your ROI shifts at all times.

App Install Rate / App Store Conversion Rate

This KPI is all about counting how many times your app gets downloaded. It's a solid way to check if your user acquisition tactics are actually working.

Keep a tight watch on your App Store Conversion Rates. Use it to see if your ads and what you're saying about your app intersect with what your users want.

Here's how you calculate the App Install Rate:

App Install Rate = (Number of Downloads / Number of People Who Saw Your App) x 100

Don't forget to throw some product-market fit surveys into the mix. Make sure your app's what your users are actually looking for. The review section is basically that.

Already done that and still not hitting it big? Might be time to think about how you're talking about your app or give your visuals a fresh look.

Mobile app KPIs focused on conversion

Now, let’s switch over to more niche KPIs.

Conversion Rate

Conversion is getting your app users to do something specific—like buying stuff in-app, upgrading their plan, or some other action you're aiming for. To see how you're doing, track your conversion rates. This is the slice of users who actually do what you want them to.

Here's the formula:

CR = (How Many People Did the Thing / Total Users) x 100

The higher your conversion rates, the slicker you are at nudging users to do the good stuff. But if your rates are in the gutter? That's a red flag for stuff in your app that's bugging users or making things harder than they should be. Maybe it’s the copy that’s not doing so well. In that case, we have some mobile app copywriting secrets for you.

Daily Active Users (DAU) / Monthly Active Users (MAU)

DAU and MAU are the bread and butter KPIs for anyone in the mobile app world—developers, product managers, designers, marketers, you name it. Without tracking Daily or Monthly Active Users, you're basically flying blind.

DAU tells you how many different people are actually doing something with your app each day. MAU is all about who's dropped in at least once in a month.

Here's how you crunch these numbers:

DAU = [New Unique Users] + [Returning Unique Users]
MAU = [Unique New Users This Month] + [Unique Returning Users This Month]

If your DAU and MAU are consistently high, it's great. It means people are loving your app enough to keep coming back.

Want to know how well you’re doing—check out the DAU/MAU ratio. It's a head-to-head of daily vs. monthly user action. Super important.

Retention Rate

This KPI is your go-to for tracking what chunk of your users hang around over time. It's a solid hint at whether your app's going to make it big or flop.

Here's how to calculate it:

Retention Rate = (Number of Users Who Came Back / Total New Users) x 100

A sky-high retention rate means you're doing it well—users love your app and keep coming back for more. But if it's tanking, sound the alarms. Something's off, and you need to fix it, fast.

Churn Rate

Don't sleep on the churn rate. It's key when you're trying to keep paid users on board. Churn rate's all about how many users ditch your app or cancel subscriptions in a certain time frame.

Here's the churn rate formula:

Churn Rate = (Number of Users Who Bailed ÷ Total Users at the Start) x 100

A low churn rate means you're doing something right—users see the value in your app and stick around. But if users are bailing left and right, you've got a problem.

To cut down your churn, first figure out why users are leaving. Is it a bad user experience, prices that make them wince, or missing features? Look to the reviews.

Average Revenue Per User (ARPU)

ARPU is another key player in the mobile app KPIs, which helps you find and hold onto customers. It's all about how much money each user is bringing in on average. Pretty simple, important nonetheless.

Here's the ARPU breakdown:

ARPU = Monthly Recurring Revenue / Active Paying Users

If you want to boost your Average Revenue Per User, it’s time to give your pricing strategy a hard look.

Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR)

Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR), let's get real—it's the cash your app's expected to pull in every month. What's coming in, trends, figures like sign-up rates for subscriptions, growth, and how many customers stick around.

Now, why should you care about MRR? So many other revenue metrics are available, right?

It's tied up with Average Revenue Per Account (ARPA). That's the average money you're making off each customer monthly. To get this, average out what each customer pays and divide it by your total customer count for the month.

For your MRR, just multiply the ARPA by your total customers. You launch a new app and have 300 people paying $10 each per month. Boom, your MRR is $3,000.

Here's how it breaks down for calculating your Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR):

  • Total Monthly Revenue: first, add up all the revenue from customers for the month. This is the sum of what everyone is paying.
  • Average Revenue Per Account (ARPA): work out the average revenue per customer. Do this by dividing the Total Monthly Revenue by the total number of customers for the month.
  • Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR): now, multiply the ARPA by the total number of customers to get your MRR.

Mobile app KPIs to measure sentiment and ASO

Now, the important bit is that you can influence a lot easier than most other things.

App Store Ranking

App store algorithms use a bunch of stuff to figure out your app's ranking. Reviews, ratings, how many people are downloading, how often you update, user engagement, and if your keywords in the description and title are on point.

A top rank gets you seen, but don't slack on your app's product page. It's got to speak to your audience and give them all they need to go from just browsing to buying.

Example of App Category Rankings overview in AppFollow

Keeping an eye on your App Store Ranking is a legit strategy to make your app more visible, which means more potential customers. Want to get more good reviews in the stores? Well, you’re in luck—all you have to do is respond to current reviews, be open to feedback, and have an in-app prompt to review the app when it matters.

Total ranked keywords

A heavyweight champ in the mobile app KPIs, especially when you're wrestling with app store optimization. This KPI is all about how many keywords your app is ranking for in the app store.

The more keywords you rank for, the beefier your app's visibility in search results. You want the right ones—those golden nuggets that your target audience is actually typing in when they're looking for an app like yours. Being easy to find can mean the difference between being downloaded or getting lost in the crowd.

Example of Keyword group tracking in AppFollow

Search visibility score

The score is based on how your keywords are flexing in the rankings, from top-dog status (top-1) to still-pretty-good (top-20). The bigger, the better.

Example of AppFollow App Search Visibility Score dashboard

When this Search Visibility number jumps or dives, it's a clear signal to act on. Did that latest text tweak put you on top for the cool keywords? This score tells what you need to know.

If you want to know how you stack up against your rivals, compare your Search Visibility against theirs. Use this intel to set your own targets and beat them at their game.

Text changes in your app's metadata can boost some key metrics. Views in the App Store, page views on Google Play, installations, in-store conversions, and cash-makers like in-app purchases or subscriptions.

Voice of Customer (VoC)

VoC is every word your users say about your app, from rants on social media to those gushing reviews. You tweak, you improve, and boom—your users stick around longer, spending more and singing your praises.

You can quantify it by tracking the volume of feedback on specific issues over time, or sentiment analysis scores from textual feedback.

Reply effect

The Reply Effect is figuring out if your words back to the complainers—or fans—actually do something to the stars they slap on your app.

Did the reviewer bother to change their review after you shot them a response? And second, how long did they sit on it before deciding to hit 'update'?

Sometimes the user couldn’t be bothered with the developer's reply. They went and changed their review on their own terms, no chat needed. Other times, the user got chatty and tweaked their review post-reply from the support squad. That also is quantifiable.

Example of AppFollow agent dashboard

A review can get a facelift in stars or just words—either way, if it's different after you've dropped a reply, that's the Reply Effect in action. Even a word swap counts.

Average rating

Why obsess over that average rating, you ask? 'Cause it's the frontline soldier in the battle for app glory. It's the first thing potential downloaders see. High average? They're in. Low? They're ghosting you faster than a bad Tinder date.

Average Rating is your app's overall grade point average. It's every rating from every user, crammed into one number. No words, just stars.

Average Review Rating

Average Review Rating is more like reading the teacher's comments. It only counts the stars from people who left a review with actual words. It's the rating for the vocal crowd, the ones who take the time to preach or praise. This is mostly an AppFollow metric (which should be universal, really), but it tells you what percentage of vocal customers change the reviews in comparison to silent voters.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

"Would you recommend us?" It’s about finding your cheerleaders and your naysayers. A high NPS means you're the cool app, with users likely to stick around and bring friends. Low NPS means it’s time for a strategy update.

Here’s the formula:

NPS = Total Number of Respondents / (Number of Promoters (9-10 ratings)−Number of Detractors (0-6 ratings) ×100

Customer Effort Score (CES)

CES measures how much sweat your users break to get issues sorted. The less they have to do to fix a problem, the more they love your app. You're there, you're quick, and you're solving things before they even have to ask. High CES. You’re a hero. Low CES? You’re basically asking them to solve their own problems.

CES= ( Total Number of Responses / Total Sum of Effort Scores )

Sentiment Score

This one's the mood ring for your app. It takes all those stars and reviews, mixes them up, and tells you if the vibe is more love festival or angst-ridden diary. High sentiment score means you're doing something right, and your app’s users are happy. It’s a direct reflection of how well you're meeting expectations.

Sentiment Score = ( Total Number of Reviews / Number of Positive Reviews−Number of Negative Reviews ) × 100

Example of Sentiment Score analysis in AppFollow

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

CSAT is the smiley face on your app's report card. It's a straight-up ask: "Hey, you happy with what we're doing?" This score tells you how many thumbs are pointing up.

CSAT = ( Total Number of Respondents / Number of Satisfied Customers (4-5 star ratings)) × 100

Mobile app KPIs to measure app performance

When you're sizing up your app's performance, there are a bunch of KPIs that can give you the full picture of how you're doing. Here are some you might want to throw into the mix.

Average Session Duration

This one's all about how long users stick around each time they fire up your app. It's a solid read on how engaged they are.

Here's the math:

Average Session Duration = Total Time Spent in App / Total Number of Sessions

To keep users glued longer, your app's got to be more than just pretty—it's got to be interactive and interesting. Make sure it's actually useful to them. Get inside your users' heads—know their problems and what they need. That way, you can focus on the features and tweaks that really count..

App Crash Rate

This KPI keeps tabs on how often your app faceplants—you know, crashes or messes up.

Here's the formula:

App Crash Rate = (Total Crashes / Total Sessions) x 100

To get the lowdown on why your app's crashing, try adding quizzes in your app or emailing surveys after support tickets wrap up. Figure out the crash scenes to help your devs fix things up quicker.

App Load Time

This one's about how long it takes for your app to get its act together and be ready to use after someone opens it.

In this go-go world, you've got to be quick. If your app's a slowpoke, users might ditch it for something faster. To speed things up, trim down those extra permissions, get your server to hustle up, and clean up your app's code.

Afterword

When it comes to mobile app KPIs, there are so many to choose from. In this guide, we’ve covered every single non-vanity KPI, and how it’s calculated. In fact, sentiment and ASO KPIs (alongside a bunch of others) are very easy to visualize and track with AppFollow’s help. If this entire article didn’t convince you to seek an easier way (the AppFollow way!), nothing will.

Track what matters, and push ahead with data-driven decisions.

FAQ

What are mobile app KPIs?

Mobile app Key Performance Indicators track an app's performance against its goals. They provide insights into user engagement, growth, and overall app success. Analyzing KPIs like Cost Per Acquisition (CPA), Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), and Lifetime Value (LTV), will help you improve the app, enhance user experience, and boost revenue.

How do mobile app KPIs differ from mobile app metrics?

While both mobile app KPIs and metrics measure an app's performance, they serve different purposes. Metrics are the raw data points like downloads, session length, and crash rates. KPIs, on the other hand, are the benchmarks that show if the app is on the right path to achieving its objectives.

What are some key mobile app KPIs to focus on for growth?

To drive growth, focusing on KPIs related to user acquisition, engagement, retention, and monetization is essential. Key KPIs include Cost Per Acquisition, Customer Acquisition Cost,

Lifetime Value, User Growth Rate, Retention Rate, and Average Revenue Per User, among others.

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