Coming up with an idea and development efforts for a smartphone app that will enchant customers may be just the first step of a new business. For businesses to stand the test of time and survive through ever changing market environments and needs require a strategy for success. If your business depends on successful mobile app development you then must start by defining what it means to you. How do you measure success, what are the right metrics?

There are basically four kinds of metrics:
Performance: The focus of these metrics are on the customer experience as it uses your app.
User and usage: Marketing uses these metrics as indicators on customer demographics.
Engagement: These metrics tell how users are engaging with your app.
Business: These metrics answer the impact of your app on important business questions like revenue.

Performance metrics

Customers hate it when their app crashes, so you want to know about it. An example definition of a performance metric is app crashes per load attempts or you could relate it to performing a particular operation.

Your app probably needs to access other services and the time to get your request in and out is called latency and is usually measured in milliseconds. Latency directly impacts how a customer perceives your app as fast or slow. Another latency related metric is how well your app responds to increasing loads. You can have a low latency at the start but as the customer interacts with it and the request queue grows it may start to slow down significantly.

Usage and demographics metrics

Your development team can find out about your user base as a monthly or daily active users metric. This is very important if your mobile app development business model relies on advertising revenue.

More details about your user base can be obtained from knowing which mobile devices and OS they use. This metric helps you focus and prioritize your mobile app development efforts according to your user’s platform of choice.

Knowing where your user base is located is also very important for app development. Are you reaching out to a global market? Where are the majority of your customers? Do you want to target aspects of your app by geography?

Engagement metrics

A key indicator of how much your customers like or dislike your app is by looking at engagement metrics.

Session length is a measure of time between app open and close. A long time is a strong indicator that your app is useful and liked.

Session interval is another time measurement showing how much time a user spent on a particular function. With this knowledge, you can streamline your continuous improvement program and focus your value-added efforts on the functions that attract your user base.

Your app can be downloaded millions of times and you may consider that a success. But is it really? Retention rate measures the percentage of customers that return after that initial engagement. By combining this metric with others your app development team can work on personalization features. Your user base may not be gigantic but those who are can be turned into loyal paying customers.

Business metrics

You may have to pay some of your distribution channels and you want to know if they are really worth the expense. The acquisition cost metric tells you from which channel your customers are coming from.

Transaction revenue metric is very useful for apps that support retail product and service transactions such as shopping and travel.

Abandonment rate metric is one you want to watch very carefully. It is a ratio of transactions abandoned vs. transactions initiated. Transactions may be abandoned due to performance, experience, or expectation issues and your app development team must be on top of it and devise fixes to prevent customers from going away.

Once you have a user base and a business model that seems to be working you want to think long term. Lifetime value will be then your primary revenue metric. Your mobile app’s value is measured in relation to how much your users are worth during the time they are using it. Lifetime value is not only revenue in dollars but can be used to measure social sharing indicators, a number of articles read, or another measure of value that is important to you.