Article originally published on June 9, 2016
With mobile apps becoming a part of everyday life for smartphone and tablet users, there’s a large opportunity for businesses to engage their customers and drive more revenue, whether via in-app purchases or via mobile app ad revenue.
In fact, global revenue from mobile app stores is set to hit $51 billion in 2016 (that’s up nearly 24% over 2015). That number is set to nearly double in the next few years, with consumers expected to spend a staggering $101.1 billion on mobile apps in 2020. (Source: App Annie Mobile App Forecast, Q1 2016)
Given all the potential that an engaging, popular mobile app can offer a brand, most companies are always looking for new ways to boost engagement and keep users coming back for more.
Engagement: a crucial stage in the mobile app lifecycle
Before we look at measuring mobile app engagement, let’s take a quick step back. In the lifecycle of a mobile app, there are 4 magical stages: acquisition, engagement, monetisation and retention.
Engagement is crucial to helping you reach your app goals and succeed with the subsequent stages of monetisation and retention. (Because if your app isn’t engaging users in the first place, they probably won’t be coming back too often.)
To study your mobile app engagement and understand how users interact with your app, here are 4 important KPIs to track:
1. Time spent on the app (session length)
Considering the type and amount of content available in your app, does the time spent on your app seem appropriate? If your app offers a significant amount of quality content and features, yet session length seems stunted, this could be a sign of navigational or usability issues; consider examining and improving the flow of your user experience.
If session length continues to decrease over time, you can assume that users just aren’t interested. It’s time to look into adding more quality content!
2. Frequency of use
Measure frequency of use to see if users are finding your app valuable, and if they’re growing attached to it. By examining frequency of use, you can also see the proportion of light users versus heavy users of your application. Use segmentation to focus on these frequent users and observe their behaviours.
3. Repeat usage
Are users addicted to your app? The repeat usage KPI will tell you. But in order for this KPI to deliver true insights, you must first set a goal for repeat usage, depending on the type of app you’re offering. For example, a service-type app (like news, traffic info, or weather apps) might be used every day, whereas a leisure-type app (like gaming, entertainment, or shopping apps) might see more days in between usage. If you’d like to boost your repeat usage, think about how you could increase interactions with your users.
4. Exit rate
Analyse your exit rates to identify any screens that are seeing abnormally high exit rates. Then, focus on these screens: why are your users leaving at this precise point? Use crash analysis to see on which pages your app tends to close, and help your developers identify any anomalies.
EXTRA TIP: Consider your app’s content with regards to your users’ Internet connections. Using AT Internet’s “connection speed” analysis, you can see the breakdown of users who access your app via 3G, 4G, or Wifi. If most of your app users connect using 4G or Wifi, consider offering them a video-rich app, for example.
To go further with your mobile app analytics and learn about measuring your app’s performance throughout other stages of the lifecycle (acquisition, monetisation and retention), download our free Guide to Mobile App Analytics: