7 Mobile Marketing Metrics: What To Choose

We already talked about the seven easy steps to make a great mobile application and about the stages of successful mobile app marketing campaign. Time to move on. Once you’ve built your app and planned your marketing strategy, you’ll need something to show you that your application is actually profitable and the revenue is satisfying. This thing is called mobile marketing metrics (MMM).

What on Earth is this and how it works? More importantly, how you’re supposed to choose between hundreds of visually similar statistics and analytical tools that could give you an insight into your marketing efforts and your user’s behavior? Let’s be honest, not every metric is applicable to your marketing strategy.

The digital marketing is a science anyone can learn

Couple years ago application developers have been deciding the success of apps based on analytics only. Statistics was their best friend. At that time, developers estimated the app’s success by its ratings and the download numbers. But those days had passed, nowadays there are much better ways.

Yes, there are many of them and it’s hard to decide which one you should take into account when it comes to analysis of mobile marketing. However, you can’t overestimate mobile marketing metrics advantages, believe me. Because the key areas of your mobile marketing campaign, that you’ll identify with the right key metrics, could show you the best way to improve your strategy in the future.

There have been developed a lot of tools to help you measure the mobile metrics. Such as App Annie, Google Analytics, Flurry, Apsalar, Mixpanel etc. Anyhow, what are the most important metrics you should be measuring? A revenue per user, a costs per loyal user, a costs per install, an amount of downloads, level of people's engagement with your app, parts of the application that are most enticing, cost of the regular upgrades or improvements... Well, it’s not even the half of what you can metric through your campaign.

According to our research the top four examples of mobile marketing metrics used by successful mobile marketers are:

  • Number of downloads;
  • Recurrent usage;
  • Time spent;
  • Revenue or leads generated.

Marketing Campaign, by Head of marketing at Oxygen8

You already know the ways of how actually make money from mobile apps, now it’s time to learn how to track that money when your application will start to pay off. We advise you to focus on the following seven mobile app performance metrics as a combined set of those that already proved their usefulness to the other developers.  

First Stop. User engagement

It’s a fact that nearly over than 20% of apps downloaded from stores are never used more than once. Why? The answer is simple – users expectations of the new app are often unmet. How to avoid that failure? By tracking user engagement metrics and using them to find suitable solutions for some of your users’ problems.

To keep your loyal customers in a long-term relationship with your application you need to work hard and analyze every detail you can. What devices you customers use? Is it the smartphones with Android platform or the iPhones with iOs? At what time and place do they use your app? It’s absolutely critical to understand your users, to monitor their level of satisfaction with your application. Without pleased customers there is no revenue, you know that.

So if you want to see your application in the top ranks of the app stores and appreciated by customers you should consider the next criteria.   

1. Social Channel

Social media is one of the most powerful weapons in the battle for gaining the higher number of users. One simple message via social channels and networks could turn your life upside down, and it has two ways: either you became a successful app developer or your application can go down in flames. Knowing your audience preferences and expectation will help you to achieve your goal in customer acquisition by monitoring social responses and reactions of the app customers to analyze and sort them out later.

This type of metrics allows you to calculate the number of tweets, reposts, reviews, comments and other social mentions of your product. And see if the application needs some adjustments or improvements. How can you do this? Here are some tools for you as well: Buffer, Facebook Insights, Google Alerts, Social Mention, Hootsuite, People Browser. Check them out and choose the right ones that will serve your purpose in the most profitable way.

Social media is an invaluable tool of any marketing strategy because it will provide you with useful tips about how good your marketing campaign is doing and how you can improve it if needed.

2. Demographics data

This metric you actually use when you just start to plan your marketing campaign and it takes into account age, gender, nationality, race etc. According to this data, you can see how often or for how long certain group of people uses your application and at what time of day they usually do it, and also what devices they prefer. After analyzing the collected information you’ll be able to tell if your app is popular within its target audience and find the way to indicate the possibility for growth through application localization.

Get to know your customers so you can present your app in the most effective way to convince your users and investors to spend money regarding your app. This strategy will give you the opportunity to build a strong connection with a loyal audience. And your benefits with the help of this metric will be the positive response from your users and their willingness to promote the application further.

Second Stop. Time spent

One of the important questions is where within your app do you lose most of your users? They spend some time with your product and leave, so this piece of information is critical to understand their motive and navigate within the application to see which screens made your customers go and which have made them stay. You can find out these details by calculating the time a user spent in your app on different occasions.

  • Session Length  – measured period of time between app open and close. It tells how much time a user spends on the application per individual session. By analyzing collected data for some period of time you’ll be able to see which users are more active than others and spend more time in your app. Based on the length of the average session and the checkout flow, you can decide to encourage another group to stay in the application longer or to simplify the checkout process.
  • Session Interval – time between the user’s first session and his/her next one, basically it’s the frequency with which your users open the app. This can signal the immediate value gained from downloading and running the application. This metric can help you to see the need of improvement in the app or even critical changes.
  • Time in app – this one tracks how long a user was in your application over a given period of time. It’s another metric that indicates how valuable your app is to your loyal users and identifies how often your app have been used. A certain group of your customers consistently use your application for a long time, so you need to find out the reason why. Are they purchasing or researching, following some particular screen flow or engaging in other activities within the app? Use this information to attract new customers and encourage the regular ones.

Users in marketing campaign

Third Stop: no time for jokes. ARPU

What’s this about?

Average revenue per user (ARPU) –  is the amount of revenue each of your active customers (on average) contributes. ARPU varies greatly by app category and revenue model. (c)

Why should you care? To begin with, it’s important for you to be sure that customers who’re using your application are committed to it and will continue using it. The ARPU metric can help you find out about the revenue that was brought in through advertising, fee-based downloads in-app purchases, freemium apps, and subscriptions.

And, also, to see the average revenue the app is generating per user. More importantly, it’ll show if you’re getting more income than it costs to attract the consumers’ attention or now. Also, the ARPU is part of finding out the lifetime value (LTV) of your loyal users.

The ARPU is to be calculated by a formula where you’re adding up all the revenue obtained from customers (app’s price, in-app purchases, ads, etc.) and then dividing the result by the total number of users. Basically, it represents the amount of money the application generates within the framework of a set period over the amount of active app users within the same timeframe.

ARPU Formula for Marketing Campaign

And after you calculate your ARPU, with the help of the couple other mobile metrics you can use it to estimate your app’s success and measure different revenue metrics.

Fourth Stop: getting serious. CPLU & CPI

CPI – the Cost Per Install measures your customer acquisition costs for customers that installed your app in response to seeing an advertisement (tracking paid installs rather than organic installs).”(c)

And the second one:

“CPLU – the Cost per Loyal User measures your customer acquisition costs for the new and loyal customers that you obtained in response to an ad.” (c)

Why is it important? It’s recommended to use the CPI and the CPLU in combination with ARPU to calculate the return on investments for your marketing campaign. Therefore, you should keep in mind, that your ARPU number must be greater than the CPLU number which will indicate that you’re using your marketing methods correctly.

Advertisement campaign is always a huge part of your application success and your budget includes tangible expenses on the promoting, so you need to really understand these two metrics.

A formula to calculate the CPI shows that it’s the advertising dollars you spend divided by the number of new installations you get within a given advertising campaign.

The Fourth stop The Cost Per Install

And for the CPLU it’s the amount of advertising dollars you spend divided by the amount of new and loyal application uses you get from the  advertising campaign.
The Cost per Loyal User Formula

Fifth Stop: Monitor The Retention Rate

“The Retention Rate is the percentage of users returning to our app within a certain period of time after its initial installation.” (c)

How often do your user return to the app and use it is exactly what describes customer loyalty. Your customer’s engagement is a vital part of the app’s success – if there are users that are remaining constantly engaged with your application, it means they like what your product and more likely will spread the word or two about the app to their friend and colleagues. So it’s essential that you track the retention rate to see the percentage of customers who return to your application based on the date of their first visit.

Analyzing this metric will help you to find out what’s working and what isn’t in your app based on the time of recent updates. After releasing a new version of the application you have to identify  whether or not your retention rate has changed. Building long-term retention is your top priority because highly-engaged customers is the best way to boost the revenue. Therefore, you need to understand that your responsibility is to make  your app as useful as possible for the customers to ensure that they will come back to use it and that it won’t be uninstalled.

Retention rate metric is your first partner in crime when it comes to marketing experiments and the app’s improvements. There is no point in telling you that attracting new users is more expensive than keeping those who already have stayed with you for a given period of time.

For aggregate retention, there is a formula where the number of actives you have during a month are divided by the install amounts during that month.

Aggregate Retention Mobile Marketing Formula

And to measure the retention rate for a specified time you’re gonna calculate the number of application users you’ve retained by the end of a specified time and divide it by the installs during that period.

Retation for a given period Formula

Sixth Stop: pay attention. Lifetime Value (LTV)

Lifetime value – the amount of revenue generated by a user throughout his lifespan as a user of the app. This is a primary revenue metric, representing the financial value of the app and how much each app user or customer is worth in his or her lifetime. (c)

Lifetime value Mobile Marketing Formula

Probably, the most important metric for your mobile marketing campaign, because it tells you how much money you can spend to acquire new customers for your app and still maintain the revenue growth. And shows if the marketing strategy is profitable, in fact, it’ll be so if the CPI number is below the LTV.

This metric can be estimated by the average monthly value or value per customer, capturing worth over time not only financially, but, also, in terms of user’s loyalty and evangelism.



Before calculating the LTV you need to measure the ARPU number. Then the “user lifetime value” gonna be estimated based on the revenue generated by the user (in-app purchases, in-app advertising, subscriptions or paid-for downloads) over their lifetime divided by the number of active users during a given period of time.

Marketing LTV Formula_User lifetime value

Seventh Stop: Final Destination. User acquisition

Acquisitions mean the number of users who downloaded and installed your app from a certain location (via organic search, word-of-mouth promotion, paid campaigns or in-app referrals).

If you run marketing campaign through paid partners then this metric is especially important, because it shows the amount of money you spent to acquire all these users, their application downloads and what they’re doing when they get into your app. After gathering enough data you can analyze the long-term value of acquired users against organic customers and measure the budget to spend on advertising in order to attract more customers.

User acquisition metric is represented by customer acquisition cost (CAC). It is calculated by adding up all the marketing expenses spent on acquiring new customers during a period of time and dividing the result by the total number of customers acquired during that period. If the CAC number is less than the LTV then the app is profitable.

Marketing Metric Customer Acquisition Cost

Summing Up

As you see, there can’t be any successful application without the hard marketing strategy and metrics measuring tactic. Your goal is to make the app such high-quality leveled and interesting for your users that they will want to stay and make your revenue grow. By gathering valuable statistical data about their behavior within your app you’re ensuring your own chance to make really substantial improvements in your app that could end up in a base of loyal customers.

Remember, that the mobile marketing metrics is the best friends of any mobile application designer or startuper – with their help you can segment your customers, see the usage trends and balance the cost of user acquisition with the user lifetime value. Therefore, metrics allow making applications more profitable while keeping the customers happy.

The information above is just the example of mostly used metrics, but there is a wide range of them out there and you should do a research to be able to choose the right ones for yourself based on the purpose of your app. Then, using the appropriate analytical tools to calculate the right metrics of your application you can increase the effectiveness of your business product to the next level of your company success. As for analytical tools, to find out more about them we can help you with our post here called “The 5 Most Popular Mobile App Analytics Tools”.

Tecsynt mobile development company

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