Top 7 Mobile Application Performance Metrics

You might have heard a lot about the most important mobile marketing metrics you can choose for your mobile product. When we know how to get these crucial numbers, the next step would be to follow global tendencies using the mobile marketing analysis.

With the report we prepared, you’ll be able to compare the numbers you have with a broader statistical data. You’ll also get an opportunity to review the whole mobile world through understandable application performance metrics as of 2017 and later years.

Read also: 12 Tools to Market Your New Mobile App

Metric 1: User Engagement

User engagement tells about your customer: what platform he prefers, where he lives, what device he uses. To examine it on the global level, we turned to stats comparing two giant platforms: Android and iOS. And here’s what we’ve managed to find.

  • Talking about the market niche, Android, belonging to Google, has a reason to be proud of – it has 86.1% of the market. Apple’s OS is on the second place with 13.7% - a rather long distance to overcome.

Global mobile OS market share in sales to end users

Read also: App Store and Google Play: Battle of 2017

  • The next index is the number of annual downloads. You probably think that they will grow with time – and you’re absolutely right. It’s expected that Android will get much more downloads than its Apple rival.

Number of annual downloads

[by App Annie]

  • People in developed countries would prefer to use iOS over Android – it’s a quite vivid tendency as you look at the map below. It may be explained by differences in culture and socioeconomic factors.

Geography Distribution

Geography Distribution

And we should mention some more fascinating facts. The iOS applications are considered to be built with a more beautiful design, and Apple users are more likely to spend their money via their smartphone. It means their engagement is connected strongly with mCommerce, and this is the reason why Apple’s mobile revenues are 60% higher than the same index for Android.

Read also: Mobile App Analytics: How to Choose the Right Instrument

Metric 2: The Matter of Time

With two metrics of the session length and interval, you will know how much time users spend on your application (from opening the app till closing it) and how often they would turn to your app. Those who spend the most time with the product are your loyal customers, a certain group of your target audience.

  • In our research, we first found the aging group which uses mobile gadgets more often than any other one. That’s what Statista has to say about that:

Aging groups using smartphones


These numbers concern the USA market. As we see, people of 18-24 years old (i.e. Millennials) are the leaders with 93.5 hours in one month, it means this index is about 3.1 hours in daily usage.

  • Due to comScore, the average time spent with mobile apps daily for all aging groups is around 2.3 hours in the USA.
  • In 2017, the most popular mobile application for millennials has been Amazon – 35% of users put it in the first place according to Business Insider. Gmail and Facebook (which was the first one a couple years ago) are in the second and third places respectively.

Read also: The Most Popular Mobile Analytics Tools

Metric 3: Average Revenue per User (ARPU)

This index shows more details about your overall revenue by comparing it with the number of your users. Having the result, you can get to some conclusions about the channels of distribution (whether they are profitable or not) and pricing model you chose.

As for the latest data we can get about numbers of ARPU, we decided to gather statistics considering social networks available for both the smartphone and desktop.

numbers of ARPU

[by Market Realist]

Snap is the parent company of Snapchat. In a year, its ARPU grew 109% compared to 2016. Another interesting thing is that there is a big contrast in numbers when it comes to Facebook. On the graphics, we see that its ARPU is about $4.75, but in the US and Canada, this metric is about $19.38.

Now, it’s important for Twitter to stand its ground and improve its positions not to be overtaken by Snap. Evidently, ARPU has a great influence on the brand’s reputation and indicates the problems emerging on the way.

Metric 4: The Costs per Install and Loyal User (CPI and CPLU)

These two metrics concern the spending for advertisement to acquire one download. Comparing the ARPU index with CPI and CPLU indexes, it’s possible to make some judgments about your marketing activity. If ARPU of your product is higher than the costs per install and loyal user, you’re on the right way in a certain advertising campaign.

As for the global data, we found out how the things are going for Android and iOS platforms as of February 2017. The CPI metric is almost twice higher for the iOS platform, it is $0.86 compared to $0.44 for Android apps.

Read also: How to Start Mobile App Marketing Campaign

Average cost per installation (CPI) for Android and iOS apps worldwide as of February 2017 (in U.S. dollars)

Average cost per installation (CPI) for Android and iOS apps worldwide as of February 2017 (in U.S. dollars)


And we know the ARPU metric of the popular social networks. Having this data, we may say that their marketing activity is successful. Though Snap’s ARPU is close to the average iOS CPI, we expect this gap to grow in favor of the ARPU index.

Metric 5: Retention Rate

Retention rate shows if people are ready to open your app again or not. So, the higher the index you have the more loyal users you get in perspective. But what do we know about real numbers so far? In order to get some certain information, we learned Localytics’ report, which was published at the end of 2016. These are all the basics for you to know at the beginning.

  • Usually, it’s recommended to measure retention rates during the 90 days period – this number was chosen as it’s connected with the app user lifecycle. Localytics shows us the data for the first three months, where average churn is those users who left the mobile app behind. So, in 90 days, the average retention index equals 20%.

Three Month User Retention & Churn (Average for All Apps)

Three Month User Retention & Churn (Average for All Apps)

[by Localytics 2016]

  • If we go further and learn more about separate industries in mobile development, we’ll find out the highest retention rate has travel and lifestyle apps (23%). And social networking lags behind with 16%.

Three Month User Retention & Churn (Average for All Apps)

[by Localytics 2016]

  • We also have some stats about retention and the number of sessions. There are obviously more chances to gain the user’s loyalty if he opens your app more than 10 times.

Three Month User Retention & Churn (Average for All Apps)

[by Localytics 2016]

Metric 6: Lifetime Value (LTV)

Lifetime value, which can be also called “customer lifetime value” (CLV or CLTV), is the main mobile application performance metric driving your marketing strategy. It is a prediction of the relationship that the business will have with a customer. Predictions are a very enigmatic thing, so you will usually see that specialists estimate LTV for a certain period of time (12 or 24 months, for instance).

Read also: 4 Best Pricing Models: How to Monetize a Mobile App?

The simplest way to calculate LTV is to divide ARPU by the churn rate. Some sources also add the referral value to this metric, which varies depending on the product. This is why it’s quite hard to find some general information on this issue, but we can make some calculations on our own. Of course, they’re pretty rough but give us a certain picture.

The LTV index for Facebook: if the ARPU of Facebook is $4.75, and we have the churn rate for social networks of 84%, then our LTV equals $5.65.

The same for Twitter: $1.75/84% = $2.08.

And, finally, Snap: $1.06/84% = $1.26.

In the end, your final LTV should be lower than CPI. As for our case, it’s lower for all three products.

Metric 7: Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

CAC is a correlation between all of the spending to acquire new users and the number of users you eventually got. Strictly speaking, this metric is what it takes to convince a customer to download your application. The final goal would be to create a product with a low CAC but a high LTV.

Let’s take a look at the methods marketers usually use to attract new customers. In other words, we’ll figure out what companies spend money on to get a low CAC.

Top 5 User Acquisition Methods (According to VB Insights)

Social campaigns
Banner advertisements
Cross promotions in the SEO branch
Cross promotions via own apps
Email campaigns

There are a lot more items in the list: working with the press, PR activities, video ads, etc. And thanks to Emarketer, we’ve got information about spends for mobile advertisement campaigns. In 2016, the number was $49.81 billion, and we expect this index to grow – in 2019, the spending will be $65.87 billion.

Metrics Calculating Your Success

It’s clear as day that mobile market continues to expand, and marketing spending grows constantly with it. Today, we took a look at how the things really are on the global mobile market with the most popular marketing metrics. Now, you have the set of formulas from our previous article and specific numbers from this one.

Calculating the app’s ARPU and CPI, measuring the session length and retention rates, you gain a clear vision whether you do everything right to promote an app. These metrics will help you to know more about your relationship with the customer, prepare your product for possible risks, and lead you straight to the profitable future.

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